Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Ray, Mar 18, 2019.
Wait, what's wrong with Building A Wall? It's one of my favourites in this rate.
That's an interesting opinion. I didn't give it a zero, and I didn't give it my 11, but somewhere in the middle feels about right. Do I have to keep my 100% correct and unassailable facts opinions to myself this time, given how quickly the pitchforks come out with you lot?
I like Building a Wall and gave it a pretty high score.
Me too. I wouldn't call it a huge fave exactly but it's a solid 8 for me.
Still fine-tuning. Giving a ZERO to any PSB song still feels dirty and wrong. But then Hold On comes along and makes it all so easy.
I think I wrote it before (and will do so again): Putting the songs from part 3 into context of the first two parts makes my heart sink (and screams for another run through the list to lower the scores even more.)
I still don´t have decided on my 11...and I doubt I will. Even the best songs have something that works against them.
I'll be your shield, bae. As long as my 11 got enough points. *quickly checks* Yeah, all yours!
It's OK not to have one, @Salient Partner doesn't believe in 11s, for instance.
I added the latest ballot and #1 and #2 swapped places. 13 voters so far, going to do some tagging later on. Once I post Supertalk.
I would love to hand out an 11...but an 11 has to be stratospheric, it has to trigger something that others fail to do. It has to be special and not just a song I would prefer to win over another.
Ususally PSB have those moments coming out of their ears. But even the contenders for the sacred eleven don´t escape my scrutiny this time around.
Well! Glad there's someone to offset a bit of my general overrating-ness.
Can't an 11 be simply the song you like the most out of the 10s you gave? I guess if you didn't give any 10s that means no 11 either though.
Or a song you wanna give that extra push to a higher spot?
I had two 11s to choose from and I am almost certain I picked the right song... unless... but... maybe...
In this case, it really is easy. It has no redeeming bits whatsoever.
Ray: We gathered here to discuss the Pet Shop Boys' most uneven album, ALDI. I'm playing 'Happiness' right now. What genre IS that? Countryhouse?
Nenad (@Future Lover): Yeah, smashing genres long before Old Town Road. Okay, this instrumental still knocks. I remember being so excited by the first snippet we had, back when this used to be "a mystery", whoissuper and all that.
Ray: I loved those snippets so much! They picked the best parts of the songs. Misleadingly.
Nenad: Anywho, this whole Happiness thing. Does it really exist, philosophically? Not quite sure, but this track still knocks.
Ray: It's one of my absolute favourites from this era and I can't explain why, because it's super (hoho) naff but it absolutely rock– sorry, pops. Countryhouses. I find this production amazing, if slightly faceless, which is something that applies to most of Super. I really feel this is a Stuart Price album with Neil on vocals.
Nenad: I mean, there's not much bones in it, but a nice little progression, and the S-S-S-S-S bits are ominous to the max. Fave bit is the harpsichord at the end.
Ray: It's not really a song song though, is it? I have a feeling it's not in Neil's "poem" book.
Nenad: Well, neither is 'Vocal'...
Ray: ...or 'Axis'...
Nenad: ...and that's a purdy nice lyric. Oh,
'The Pop Kids'
Nenad: ...is already on. The intro is the best bit. Like seeing a really hot guy with Small Dick Energy.
Ray: I love the sentiment behind 'The Pop Kids'.
Nenad: Yeah, me too. But the lyrics are too crammed.
Ray: The extended mix is the worst like that. It's Neil doing Elton John – was it in Literally that Chris was asking 'how does this word have four syllables, sa-coo-ri-fice?'. 'We were youngbutimagined we were sosophisticated'.
Nenad: I know Max Martin has this technique of lyric math or something, to make words fit, well – this is the opposite of that. The bit you quoted actually has some sort of rhythm, haha. Funny how two people can disagree on that.
Ray: That bit was just playing at the moment. I remember loving it and simultaneously thinking it's really clunky. 'I loved you' is the best part (this and the intro).
Nenad: I hate the anemic "whoa"s after. Neil misjudged a bit on that one.
Ray: It's very Christina Aguilera. 'Let me hear you SCREAM!!!!' – 'woo...'. 'Oh, I like it here, oh, I am never going home' is a very Pet Shop Boys lyric. I have a feeling they set out to write a Proper Pet Shop Boys Banger.
Nenad: The middle 8 knocks, and I actually like the dub mix of this a lot more. One last bit... they tried reaching 'Vocal' again with those piano stabs... didn't get there.
Ray: A lot of Super is 'they didn't get there'.
Ray: Now, on to 'Evil Polka'. Whatever it was they were going for, they failed. Like, they not only didn't get there, they got lost before departure. I had a brief worrying period when I thought I liked it, but luckily I recovered by now.
Nenad: Welp, I was always pretty sure you hate it, not sure why? *Ray's post history literally being a hundred hate posts*
Ray: It's Sonic The Hedgehog meeting Please Stahp.
Nenad: As a twenty-something myself, I can appreciate that Neil tried this. It's not really judgemental or spiteful, kinda realistic. Also waiting for my start up to succeed.
Ray: Do actual twenty-somethings listen to this sort of music tho?
Nenad: Not at all. But I do love the unlikely combination of 'The Cold Song' and reggaeton.
Ray: I don't have a problem with the lyrics, melody, vocals, it's only that Commodore 64 production that kills me.
Nenad: Reminds me of the local turbo-folk genre where these sorts of things are common, and they were truly aping the cheapness of those latino tracks.
Ray: That would have made me love the song. Calling it 'Turbo-folk something'.
Nenad: 'The Cold Song' is best left to Klaus Nomi, but this isn't that bad. Is it a zero to you?
Ray: A generous 1.5! It grew on me. Yes, it grew all the way to 1.5, but still. Not a zero. I am capable of listening to it all the way through, but I don't exactly enjoy it.
Nenad: Grew in a micropenis kind of way.
Ray: Turbo-folk micropenis in the mix, always that ironic twist.
Nenad: Oh, 'Groovy' is on. Nice little track, this one.
Ray: 'Groovy' is very 'grandpa Neil is down with the kids'.
Nenad: Do people still say Groovy?
Ray: Imagine this song being called 'perched'T'
Nenad: Ya know, I appreciate them doing this sort of flamboyant party track. They don't have many of them with all the po-facedness and melancholy. This is a nice disco bop.
Ray: You just reminded me of 'The party song', which should die in the deepest pits of hell... I think 'Groovy' is a successor to 'Bolshy'. It works for me. It doesn't feel like a Pet Shop Boys song, though. 'Groovy, look at me, I'm just so grooovyyyy'.
Nenad: The intro is really just a Bolshy remix, with the nice little cowbell(?) – the one from Open Your Heart, ya know what I mean.
Ray: The thing with 'Groovy' is that I have very little to say about it. But then, Neil has very little to say in it.
'The dictator decides'
Ray: We're moving on to the Real Song. 'Dictator' is an absolutely incredible and amazing and perfect song that completely doesn't fit on Super in any way at all.
Nenad: Yeah, when you said Super is inconsistent, this first came to mind. It doesn't belong here at all. If they wanted a concept album on politics, a Fundamental 2 of sorts, this would go straight in.
Ray: Right? This would fit Agenda, actually.
Nenad: Oh, if Agenda was this good... sorry.
Ray: I love the lyrics and the delivery, because it makes me think of Putin/Castro/Guevara (no disco beat) becoming depressed. Neil sounds depressed on this. It's beautiful. 'I'd rather that you didn't shoot me, but I'd quite understand if you did' is so good. So. Good. 'It would be such a relief not to give another speech' – every line in this is quotable.
Nenad: Another classical interpretation.
Ray: Which one is this?
Nenad: Apparently some guy named Vivaldi. Do you know what the best bit is?
Ray: All of it?
Nenad: Living in an actual semi-dictatorship and understanding all the stuff he's singing about. Right now. Wish our president would listen to this and just fuck off to Russia or something. The actual best musical bit is when the drums drop completely, around 2:40ish. Immense synthwork there.
Ray: That filter on the operatic bit in the end makes me think of a dictatorship again – this is our official hymn... but something's gone wrong.
Nenad: Yeah, fabulous stuff. Also, Neil's love for Russia is strong in this one. Marching bands and crowd samples...
Ray: It's not even your highest score on LIDL!!!
Nenad: ...although they might be Korean? Yeah, but very close! Second best, really. I am a gay and I love me bops.
Ray: True. According to your scores, second best. I gave both 'Groovy' and 'Dictator' 10 points, but in a very different way. 'Dictator' is an amazing PSB classic, 'Groovy' is a boppppppp.
Nenad: Yeah, I get what you mean. Shall we call it? Top 20, if not Top 10 best tracks of the decade. And I'm not talking about 'Pazzo!'.
Ray: It's probably accidental that this is about a dictator that goes through the motions, and then it's surrounded by tracks that are PSB going through the motions.
Ray: 'Pazzo!' is an ABOMINATION. One of the absolute worst things in their catalogue. There is no redeeming feature to it. I don't know. Maybe the bassdrum sample is nice.
Nenad: I kinda like it in a random B-side kind of way, but other than that, it's just Chris fucking around a bit.
Ray: I just despise its laziness (and everything else, but mostly laziness).
Nenad: Not even sure which other track to compare it to.
Ray: In the Very era this wouldn't have seen the light of day even as a bonus on Further Listening.
Nenad: Well, at least it's mercifully short.
Ray: Is it?
Nenad: 2:44. I know, seems longer.
Ray: Oh, it is. I always felt it goes on for fucking ever. Do you mind if I skip it?
Nenad: Feel free to do so, I did too. Can we exclusively reveal to our voters that 'Pazzo!' is truly the worst and lowest-rated?
Ray: 'Inner sphincter' is...very Relentless.
Nenad: Well... 'Axis' it ain't.
Ray: It's another track that doesn't have anything particularly Pet Shop Boys to it. One of those 'a random dance act got Neil to do some vocals'. I get a feeling that for Super they recorded 20 tracks and none of them made sense together, so they just plopped them in random order.
Nenad: Can I just go ahead and say that the tactic with this was very obviously Electric 2? 'Inner sanctum' is the same to Axis as 'Vocal' to 'The Pop Kids'. Promo track + first single etc. Musically, yeah, it's very anonymous in a way.
Ray: I see your point. It's LIDL 'Axis' as compared to actual 'Axis'. There's nothing to this, no hook, no lyrics, it's... yeah, maybe it would get some club play, because there's very little Vocal to it.
Nenad: I also see a very interesting structure there, with at least 20ish different sections which don't come together, really.
Ray: Also known as 'a mess'?
Nenad: I actually really love Neil harmonizing with himself and that fake choral bit when he does it. It has a weird techno church vibe.
Ray: I gave it points, it's not that bad, it's just... hmmm. I don't really have a good description for it. But the thing is, Relentless aged very badly, and so will this (or maybe it already did).
Nenad: I'm a stupid kid who doesn't know stuff about 90s music, so this may be just an inferior retread of that.
Ray: It is (said the Ancient Person).
Nenad: I also hate they named the live album this, breaking their one-word thing.
Ray: Exactly! What kind of fuckery?
Nenad: We're never getting back from that. I expect twenty people asking them that in the next Annually.
Ray: The Carl Craig remix of this was hideous. PSB have their share of horrid remixes, but that was a whole new level of horror.
Nenad: To think I actually got the vinyl of that!
Ray: Maybe you can sell it on Discogs for €0.05?
Nenad: Nah, my boyfriend got it for me, too precious.
Nenad: I loved the intro. The very first bit of Super we've heard.
Ray: That intro was one of the samples and I DIED at how amazing it was. I had such expectations.
Nenad: The track itself is IN MY OPINION very undercooked.
Ray: Absolutely agreed. It's another 'will this do' song on this album.
Nenad: The chorus seems very one-note and not differentiated from the verse. The middle-8 has the worst melody and lyrics in the whole thing. But when the intro gets repeated, that's a pretty good bit there. Should've remained an interlude.
Ray: What DOES 'there's an undertow whenever you're around' mean? If this is a metaphor for something, I fail to understand for what.
Nenad: Might've named it 'Black hole' instead. A person having this deadly pull of sex on you. Serving "Swedish author writing serious pop music" a bit.
Ray: 'Deadly pull of sex' would be a great title.
'Sad robot world'
Nenad: Oh, 'Sad robot world'. You hate this one. And you're not the only one, really.
Ray: This is all sorts of awful, I'm sorry. First four seconds are very nice, though. My Spotify refuses to play it. It's a good metaphor. [Truth – Spotify kept skipping parts of the song, then when I tried to play it again it wouldn't start – Ray]
Nenad: I'm all about automation and transhumanism and all that, and I love me some Kraftwerk, so this was right up my alley. Like a sad monotone ballad they would write if they cared about creating anything new. It's pretty obviously influenced by them, like the machine weeping choir in the end.
Ray: To me, this is like 'To speak is a sin' (which I also despise) only even worse, because the lyric of 'To speak is a sin' is about something personal, and this... exists.
Nenad: I might be the only one liking it? one of the lower-rated tracks on this.
Ray: Second lowest, but we're not going to reveal that.
'Say it to me'
Nenad: What a song. Moronic, as they would call it. You want a nice phrase to repeat a thousand times, and then you pick it perfectly. My first thought when I heard it: 'lost Bob Sinclar bop'.
Ray: What a great bit this is: 'My predicament is simply this: you're an enigma even when you kiss'. Like Stock/Aitken/Waterman with a thesaurus.
Nenad: Yeah, talk about choosing perfect first lines! Really, a fantastically written, deceptively simple summer hit.
Ray: This was a fantastic single choice. Although the single mix seems to sound the same as the album version to me. It's probably got the EQ on a hihat turned up by 0.1% or something.
Nenad: Must be some trick for the completists. I have all the "Super" singles in my collection...
Ray: I, worryingly, own 'Turbo-Folk Micropenis' on CD, but that was because I was going to resell it for tons of money. I didn't realise nobody would want to own that.
Nenad: The B-Sides were good on that one. At least that makes it a keeper. The artwork was a bit more fleshed out compared to the others' simplicity.
Ray: The 'Turbo-Folk' artwork was the best, actually.
Nenad: We go one step below with 'Burn'. Another great track, this.
Ray: It baffles me that everybody wanted 'Burn' to be a single. What's SO good about it? I mean, it's obviously better than 'Turbo-Folk', but...
Nenad: It's a bit too Scissor Sisters for my liking, is it the falsetto?
Ray: It's a Scissor Sisters album track, exactly! I love Scissor Sisters, but this is...reductive.
Nenad: You did score it highly (spoiler)!
Ray: Highlyish. I like it a lot, I just don't see what makes it single material. It has like three lines of lyrics.
Nenad: That whole "trumpet"/synth section is so infectious, really, it makes the song. You know exactly which one I mean...
Ray: (I would like to remind everyone I dislike 'Hung up' because it has a three-line lyric.)
Nenad: OH! YOU DID NOT JUST GO THERE!
Ray: I ALWAYS GO THERE. THAT'S MY PROBLEM.
Nenad: Again, the best bit is 2:45ish, when all the background stuff drops. 'There's a full Moon glowing' and all that. At last, a bit of substance.
Ray: This is what I think they wanted to achieve with Super, 'Burn'. It's a slightly anonymous, throwaway, fantastic dance track. It's hardly 'deep' in any way, but it does its job very well. But... it wouldn't quite fit on Discography.
Nenad: Hardly anything does! That's a pretty high bar there.
Ray: 'Dictator' would.
Ray: And another track we'll get to in a moment...
Nenad: I think you like it more than you want to admit. And let's be honest, Lidl is iconic, I shop there, no wonder I stan this.
Ray: It's cheap.
Ray: Like this album's artwork.
'Into thin air'
Nenad: Really good, again. I don't like top-heavy albums that get worse as they go by, so this is perfect.
Ray: Well, Super does get worse as it goes by, but then it improves... 'Into thin air' is a follow-up to 'Two divided by zero', and this will never be a bad thing. THAT should have been a single.
Nenad: I remember reading they wanted it to be the preview track with the big reveal that it's them behind whatissuper, but the fans cracked it right away.
Ray: 'Create two new identities and fly into the unknown.' This is something that's very Pet Shop Boys. That 'let's not go home' thing.
Nenad: Yeah, amazing parallel to 'Two divided by zero', but what is he running away from now? The retirement home?
Nenad: Ageist and evil. I'm sorry.
Ray: I was actually going to say 'age'. It gives me some of that PSB magic and proves, again, that there is no Pet Shop Boys album that has no classics on it. 'Two divided by zero' is the opener on their first album, this is the closer on their (so far) last.
Nenad: They should have saved it for the final bit in the trilogy, which I'm super excited about.
Ray: I see what you did there. 'No one will never know where...' The journey is over and we don't know where we got. This really works for me.
Nenad: Very good closer, very nice glacial synths. I love the rackety drum work there.
Nenad: Some final remarks? Less than the sum of its bits, in purely mathematical terms?
Ray: Overall this doesn't feel like a PSB album at all. It feels like a collection of demoes with a few songs that actually got finished. Very 'Chris is snoozing on the sofa. "Are we done?" he asks. "Eastenders is on the telly."'
Nenad: Yep, really, there's no true concept to this. It's like three or four EPs smashed together.
Ray: It's their X, as in Kylie's X, a bit of a chaotic mess. When it's good it's great, but sadly it mostly isn't good.
Nenad: I enjoy a lot of the tracks on this one, personally, a lot being more than half. X, and this too.
Ray: I have very high expectations when it comes to Pet Shop Boys, and this album doesn't satisfy them. Same with Kylie. X is very pick'n'mix, and so is Super. The b-sides to it are much better than half of the actual album. 'The white dress'. Exquisite. AND 'Wiedersehen'. Both come on the back of 'Turbo-folk micropenis'. (I am doing an artwork for this...) In a way, the best summary of this album is 'Left to my own devices (Super version)'. It's a classic that was cheapened and fucked with for no sensible reason. Electric, to me, was the rebirth. This is... the... um... that cousin we all have.
Nenad: Waaaay too harsh! Cousins are the worst. This could've been much better with a bit of trimming and repacking.
Ray: I have a 'Super playlist' with b-sides, Electric tracks, and less than half of actual Super.
Nenad: To be honest, 'The Pop Kids' had very basic/shit B-sides, the others were pretty nice to excellent. Electric is truly the elephant in the room. This is like an inferior bit.
Wow. Reading that was an experience! @Future Lover and @Ray - you are my idols and yet this Literally-esque chat made me want to push you both down some very steep stairs. References to Klaus Nomi, Small Dick Energy, Scissor Sisters, Turbo Folk Micropenis (??why the obsession with small penises??) at least reassured me that I'm not the gayest person on Popjustice. By far.
I may even forgive you your flop opinions!
Confirmed size queens!
...all those references were @Future Lover's, I only nodded quietly and wrote everything down! I will have you know that I have been mistaken for a straight man once in 1995!
What a trip. I love you @Ray
My average for Super is 7,2. Higher than I expected and higher than Elysium (6,9) which is a total surprise to me. The highs are higher on that one though...
You two should do this conversation for every album! Super fun! ...and now my comments all sound like a rip-off of your wisdoms (which I mostly share somewhere in the middle.).
One thing I don´t hear: Where is The Cold Song-connection in Twenty-Something? I´m usually quite good in spotting this kind of stuff, but I just don´t hear it.
The intro is pretty much the same chords and everything, and then 0:26-0:48 is basically the "chorus" bit, "that's how you are, or have to be"
Separate names with a comma.