Hotspot reviews

For general discussion of Pet Shop Boys topics.
Message
Author

User avatar
Effen Vida
Posts: 694
Joined: Thu 30 Oct 2003, 5:17 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#302 Post by Effen Vida »

5 stars from the Daily Mail.
3 from The Guardian.
The world’s gone mad.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/ ... -in-berlin

TotallyPSB
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed 18 Sep 2019, 9:26 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#303 Post by TotallyPSB »

from paste magazine

Hotspot, the 14th full-length from synth-pop legends Pet Shop Boys, is purportedly the end of a creative trilogy undertaken with producer Stuart Price. And from the sounds of this new album, it’s the right time to end this partnership.

Their collaborative relationship came at just the right time, with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe leaving longtime label Parlophone in 2012 following the lackluster, contractually-fulfilling album Elysium. They were more than ready for a creative reboot, and Price was the perfect musical defibrillator for the duo. He was an established presence in the electronic dance music world, recording under the monikers Les Rythmes Digitales and Jacques Lu Cont. He even managed to pull some brilliance out of late period Madonna (he produced 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor). As proven by their fantastic run in the ’00s, Pet Shop Boys weren’t short of ideas: All the pair needed was a fresh voice to develop their new material and keep it modern.

With Price’s assistance, Pet Shop Boys released two of the stronger albums of their post-’90s career with 2013’s Electric and 2016’s Super. The downside is that, with the bar set high by those records, Hotspot can’t help but come off as a little flat. At least, it doesn’t put its best foot forward: The opening trio of tracks are pleasant, but slight, even as they work in little sonic touches to pay homage to the history of Hansa, the Berlin-based studio where they were recording. It was there that Iggy Pop and David Bowie made some of the seamiest work of the ’70s, and Pet Shop Boys evoke that era with dusky synth drones and languid rhythms.

Hotspot finally takes off with the injection of another youthful presence into the mix: London synth-pop group Years & Years. Their track “Dreamland” is joy personified, with Tennant and Olly Alexander floating atop an undulating disco beat and trading off lyrics of liberation. The album picks up steam from that point on, especially as it gets to what could be read as an interconnected suite that, if you bought this on vinyl or cassette, kicks off side two.

The protagonist of these songs, at first, insists they’d be better off staying inside where they can’t get their heart broken on “I Don’t Wanna.” Soon, though, they’re out in the club, letting a techno beat soundtrack the titular “Monkey Business” they want to engage in. Truth be told, the song is negligible on its own, but nestled in between “I Don’t Wanna” and the glassy-eyed “Only The Dark,” Tennant’s entreaties to be brought “margaritas [and] champagne and red wine]” feels more like a shy soul overcompensating for their anxiety.

Before the album bows out, Pet Shop Boys unveil one of the best songs they’ve ever written with “Burning The Heather.” A ballad in the mode of 2002’s “Love Is a Catastrophe” and 1990’s “Jealousy,” Tennant embraces the autumn of his life with the poetic metaphor of removing old growth by fire as former Suede member Bernard Butler strums an acoustic guitar and a warm downtempo beat hovers nearby. “Where did I come from? / Where do I go?” Tennant sings, with a reflective pang audible in his delivery. “Time is so heartless / You don’t want to know.”


The warm glow of that song doesn’t last as Hotspot concludes with the entirely inessential “Wedding in Berlin,” which is about, well, getting married in Berlin. It does end the album on an energetic note with a fine house beat humming at its core, but the half-hearted lyrics are b-side material at best.

There’s nothing to suggest in Hotspot that Pet Shop Boys are running low on inspiration. The album’s highs are high enough to further prove that the duo has had the most consistent career of any of their synth-pop peers. But their best play will likely be to move beyond the Stuart Price era and pump some fresh blood into their creative veins.


User avatar
Spittingcat
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu 27 Sep 2012, 11:11 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#305 Post by Spittingcat »

What is the “vocal input from Chris” that refers to?

User avatar
jamie1978
Posts: 1461
Joined: Sun 14 Dec 2003, 10:23 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#306 Post by jamie1978 »

That 'guardian' review is actually from the Observer. Kitty Empire is the lady who gave Elysium 2 stars.

AFAIK there is no Guardian review as yet...

User avatar
GalataPSB
Posts: 6004
Joined: Thu 30 Oct 2003, 1:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#307 Post by GalataPSB »

DNA MAGAZINE

page1

Image

page2

Image

User avatar
GalataPSB
Posts: 6004
Joined: Thu 30 Oct 2003, 1:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#308 Post by GalataPSB »

DNA MAGAZINE

page 3

Image

page 4

Image

User avatar
GalataPSB
Posts: 6004
Joined: Thu 30 Oct 2003, 1:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#309 Post by GalataPSB »

DNA MAGAZINE

page 5

Image

page 6

Image

Future Lover
Posts: 718
Joined: Mon 14 Jul 2014, 1:04 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#310 Post by Future Lover »

Thanks for sharing, it was a brilliant read!

User avatar
Spittingcat
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu 27 Sep 2012, 11:11 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#311 Post by Spittingcat »

I love the little DNA reminder that, really, Chris is all about making pop music, not being a pop star. He’s a wise man, and a great music maker. Pleased about the hints of another ballet (although they seem to pointedly avoid calling it that).

Future Lover
Posts: 718
Joined: Mon 14 Jul 2014, 1:04 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#312 Post by Future Lover »

Yeah, I don't usually care about their posh undertakings, unfortunately. Even "Concrete" was a bit too dull for my liking. Also sad they're parting with Stuart, even though I have no doubt he will still be involved with them somehow, as a tour director or an executive producer at least.

User avatar
rashomon
Posts: 1462
Joined: Mon 26 Sep 2005, 11:44 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#313 Post by rashomon »

love page 6!
you could say conventional ... and I could claim intentional

User avatar
Spittingcat
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu 27 Sep 2012, 11:11 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#314 Post by Spittingcat »

even though I have no doubt he will still be involved with them somehow
I’m still hoping for a full on guitar album from them… and Price is a great bass player… (play Living In A Magazine now) …so perhaps he’ll flesh out a recording and live band… for the next album and the small venue non-hits tour I hope follows this arenas and festivals hit filled retrospective of a tour.

User avatar
boyjohn
Posts: 1557
Joined: Wed 18 Jan 2006, 5:24 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot reviews

#315 Post by boyjohn »

I noticed that it said (the article, not them) that they might play some songs from Hotspot on the tour. I really hope so, a 4-5 song detour from the hits at a point in the show to show off the new songs would be good. Be a shame to put out such a great album and then not play it live. Great article and interview, they always come alive a bit with interviewers that know their history and aren't just asking the obvious stuff.
“Unless you consciously include, you will unconsciously exclude”
-Stephen Frost

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 40 guests