PSB3: Pet Shop Boys rate, 2006-2019. #4 How great is this song! We've got a hit! | Page 88 | The Popjustice Forum

PSB3: Pet Shop Boys rate, 2006-2019. #4 How great is this song! We've got a hit!

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Ray, Mar 18, 2019.


What is your favourite section of this rate?

  1. Fundamental

    14 vote(s)
  2. Yes

    17 vote(s)
  3. Elysium

    3 vote(s)
  4. Electric

    11 vote(s)
  5. Super

    3 vote(s)
  6. Agenda

    3 vote(s)
  7. Others

    1 vote(s)
  8. Christmas

    0 vote(s)
  1. You forgot one remix:

    @Sweet Music and @Bleu Noir are now my comrades of the anti-bourgie bourgie (remember them?).

    Pessimist Pug has gone all Carlin Existentialisté for the occasion.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019 at 7:25 AM
  2. Ray



    does nothing for me and also goes on way too long

    Absolutely love this track.



    Single from Electric
    Average: 8,3416
    Highest score: 2x11 (@nanafan, @DominoDancing), 8x10 (@Ray, @Future Lover, @Sally_Harper, @slurmjunkie, @CorgiCorgiCorgi, @Scoundrel_Days, @Bleu Noir, @Sweet Music)
    Lowest score: 1x1,5 (@JakeMagnus)

    Chris We went to a really good Italo-disco night in Berlin. There weren't many people there, but the people who were there were really enjoying it, and they were playing all this stuff that we'd never heard, all this quite obscure Italo-disco. We felt quite inspired by this so we went back to our tiny studio in Berlin and started to write a piece of music inspired by what we'd been hearing. It was a lot slower to begin with, but it eventually ended up as 'Axis'. That was the title from the beginning. When you write a song in the program Logic, in order to save it you have to come up with a name, so you end up with all sorts of silly names. They normally get dumped when the song comes along, but in this case the 'save as' name stuck.
    Neil I don't remember who thought of 'Axis'.
    Chris I've got no idea. It makes it hard to sometimes find songs because they've started off as something else, but now I've started filing them differently so that I always update to the latest song title, because in the past we used to spend hours with Pete Gleadall going through stuff trying to find something that used to be called something else. Sometimes a title can change two or three times during its life.
    Neil Originally it was a song, and it had not very good lyrics. Just formulaic relationship lyrics. Personally I didn't think they were very inspiring. So we decided to dump them. When we started working on it for the album, Stuart decreed that we would work on the tracks in alphabetical order, so we started with 'Axis'. After we dumped the singing, we decided it would be good to have some speaking stuff, and as we'd already decided that the album would be called Electric we decided that this opening track itself would be called 'Electric'. Hence the lyrics: 'turn it on... feel the power... electric energy'. But then when it was finished we decided that 'Axis' was a better title.
    Chris We've never had a song title that was also the name of the album, so by that rule alone we couldn't call it 'Electric'.
    Neil My inspiration for the spoken bits was sounding a bit like Madonna saying 'erotica... romance...' All of the lyrics have a sort of vague double entendre.
    Chris Stuart didn't change it too much, but he Stuart Price'd it. He made it harder. He has these old synths that he makes interesting noises out of.
    Neil He did the sound effect at the beginning.
    Chris We had an idea that we wanted to have the sounds of electric power stations coming on. Clunky noises.
    Neil Also, one important thing about this album is that when we were working on the album we knew we were working on a show called Electric as well, and we assumed that the show would begin with this track.
    Chris He'd already done a bit of work on it before he was working on the album. He toughened up the drum sounds and everything. Back then he was going to play it in his DJ set but then Angela – our manager, his wife – stopped him. Actually, we were a bit disappointed.

    [Stuart interlude, three years later]
    Stuart They don't know this, but when I first heard the demo of 'Axis' I was playing somewhere that weekend, I think I was DJ-ing in Liverpool. Angela had said, 'here's their demos, absolutely no one else has heard these'. I took 'Axis' straight to my studio and I added some beats to it and I went and DJ-ed with it that weekend. Even though I knew that if I'd have told Angela she would have been horrified, and would have probably felt obliged to tell Neil and Chris who would have been completely pissed off and horrified as well...

    Well, maybe some combination of completely pissed off and absolutely thrilled.

    Stuart The point is I still did it, because I loved it that much. And I didn't tell anyone what it was, and at that point it didn't have any vocals on it so you wouldn't have known. But I was that driven by it that I just essentially went and made a quick version of it.

    How did it go down?

    Stuart It was brilliant. I opened with it. And people did ask me what it was and I just had to tell people that it was an unknown... found it somewhere.


    Neil Stuart liking this track so much was important, because sometimes when something is written very quickly you don't really appreciate it enough.
    Chris It's a very rare occasion of us writing a song after we've been out to dinner and to a club, because we normally work daytime, and this was a night-time writing experience. Perhaps we'll do more of it.
    Neil The bell line at the end, by the way, is the only surviving bit of the vocal melody: 'One way to love' it went.

    Ray This is so fantastically, powerfully, energetically enormous. I will never forget the first time I heard it – I was having a very bad day, then I looked at the 'Popjustice' 'Forum' (some of you might have heard of it) and discovered the new Pet Shop Boys single was out. After Elysium I didn't hope for much really... boy was I wrong. I can only compare this with Mylene's 'Degeneration' and – maybe – 'Erotica' when it came to a brave lead single for a major artist. Elysium was the sound of two stately gentlemen. 'Axis' was the sound of no fucks being given. 'This is what we do now. Deal with it.' Their 'Invisible Light', come to think of it, except Scissor Sisters' label ruined any chances Night Work could have had and PSB ensured that I'd be trying to stream Electric before it was released. I am listening to 'Axis' right now, it's now six years old and it hasn't aged a day.

    @nanafan (11): Absolutely love this track. It sets out the stall perfectly for the album and is epic. Love the suited manataur’s dancing in the video. Vocal is a close contender for my 11 but this is euphoric so was really the only choice. I hope you all agree and it does well

    @DominoDancing (11): What. A. Comeback. I'm not one for instrumentals usually, but this track was so exciting, especially in combination with the visuals, that it really breathed a new life into them.

    @nostalgiakills (7): Chris at the controls for a return to “banging and lasers”, as advertised, and it opens proceedings on Electric quite beautifully.
    @WhipperSnapper (8): An exciting album opener, the homage to Patrick Cowley is everything.
    @VivaForever (4): This is about as much as you can expect from an instrumental, I guess.
    @OspreyQueen (9): Hearing this for the first time in 2013 was like having all the synths I missed from the last album being poured into my ears at once. And it was, and still is, brilliant.
    @TrendyMüller (5): A bit Relentless with more „oomph“. But as a musical statement in 2013?! Not so much.
    @JakeMagnus (1.5): This instrumental, while very energetic, does nothing for me and also goes on way too long. Definitely not why I'm listening to Pet Shop Boys. Parts of this album feel like another Relentless and not a collection of new PSB songs.
    @Jóga (9): When this came out I was not excited. I wasn’t into electronic music back then and I wanted vocal melodies everywhere so this felt very different. Even back then I could appreciate how dynamic this is and nowadays I really enjoy it.
    @tylerc904 (7.5): Could veer on the side of overlong with repeated listens but overall it’s a fabulous opener and quite the banger.
    @MidnightCity (7.5): And we're back….. [after Elysium, obviously]
    @etcetera (9): Love the kind of Italo-disco feel.
    @Sally_Harper (10): The first time Neil says “Turn it up” gives me fucking goosebumps every time, and I love how he “directs” the music throughout the song, if that makes sense?
    @Bleu Noir (10): a galloping 10!

    Album video edit (unofficial):

    Boys Noize remix:

    Boys Noize dub:

    Skip to 3:08 for the only HQ live version I found – there are MANY potato recordings...

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019 at 11:58 AM
  3. I’m gutted! I thought Axis had Top 5 in the bag. Better than quite a few that are left. At least it’s Top 10. This gives me a rush whenever I play it as it is an amazing track in the later part of their career.

    Turn it on
    Ray likes this.
  4. Here's a nice lil Axis mix with a bunch of other tracks thrown in.
    funkyg and Ray like this.
  5. Ray


    Yes. I was going to throw a little tantrum about the low position, then I remembered it's #9 out of 101 songs, so maybe it hasn't done that badly. What an excellent track this is.

    Does an instrumental for this one exist? I'd kind of expect one, but haven't found it online, except on a bootleg I could buy from Discogs real quick and upload (this is not going to happen).
    funkyg and Future Lover like this.
  6. Yes, there was a CD of Electric instrumentals I think I have including Axis I think
    Ray likes this.
  7. Yes, it's atrocious.

    This is the very best bit of the song. Thanks for not ruining it, Stu.

    This is the second worst bit of the song.

    I agree with everything above, which means I feel very conflicted about this song. The lyrics are great, the verse melody is fine, and the middle eight (if you can call it that as the song has no real chorus) is one of their best. But the rest is awful: not only the two worst bits mentioned above, but also the use of the Purcell riff. My problem with it is this: whenever they incorporate some bits of classical music in their songs, it's usually something that sounds utterly cheesy and geared towards the lowest common denominator. You'd think they would pick some classical stuff to make their pop songs more sophisticated, but more often than not their pop songs without these samples are much more sophisticated (the trashy stuff on Subpar excepted).
    I probably overscored it. Although half of the song is cringeworthy, I gave it a generous 7 because of the brilliant middle eight. The vocal version of the Little Boots remix dumps or tones down all the horrible parts, but unfortunately omits several verses and includes an inferior take on my beloved middle eight (I have to admit that Stuart's production for this bit is great).
    JakeMagnus likes this.
  8. Ray


    I've been listening to 'Love is a bourgeois construct' a lot in the last two days and I can't avoid the thought that Stuart Price ruined what could have been an absolute classic. I love the Purcell riff (I never thought I'd type that) – I feel it's a classic PSB move, the lyric – PSB classic, the melody – great... and then the cheese and phone booth thanks to Mr Price. I need this one re-recorded, seriously, or at least re-mixed. If someone has all the stems I'm happy to do it. @Little Boots?
    funkyg and JakeMagnus like this.
  9. Y'all... are doing a biT tew much. One would imagine no one likes the song after reading these two pages, yet it somehow made the Top 10! Here's the Daytime Radio Edit, which omits The Most Hated Musical Section of All Time, as voted by The Pop Elderly.

    And the vinyl-only, pretty good, Dave Aude Vocal Mix which I meant to post yesterday.
  10. Thanks, musically that would be my favourite version. Unfortunately, they had to cut two verses including the great "I'll explore the outer limits of boredom/moaning periodically" and the mention of "schadenfreude".
    JakeMagnus likes this.
  11. Ray


    I love this bit so much.

    'Speaking English as a foreign language/any words that I haven't forgot' is GOLD.
    funkyg and JakeMagnus like this.
  12. It´s really quite simple: had you all not overscored the Borg Cube, it would not have made the top 10.

    The thing that especially annoys me: Everytime I hear the bourshwa...bourschwa-seee/Sanostol-bit, it worms itself inside my brain and stays there for most of the day.

    Axis always reminded me of Program For Light, a 1984 (!) instrumental track from Section 25 (who are also from Blackpool).
  13. Minimal in the Top 8 is... a choice.
    Ray and etienne like this.
  14. Axis is so epic. It was fun to pick out the musical references the first few times I heard it and yet the song managed to not sound like a throwback. That takes real talent!

    My 11 is still in, and frankly I'm SHOOK.
    Future Lover likes this.
  15. I know it's my fault for nominating my 11 after originally sending in my scores, but I want everyone to now that Axis is indeed my 11 because it absolutely amazing in every way!
    slurmjunkie, Ray and Future Lover like this.
  16. It should be top 1
    blissteria and JakeMagnus like this.
  17. Ray


    I'll amend the post, sorry!
  18. Ray


    Please do notice me not liking this post.
  19. There goes my chance of a top 5 with an average of 10. I also love this track for the reasons you mentioned above. It's my second-favourite from Electric after 'Bolshy'.

    I can understand that 'Axis' and most of Electric isn't every PSB fan's cup of tea. It can be a tough listen if you prefer their song-based synthpop and don't like electronic instrumental music. (Though it's nice, @Jóga, that you eventually came to appreciate it more.) However, as someone who loves both genres and finds Relentless uninspired, I have to say that I would adore a full electronic album including the likes of 'Axis' and 'Bolshy'. There's nothing on Relentless that even comes close to them in quality.
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