Yes, Very good.
It’s been three years since British-pop wizards the Pet Shop Boys delivered their last studio album, the dazzling “Fundamental”. There’s no denying that particular record was almost perfect, particularly after the bore that was 2002’s “Release.” “Fundamental” came complete with flawless pop moments in the form of “Integral”, “Numb”, and an arms-aloft, poppers o’clock remix of Dusty Springfield’s “In Private,” turned into an emotionally driven, camp-anthem with a little help from Elton John. There were, however, moments of weakness, like the dire “Psychological” or weak lead single “I’m With Stupid.” It may have been the official comeback album for them, but studio long player number ten, “Yes”, is a cut much more deserving of the title, and one that sees them working alongside Xenomania; Girls Aloud’s top-of-the-pops-force writing and production team.
From the lovestruck beauty of “Did You See Me Coming?”, to the cheekiness of “Pandemonium” (in which Neil Tennant coos “Is this a riot, or are you just happy to see me?”), or the drama of “Legacy”, there isn’t a single skip-forward moment to be found. There’s plenty to crow about in songs like “Vulnerable” (the records greatest, most delicate and heartbreaking moment, made all the more powerful by that impeccable “I’m just filing my nails” lyric delivery from Tennant we’ve all come to know and love), “More Than A Dream” (which needs to be a single thanks to its catchier than V.D. chorus), and “The Way It Used To Be”, which are the absolute hallmark moments on “Yes”.
Opener and lead single “Love etc.” is an erratically complex pop song that throws together one of the most dysfunctional song structures you’ll have heard in years. Bizarre placement of the bridge and chorus before we’ve even heard a verse is classic Xenomania, but this is still 100% a Pet Shop Boys song; an instant classic. And that’s the brilliant thing about this record; it has sprinklings of Xenomania throughout yet manages to present itself completely as a proper and unique Pet Shop Boys disc.
It’s incredible to see Neil and Chris producing their best record since 1993’s “Very” a good 25 years into their career. And maybe they’ve found the right tools (like salt to a meal, there are small servings of Xenomania added to “Yes” which gives it its subtle bite) in order to bring out their sonic flavour.
On a final note, the other night I came up with what I thought was the most hilarious joke. I sent it to Popjustice but, alas, I don’t think they found it as hilarious as I did.
Q: What movie do the Pet Shop Boys call their absolute favourite?
A: Love, Actually.
Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. Please; try the veal.
And Yes! (er, enough of that perhaps), I’m back to blogging properly. Sorry it’s taken me 27 different breakdowns and large gaps in between posts… I do hope you’ll forgive me. x