Tracks of 2013 — #19 Pet Shop Boys

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Eyes down for a full house. 58, 86, 44, 111, 196, 105, 61.

Lottery numbers? My vital measurements? Number of MPs currently claiming for tartan paint and long waits at twice the going rate?

Nope. They be the top (that is, the highest, the peak, the very pinnacle) chart position of the most recent Pet Shop Boys singles, from ‘Together’ in 2010 to ‘Thursday’ some weeks ago. Just as a point of fact, in  between the song that only got to number 196 (‘Axis’, the lead single from the most recent album) and the song that just reached number 105 (the one I’m nominating today), was ‘Vocal’, which didn’t even chart at all. The great veterans of the single, maybe the last great single releasing band of the golden age of pop excess, reduced to the status of Eurovision entrants and novelty singles.

Okay, okay, harsh. Not so good though, is it? The three-figure chart ‘peak’ should be for struggling one-hit wonders and songs recommended by DJs on BBC Three Counties Radio. Not the Pet Shop Boys. Not them. That’s worse for the soul than realising your mortgage repayments really don’t actually kick in until about the ninth or nineteenth year. Reaching number 105 with ‘Love is a Bourgeois Construct’ is the PSB equivalent of having London Grammar as your first dance. Just not right.

Maybe I’m being as romantic as the subject of the ‘Vocal’ single, one of the washed-up but still hopeful 90s refugees who lived through rather than actually lived the era of high NRG weekends spreading out into months and years. Based around a hook taken from Henry Purcell via Michael Nyman, ‘Love is…’ takes itself with all the seriousness of a running order at the British Comedy Awards. There’s only so much tongue a cheek can handle, if you will. I’d accept ‘Vocal’ as the stronger song, but this as the broader, wider, higher piece of music. When a song is this silly, there’s no escaping its charms. It’s the ITV4 mission statement of music, IN A GOOD WAY [studio posse laughter, jingle].

I may take some time to accept that the little reward in following PSB as a single’s outfit these days. Albums are where it’s at, boys, didn’t you read what they said in last month’s Melody Maker?



2 thoughts on “Tracks of 2013 — #19 Pet Shop Boys

  1. Pingback: Tracks of 2013 (Index) | missivesfromdoktorb

  2. Pingback: Tracks of 2013 — #20 Everything Everything | missivesfromdoktorb

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