Pet Shop Boys
x2 Recordings Ltd
A ‘surprise’ new Pet Shop Boys EP? Yes, please! Apparently it’s a standalone release…which is to say these four songs won’t appear on the next new album (which is – or rather will be – a thing). So for now we have a set of political songs.
Now Pet Shop Boys has always included anthems with an activist’s heart and mind attached – and so here it’s to once again to that perfect dancefloor, celebratory pop aesthetic – all dated but warm and lovely synths one minute and day-glo melodies mixing with just a hint of mournful melancholia.
But here it’s a case of every song reacting to the current political climate – songs about extreme wealth (What Are We Going To Do About The Rich?), extreme ignorance (On Social Media) and extreme stupidity (Give Stupidity A Chance) – and then there’s the more forlorn, tender closer, The Forgotten Child. It is, by virtue of being the least gimmicky and the most thoughtful, the highlight. The standout track. But that’s not to say that the slogan-songs aren’t also worthwhile.
Give Stupidity A Chance bursts from the speakers, with a story-song approach to the lyric – sardonic balladry (a sub-category of Pet Shop Boys song from across the stellar catalogue) and On Social Media returns us to the late 80s/early 90s scene of their biggest, best dancefloor triumphs.
What Are We Going To Do About The Rich? is perhaps a little too Ab Fab for me, but I like the lyric enough to be pulled along by it.
What I like most about this though is that it exists. The Pet Shop Boys. Forever relevant. Usually brilliant. With their excellent and on-point one-word album titles, their mix of infectious pop/dance-template backdrop and literate, vital lyrics.
There’s no one like them. Their longevity is now somewhat astounding. And if this is the sound of them with just one hand on the wheel…well, they’ve long ago earned that right.
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Pet Shop Boys