I find as I get older that I tend to favour their more upbeat, vibrant material in general. Electric was revelatory for me as it showcased a side of them that I hadn't heard in years. The vim and vigour was there and you could sense that Chris, in particular, had rediscovered his creative mojo. Thursday, Bourgeois, and Vocal all spoke for this new-found vitality. Super had elements of this but, in hindsight, was a hybrid of Electric and Hotspot, which was more considered in general.
I think, perhaps, that they do the mopey stuff almost effortlessly by now. I love the mopey stuff, their downcast, reflective take on things, but it's almost their default setting. Throw in a few strings and people are almost tumescent.
Maybe all of this speaks to the time-honoured contradiction of Pet Shop Boys. To summarise, badly, that's downbeat lyrics with upbeat music. When you're young, I think a similar contradiction is youthful vim and vigour versus reflective, elegiac records. When you get older, it's world-weary experience versus life-affirming vitality. I suspect I have entered the latter category.
It's purely a matter of personal preference, but if I were to compile a list of my 20 favourite Pet Shop Boys tracks of the last decade, I'm pretty sure the vast majority would be in the "uptempo" category with only a handful coming from their more sombre line (Leaving, Invisible, Hoping for a Miracle). I suppose that's one way of me saying I've experienced diminishing marginal returns over the course of the last three albums.
The pale kid that hides in the attic behind his PC...