Pet Shop Boys – Yes

4 stars (out of 5)

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pet-shop-boys-yesThe Pet Shop Boys are an English electronic dance two-some who have been together since 1981 and are still going strong today. They have enjoyed world wide fame with hits such as ‘West End Girls,’ ‘Always on My Mind’ and ‘Heart.’ Their tenth album ‘Yes,’ produced by Xenomania, was released on 23rd March in UK stores, and reached an impressive number 4 in the UK album charts.

‘Love etc,’ the first track on the album and coincidentally the first track to be released, does not disappoint. Familiar funky electro beats, and the trademark lead singer Neil Tennant’s airy, breathless voice, with a chanting crowd over the top ensure that ‘Love etc’ is catchy, repetitive, and mesmerising. I’m not sure I could imagine it being an instant hit, but it’s good enough to catch on after a while, especially with the cool chorus “Don’t have to be a big bucks Hollywood star, don’t have to drive a super car to get far, don’t have to live a life of power and wealth, don’t have to be beautiful buy cheap viagra online but it helps” and drumming keyboard beat.

The second track ‘All over the world’ did not really appeal to me. I found the song had gone a bit overboard on the techno beats and synthesisers which didn’t add anything extra and if anything really overshadowed and drowned out the lead singers superb voice and decent lyrics. I really wasn’t too keen on this song and found myself wanting to skip this track; the music is far too fast and upbeat for the pace of the lyrics. However, the third track ‘Beautiful People’ is a much more likeable song than track 2. It might not be as punchy and unforgettable as some of the Pet Shop Boys previous hits but it is still nice to listen and sway to, with a kooky harmonica solo added in which gives a nice touch.

Song four ‘Did you see me coming?’ is an enjoyable, upbeat track, which has a retro feel and is much more reminiscent of Pet Shop Boys earlier albums. Catchy lyrics and a danceable club-like beat make this song a sure fire hit for the duo, and it’s hardly surprising that they chose this as the second album single to be released. By track 5 ‘Vulnerable’ I really felt like the album was starting to find its feet a little more now. I wouldn’t say it was the best track on the album, but certainly a valiant effort. The song itself has an original and ironic ‘vulnerability’ about it, from Tennant’s gentle voice and the melancholy lyrics, to the soft music with pangs of electro beats shoved in to give the song a ‘kick.’ Although I enjoyed track 6 ‘More Than a Dream’ it reminded me a little of cheesy 90’s pop! I think the fantastic verse lyrics saved the song from being nothing more than a drab pop reject, as the annoying chorus doesn’t do anything for the song’s credibility. I think this was probably

my least favourite song on the album as it didn’t explore enough the very things which make the Pet Shop Boys such a success – The original lyrics and strong techno beats.

Track 7 ‘Building a Wall’ is fantastic, and is the song on the album which is definitely the most similar to the duo’s old hits, with punchy, hard hitting lyrics sung in a typical British accent and an awesome background beat. This song would be right at home in the 90’s with the typical Brit pop movement, but somehow it still works today and sounds newer and fresher than ever. Song number 8 ‘King of Rome’ may be clean cut and low-key but it still manages to have its own gentle yet forceful impact on the listener. Maybe it’s the simple and elegant lyrics or soothing vibes of Tennant’s unique voice, but for many different reasons this song should be at the forefront of the runners for best song on the album.

Track 9 ‘Pandemonium’ is an upbeat, vibrant song with awesome happy-go-lucky lyrics, which is definitely the wackiest, campest and most enjoyable of the album. There are definitely glimpses of the 80’s and 90’s Pet Shop Boys hiding in there and I could really see this song taking off as a summer hit. Track 10 ‘The Way it used to be’ is a glittering gem of a pop song about a once great love which eventually burns out. The lyrics in this song are brilliantly written, particularly the heart wrenching chorus “What is left of love, tell me who would even care.” The melancholy lyrics combined with the repetitive electro beats, give a twist on the conventional love ballad in a way only the Pet Shop Boys could do. The final track of the album ‘Legacy’ is a powerful ballad inspired by complicated leadership of troubled ex Prime Minister Tony Blair. The track is pretty heavy going but the circus style music towards the end of the song gives it a comedy edge.

Overall I would say that ‘Yes’ is a great album, and after the criticism the Pet Shop Boys have faced over their last couple of albums it’s nice to see them reverting back to their old ways. The album is by no means perfect; there are a couple of tracks which aren’t the best, but there are plenty of brilliant songs to choose from as well. Although I still prefer the Pet Shop Boys of the 1990’s fame, if you’ve never listened to this band before then ‘Yes’ is a great place to start.