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Pop - Released October 20, 2017 | Rhino

Coming down from the ambitious, politically charged Fundamental, Yes is the sound of the Pet Shop Boys unwinding and returning to their usual fascinations: isolation, fashion, grand arrangements, and witty synth pop anthems. Unfortunately, they're in a slump with their songwriting, and subject-wise, every song here has a companion piece on some earlier album, but that doesn't mean the party is spoiled. The delicate electro opener "Love Etc." is PSB perfection with its memorable hook and faultless construction. Brian Higgins and his Xenomania team (Saint Etienne, Girls Aloud) share songwriting and production duties on the track, and while that later credit continues for the remainder of the album, the hip crew becomes invisible as singer Tennant and synth-man Lowe take over. Employing an Abbey Road orchestra and hiring Johnny Marr for some Hollywood guitar seems a familiar Pet Shop Boys maneuver, and when Neil Tennant tops it off with some sardonic lyrics, "Beautiful People" becomes a pleasingly comfortable gift for any fan thrown by Fundamental's action committee attitude. "Did You See Me Coming" is the exhilarated infatuation of "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Sort of Thing" all over again, while "King of Rome" is the spitting image of the duo's 1987 chestnut "King's Cross." These are good things, especially for the sworn fan, and so are the few quirky new ideas, like the duo trading lines Run-D.M.C. style on "Building a Wall." The grand closer "Legacy" is the obvious songwriting highlight, partly because of the Kurt Weill-like breakdown in the middle, but mostly because of the grim way it comforts the brokenhearted. Neil proposes that glaciers melt and stars burn out so there's a pretty good chance that given time "you'll get over it." It's much better than the "Is that a riot/or are you just glad to see me" line in "Pandemonium" and just the touch Yes needs to put this above the standard PSB album. ~ David Jeffries

Pop - Released August 31, 2018 | Rhino - Parlophone


Pop - Released August 31, 2018 | Rhino - Parlophone


Pop - Released April 12, 2019 | x2


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

Musical Theatre - Released October 1, 2001 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)


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

Pop - Released April 1, 2016 | x2 Recordings Ltd

Coming almost three years after their excellent, unexpected, and infectious LP Electric, 2016's Super is the second album where the Pet Shop Boys call themselves "electronic purists," holing up in the studio with returning producer Stuart Price and a mess of PCs, drum machines, and synths. The musical landscape is the same and still, it's not a sequel or a very proper follow-up. It feels confident, loose, and free like a swaggering epilogue, like the smaller Quantum of Solace following the epic Casino Royale. At first, everything is in its place, as nostalgic single "The Pop Kids" acts as this album's "Being Boring" with alluring house music and quintessential PSB lyrics ("I studied History while you did biology/To you the human body didn't hold any mystery"). "The Dictator Decides" is this album's "How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously" with focus shifted to the 2016 political landscape ("My facts are invented, I sound quite demented"). A healthy dose of classic spite fuels "Twenty-Something" as electro bachata makes the song's Oscar Wilde outlook and Dorothy Parker attitude sound cool rather than curmudgeon. Borrow some riffs from Kraftwerk's "Trans Europe Express" and Moby's "Go" while giving the style-less EDM kids a kick during the great "Inner Sanctum" and this sounds like Electric once again, but Super ventures into B-side territory with the brilliant instrumental "Pazzo!" along with most of the album's spirited and sprawling second half. Still, PSB B-sides are larks and experiments of the highest order, so while Super scores as high as the crossover-ish Electric, it's built more for the fan who puts "Paninaro" at the top of their list, well ahead of "West End Girls." ~ David Jeffries

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

Pop - Released July 15, 2013 | x2 Recordings Ltd

Distinctions 4 étoiles Rock and Folk
While it entirely feels like a return to form, there's nothing quite like Electric in the Pet Shop Boys' back catalog, at least not on an album level. Immediately achieving escape velocity from the dour doldrums of their previous effort Elysium, this taut, electro-disco wonder kicks off with the Kraftwerk-meets-Giorgio Moroder highlight "Axis" and stays in the zone with both icy cool productions from Stuart Price (Madonna, Seal, Kylie Minogue) and a bpm count that remains high with nothing coming close to a slow dance ballad. While previous albums were broken up by large scale numbers like "It Couldn't Happen Here" or slow burners like "Love Comes Quickly," this one adds variety by going for danceable wit ("Love Is a Bourgeois Construct" so "You won't see me with a bunch of roses/Promising fidelity"), sheer joy ("Bolshy" is both ridiculous and ridiculously fun), and Bruce Springsteen ("The Last to Die" is a cover of the Boss' anti-war number, now turned into a floor-filler, and it somehow works). With PSB members Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe already known for their dry delivery, "Thursday," with rapper Example, turns into a grand, posh posse cut with a razor-sharp crease, and when the closing highlight "Vocal" offers "Everything about tonight feels right and so young," former Smash Hits critic Tennant could replace "tonight" with "the album" for his headline review. Keeping the track list to nine cuts only sharpens the effort, but these dance numbers are allowed to run past the six-minute mark when need be, as if Electric were some kind of 12" collection of alternate universe, fan favorites. An excellent, unexpected, and infectious triumph. ~ David Jeffries

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

Pop - Released July 28, 2013 | x2 Recordings Ltd