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

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Pet Shop Boys Banterview: What Have They Done To Deserve This?

For everything they long to do, D'luv and his pal in all things banter MoogaBoo have always had one thing in common: The fact they they were raised on the Pet Shop Boys. It only makes sense, then, that these dynamic pop commentators would converge to discuss the British duo's 10th album, Yes, upon its European release this week.

D'LUV: Can you believe this our first Banterview since the MTV VMAs last September? Think of all the good music that's passed us by. Like... Uh...

MOOGABOO: Well, right, there's...

D: Naturally it would take the Pet Shop Boys to thaw out our urges.

M: Ooh, thawed urges. Now I'm flashing to Neil Tennant seducing some young chicken in "Gin and Jag." Not on Yes, of course, but still, great song for the "Love etc." B-side. I wonder if Elton John knows those two read his diaries?

D: Actually, Neil said in an interview that "Gin and Jag" is about an older man and a younger woman. So, right—Elton and Neil.

M: I just bought "Love etc." today from Amazon, which is the preferred download company for Luddites and the terminally out-of-the-loop, like me.

D: I downloaded Saint Etienne's cover of Gary Numan's "Stormtrooper In Drag" from there like a year ago, but I could never get the Amazon downloader to work for me again. Actually, I don't think Saint Etienne ever worked again after that, either.

M: Madonna's "4 Minutes" seemed to be the top download on Amazon till, oh, about two weeks ago. I think the monkeys forgot to update the chart.

D: I hear Madge is putting out a two-disc greatest hits. Expect her lobotomized army of fans to find some reason to storm the Warner Bros. offices and torch the joint. "You left off 'Who's That Girl'...AGAIN! Burn them, girlz. BURN THEM!!!"

M: Urgh. And how about the Madonna fans who think American Life is her best work? Time's tide will smother them.

D: Screw Madonna. She's a little too gin and hag.

M: Alright, getting back to female singers who are actually still relevant...Neil Tennant!

D: Yes, Neil still matters, despite music journalist James Masterton commenting this week, "You have to wonder why [Pet Shop Boys] continue to bother?"

M: Gotta love that distinctly British way of passively-aggressively telling someone they should off themselves because, hey, your single stalled at #14.

D: James is probably bitter because he reached to pinch Chris Lowe's arse one night at the bar, only to discover it was actually Madonna. Hey, easy mistake to make. Have you seen that pic of Chris with Lady GaGa backstage at the Brit Awards, by the way? The caption would read, "Oh, dear, there's a woman attached to me!"

M: Yes, that's probably exactly what Lady GaGa was thinking.

D: I like to think Neil and Chris see something in Lady GaGa—a sort of longevity—and that's what led to them asking her to sing Dusty Springfield's bit in their Brits performance.

M: Babe, Neil and Chris also thought Cicero had staying power... Oh, wait. Maybe he did. Cue up "Gin and Jag."

D: Ha! Ha! I'll never top that. Actually, that's probably what Neil eventually concluded—hence Cicero getting dropped from the PSBs' label.

M: Oh, love, Neil probably had a better chance with Liza than Cicero. And Liza probably had a better chance with Cicero than Neil.

D: Cicero, if you're reading this, we have money—almost $70! Fly on over and we'll give it to you. And bring that trenchcoat and Speedo you wore in the "Heaven Must Have Sent You Back To Me" video!

M: Oh, Babe...Babe...is this our future? Throwing has-beens bread and saying, "Make me scream"?

D: Look, the way I see it, you and I have been into the Pet Shop Boys since we were both 12, when "West End Girls" came out. So in many ways, they're our Beatles. Which, yes, may kinda make us, uh, "mature" to some. But we're still hot. So, coming full circle, we totally need to pull off Cicero's underwear.

M: Works for me. Okay, let's discuss Yes. I really like it, though "Did You See Me Coming?" sounds very for-another-artist, I think. It's the only song that really kind of grates on my nerves. Which is sad, because the rest of the album's a peach.

D: Wayne Studer, who runs the site Pet Shop Boys Commentary, has this to say about the final song on the album, "Legacy": "Is Yes their final 'pop statement'? Is this, indeed, their legacy? Personally, I don't think so. But, at the same time, this song reminds us that we should be prepared for that eventuality. And we can always take continued pleasure in their recorded legacy. Again, as Neil sings, 'You'll get over it--and what a ride it was.' By definition, legacy is what endures what endures when other things have passed away." Christ, that breaks my heart to think about.

M: They should definitely keep writing and producing for other artists. I remember in that first book on them by Chris Heath, Literally, Neil said that's what he and Chris would do eventually. I dunno, I still find the prospect of a Tennant-Lowe production for someone else to be very exciting. And their (prospective?) bowing out gracefully stands in sharp contrast to the Bonos and Madges of the world, forever trying to cling to youth and relevance.

D: There definitely seems to be two camps forming around this album; those who love the sheer pop numbers like "All Over The World," "Did You See Me Coming?" and "Pandemonium," and those who lean toward the moodier tracks, like "King Of Rome" and "The Way It Used To Be."

M: I can't say enough good things about "Love etc." I just think it's one of their best singles. And "All Over the World" is a great follow-up. Those two are high points for me.

D: To be honest, I haven't listened to the album the whole way through in over a week. I've even deleted the review copy MP3s from my computer. I'm just waiting on the CD to arrive from Amazon UK. But I'm sure I'll love it.

M: Well, will you still love the Pet Shop Boys when they axe you from their Twitter list after reading this Banterview?

D: Oh, what do I care...we've still got Cicero pencilled in for sex on Tuesday!

Yes is out now throughout Europe, and will be released in the States on April 21. The single "Love etc." is now on U.S. iTunes.

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  • At 2:53 PM, Blogger John said…

    The Pet Shop Boys as our generation's Beatles. I hadn't thought about them like that, but I suppose it's true, at least from a gay teen's perspective anyway. PSB rocked my world musically as well as emotionally, and they could record garbage disposals, and I would still be interested.

  • At 8:18 AM, Blogger Phil said…

    I laughed at James Masterson's chart essay. I'd throw back the question to him: "Why bother?"

    Do you think Madge still has PSB on her iPod after the She's Madonna track?

  • At 4:30 AM, Anonymous Johnny D said…

    I don't know. I am still struggling with the new album. It NOT very. It seems like a couple of upbeat tracks and too many ballads that sound like cast-offs from any of the last 3 albums.

    Xenomania haven't really added anything to the mix, and there is nothing that will bring in anyone in that isn't alreadty a PSB fan to the fold. The best thing about it is the Phil Oakey duet, which reminds of the cuteness of "Miserablism". It's a shame the album isn't as experimental as this track....

  • At 11:35 PM, Anonymous shanaynay lachildq said…

    i like how the only butch muscle queen in this photo spread is the one with an ACTUAL vagina (madge, sew it up - ur done)

  • At 7:07 PM, Blogger xolondon said…

    My bone china teacup shattered when I read that you were 12 when Go West came out. When you say 12, you mean 35 right?

  • At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


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