"SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

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spacewalker
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#31 Post by spacewalker » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 6:48 pm

After first listening:

1. Happiness: it gets better with every listening and this little vocal melody is a real hook! 6/10.
2. The Pop Kids: an obvious choice for the first single. 7/10.
3. Twenty-something: I'm actually a fan of Latin music (Bossa Nova and Samba jazz) but I don't think reggaeton is a sort of thing you should add to your songs. It also has third-rate russian music vibe which is even worse than reggaeton. 3/10.
4. Groovy: nice. 5/10.
5. The Dictator Decides: musically reminds me of "I'm not scared", vocally - of Leonard Cohen. The best track of the first half, I suppose. 7,5/10.
6. Pazzo!: better than I expected. 4/10.
7. Inner Sanctum: still boring and dated. 4/10.
8. Undertow: intro gave me massive goosebumps. Wow. The chorus is reminiscent of "A Face Like That". 7/10.
9. Sad Robot World: something interesting there, but I haven't got it yet. -/10.
10. Say it to me: nice club track and it could be much nicer if it was sung by 20-something girl, not by 60-something man. 6/10.
11. Burn: real stomper! 7/10.
12. Into thin air: oh, this is what Pet Shop Boys are about. 8/10.
Last edited by spacewalker on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chrissyboy
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#32 Post by chrissyboy » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 6:51 pm

bongsteve wrote:It's Christmas morning, you've been wanting a puppy...but you get a kitten. That's about how I feel upon first 2 listens of Super.

Here's my short, not very in-depth review.

Happiness - Musically it's ok but those vocals, the country twang (5/10)
The Pop Kids - Straight out of the 90's but still feels PSB (7/10)
Twenty Something - The Italio-Circus is in town kids! The opening synth line, ugh, just does nothing for me (5/10)
Groovy - Generic garbage, could be sung by any girls group today (4/10)
The Dictator Decides - Finally, a song that really sounds like PSB. Still not close to perfect. (8/10)
Pazzo! - Good for what it is, basically an instrumental with very limited vocals. (6/10)
Inner Sanctum - See Pazzo! (6/10)
Undertow - More terrible generic pop music in the same league as Groovy (4/10)
Sad Robot World - I generally love PSB ballads. This one is just ok compared to previous albums (6/10)
Say it to Me - Groovy, Undertow and now Say it To Me. What happened to the PSB sound? (4/10)
Burn - Really wanted to love this one. Falsetto vocals, some fun musical moments but again, something is missing (7/10)
Into Thin Air - Good stuff but really hard to appreciate after my ears have been bombarded by so much disappointment (7/10)

Total Score - 69/120 or 58%

Overall, that album feels so generic with so many tracks that could have been created by anyone other than the Pet Shop Boys. It literally feels like Price decided to rip the heart out of the boys, taking away that sound that you instantly knew was the Pet Shop Boys. Probably in my bottom 3 favorite PSB albums of all time with Bilingual & Elysium. Hoping my opinion will change over time with a few listens on the drive to Vegas later this week.
Could I wait until Friday now it's leaked? Of course not!

Anyway, Bongsteve, you've more or less written my review for me, although I like Twenty Something more than you and I would score some of the tracks a bit more harshly.

Happiness 3/10
The Pop Kids 7/10
Twenty Something 7/10
Groovy 3/10
The Dictator Decides 8/10
Pazzo! 3/10
Inner Sanctum 5/10
Undertow 4/10
Sad Robot World 7/10
Say it to Me 4/10
Burn 6/10
Into Thin Air 7/10

Initial thoughts? Half of the tracks deserve their place. The others would make reasonable b-sides. To be honest Happiness, Groovy and Pazzo make me cringe. Inner Sanctum is ok as a mid album break. Undertow and Say it to Me are throwaway pop. Burn is quite fun. Into Thin Air is interesting melodically, like it. The highlights have to be Twenty Something - good, sounds like a possible single to me. Sad Robot World, quite beautiful. The pop Kids, easily the best choice for first single. And The Dictator Decides. One of the best songs they've made in the last 10 years.

Fundamentally the problem is the lyrics. After 30 years of such strong output it is starting to feel like Neil is running low on ideas. Musically Super has many interesting moments and passages but, with a few exceptions, the songs just are not as good. Either that or they have consciously decided to go in a simpler, dancier direction and I totally get the strong appeal that will hold for many of their fans. But not me.

As someone who has been a big fan since the single version of Suburbia, I feel a bit deflated today. But I will give the weaker tracks on the album many more chances to grow on me and maybe they will.

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NikacP0kac
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#33 Post by NikacP0kac » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 6:55 pm

chrissyboy wrote:Either that or they have consciously decided to go in a simpler, dancier direction and I totally get the strong appeal that will hold for many of their fans.
I too have a bit of a problem with this, but since the record is so much fun I don't give a damn ultimately. I hope there's some proper lyrics on the next melancholic record, but for now let's enjoy Super as much as we can.
Have a look at my taste in music:
http://www.last.fm/user/NikacPokac

That’s the thing about negative energy, about hatred. It can be positive. It throws into relief all the things you know you like. It tells you, by elimination, what you’re about. Sometimes you can only define yourself by what you hate. Hatred becomes an inspiration; it makes you think, “What I’m doing now I totally believe in, and I don’t care what other people say.” Guided by hatred, you don’t have to follow the herd. - Neil Tennant

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Luke Colorado
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#34 Post by Luke Colorado » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 6:55 pm

Bolshy = Twenty Something
Inside a Dream = Say It to Me
Fluorescent = Burn

They're not perfect analogs, of course, but I think those are fair comparisons.
I sincerely *love* Disco 2 and listen to it straight through regularly.

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#35 Post by whateverman42 » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 6:56 pm

I've given it one spin. Time to review! :lol:

I was completely into it and smiling all the way through until Inner Sanctum, when the relentlessness of it was beginning to tire me out. So my ranking of songs will change when I hear them one at a time, rather than as a full listen through an album.

As a whole, by Inner Sanctum I thought it was their best album, and by the end of Into Thin Air I think it's top 5. It is better than Electric I am sure of that. But it is too relentless as an album for my taste, and what I think it needs most is to remove Say It To Me.

12. Say It To Me - 5/10 - Wow, one of my least favourite PSB songs of all time. Terrible, for them. 'Tell me what you want from me' blech. The album would be SO much better going from Sad Robot World to Burn and skipping this dud which had me checking my watch.
11. Pazzo! - 6.5/10 - Reminds me of God Willing a bit in the sense it's short and doesn't breathe much. I'd give it a higher rating it it was 4-5 minutes. I liked it, impressive hard electronic sound.
10. Happiness - 7/10 - I like it, I think the country-style vocal lets it down though, sort of feels tacked on and unnecessary, like they're doing it for the hell of it or to prove they can do anything.
9. Into Thin Air - 7/10 - I was getting tired by the end so I'm not sure if this will grow on me, but it kind of bored me. I thought the bass was impressive, but the lyrical melody was lacking.
8. Inner Sanctum - 7.5/10 - Like it.
7. Sad Robot World - 8/10 - I liked it more than I thought I would based on the snippets which did not impress me. Very good, avoids sap which plagues most ballads.
6. The Pop Kids - 8/10 - Great song, fitting for a first single.
5. The Dictator Decides - 8/10 - What an intro! Reminiscent of I'm Not Scared and A Face Like That. The lyrics are wonderful and unexpected. The outro is amazing as well, reminiscent of Left To My Own Devices.
4. Twenty-Something - 8.5/10 - Very high quality songwriting. Slightly annoying carnival-like loop docks it half a point.
3. Groovy - 8.5/10 - Was my favourite song on first listen, but I can tell there's ultimately less to it compared to the next two tracks. Thrilling song, very hypnotic vocoder in the middle.
2. Undertow - 9/10 - Very good, not much to say for some reason. I loved it.
1. Burn - 9.5/10 - One of their best songs! I think I hear some Chic guitar in there.

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Gary1962
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#36 Post by Gary1962 » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 7:55 pm

After several listens it is better than I thought it would be and much better than the dreadful "Electric", my thoughts on the tracks:

Happiness - Awful, dreadful are just 2 words to describe this mess of a song 1/10
The Pop Kids - I can see why it was chosen as a single but is way off being a classic, Vocal production and mix very poor 6/10
Twenty Something - Definitely a potential single, one of the best tracks on the album, a proper song 9/10
Groovy - Wouldn't even rate this good enough for a B Side 2/10
The Dictator Decides - Another possible single, best track on the album 9/10
Pazzo! - What on earth were they thinking, including this on the album 1/10
Inner Sanctum - Liked this track since I first heard it, a mellow slice of electronica 7/10
Undertow - ....Underwhelmed at first but now love it! 8/10
Sad Robot World - A nice ballad, one of the better tracks 6/10
Say It To Me - A decent uptempo track that grows on you 7/10
Burn - Don't share the love of this song that others do, it's an ok track 7/10
Into Thin Air - Another track I like, a good closing track 8/10

Modified a few scores as I think "In The Air", "Burn" and "Undertow" deserved an extra mark each

59% out of 100 or 6.0/10 An ok album that has a few too many throw away tracks, thankfully there is enough to there to interest the listener, especially if you remove "Happiness", "Pazzo" and "Groovy". It isn't a classic album in my view but it is a grower and considering I hated "Electric" i'm surprised that there are some really good tracks on this album.

I will probably go with something like this on my iPod:

01. The Pop Kids (Offer Nissim Drama Mix)
02. Twenty Something
03. One-Hit Wonder
04. The Dictator Decides
05. Inner Sanctum
06. Undertow
07. Sad Robot World
08. In Bits
09. Say It To Me
10. Burn
11. Into Thin Air
Last edited by Gary1962 on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 11:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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rashomon
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#37 Post by rashomon » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 8:09 pm

My first listen review

1. Happiness: It's as mad as a box of frogs .... love how it shifts every 30 seconds or so always giving something up. Decent opener. 7/10

2. The Pop Kids: Not much to add to what we know but somehow it is still fresh and familiar at the same time. 8/10

3. Twenty-Something: Wasn't expecting such a great tune here. Wise uncle Neil giving sagely advice to the young opportunity makers. Beautiful synth melody along with great lyrics - call it reggaeton if you must ... loved it. 9/10

4. Groovy: Nope not for me this one ... seems a bit rushed and undeveloped. 4/10

5. The Dictator Decides: And we're back on track ... blissful. This particular dictator clearly needs a hug! Only the Pet Shop Boys could write this. 8/10

6. Pazzo!: Much preferred this to 'Groovy'. 6/10

7. Inner Sanctum: Like 'Happiness' in the way it moves along and those menacing booms still sound brilliant. 7//10.

8. Undertow. Oh! disappointed with this...quite generic PSB on first listen and almost workmanlike...hoping it deserves more of my love over time. 5/10

9. Sad Robot World: Didn't grab me on first listen ... and that brilliant song title deserves more than what i just heard. 6/10.

10. Say It To Me: Takes me back to the 80s! Nice layered backing harmonies. That 'Tell me something' bit is oh so familiar of another track it's going to bug me all evening. 8/10

11. Burn: Orchestral stabs to a pulsing synth bass line? Shutup and take my money! Not keen on the 'Before' style of vocal used here but yeah it's a great track. 9/10

12. Into Thin Air: Has promise this one and could easily be a sister track to 'Miracles'. 7/10

So … a very respectable 84/120 or 7/10 overall from me.

No doubt my scores will shift a nudge up or down over repeated listens .... starting from umm... NOW :dance:
you could say conventional ... and I could claim intentional

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Ghost within this house
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#38 Post by Ghost within this house » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 8:18 pm

I'm definitely in tune with your review here, Rashomon.

Incidentally, does anyone else hear a definite reference to Why Don't We Live Together in the bassline at the start of Burn?

With its defiant 'rage against the dying of the light' party-on til dawn vibe, Burn shamelessly and tragically dismantles the constructive progression towards domestic bliss hinted at in Please's closer... in a cataclysmic event, twenty-something Neil looking forward to conjugal bliss collides with sixty-something Neil burning bright with eternal youth.
Firing verbal shots.......like a Tommy Gun

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#39 Post by Disco. » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 8:51 pm

The next album, will be the last, mark my words.

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Effen Vida
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#40 Post by Effen Vida » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 9:02 pm

Disco. wrote:The next album, will be the last, mark my words.
Ban him! BAN HIM NOW!!!

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Luke Colorado
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#41 Post by Luke Colorado » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 9:04 pm

Nah, they'll be a "goodbye" album and tour in about 8-10 years.
I sincerely *love* Disco 2 and listen to it straight through regularly.

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Effen Vida
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#42 Post by Effen Vida » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 9:06 pm

Luke Colorado wrote:Nah, they'll be a "goodbye" album and tour in about 8-10 years.
...and there's the Stephen Hague produced 'Thank you' coming in 2036.

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#43 Post by Nickname » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 9:07 pm

Disco. wrote:The next album, will be the last, mark my words.
They are going to create a pop album. Looks like Stuart is not going to be over there. But there is a third part of the triology on the way. So, at least there are two albums left.

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rashomon
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#44 Post by rashomon » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 9:19 pm

rashomon wrote: 10. Say It To Me: Takes me back to the 80s! Nice layered backing harmonies. That 'Tell me something' bit is oh so familiar of another track it's going to bug me all evening. 8/10
Found that ear-monkey! ... it's only Alexander O'Neal with 'Criticise' no less!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CySYwZNH65I

have a listen to the female harmony vocals 0:21 in ... or is just my cloth ears hearing a similarity here? :wall:
you could say conventional ... and I could claim intentional

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Debussy
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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#45 Post by Debussy » Tue 29 Mar 2016, 9:41 pm

My two cents worth...
My initial opinion is that it's definitely super. Much more solid than the samples alluded to. A great companion to Electric.

The dance pop tunes -Pazzo, Undertow, Say It To Me, Burn, Happiness, Groovy, Inner Sanctum - thrilling as they are, seem throwaway and at times lyrically under developed. Maybe thats intentional and I feel they may date quickly. The production is spot on and they'll work brilliantly live. Although there's a few too many obvious 'snare rolls into the drop' for me.

Twenty Something is a surprise - those chord changes in the bridge are magical.

Sad Robot World, Dictator Decides and Into Thin Air - are perfect PSB. Trevor Horn producing these three would be immense.

Overall 7/10
Last edited by Debussy on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 9:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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