"SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

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

#136 Post by kingdom » Sat 02 Apr 2016, 10:35 pm

Drico One wrote: PS They've never released an album I didn't enjoy. Like anybody else, I have my preferences, but it's ALWAYS a deep pleasure to listen to and explore a new Pet Shop Boys album.
Agreed 100%. And always great to enter a new era of singles, b-sides, remixes, special editions etc... They give us so much.

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#137 Post by PSBPiggymummy » Sat 02 Apr 2016, 11:00 pm

I'd been dithering about whether to read this thread, given that I'm not going to have chance to listen to Super for a few more days. However, I have finally succumbed and it is interesting to see the variety of opinion, especially over the ranking of the different songs. I love how people have their own favourites.

From what I've read, I'm looking forward to my first listen (er, I think). I especially like the idea of it being a 'fun' and 'lighthearted' album. Is this (i.e. fun) the sort of PSB track that those praising Super most highly would normally say they enjoy?

If so, it sounds like it's going to be a good one to me!

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#138 Post by utterlypsb » Sat 02 Apr 2016, 11:16 pm

Was so excited in the lead up to 1st April!
Happiness- Gosh I fluctuate on this one. I have found myself singing happiness at work so it clearly has that ear worm effect! I give it 8 for impact, 6 for longevity.
The Pop Kids- Was in doubt the very first time I heard it, but it certainly grew on me. Impact- 6, Longevity-8.
Twenty Something- I note many are liking this. I remain undecided. Find the synths and production just too icy and tinny. It'll grow. Great lyrics. Impact 6, longevity 7.
Groovy- mmm on first listen sounds cheap and routine. Have to say it sits on a 5 for me on impact and longevity.
The Dictator Decides- love it. Admittedly my immediate reference points are October Symphony and Being Boring. Great Lyrics, production and deep vocals. Can imagine a fab video for this. Impact and longevity 10/10
Pazzo- unnecessary. Filler. See Disco 2. Impact 5, longevity 5
Inner Sanctum- liked it from the get go. Impact 8, longevity 8
Undertow- love the introduction up to 35 seconds and then it becomes very predictable in a B side way. More filler I'm afraid. Impact 7-5, Longevity 6.
Sad Robot World- Had high hopes for this one based on others early reviews. I don't really like the production to be honest. A little plodding and ham-fisted. Parts of it are beautiful and its growing on me ! Impact 6, longevity 8
Say It To Me- admittedly by this stage on the first listen, I found myself skipping ahead. More EDM. Routine. Impact 6, longevity 7
Burn- More dance. Admittedly the production caught my attention on this at the outset. Can Imagine dancing to this one. Repetitive but joyous! Impact 7, longevity 8.
Into Thin Air- Great synths! The chorus reminds me a little of Up against it from Bilingual, in a good way! Nice way to end the album! Impact 8, Longevity 9

So overall, Im always grateful for any release from PSB! I've always preferred their deeper more sombre tracks, so a dance album will never quite move my world quite the way an Elysium or Behaviour did.
I'm not convinced that Price is the right choice for another album, particularly if its to be less dance? Also I wonder if engaging a true fan of one's own music necessarily brings out the best result? A bit of tension might bring better results?
I love it!
Many roads will cross through many lives, but somehow we'll survive

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#139 Post by Effen Vida » Sat 02 Apr 2016, 11:31 pm

I'll be really pissed off when they decide to stop making records.
Apropos of nothing, you understand.
How I love them.

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#140 Post by daveid » Sun 03 Apr 2016, 12:23 am

This is based on only 2 listens and is fairly broad -

Happiness is a very wacky start yet it is addictive - a good signpost for an eclectic, experimental and erratic album. Pop Kids is an obvious highlight - a strongish melody yet oddly abrupt and curtailed like so many tracks on here. Another highlight is 20 something. A strong lyrical premise and a great tune in which light and dark complement each other. A good choice for single and possibly the best track on the album IMO. Groovy is a little throwaway but has a good beat to it and suitably disposable lyrics. Could maybe be a single. Dictator is actually rather ill-suited to this album. A b-side by nature, with quirky subject matter and experimental tune. It feels forced, contrived, like they're trying too hard. Lyrics a bit shoehorned in. The minimalistic production adds to b side feel and Tennant sounds like he's stuck the mic up his nose to stop it running. It's Casio keyboard Cohen doing Democracy. Pazzo is another b side and a rather weak one. This is the only truly redundant track on this album. It has no purpose other than to fill a gap, and for it to be followed by the far superior Inner Sanctum only adds to its redundancy. Undertow is also an obvious single. Another strong tune, yet (again) oddly clipped and strangled prematurely at the end. The returning opening tune is mildly euphoric but perhaps not quite as thrilling to my ears as Drico made out. I suspect it will grow though. Sad Robot World is a lovely little curio and helps calm down what would otherwise be a string of high octane tracks on Side 2 (yes SIDE TWO). It's a Kate Bush childlike fantasy and rather sweet but again ends too abruptly. Say It To Me has a very 90s feel to it and I'm not sure whether I like it or not. It's one of the least vital things here and sounds like a late-order album track, nothing more. Burn follows this 90s sound but to much more powerful effect. In fact it's almost a 90s cliché. It's pretty disposable lyrics wise but is something of a stomper. Don't like the stop-start nature of the beat though. Just let it flow... Into Thin Air is a rather elegiac finale and fairly indisposed to meaning. It's mid tempo, almost trancey. An oddly vague end to a rather underwhelming album. Few real peaks but nothing absolutely disastrously awful like TNIFIL. It's a good listen. Better than 90 percent of stuff out there but fairly weak by PSB standards. There IS something absent. Probably one or two really strong tracks. Several tracks do seem like they're PSB sides - probably because they're minimalist electronica and shortish in length. Dictator and Pazzo should probably both be removed, the former because it's ill-fitting more than bad, the latter for both reasons. There are probably only 3 singles here if I'm being honest - TPK, 20 and Undertow. Groovy perhaps as a fourth.

Anyway I've only listened twice so I'm sure my thoughts will alter somewhat, but it's an unusual PSB album experience.

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#141 Post by vincenzosz » Sun 03 Apr 2016, 1:50 am

Bulldog wrote:Have to say I'm pretty underwhelmed at the moment. It feels like there's no real peak: all the songs feel strangely linear, kind of undercooked in a way. Beyond the EDM-trancey sounds and the annoying SP overuse of vocal delay (totally spoiling the atmosphere on ITA) there's not really much of substantial happening. They obviously enjoy working with SP but it feels like he already used all of his tricks on Electric. By now I'm afraid his production doesn't suit the more traditional side of their songwriting, which relies a lot on arrangements and structural intricacies that are largely missing in this album. I mean, after Elysium they mentioned that Andrew Dawson's forte weren't really the faster tracks, so the perspective of a slower record produced by Price looks like a big question mark to me...
In regards to them feeling "uncooked", I felt the same way intitially. But I can see that that simplicity was intention as its constant throughout the whole album.

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#142 Post by Kobalt Blew » Sun 03 Apr 2016, 2:03 am

kingdom wrote:
Drico One wrote: PS They've never released an album I didn't enjoy. Like anybody else, I have my preferences, but it's ALWAYS a deep pleasure to listen to and explore a new Pet Shop Boys album.
Agreed 100%. And always great to enter a new era of singles, b-sides, remixes, special editions etc... They give us so much.
^ Ditto to all of that.

For me a new PSB album is always something to look forward to and enjoy once it has arrived, long may the pop juggernaut continue. The superb super-duper Super certainly isn't doing my tinnitus any favours. They are one of the very few bands that I could happily listen to any track of and that includes 'What keeps mankind alive?'.


:yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance:
previously Parlophoney.

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#143 Post by Effen Vida » Sun 03 Apr 2016, 2:08 am

[quote="Kobalt Blew" ...They are one of the very few bands that I could happily listen to any track of and that includes 'What keeps mankind alive?'.


:yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance:[/quote]

That's it. You've gone too far this time. Outside. Now. You and me, stripped to the waist - lets go.

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#144 Post by Kobalt Blew » Sun 03 Apr 2016, 2:43 am

Effen Vida wrote:[quote="Kobalt Blew" ...They are one of the very few bands that I could happily listen to any track of and that includes 'What keeps mankind alive?'.


:yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance:
That's it. You've gone too far this time. Outside. Now. You and me, stripped to the waist - lets go.

Just given 'What keeps mankind alive?' a quick spin just to check, all it lacks is a bit of a reggaeton remix makeover. Mind you strictly speaking it's not really their song. MMA or a food fight?
previously Parlophoney.

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#145 Post by Waffleon » Sun 03 Apr 2016, 2:55 pm

I've only listened twice without dusturbances, and one of these was a dog walk so maybe I should come back later? However, I'm getting, fun, fresh, catchy, modern, free, short, light, clever. It's quite arty? I'm clearly no wordsmith but I just wanted to make a positive comment. I've enjoyed reading everyone else's responses, thanks.

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#146 Post by Effen Vida » Sun 03 Apr 2016, 2:58 pm

Kobalt Blew wrote:
Effen Vida wrote:[quote="Kobalt Blew" ...They are one of the very few bands that I could happily listen to any track of and that includes 'What keeps mankind alive?'.


:yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance: :yeah: :dance:
That's it. You've gone too far this time. Outside. Now. You and me, stripped to the waist - lets go.

Just given 'What keeps mankind alive?' a quick spin just to check, all it lacks is a bit of a reggaeton remix makeover. Mind you strictly speaking it's not really their song. MMA or a food fight?
MMA but with regular food breaks, please.

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#147 Post by StevePSB » Sun 03 Apr 2016, 4:35 pm

Oh dear.


StevePSB

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#148 Post by dynamobjornen » Sun 03 Apr 2016, 4:39 pm

StevePSB wrote:Oh dear.


StevePSB
Your review of Super or a reaction to the ongoing discussion in this thread?
"Sometimes someone gets upset doesn't hear the laughter takes it as a threat".

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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#149 Post by StevePSB » Sun 03 Apr 2016, 4:46 pm

Picked up my CD (and vinyl) a couple of hours ago. Not one for long reviews, so here's my Twitter like review, typed as I'm listening to the tracks for the first time:

Happiness - OK. A bit repetitive. Would be better without Neil.
The Pop Kids - Good, apart from Neil's strange and slightly embarrassing howling.
Twenty-something - Musically cheesy, boring and simple. Better from Neil.
Groovy - A bit early 90's clubby, but not in a good way. Cheesy.
The dictator decides - Good from Neil. Sinister. Musically good. Not bad.
Pazzo! - What was that? Didn't seem to go anywhere / get started. Boring.
Inner sanctum - Poor start. Goes somewhere eventually, and when it does it's good.
Undertow - Not particularly inspiring or interesting. OK.
Sad robot world - I like the synth bass line. Not keen on the squeaky vocals.
Say it to me - Inoffensive, but uninspiring. OK.
Burn - Musically interesting and for the most part very good. Not keen on the breathy, high pitch vocals.
Into thin air - Good in parts.

It's a sort of Electric meets Elysium. Inoffensive, but a little boring & samey. Very PSB by numbers without (seemingly) great effort having gone into it. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. If it weren't PSB I wouldn't have bought it.


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Re: "SUPER" - album reviewed by forum members

#150 Post by PopArt » Sun 03 Apr 2016, 7:30 pm

So I've taken a while to write this as I wanted to live with the album for a bit but I think I'm now starting to reach some conclusions. Coming on the back of Electric I think Super had a lot to live up to. Electric did add a new energy to the Boys and the quality of the song writing was superb- Love is a bourgeois construct, Thursday and Florescent and up there with their absolute best works. And maintaining that for this record was always going to be difficult. Initially I was a little underwhelmed. But I have listened to it eight times from start to finish this weekend. The good news is that I think they have broadly succeeded. Super has the same level of energy, feels relevant and is very much of its time. Which is what all good Pet Shop Boys albums are. My thoughts on each track are:

Happiness
Love the beat to it but the gay barn dance on acid jibe holds some water. It sounds a little forced and doesn't quite get the album off on the right foot.

The Pop Kids
A perfect slice of PSB pop. Brilliant single.

Twenty-something
This has really grown on me. First listen I wasn't too impressed but I genuinely think it captures something about being in your twenties and trying to make it in the world. Only Neil could sing about something like this in a pop song. It's very Pet Shop Boys.

Groovy
Terrible title. Almost embarrassing. And reading the lyrics in the booklet it's a bit naff. But when listening to the song it somehow works. It's clearly moronic pop music and the Boys are obviously having a bit of fun. But it's enjoyable to listen to and actually rather funny. To my surprise I think it really works.

The dictator decides
A classic. Again one of those tracks that only PSB can do. I like the atmospherics, the very retro-sounding synths and the lyrics are Tennant at his best. It also says to me that Stuart Price does indeed have more to offer with PSB than just 'banging' dance tracks.

Pazzo!
I'm not sure this adds much to the album. It's a little bit of inoffensive filler really.

Inner sanctum
I don't normally like the instrumental PSB tracks as much but this really works midway through the album. It's dark, eerie and acts as a bit of a break in the record.

Undertow
It's hard not to like this track. It's predictable and some could even argue generic but my god is it catchy and when it ends you just want to start it all over again. I really like it.

Sad robot world
For me this is the stand out track. There's something so unsettling about it. And, rather like The dictator decides it says to me that Stuart Price can offer more to the Boys in production terms. I am really hopeful that their next album uses this as a bit of a blueprint and they make an atmospheric, dark, almost spooky electronic record. This is a brilliant track.

Say it to me
This song doesn't really do it for me. It's fine for what it is but it's nothing special and to me is probably the weakest song on the album. And it's too harshly edited. That fade out at the end is premature and I can't help but think they could have built the song up.

Burn
There's little to say about this song other than that it's brilliant. Rather like Undertow it is a little predictable but my word is it catchy and it really brings you into the moment. Should be amazing live.

Into thin air
A nice way to close the album. It's more of a grower I imagine. I like it even if I am not ecstatic about it but it does its job well of closing the record.

So all in al I think Super is a pretty solid effort from the Boys. It's not quite in the same league as Electric (yet, that is) but it's a pretty strong collection of songs. I think it would work better without Happiness and Pazzo! but neither are complete disasters that ruin the flow of the album. It's a coherent, interesting and actually quite varied collection of contemporary electronic dance songs and a welcome addition to the PSB canon.
I'm always waiting...

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