10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

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Drico One
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10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#1 Post by Drico One » Fri 04 Jan 2019, 11:34 pm

Tempus fugit. We are now in the tenth year of the fourth Pet Shop Boys decade. That, of course, got me thinking. It doesn't take much. What were my highlights since 2010? Restricting myself to the quality control guarantee of 10 tracks, I cannot find a place for marvellous moments such as Axis, Inner sanctum, or Fluorescent. 2019, happily, is also likely to be a Pet Shop Boys album year. Given the quality of what has emerged over the last nine years, I'm confident we'll get one or two new "classics" to enjoy which will push out the stragglers below.

10. A certain "Je ne sais quois" (2012)

My favourite b-side - if we can still refer to them as such - of the decade. Playful, witty, and fun, I am a sucker for a galloping romp and this delivers in spades. Best bit: "In Tehran they've known you for years, In spite of clerical fears..."

9. Invisible (2012)

Contemplative, elegant, and glacial, this smooth highlight of Elysium came with the usual melancholic observation and self-awareness that we've come to expect over the years. Best bit: "It's too late to find an excuse, the party's over and I'm not much use...tonight."

8. Undertow (2016)

Replete with a thrilling mid-song moment of euphoria in the face of impending doom, Undertow is one of the great examples of the glorious dichotomy between Neil's misery and Chris's joy. That contrast is one of the key ingredients in their genius. Best bit: The portentous build before the tsunami hits.

7. Together (2010)

I think Together is hugely underrated. The obsessive zeal of the sentiment expressed is utterly sinister. Perhaps it is an expression of love. To me, it's more creepy than that - a mindless desire for oblivion in the name of fealty. Best bit: The final apocalyptic self-immolating descent into Mordor.

6. Thursday (2013)

Electric is, in my view, one of their career-defining albums - and certainly the best since their creative peak of the early 1990s. The vigour, dynamism, and virility of that record expresses itself in the fact that three of my top six tracks are from that collection. Thursday was one of its more understated moments, but it's hard to feel anything but delight at the unprepossesingly joyous synth hook that Chris dreamed up in one of his most fertile creative bursts. Best bit: The disco-inspired hysteria towards the end when Neil becomes ever more desperate. No wonder Example was playing away.

5. Brick England (2016)

This is probably my favourite throwaway moment of the decade. The grandeur here is as altitudinous as one of the structures it describes. Best bit: "Oh ho, oh ho, oh ho, oh ho..."

4. Love is a bourgeois construct (2013)

I think this is great fun, with Neil "moaning periodically" and going on the doss on the wrong side of the tracks after being dumped by a fellow member of the profoundly middle class. They've always been absurdists and this is a marvelous example of that facet of their act. Best bit: The bathhouse choir going into paroxysms after the thumbing of Karl Marx's paperback.

3. The Pop Kids (2016)

My unquestioned standout from Super, this evocative time capsule captures that 1990s moment when we listened to tales of lonely and strange vocalists bolting through closing doors in the 1970s. Best bit: "I am never going home."

2. Leaving (2012)

I think this is absolutely gorgeous. The defining characteristic of Pet Shop Boys is romantic sincerity. They are not the arch, insincere ironists of lore. The bulk of their work is utterly sincere and deeply romantic. This humanity shines through here, as the prevalent sadness and melancholia is shot through with hope. Best bit: The backing vocals emerging like the souls of the dearly departed rising from the dead at the start of the second verse.

1. Vocal (2013)

This is my kind of music - six minutes of elongated pleasure. Ooer. By distilling the essence of what it is to be a fan, Vocal simultaneously captures the very meaning of Pet Shop Boys themselves and what it means to love them. Neil could be singing the words that we as fans could have written for him, recounting the soundtrack to our lives. Best bit: "Expressing passion...explaining pain..."

I think by any standards, the last decade has been fantastic. Just as a little sidenote, if we were to include 2009 – and therefore complete the ten-year sequence – the bottom two above would drop out and Love etc would enter at 6. The way it used to be would be number 4.

What are your top tracks of the last decade?

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

leesmapman
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#2 Post by leesmapman » Fri 04 Jan 2019, 11:57 pm

The decade is not finished yet, but I'm sure it'll have the 3 B's:
Bolshy, Burn and Brick England

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MikeyC
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#3 Post by MikeyC » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 12:33 am

leesmapman wrote:
Fri 04 Jan 2019, 11:57 pm
The decade is not finished yet, but I'm sure it'll have the 3 B's:
Bolshy, Burn and Brick England

Oooh, nice, I agree with those three B's!! 8)

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daveid
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#4 Post by daveid » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 12:46 am

Much though I like Thursday the album mix is very poorly mixed and you can't hear Neil's voice above the bombast. They improved it significantly with the single mixes but these are of course edits. Maybe one day they'll remaster it for the better.

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Greendrake
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#5 Post by Greendrake » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 12:51 am

1. One-hit wonder
2. In slow motion
3. Undertow
4. Thursday
5. Axis
6. Brick England
7. Listening
8. Inner sanctum
9. In his imagination
10. Vocal

(sorry Elysium)

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stussyboy
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#6 Post by stussyboy » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 1:31 am

Drico - we’re still waiting for you to finish ranking Behaviour!
NewYork London Tokyo LosAngeles

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lucienchardon
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#7 Post by lucienchardon » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 6:09 am

Nice thread! Brainstorming my top 10 I came up with:

1. The dictator decides
2. Love is a bourgeois construct
3. Axis
4. Leaving
5. Invisible
6. Twenty-something
7. A face like that
8. Memory of the future
9. Burn
10. The way through the woods (long version)

Tom Angel
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#8 Post by Tom Angel » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 10:41 am

1. A face like that - this is they best song since the 80s!
2. The dictator decides
3. Leaving
4. Invisible
5. In his imagination
6. Brick England
7. Dead can dance
8. Pop Kids
9. Thursday
10. Undertow
in suits or sequins/or twin sets and pearls

britboy
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#9 Post by britboy » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 11:34 am

In no particular order:

A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi
Burn
In Bits
In Slow Motion
Inside A Dream
Listening
One Night
Leaving (Believe In PSB Remix)
The Pop Kids (Tomorrow Now Remix)
Thursday

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Gary1962
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#10 Post by Gary1962 » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 11:46 am

Here is my Ten best songs from the decade, in no particular order:

In His Imagination
Leaving
Undertow
The Dictator Decides
Burn
Love Is A Bourgeois Construct
Breathing Space
Memory Of The Future
Twenty Something
I Started A Joke
If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to fear
If you've something to hide, you shouldn't even be here!

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Bulldog
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#11 Post by Bulldog » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 11:58 am

Inside a dream
Leaving
Vocal
Woods
Axis
Requiem
A certain je ne sais quoi
Bolshy
Twenty-something
The white dress


(sorry Super...)
"It was a dark and stormy night."
"You know what's wrong with your stories? They lack subtlety."
"It was a sort of dark and kind of stormy night."

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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#12 Post by Sexy Northerner » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 2:33 pm

It's hard for me to pick favorites or bests, but Requiem in Denim and Leopardskin has to be on the list. It's got a unique sound and tells a story (which reminds me of Bright Young Things).

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York Minster
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#13 Post by York Minster » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 4:09 pm

I'd put Undertow on my worst 10. Such a weak, annoying, grating, simplistic chorus. The song goes nowhere. Nice intro though.

Top for the decade:

Axis
Bolshy
Leaving
Invisible
Flourescent
Thursday
Vocal
Listening
Construct
Hell

Runners-up: Requiem, One Night

Axis is top for me. It's easily their most exciting, euphoric moment. Something that all of Super was lacking. It was also their best video. Bolshy is a very close second.
And tryin' to figure out what happened to 'Germaine Propaine'
"He couldn't have fell off that hard" Ain't no way
"What happened to the way you was rappin' when you was scandalous
That Canibus turned into a television evangelist"
Plus he raps with his regular voice [BOOSH! BOOSH!]
[BOOSH! BOOSH!] (What was that?) Pet Shop Boys

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Xakrij
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#14 Post by Xakrij » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 5:24 pm

Hello...

A face like that
Bolshy
Breathing space
Brick England
Burn
I started a joke
In his imagination
Into thin air
She pops
The dictator decides
...shot in the fatal cause of frock-and-droll

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Boring90
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Re: 10 for 10: Best Pet Shop Boys Tracks of the Decade

#15 Post by Boring90 » Sat 05 Jan 2019, 5:56 pm

Leaving
A Face Like That
Memory of the Future
Love is a Bourgeois Construct
Fluorescent
Inside a Dream
The Dictator Decides
Burn
One Night
Brick England
Las Vegas 1999

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