Hotspot: 1 year old today

For general discussion of Pet Shop Boys topics.
Message
Author
User avatar
Drico One
Posts: 5575
Joined: Tue 16 Sep 2003, 8:56 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#61 Post by Drico One »

canveyboy wrote: Sun 24 Jan 2021, 1:57 pm A year today since the final work in the Stuart Price trilogy was released. Little did we know what was about to unfold on the world in the weeks after.

One year on, what’s your thoughts about Hotspot?

I think it’s miles better than Super but not as good as Electric. I much preferred the return to proper short pop songs.

Highlights for me were Only the Dark, Hoping for a miracle, Dreamland, Monkey Business, I don’t wanna. And great b-sides in New Boy, Decide and An open mind
It's a Pet Shop Boys album, so by definition it is great. Thematically, it's very coherent, but it subsides a bit towards the end for me. It shares a lot in common with Super. One was about getting out of your head, the other about just getting out. Funnily enough, while I think Electric is one of their top five albums, I find it makes less sense thematically than either of its successors. It relies less on any holistic theme and wows simply on the basis of its excitement. I can't help feel that this whole idea of a "trilogy" is a confected notion with little to back it up. Other than all being produced by Stuart Price, I'm not sure there is an all-encompassing concept to tie them together. Does Hotspot really have much more in common with Electric than it does with, say, Yes? I'm not convinced.

In terms of where it stands in the catalogue, I don't think it's a particularly significant record. Neither was Super. Both are fine records, but I don't think they had a "killer app" in the way Electric heralded a sudden revival of what had seemed a moribund vitality. Very and Fundamental also restated something loved and apparently mislaid by Pet Shop Boys.

Unlike, say, Bilingual, Hotspot boasts a generally consistent level of quality - but conversely has fewer genuine peaks. In my view, only Will-o-the-wisp stands as a genuinely top rank Pet Shop Boys track. Most of the tracks here are at various states of very good, with one or two dipping below that individually. Wedding in Berlin is a better title than it is a track, but it does still manage to make sense on what is sometimes a weird album.

To my ears at least, Price had less impact this time around. The more traditional song lengths seemed to discipline him - and, arguably, smothered any added inspiration he might have added. I enjoyed the slightly deranged meandering routes some of the longer tracks on previous albums took. The whole Berlin sound thing is an affectation. It's a Pet Shop Boys album that, generally, sounds like a Pet Shop Boys album that happens to take some lyrical and narrative inspiration from Berlin. All in all, I think this is a less immediate album with fewer instant classics, but it rewards as a single experience.

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

User avatar
Drico One
Posts: 5575
Joined: Tue 16 Sep 2003, 8:56 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#62 Post by Drico One »

Pod wrote: Sun 24 Jan 2021, 8:37 pm I played Hotspot last week for the first time since October - it’s still hit and miss for me. Some absolute gems like Happy People, Will o’ the wisp, easily listenable stuff like Monkey business and you are the one. Too many misses like Dreamland, only the dark and far and away the worst PSB album track ever - wedding in berlin. What were they thinking??
I’ll remember the hotspot era more for the b-sides. An open mind, decide, new boy and even at rock bottom are better than a few tracks recorded for the album.
It is a bit of a hotch-potch in so far as it always seems to slow down just as you think it's hit its stride. Take Hoping for a Miracle. This is an excellent track on its own merits, but I feel it kills the momentum that the previous two tracks had built up and is a drag on the vibe the following two tracks provide. I must admit, I found this quite clunky on release. It took quite a while for my appreciation for that track to grow. Similarly, after the thrills and spills of Will-o-the-wisp, You are the One is a real downer. The contrast between the suggestively sexy encounter on the techno train and the Kaffee and Kuchen experience that follows is a touch jarring for me. It's a bit too nightclub to nursing home for me in terms of tempo.

The b-sides have been tremendous, in general. An Open Mind is my standout, but Decide and New Boy are lovely too. The "Oh you can dream" bit is wistful magic wrapped up in a bow of mournful self-pity and poignant self realisation. A really pretty moment casually available on a throwaway b-side.

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

TallThinMan
Posts: 899
Joined: Sun 04 Jun 2006, 6:50 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#63 Post by TallThinMan »

Astonishing. I think Hoping for a Miracle is one of the best things they’ve ever done and the dreamy middle section is Actually-era quality.

User avatar
Drico One
Posts: 5575
Joined: Tue 16 Sep 2003, 8:56 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#64 Post by Drico One »

TallThinMan wrote: Wed 27 Jan 2021, 10:15 pm Astonishing. I think Hoping for a Miracle is one of the best things they’ve ever done and the dreamy middle section is Actually-era quality.
What's astonishing? Hoping for a Miracle is a stately, scenic, deeply evocative track with some elegant turns of phrase that help tell a compelling tale. I'm a fan. For whatever reason, I just think it slows the album down again just when it's warming up - even though it's not particularly slow. Of course, that's probably because I got very comfortable with the largely full-on in-your-face confrontation of Electric and Super rather than a criticism of the track itself. Or perhaps it's just a little too reserved for this album, which is generally a bit rough and ready.

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

User avatar
Spittingcat
Posts: 870
Joined: Thu 27 Sep 2012, 11:11 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#65 Post by Spittingcat »

For whatever reason, I just think it slows the album down again just when it's warming up - even though it's not particularly slow.
Should have gone full Bowie in Berlin style… and aped Low

All the driving songs together on side1… the quiet contemplative tracks on side2.

The pace jumps all over the place, that’s why I struggle to listen to it all straight through.

And, of course, Decide should have been on there.

User avatar
Spittingcat
Posts: 870
Joined: Thu 27 Sep 2012, 11:11 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#66 Post by Spittingcat »

Hoping for a Miracle is the one I was calling “the alegiac one”… I find it quite beautiful.

User avatar
vincenzosz
Posts: 780
Joined: Thu 05 Mar 2009, 5:43 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#67 Post by vincenzosz »

I personally liked the songs on this album quite a bit, but I agree they work better separated.

Like a lot of us do I have compiled my own Hotspot album, removing You are the one, Hoping for a miracle, Burning the heather and Only the dark. (I do however very much like each of these songs, just not next to the other upbeat Hotspot tracks)

I also really dislike the production on Dreamland, which is why I made an edit with Stuart Price’s remix and the single’s vocals. Works much better with the album, more sonically consistent.
Last edited by vincenzosz on Thu 28 Jan 2021, 9:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
vincenzosz
Posts: 780
Joined: Thu 05 Mar 2009, 5:43 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#68 Post by vincenzosz »

Side note, I feel that Neil and Chris were already ready for the next album which will apparently be more like Burning the heather, as about 1/3 of Hotspot is leaning that way.

User avatar
onzio
Posts: 281
Joined: Tue 28 Oct 2003, 1:54 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#69 Post by onzio »

Drico One wrote: Wed 27 Jan 2021, 8:11 pm It's a Pet Shop Boys album, so by definition it is great. Thematically, it's very coherent, but it subsides a bit towards the end for me. It shares a lot in common with Super. One was about getting out of your head, the other about just getting out. Funnily enough, while I think Electric is one of their top five albums, I find it makes less sense thematically than either of its successors. It relies less on any holistic theme and wows simply on the basis of its excitement. I can't help feel that this whole idea of a "trilogy" is a confected notion with little to back it up. Other than all being produced by Stuart Price, I'm not sure there is an all-encompassing concept to tie them together. Does Hotspot really have much more in common with Electric than it does with, say, Yes? I'm not convinced.


Unlike, say, Nightlife, Hotspot boasts a generally consistent level of quality - but conversely has fewer genuine peaks.


Drico.
I find myself to agree with your idea about the consistency of Hotspot and its lack of peaks.

About Electric coherence I think taht it's not a thematical coherence, but musical.
Electric is like an encyclopedia, a summary, a collection of dance-pop music styles from late '70s to early 2000's.
We have for example italo disco, trance, techno, deep house, hi-nrg synth pop...
It's a jurney, musically tells a story, the story of PSB's influences.

TheOnzio
The Onzio on Spotify
The Onzio on YouTube
Expressing passion, explaining pain
This is my kind of music

User avatar
hotspotnot
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue 22 Sep 2020, 5:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#70 Post by hotspotnot »

My only quibble with Hotspot is the sequencing of "You are the one" after "Will-o-the-wisp". On first listen it was just a massive let down.

Wedding in Berlin is a great closing track. I really like it.
Working the wheel. One eye alert and one asleep.

User avatar
onzio
Posts: 281
Joined: Tue 28 Oct 2003, 1:54 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#71 Post by onzio »

hotspotnot wrote: Thu 28 Jan 2021, 10:24 am My only quibble with Hotspot is the sequencing of "You are the one" after "Will-o-the-wisp". On first listen it was just a massive let down.

Wedding in Berlin is a great closing track. I really like it.
I agree @ 98%.
YATO should be track 3 or 4.
WIB is a good & funny closing track. Not "great". I like it. Not "really". :lol: :wink:

TheOnzio
The Onzio on Spotify
The Onzio on YouTube
Expressing passion, explaining pain
This is my kind of music

User avatar
Spittingcat
Posts: 870
Joined: Thu 27 Sep 2012, 11:11 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#72 Post by Spittingcat »

My only quibble with Hotspot is the sequencing of "You are the one" after "Will-o-the-wisp".
That's the big one... huge opener... ...lifts you up high... then drops you right down... with a track that sounds like the closing track of the album.

GO!!!!

Wind down...

Was that it?

Dog
Posts: 1678
Joined: Thu 30 Oct 2003, 11:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#73 Post by Dog »

I think it will be more the case of Neil wanting to establish the key lyrical themes of the album. They often use tracks one and two for that purpose before going off-piste.
Woof.

User avatar
ype
Posts: 136
Joined: Sun 01 Apr 2012, 2:41 am
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#74 Post by ype »

To me, Hotspot is the best PSB album since Release. I hated Monkey business at first, but I've grown to like it and I now regret calling it atrocious in another topic.
There's no tracks on Hotspot that I skip. I think side 1 is the strongest. I love love love You are the one. It still moves me to tears. I also love Wedding in Berlin. It's funny, it's exciting and in all its simplistic sincerity it's strangely moving.

User avatar
Patrick Bateman
Posts: 9019
Joined: Sat 12 Apr 2008, 4:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Hotspot: 1 year old today

#75 Post by Patrick Bateman »

Spittingcat wrote: Thu 28 Jan 2021, 12:48 pm
My only quibble with Hotspot is the sequencing of "You are the one" after "Will-o-the-wisp".
That's the big one... huge opener... ...lifts you up high... then drops you right down... with a track that sounds like the closing track of the album.

GO!!!!

Wind down...

Was that it?
But isn't it the lyrical link (i.e. Berlin) that is the reason they're sequenced together?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bobbyo, greenmile and 33 guests