This anticipation is a stimulation...

For general discussion of Pet Shop Boys topics.
Message
Author
User avatar
Drico One
Posts: 5538
Joined: Tue 16 Sep 2003, 8:56 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#76 Post by Drico One »

Number 9. Love comes quickly (1986)

A wonderful song that changes its perspective over time: before – and then after – you fall in love. The pulsating introduction mirrors the excitement of falling in love, and the certainty of Neil's direct declaration makes the very act a fait accompli: "Sooner or later, this happens to everyone…" The anticipation is, well, a stimulation.

As a youthful listener, Neil's the experienced mentor with crucial advice to impart, even if it "sounds ridiculous". As an older, more streetwise eavesdropper, you assume the role of Neil and nod sagely. He was right, after all, the old cad.

As so often on Please, escapism pervades, but this time you cannot avoid the inevitability of love even at the ends of the Earth – and even if you deny its attractions. That's a wonderfully optimistic sentiment. Isolation is once again present ("You can live your life lonely, heavy as stone, live your life learning, and working alone"), as is making a virtue of life without love ("say this is all you want, but I don't believe that it's true"), so the contrast between this "making do" and the excitement of possible romantic involvement and, thus, intimacy makes this a compelling song, particularly when you're young.

It's arguably the first significant example of Neil's romantic sincerity, the dominant theme of his songwriting, in my view. There isn't an ounce of cynicism in this record, just a positive, life-affirming certainty that even the lonely, the bookish, and the reluctant will, invariably, fall in love. I think it's really beautiful.

When you think about it, what a contrast between this and the following single, Opportunities: romantic sincerity versus irony. The latter may have won out in the public consciousness, but the former is what's always been at the heart of their songwriting. I don't know about you, but, to me, this contrast is part of what makes them such fascinating songwriters.



As usual, all observations, impressions, opinions, disagreements, insults, etc. welcome.
The pale kid that hides in the attic behind his PC...

User avatar
Drico One
Posts: 5538
Joined: Tue 16 Sep 2003, 8:56 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#77 Post by Drico One »

Number 8. Suburbia (1986)

Suburbia was probably the record that sold them to me, the song that first introduced the world to their patented over-the-top kitchen sink stomper and delved into the superficial underbelly of middle-class urban life. With each successive release they seemed to be unveiling a key characteristic of their act and each single seemed more compelling than the one that went before. The Full Horror is, of course, the definitive version, bringing the rather grim album version to seedy effervescent life.

Suburbia is another escape into the night, this time out of the city, away from the neon lights, and further into the "suburban dreams" that spawned them and many of us. Once again, Neil craves the adventure of escape, whilst simultaneously taking shelter in the dystopian world that he is comfortable in, understands, and critiques.

This was the single that definitively proved that they would not be a one-hit-wonder. It set the sonic tone for the even more bombastic It's A Sin nine months later.


Number 7. Domino dancing (1988)

Sometimes it's worth remembering that even at their most commercially potent, perfect moments were often undervalued. How else can one explain the fact that career-best contenders Rent, Suburbia, and Domino dancing failed to go top five?

Domino dancing is now remembered a little unfairly as the single that ended the imperial phase - but it was probably a combination of factors, rather than this song alone, that contributed to the end of an epoch. Firstly, it was disadvantaged by the fact that it followed Heart by a mere five months. No other PSB lead single has succeeded the final single of the previous campaign so quickly. As such, though anticipation was once again at fever pitch, the band had not disappeared from public view before its release and so Domino dancing found itself merely continuing a line of hits rather than pioneering a new genetic lineage.

It broke the UK chart at number 9, a comparatively low new entry. Even Heart, the final single from Actually, entered at 7. While that went on to top the chart, Neil and Chris found themselves climbing only two more places with Domino dancing. Though the latin production of the track was not to everybody's taste, few would consider Domino dancing a weak single in the PSB canon. But the PSBs were to learn that after five singles in nine months, a sixth in just over a year was one too many to keep the pot boiling.

Domino dancing, while ostensibly a simple pop song, had hidden layers. "The threat of distant thunder" pervades, as Neil finds himself falling out of love with a disinterested partner. By the middle of the song, he's back in observer mode - no longer centre of attention - watching "them all fall down." Is this, in some veiled way, his withdrawal from the scene in the age of AIDS? The use of weather as a metaphor for mental upheaval is hardly original, but it's very effective, a device continued over the years in Miracles, A face like that, and Undertow. But here he was, apparently referencing AIDS in the top ten. Let's face it, they'd moved beyond the bubblegum pop of Heart by this point, inadvertently or not. Their commercial appeal, while still broad, could only narrow from here.
The pale kid that hides in the attic behind his PC...

User avatar
Drico One
Posts: 5538
Joined: Tue 16 Sep 2003, 8:56 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#78 Post by Drico One »

And so to a few more exceptional PSB tracks that have missed out on my thirty-something list, but only just...

By 1999, the PSBs were very much out in the cold. Never before had they faced a marketplace that was so unwelcoming. Guitar pop and brainless dance ruled the airways, and our heroes were referred to as 80s relics as a matter of course. Music365, now happily defunct, even reckoned that they should have been part of a Duran Duran-led 80s retrospective show at Christmas. Nightlife might as well have been titled Good Night, such was the lack of interest. And they didn't necessarily help themselves. I don't know what you want is a thrilling record, a genuine delight to this day, but was rather obtuse as a single. Indeed, there's an argument that the extended album version is the definitive recording of this stirring string-laden epic. It made number 15 and the Dotmusic forum went into meltdown. Nevertheless, it's a gorgeous kitchen sink drama that merits serious consideration for any career best-of.

PopArt, released in 2004, reprised the Discography trick of providing two new singles as part of its promotion. Miracles, deservedly broke the top 10 at a competitive time in 2003. This time, with simple lyrics redolent of infatuation, Neil had crafted an exquisitely beautiful record bereft of irony, camp, or melodrama. So much for the notion that they re-release the same old record every three years. On a personal note, this will always remind me of that autumn in Berlin when their music, as it so often does, spoke to me.

If Elysium is the afterlife, Together is the journey there. "Everything's easy in this state of mind, the world starts to fade as we leave it behind" is a striking couplet, almost autobiographical in its mind-made-up determination. One wonders if they'd already decided to depart Parlophone at this stage and if they'd explicitly committed each other to the "afterlife" of independence.

There's something disturbingly assured about Together. I've always thought it could be read as a suicide pact, and in that sense it's as sinister as Fugitive. If anything, it's even more mysterious. There is a fundamentalist certainty about it, an almost blind sense of righteousness.

It segues into Elysium almost seamlessly, the self-immolation before the resurrection.
The pale kid that hides in the attic behind his PC...

User avatar
Drico One
Posts: 5538
Joined: Tue 16 Sep 2003, 8:56 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#79 Post by Drico One »

Number 6. Being boring (1990)

Considered a classic now, Being boring was utterly perlexing on initial appearance to this teenager. What were these obscure references to the 1920s, old photos, and famous writers? After the giddy pop delights of Actually and Introspective, this just felt more complicated, less instant, and a little serious. On the face of it, it lacked the colour of earlier singles and seemed bereft of excitement. Scratch the surface, though, and it all made sense.

For a band with such a defined sense of what a hit single was, Being boring was peculiar. This was, for me, the first time they lost touch with the zeitgeist and went their separate ways with the mainstream. It was also the moment that they unofficially announced that they'd be around forever.

The subtlety, depth, and nuance of the single - from the understated cover art to the veiled lyrical poignancy - marked them out as effortlessly superior to their contemporaries and set the scene for their longevity. Looking back, it's easy to see why it bombed commercially. It required a degree of life experience from its audience before it could truly reveal its elegiac power. Essentially, most of us just hadn't lived enough to appreciate it. Teenagers aren't a natural audience for an elegy.

Yet, it captivated me because it was more than a lament for lost time and lost love. It told, in such conspiratorial tones, a profoundly universal story of growing up. Consequently, it will always be the soundtrack to my life as an 18-year-old and will thus remain mythical when I consider the records that mean the most to me.
The pale kid that hides in the attic behind his PC...

User avatar
Blogo
Posts: 1526
Joined: Thu 21 Jun 2007, 8:45 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#80 Post by Blogo »

Drico One wrote:Number 6. Being boring (1990)

Considered a classic now, Being boring was utterly perlexing on initial appearance to this teenager. What were these obscure references to the 1920s, old photos, and famous writers? After the giddy pop delights of Actually and Introspective, this just felt more complicated, less instant, and a little serious. On the face of it, it lacked the colour of earlier singles and seemed bereft of excitement. Scratch the surface, though, and it all made sense.

For a band with such a defined sense of what a hit single was, Being boring was peculiar. This was, for me, the first time they lost touch with the zeitgeist and went their separate ways with the mainstream. It was also the moment that they unofficially announced that they'd be around forever.

The subtlety, depth, and nuance of the single - from the understated cover art to the veiled lyrical poignancy - marked them out as effortlessly superior to their contemporaries and set the scene for their longevity. Looking back, it's easy to see why it bombed commercially. It required a degree of life experience from its audience before it could truly reveal its elegiac power. Essentially, most of us just hadn't lived enough to appreciate it. Teenagers aren't a natural audience for an elegy.

Yet, it captivated me because it was more than a lament for lost time and lost love. It told, in such conspiratorial tones, a profoundly universal story of growing up. Consequently, it will always be the soundtrack to my life as an 18-year-old and will thus remain mythical when I consider the records that mean the most to me.
Gorgeous piece of writing. Looking forward to the top 5.
Listen without prejudice

D.J.
Posts: 304
Joined: Mon 16 Mar 2009, 5:02 am
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#81 Post by D.J. »

Beautifully written. What I've been surprised the most about Being Boring over the years is the response of non-hardcore PSB fans to the song. Almost every time I would play it there would be this universally positive reaction to it. It surprises me, because although it's one of my favorite songs of all time I guess I still consider it as a somewhat as our (PSB fans') song that only we truly love. I guess if I don't underestimate its great lyrics, I do underestimate its catchy melody. :)

netvor87
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue 17 Mar 2015, 10:36 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#82 Post by netvor87 »

Drico, ever thought about doing a PSB-themed podcast?

User avatar
CroMagnon
Posts: 360
Joined: Wed 15 Mar 2006, 9:42 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#83 Post by CroMagnon »

A PSB themed podcast would be great, even if it was just one episode per album, plus some themed episodes on live performances / visual imagery etc.
Last edited by CroMagnon on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Love comes quickly, but is a catastrophe and a bourgeois construct etc.

netvor87
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue 17 Mar 2015, 10:36 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#84 Post by netvor87 »

CroMagnon wrote:A PSB themed podcast would be great, even if it was just a short of one episode per album, plus some themed episodes on live performances / visual imagery etc.
rockcritics.com have done a few. One was about Very, one about b-sides, I think another was about chart success in the late 80s, and in another they discussed the current state of PSB circa Electric-era.

I emailed the guy who runs the site and inquired. He said there's a chance that the podcast may be picked up again. Show some support and maybe they'll have more inspiration to do more!

User avatar
y3potential
Posts: 998
Joined: Wed 20 Jul 2011, 8:21 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#85 Post by y3potential »

Lest we forget that 'Being Boring' just happens to be a favourite of one Axl Rose.. As the Americans say: Go figure..
There is beauty in ugliness and ugliness in beauty.

User avatar
Drico One
Posts: 5538
Joined: Tue 16 Sep 2003, 8:56 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#86 Post by Drico One »

netvor87 wrote:Drico, ever thought about doing a PSB-themed podcast?
I can't say that I have, netvor, no. I've got more of a voice for print.

Drico.
The pale kid that hides in the attic behind his PC...

User avatar
Patrick Bateman
Posts: 8980
Joined: Sat 12 Apr 2008, 4:35 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#87 Post by Patrick Bateman »

I'd subscribe to a podcast hosted by nickname and Satanas.

User avatar
Drico One
Posts: 5538
Joined: Tue 16 Sep 2003, 8:56 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#88 Post by Drico One »

Before I emote over my top five, a quick mention to the one track from Super that I'm now certain has broken into this Thirty-something chart...

The Pop Kids is my unquestioned standout from the new album. It's basically a memory of the future, a belatedly contemporary Being Boring for those of us obsessing over Being Boring 25 years ago. Where that song mentioned "quotations", this one recounts how we lovingly "quoted" songs such as that. It's like an infinity mirror from today where we look at our younger selves growing up in the 1990s listening to songs about growing up in the 1970s. I find it an evocative time capsule that returns me to the closing door that I bolted through, haversack on back, all the while wounded by the fact that now I do indeed sit with different faces, in rented rooms and foreign places, lamenting a loved one who I thought, in spite of dreams, would be sitting somewhere here with me.

There I go again, quoting the best bits.

Drico.
The pale kid that hides in the attic behind his PC...

User avatar
y3potential
Posts: 998
Joined: Wed 20 Jul 2011, 8:21 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#89 Post by y3potential »

Now we've had a couple of weeks to digest Super, I thought now would be an appropriate time to nudge Drico regarding his top 5.. Come on, fella..! I'm intrigued as to what will feature, coupled with your witty, nuanced meanderings..
There is beauty in ugliness and ugliness in beauty.

Palpatine
Posts: 1871
Joined: Sat 27 Mar 2004, 6:39 pm
Contact:

Re: This anticipation is a stimulation...

#90 Post by Palpatine »

y3potential wrote:Now we've had a couple of weeks to digest Super, I thought now would be an appropriate time to nudge Drico regarding his top 5.. Come on, fella..! I'm intrigued as to what will feature, coupled with your witty, nuanced meanderings..
Seconded. We need more, we need more, we need more...

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Wish and 35 guests