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Dance - Released August 16, 1993 | Parlophone UK

A collection of immaculately crafted and seamlessly produced synthesized dance-pop, the Pet Shop Boys' debut album, Please, sketches out the basic elements of the duo's sound. At first listen, most of the songs come off as mere excuses for the dancefloor, driven by cold, melodic keyboard riffs and pulsing drum machines. However, the songcraft that the beats support is surprisingly strong, featuring catchy melodies that appear slight because of Neil Tennant's thin voice. Tennant's lyrics were still in their formative stages, with half of the record failing to transcend the formulaic constraints of dance-pop. The songs that do break free -- the intentionally crass "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)," the lulling "Suburbia," and the hypnotic "West End Girls" -- are not only classic dance singles, they're classic pop singles. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Dance - Released June 4, 2001 | Parlophone UK

With their second album, Actually, the Pet Shop Boys perfected their melodic, detached dance-pop. Where most of Please was dominated by the beats, the rhythms on Actually are part of a series of intricate arrangements that create a glamorous but disposable backdrop for Neil Tennant's tales of isolation, boredom, money, and loneliness. Not only are the arrangements more accomplished, but the songs themselves are more striking, incorporating a strong sense of melody, as evidenced by "What Have I Done to Deserve This?," a duet with Dusty Springfield. Tennant's lyrics are clever and direct, chronicling the lives and times of urban, lonely, and bored yuppies of the late '80s. And the fact that dance-pop is considered a disposable medium by most mainstream critics and listeners only increases the reserved emotional undercurrent of Actually, as well as its irony. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released February 12, 2010 | Parlophone UK

Some might say that the Pet Shop Boys have released more live documents than any synth pop band has a right to, but fans would wholeheartedly disagree. Joey Sixpack might not notice, but the duo takes great pride in making each tour’s set list unique, plus there are always some surprises for card-carrying fanclub members. Here, on this document of a 2009 concert at London’s O2 Arena, that means rarely heard live numbers like "Two Divided by Zero" and "Why Don't We Live Together?" plus the long-lost B-Side “Do I Have To?” Well-worn numbers like “Suburbia” and “Being Boring” are delivered as if they were fresh and new, while the triumphant performance of “West End Girls” shows that PSB have, shockingly, not grown tired of the tune. Kick it all off with a fantastic new mash-up of "More Than a Dream/Heart" and it’s a must own for the faithful, but when you add a well-shot DVD that captures the whole stage show, it’s the ultimate in PSB live sets. Borrowing an idea from Pink Floyd, the stage set features a wall of white blocks that are deconstructed, rearranged, and scattered as video is projected onto them. The effect is something dynamic and full of change that disappears when the lights come up, leaving nothing but the stark white stage and the fairly motionless duo. Clever, as always. ~ David Jeffries
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Electronic/Dance - Released January 4, 1988 | Parlophone UK

Released at the height of dance-pop in 1986, the Pet Shop Boys' remix album Disco defiantly asserted the roots of the current trend with the title. And with its long remixes, Disco is designed to be pumped at a dancefloor. As casual listening, it gets a bit tedious, but even at these extended lengths, the melodic craft of the Pet Shop Boys' material shines through. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released October 10, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Dance - Released October 23, 2006 | Parlophone UK

With a generally deadpan singer and another guy behind a bank of synthesizers, the Pet Shop Boys just aren't built for live albums, even if the songs are exquisite, there's an orchestra behind them, and some very special guests appear. While the duo can deliver in a live setting, the experience relies heavily on the visual, check the Performance or Somewhere concert videos for proof. Still, for fans, Concrete must exist since it captures the duo's May 2006 appearance at London's Mermaid Theater, an invite-only affair with the BBC Concert Orchestra as backing band. The song selection doesn't read like a greatest-hits compilation because save "It's a Sin" and "West End Girls," everything here was originally recorded with various sized orchestras. Singer Neil Tennant is obviously proud of the high-profile arrangers the duo has worked with in the past and pays respect to them between the music with special mentions for Craig Armstrong, Angelo Badalamenti, and Anne Dudley whose former partner in Art of Noise, Trevor Horn, is musical director here. These little interruptions make the album like a PSB episode of Storytellers as Tennant brings up some points of interest, like how the fascinating Badalamenti arrangement of "Rent" played here is from the Liza Minnelli album that the Boys curated, Results. Other bits from the fringe of the catalog include selections from the duo's The Battleship Potemkin soundtrack and their musical Closer to Heaven, but more interesting is hearing guests Rufus Wainwright and Robbie Williams pull the bittersweet out of "Casanova in Hell" and "Jealousy," respectively. As a one-off show with a "pick-up" band, it isn't surprising that some tracks are executed brilliantly ("The Sodom and Gomorrah Show," "Dreaming of the Queen") while others stumble and fall ("Numb," "It's a Sin") but there's often a good dialog going between the duo and orchestra, and only "It's Alright" sounds exactly like the studio version. While that's probably not enough to keep everyone occupied, fans and fetishists will embrace this curio. ~ David Jeffries
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Electronic/Dance - Released October 22, 1990 | Parlophone UK

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Dance - Released August 16, 1993 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released February 5, 2008 | Parlophone UK

For casual fans, Essential Pet Shop Boys is hardly essential, since it contains alternate versions, remixes, 7" single versions, and a pair of LP tracks, not the familiar hits. Of course, this collection of rarities makes it a treasure trove for the dedicated, since many of these songs haven't appeared on disc before, and a number of them are genuine finds, such as the alternate version of "Domino Dancing," the original 7" version of "Opportunities," and Stephen Hague's dance mix of "Love Comes Quickly." These are just a couple of reasons why Essential Pet Shop Boys -- which was available as a limited-edition release in 1998 -- is essential for collectors. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released September 20, 1993 | Parlophone UK

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Dance - Released September 22, 1993 | Parlophone UK

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Dance - Released June 4, 2001 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released March 23, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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Electronic/Dance - Released October 10, 1988 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released August 7, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released September 11, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Electronic/Dance - Released October 22, 1990 | Parlophone UK

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Dance - Released September 12, 1994 | Parlophone UK

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Christmas Music - Released December 15, 2009 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released July 3, 1995 | Parlophone UK

Alternative is a double-disc set of The Pet Shop Boys' B-sides. Far from being a superfluous collection, the album contains a wealth of prime material, including several tracks that surpass those the duo put on their albums. Consequently, the set is worthwhile not only for hardcore fans, but for listeners with a passing interest in the group. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine