Friday, February 27, 2004

#60) Pet Shop Boys - Discography: The Complete Singles Collection (released in 1991, I bought this on CD in middle school after listening to my babysitter's copy a ton)

I'm enough of a patriot to believe that most British acts that don't make as much of a chart impression here usually deserve their relative obscurity, but the Pet Shop Boys is one case where I think we were wrong (though we DID give mad love to "What Have I Done To Deserve This" and "West End Girls," both career highlights). I'm not going to make like some critics and say that the Pet Shop Boys were (and possibly are - I haven't heard anything they've done since '93) able to create infectious and intelligent chart-toppers UNLIKE their peers, but instead just note that these songs are infectious and intelligent. Heavy with double meanings without succumbing to Costello-like fits of pure effort, these songs manage to sound detached and bored and playful and sentimental and cynical, sometimes all within a single U2/Frankie Valli medley (which probably sounded a lot more irreverent before U2 went ironically "disco" themselves, and I can't say how cruel their rendition of "Always On My Mind" is since I've never heard Willie Nelson's or Elvis Presley's takes). Their sense of camp is always grounded in a certain moroseness, which keeps gregarious classic like "It's A Sin" from sounding too dizzy. The bonus tracks are unsurprisingly weak and I wish the hits from Very where included (maybe I should just BUY that damn thing already), but this is the rare compilation that highlights the breadth and intelligence of a groups work without sacrificing an ounce of accessibility.

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