Dricography: Ranking Introspective

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psbfannyc
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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#31 Post by psbfannyc » Thu 25 Oct 2018, 4:14 pm

Drico One wrote:
Wed 24 Oct 2018, 10:53 pm
4. Your Funny Uncle

This is a very beautiful song, lovingly reflecting the wry incongruousness of very different people gathered together in shared grief. Funerals are always fascinating social events for those who like to observe, bringing together, as they do, people who may not have seen each other in years - or people who may never have crossed paths but who have something they never knew in common: the deceased. Funerals are always things that many people need to get through with dignity, and this song seems to reflect Neil's sense of doing right by his friend and his pride in having that acknowledged by somebody as proper and old-fashioned as the relative in question. Neil and his polar opposite seem to reflect each other's grief, even if they appear to have absolutely nothing in common. It's quite touching. The final verse contains a reading from the Book of Revelations. At my brother's funeral, I was asked to give a reading. Not having any time for religion, and considering the whole notion preposterous, I went for this as a coded message that only my brother would have understood. He had even less time for religion than me, so for me to quote a Pet Shop Boys song from the pulpit under the guise of the Book of Revelations would have given him an irreverent kick. It was the last in-joke we shared.

Drico.
"At my brother's funeral, I was asked to give a reading. Not having any time for religion, and considering the whole notion preposterous, I went for this as a coded message that only my brother would have understood. He had even less time for religion than me, so for me to quote a Pet Shop Boys song from the pulpit under the guise of the Book of Revelations would have given him an irreverent kick. It was the last in-joke we shared."...Drico, October 2018

This shit finally got real, man.

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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#32 Post by Drico One » Fri 26 Oct 2018, 9:18 pm

3. I'm not scared

The very definition of epic, I'm not scared is arguably the greatest track never released as a Pet Shop Boys single. That they gave it to Eighth Wonder instead of releasing it themselves shows just how imperious they were in 1988. The original has one of their most magnificent intros, and the climactic moment of ecstasy after the final elongated "I wouldn't treat me the way you do-ooo" is orgasmic. There's a case that this is actually the best song on Introspective as the top three here are pretty interchangeable depending on mood. This one is bright, bubbly, and insistent, and works as well live as it does on record.

2. Left to my own devices

The track that introduced the world to the orchestral house that would come to define their post-imperial output. Because this became synonymous with them, it's easy to forget just how risky and avant-garde this track was. It's utterly audacious. In some ways, this is one of the most important tracks in their entire catalogue. When Trevor Horn decided that he needed an orchestra to dramatise the fantastically humdrum monologue that Neil effortlessly recites, he not only glamourised the trivial, he created a template that would help to define their subsequent sound. From now on, strings would become central to the PSB DNA.

The album version is probably definitive, including as it does the wonderful extra verse where Che Guevara drinks tea, reads about a new device, and takes to the stage in a secret life. The whole thing is a glorious flight of fancy, a reflection of Neil's boyhood imagination. Left to my own devices has a cool, acerbic wit and a disarming charm.

1. Domino dancing

Domino dancing, while ostensibly a simple pop song, has hidden layers. "The threat of distant thunder" pervades, as Neil finds himself falling out of love with a disinterested partner. By the middle of the song, he's back in observer mode - no longer centre of attention - watching "them all fall down." Is this, in some veiled way, his withdrawal from the scene in the age of AIDS? The thing is, such oblique references are almost indiscernible to most - and are certainly more subtle than those of, say, Rent. This single seemed less edgy than what went before. Chris's incredible synth line adds a tremendous sense of energetic excitement which contrasts starkly with the hopeless confusion of our observant protagonist ("I don't know why, I don't know how/I thought I loved you, but I'm not sure now"). The largely spoken vocals are full of quiet despair, while Chris's beat adds to the drama.

The contrast between Chris's energy and Neil's misery makes this a compelling track. Some of their very best moments happen when Chris is "up" and Neil is "down" - consumed by misery or simply speaking in conspiratorial tones, barely breaking into song. The verses of the three songs here are largely spoken, conversational pieces. To my mind, this is the style that most suits Neil's evocative voice, and his often deadpan, semi-detached delivery which, ironically, often carries tremendous emotional weight, contrasts wonderfully with Chris's dramatic, hooktastic accompaniments.

Drico.
The pale kid that hides in the attic behind his PC...

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retrofuturist
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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#33 Post by retrofuturist » Sat 27 Oct 2018, 12:01 am

I could never in a million years rank Domino Dancing over Left To My Own Devices. Yet, Pet Shop Boys did too (by virtue of their single choices).

For mine, Left To My Own Devices is a masterpiece... up there with Being Boring and Can You Forgive Her?.

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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#34 Post by TallThinMan » Sat 27 Oct 2018, 10:36 am

I’m not getting the vocals on Domino Dancing being largely spoken; they’re sung.

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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#35 Post by Deschanel » Thu 01 Nov 2018, 7:20 am

I have always loved your brilliant writing on the songs Drico, because they reward close attention that you've paid and remain great, and you write so well about them. And I love that you relate them to your own life much more, autobiography, than you used to do when this site started. (I was going to make a terrible joke and say "..In the Thatcher era" but thought better of it because that'd be a dumb one ..

Weird to think that Introspective was in the Thatcher era though. Because it sounded so much in the future. Because it was. This disc prefigured the sound of the 90s and beyond, and it still sounds f-ing great. Introspective is memorable to me (from back then) because it was designed as a CD, and not a vinyl album or cassette. The first half was all meant for the songs to flow into each other beautifully as they did. They were ripping up what a "proper" album should be- though one could say Disco did that too. But Disco was more of an EP, Introspective was actually a proper .. I was just going to write "album", but it was something newer and cooler.

Can't name it as a track, because it wasn't quite that.. My favorite part of Introspective in its original was the interstice and segueway- between the sensitive and swirling violins, strings, the coda of...

Argh! It was the interstice where Left to My Own Devices becomes I Want a Dog where the thunderstorm sound happens! So sorry.. :)
Last edited by Deschanel on Thu 01 Nov 2018, 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#36 Post by Deschanel » Thu 01 Nov 2018, 7:24 am

Ps. My point, compressed: That thunderstorm between the songs is one of my favorite parts of Introspective, so distinctive and memorable. It was cool back then, as it it gave me chills at how cool it was, and I still love it.

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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#37 Post by TallThinMan » Thu 01 Nov 2018, 7:31 am

Has everyone else got a different version of Introspective to me?!

On my version Domino Dancing has sung rather than spoken vocals (apart from the middle bit) and the thunderstorm is between the end of Left to My Own Devices and I Want a Dog. On my copy I’m Not Scared comes after Domino Dancing.

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Deschanel
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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#38 Post by Deschanel » Thu 01 Nov 2018, 7:37 am

TallThinMan wrote:
Thu 01 Nov 2018, 7:31 am
Has everyone else got a different version of Introspective to me?!

On my version Domino Dancing has sung rather than spoken vocals (apart from the middle bit) and the thunderstorm is between the end of Left to My Own Devices and I Want a Dog. On my copy I’m Not Scared comes after Domino Dancing.
Hi Tall Thin Man- no, that was completely my fault, I misremembered. Apologies! It is indeed between Left to my own devices and IWAD where the thunderstorm happens. So sorry. I said.

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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#39 Post by TallThinMan » Thu 01 Nov 2018, 8:33 am

Deschanel wrote:
Thu 01 Nov 2018, 7:37 am
Hi Tall Thin Man- no, that was completely my fault, I misremembered. Apologies! It is indeed between Left to my own devices and IWAD where the thunderstorm happens. So sorry. I said.
Hey Deschanel, don’t worry about it! Sounds like a good excuse for you to give Introspective a play to refresh your memory! :-D

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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#40 Post by PopArt » Thu 01 Nov 2018, 11:34 am

Drico, I would happily read an entire book of your musings on PSB. They are so insightful and thought provoking. Far better than any passing critic. If we're never going to get a Neil Tennant autobiography then a volume of Drico's musings on PSB would be a good alternative.
I'm always waiting...

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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#41 Post by Markpro » Fri 02 Nov 2018, 10:42 am

I could never put anything from Introspective above Left To My Own Devices, for me it is the definitive PSB track and the Introspective version is easily in my top 3 PSB tracks of all time.
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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#42 Post by Lush » Fri 02 Nov 2018, 11:59 am

The album versions "Domino Dancing" and "Left to My Own Devices" in each their fashion are Pet Shop Boys at their majestic, incomparable best.
Left to my own devices was probably PSB at the height of their creative power. The magnificent build-up, the meandering lyrics, the thumping bass line as the foundation of the strings, the uber-catchy chorus. It's pure, ecastatic pop/house brilliance.
On the other hand, Domino Dancing boasts Chris' phenomenal bass line (second only to Love Comes Quickly in the PSB catalog), the equally phenomenal riff (was that written by Chris og Lewis A. Martineée?), the sexiest beat of their career, not to mention the unparalleled sing-along quality of the chorus.

In my opinion, it is impossible to decide between them, and only a handful of songs (Pet Shop Boys or otherwise) measure up to them.
"Unprofessional? Us? Sir. Might I with due respect remind you that Mister Vandemar and myself burned down the City of Troy? We brought the Black Plague to Flanders. We have assassinated a dozen kings, five popes, half a hundred heroes and two accredited gods. Our last commission before this was the torturing to death of an entire monastery in sixteenth century Tuscany. We are utterly professional." - Mr Croup

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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#43 Post by TallThinMan » Fri 02 Nov 2018, 6:43 pm

The fantastic Domino Dancing riff was indeed written by Lewis A. Martineée. Asked and answered in an old issue of Litterally.

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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#44 Post by Drico One » Tue 06 Nov 2018, 11:08 pm

Always great to see Deschanel make one of his dramatic entrances when the phase of the moon allows. Good to see you very much alive and well, old pal. One of the originals. To think of the squabbles and fun we had over the years. We've been around forever...

Drico.
The pale kid that hides in the attic behind his PC...

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Re: Dricography: Ranking Introspective

#45 Post by Drico One » Tue 06 Nov 2018, 11:32 pm

PopArt wrote:
Thu 01 Nov 2018, 11:34 am
Drico, I would happily read an entire book of your musings on PSB. They are so insightful and thought provoking. Far better than any passing critic. If we're never going to get a Neil Tennant autobiography then a volume of Drico's musings on PSB would be a good alternative.
All the more reason for us to get a Neil Tennant autobiography, then. I'd hate to inflict "100 threads and a typo" on an unsuspecting world. Let's think of the trees.

Drico.
The pale kid that hides in the attic behind his PC...

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