dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Someone Who Won't Leave Me Feeling...

Well, the new Pet Shop Boys single comes out on Monday, so I've been listening to them all day today. This morning I ran across this clip from Top Of The Pops, which I've always felt is one of the best songs the Boys (albeit Neil alone) have had their hand in:

Although Electronic's "Disappointed" came out in summer 1992 (and I had their first album back in 1991), I never knew about this song until almost three years after it was included on the Cool World soundtrack.

In 1994, I transferred to Indiana University Of Pennsylvania (aka IUP) after attending a community college for two years. That fall I made friends with this guy Bryan, who lived on the floor above me in Gordon Hall. He and I would occasionally eat lunch together and talk about music. He was really into the Britpop stuff (Blur, Ride, Slowdive) that was out at the time. I remember he made me a mixed tape and it was the first time I'd heard Oasis.

One Friday night that fall, we were taking a walk around the campus, and we realized we both liked the Pet Shop Boys. Disco 2 had just come out. I asked him if he thought Neil Tennant was gay or not. We speculated about it for about an hour, and I don't recall if we ever drew a real conclusion, although I remember trying to prove that he very well could be by using the middle eight verse from "I Want To Wake Up" as proof ("You're in love with me/ She's in love with me/ But you know as well as I do I could never think of anyone but you" - the "you" obviously being a "he."). At any rate, we were oblivious to the fact that Neil had come out that very year in Attitude magazine, as widespread use of the internet was still kind of new (although this was about the time when I first began using the internet, in the university's computer lab).

Bryan and I stayed friends throughout the year. One time we ran over to the record store on the campus called Vibes. I was about to buy Rick Astley's Whenever You Need Somebody on CD, to replace my worn-out tape copy. Bryan was horrified, and I still can hear him say to me, "As your friend, I can't let you do that!" I ended up buying Peter Gabriel's Shaking The Tree: 16 Golden Greats instead.

By January that school year, we were both bored out of our minds being away in some small college town in the dead of winter. One day, after lunch we were in his room and I found the CD single for "Disappointed" amongst his massive music collection. I think he kept all his discs in a trunk, or some kind of big storage box. I'd never heard it before, and so I borrowed it and dubbed the single mix and the extended "Electronic Mix" onto a mixed tape I was making, which is still in my car's glove compartment to this day. It's got other songs from the time on it, like Corona's "Rhythm Of The Night," Weezer's "Buddy Holly" and Real McCoy's "Another Night." Another one I put on the tape that I got from him was "Nightswimming" by R.E.M..

Anyway, the following year, we'd both moved out of Gordon Hall, and would see each other occasionally at the coffee shop or at parties. I eventually lost track of him. About four years later, I found the CD single for "Disappointed" at Tower Records (who strangely still keeps it in stock) and picked up a copy.

On a final note, the other night I randomly thought of Bryan and Googled his full name, and found that he's here in the blogosphere, too, doing his thing. I tried to put some vague comment on one of his posts with a link to the TOTP video clip above included, but for some reason it didn't go through. I guess some things are probably just better left as memories.

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  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger xolondon said…

    I love these memory posts. Funny thing about mix tapes, when you hear a song from one, you always expect to hear the next song that was on the mix, like REM should be followed by "Shaking The Tree" or something.

    I have made some friends CD versions of my mix tapes and they dig that, though now I'd need to trudge over to their house and put the mixes onto itunes for them!

  • At 3:09 AM, Anonymous the patience of a saint said…

    There were rumours of a "Best Of" album by Electronic, but I'm afraid that's all they were.

    Disappointed is a great song, as is "Getting Away With It".

    The "Electronic" album was released with the CD single of Disappointed as a bonus disc in Germany back then.

    PS: Shame on you for choosing that old fart Peter Gabriel over Rick! ;-)

  • At 9:02 AM, Blogger Paul said…

    i love how music can remind you of some many random things in life. I adore when a song conjurs up some distant memory - and XO I totally know what you mean when you think a song should follow another ditty just because you put them that way on a mix tape. For years i expected to hear Jewel sing You Were Meant For Me after No Doubt got done with Excuse Me Mr...

  • At 1:43 AM, Blogger daavid said…

    Nice post! I also discovered "Dissappointed" when I first listened to the Cool World soundtrack. It took a while for it to grow on me (I thought the chorus sounded awkward) but I eventually loved it. That synth-strings intro has to be one of the sublime moments in pop music history. It's still one of my favourite technically-not Pet Shop Boys songs (probably tied with Boy George's "The Crying Game".) I was surprised to learn later that Neil was inspired by Mylene Farmer's "Désenchantée" (which is also very good but quite different) when he wrote it.


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