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'Yes,' the Pet Shop Boys still sound great

24

April

Pet shop boys Chances are the average American music fan hasn’t thought much about the Pet Shop Boys since their debut single West End Girls saturated radio dials back in 1985.

That’s tragic, because Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have been spinning out far superior dance-friendly hits nonstop over the last 25 years. Disco for smart people, PSB squeezes social commentary and political astuteness into catchy hooks and playful musicianship.

Think of their music as the soundtrack for Jetsons: The Movie on a crazy Saturday night in Orbit City – in the SoHo district.

Yes is the duo’s 10th studio album, and it finds Chris and Neil still extolling passion, lamenting pain ... and mischievously taping “kick me” signs on the backs of those who follow the wrong paths in life.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY:
The album starts with dueling, one-two pop punches of Love Etc. and Beautiful People – the first a hopefully not-too-subtle lampoon of greed, the second a brooding ode to our current economic desperation. (And yep, that's Johnny Marr from the Smiths on guitar in Beautiful People. Nice touch.)

NOW START DANCING:
Is that the Nutcracker suite we hear sampled during All Over The World? Tchaikovsky never boogied like that. Other instant dance classics include Did You See Me Coming? and the better Pandemonium. (“Is this a riot or are you just pleased to see me?”)

LOVE AND LOSS:
Slow it down now for Vulnerable, a plunge into a deep well of self doubt — “At night I am lying awake, through the hours trying to calculate 'Am I good enough?’ ” The mood lightens only slightly for the richly ambient King of Rome.

BUY OR NO BUY: A definite yes on Yes. And consider getting the limited edition version, which has a bonus disc with This Used To Be The Future, a track featuring Phil Oakey of the Human League, along with other mixes. The whole project is the reason so many of us are still addicted to the ’80s: Why be current, when the past was perfect?

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:45pm]

    

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