Hating PSB

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joe stalin
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Re: Hating PSB

#31 Post by joe stalin »

OakeyDokey wrote: Sun 05 Sep 2021, 11:03 am Simply can't be arsed? Joe Stalin? Man, you've changed...
To clarify… my position is that the thought of trying to explain and persuade non fans to become fans feels like a bridge too far. The journey to fandom started for me with hearing David Kid Jensen playing the 12inch dance mix of Love Comes Quickly on the chart show.

To me that mix us still possibly their greatest ever release. The journey as a fan developed into an obsession involving frequent trips to tower records at Piccadilly or HMV on Oxford Street buying whatever I could afford (vinyl at the time) and holding onto it for dear life on the train home, assiduously digesting every word of the credits to absorb as an aperitif before the main course.

Being first in the queue at a local Woolworths to buy Actually. To my first ever cd (always on my mind). Wembley arena for my first experience of them live. Etc etc etc

Over the last 35 years, every turn they’ve made has made an impression on me.

So for me to try and suggest that someone now goes on the journey that I’ve travelled, I simply can’t relate to the concept. It’s beyond me how to try to explain it, and thus as I said, I can’t be arsed. As I said, it’s beyond me.

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Old Soak
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Re: Hating PSB

#32 Post by Old Soak »

MD wrote: Sun 05 Sep 2021, 12:04 am
TallThinMan wrote: Sat 04 Sep 2021, 3:21 pm Mark Lamarr didn’t actually say he hated them though, did he? He said his friend hated them so much he could never take them seriously.
I can understand his point to a certain extent because of an experience of my own. My best friend and his wife we’re responsible for me changing my mind about an artist who I completely dismissed because of that artists image. I had seen the artists albums, back in the days when they had stores to see those in, and the artwork completely turned me off even giving them a listen. But my friends, whose opinion I hold in high esteem, really liked this artist. So I gave them a shot and found out that I actually loved a lot of their music. I can see this working just as well in the opposite direction.

The artist in question was Marilyn Manson. To this day, I still consider they’re Mechanical Animals album to be one of the greatest in the heavy-metal genre. I know, who would’ve thought a hard-core Pet Shop Boys fan would also love Marilyn Manson!

I also think that another reason for some people’s dislike of Pet Shop Boys is Neil‘s voice, It’s something of an acquired taste for many. I absolutely love it but I understand that it is very unique. Also, it can come across as just a bit to posh. And make him seem a little bit full of himself.
I think this is on the money. My Erasure/Take That loving friend says Neil's voice is weedy and she likes her music to be pure, dance-able, overt 'pop' which PSB aren't always, they ring the changes. Neil isn't a classic, 'full on' vocalist, but boy, does he make the best of it especially on wistful tracks like King of Rome, Invisible, and Sad Robot World. Other people I know have just heard the 'classic' singles and judge them as an 80's act, often surprised they are still going and haven't heard the deep cuts, particularly the b-sides seal their status as the greatest British duo ever for me. Still others only listen to (often) pretentious heavy rock. Now I have very eclectic tastes from electronic, soul, Bluegrass Country, Northern Soul, jazz, and yes, even groups like Led Zeppelin and Motorhead. But for every great group like that there's a pretentious one like Deep Purple, Gillan, Saxon and many others who just grate on me. I guess some people are happy with one genre and stick to it, their loss, I like exploring music. However don't get me started on the ©rap in the charts. Abba excepted.
And at the end/ Your funny Uncle staring / At all your friends / With military bearing

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CroMagnon
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Re: Hating PSB

#33 Post by CroMagnon »

A few other reasons why people dislike PSB (or came to dislike them) to throw into the mix, at least in the UK:

1) I think they were hit quite hard when Top of the Pops moved to live vocals in the early 90s. Neil got away with it in the context of a live concert ("... although your voice is weak, it doesn't really matter 'cause the music is so loud") but often sounded poor on TV (and sometimes still does, let's be honest). He sounded really cool and enigmatic on those early records, but his live vocals disappointed. It lead to questions for the casual fans about their talent - Neil can't sing, Chris uses one finger at a time on the keyboard, the music is just made on computers - at a point where musical taste was in a phase where 'authenticity' - whatever that means - was the thing.

2) PSB sometimes overreacted as they raged against the dying of their imperial phase. 'Where the streets have no name' was probably the turning point, and while the Very era was clearly successful, it also dramatically changed the public's view of the band; they were now seen as campishly eccentric, almost a bit of a 'novelty band'.

3) Related: Go West was a massive hit, and then became a template for a number of 90s singles, from Go West -> Red Letter Day -> Somewhere -> New York city boy. This led to a feeling that PSB songs all sound the same, even though some other singles and numerous album tracks and B-sides showed otherwise. The general public never gets to hear the full range of PSB output.

I also agree, of course, with many other observations from other posters, including the role of outright homophobia, and a sense that many people have that PSB are 'too clever by half'.
Love comes quickly, but is a catastrophe and a bourgeois construct etc.

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leesmapman
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Re: Hating PSB

#34 Post by leesmapman »

I remember Dutch music magazine "Oor" being outraged by the fact that Dusty Springfield was working with PSB. Pet Shop Boys, who wrote a song called "Shopping" worked with the great Dusty Springfield, how could she?

But through the years, they understood the brilliance of the duo and they've published some great articles on them (the last one was the 2017 interview where the journalist went through some locations in London with Neil by phone, not physically).

joe stalin
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Re: Hating PSB

#35 Post by joe stalin »

CroMagnon wrote: Thu 09 Sep 2021, 12:01 am A few other reasons why people dislike PSB (or came to dislike them) to throw into the mix, at least in the UK:

1) I think they were hit quite hard when Top of the Pops moved to live vocals in the early 90s. Neil got away with it in the context of a live concert ("... although your voice is weak, it doesn't really matter 'cause the music is so loud") but often sounded poor on TV (and sometimes still does, let's be honest). He sounded really cool and enigmatic on those early records, but his live vocals disappointed. It lead to questions for the casual fans about their talent - Neil can't sing, Chris uses one finger at a time on the keyboard, the music is just made on computers - at a point where musical taste was in a phase where 'authenticity' - whatever that means - was the thing.

2) PSB sometimes overreacted as they raged against the dying of their imperial phase. 'Where the streets have no name' was probably the turning point, and while the Very era was clearly successful, it also dramatically changed the public's view of the band; they were now seen as campishly eccentric, almost a bit of a 'novelty band'.

3) Related: Go West was a massive hit, and then became a template for a number of 90s singles, from Go West -> Red Letter Day -> Somewhere -> New York city boy. This led to a feeling that PSB songs all sound the same, even though some other singles and numerous album tracks and B-sides showed otherwise. The general public never gets to hear the full range of PSB output.

I also agree, of course, with many other observations from other posters, including the role of outright homophobia, and a sense that many people have that PSB are 'too clever by half'.
Regarding his voice. I remember hearing some bootleg versions of the university tour and his voice was horrendously out of tune. Shocking. Then fast forward to Glasto 2010 and it was pitch perfect. I suspect auto tune has helped his singing enormously. Does that matter ? Not for me, as out of tune singing is painful on the ears.

TallThinMan
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Re: Hating PSB

#36 Post by TallThinMan »

To my ears Neil’s voice seems to have got a bit thinner and more nasal over the years, in a way it wasn’t up to and including Behaviour. I know like everything else our voice changes with age.

OakeyDokey
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Re: Hating PSB

#37 Post by OakeyDokey »

It definitely has got more nasal and thinner. A pity but...

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glennjridge
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Re: Hating PSB

#38 Post by glennjridge »

its hard to tell.....the first albums Neil was doing everything fairly minimally vocally....just his plain voice, no harmony'little double tracking....I think it was around behavior and Very where he really started his double tracking in earnest which made his voice sound so good and thick and shiny. he carried on that way for quite a few albums...

and then I think he let producers talk him into certain vocal programs that can automatically double his vocals....the problem is, I think something is lost double tracking via software as opposed to how he used to do it...manually... where he would sing the vocal, and then sing along with himself and lay it down on top of the first vocal. I def think his vocals while still great sounding, pale in comparison to what you hear on say, Very

OakeyDokey
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Re: Hating PSB

#39 Post by OakeyDokey »

Still think he sounds great on record. It's when they play live that you really hear that nasally twang.

PSBForTheMasses
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Re: Hating PSB

#40 Post by PSBForTheMasses »

DopeFiend wrote: Thu 02 Sep 2021, 10:22 am Wow, people who like PSB don't like music??
It's hard not to take the bait.

I mean there's so much substance in PSB's music. So many layers, indirect irony and hidden subtext. References to other songs, other genres. The perfect inflections in Neil's deliveries, matching the meaning of the words. His expansive lexicon and clever rhymes. Chris' hooks and solos.
There's such a high level of perfection and deliberateness with PSB. I can't fathom the negative tweets.
PSB music eventually catches you whatever happens...it is just that little bit of prejudice because of the genre they work in and Neil's voice, which is indeed divisive. One needs to find the "right" song in PSB ouvre but it needs time and patience and not so many people love music as much as we love; music is rather "elevator thing" for them, playing in the background just for the sake of playing.

I have a friend who used to passionately hate PSB (and EMD in general) until...one day he happened to listen to Hit and Miss, which he liked very much because he respects the Beatles very much, After it was all history...He slowly started to unravel the PSB magic box, albeit reluctantly initially, then faster as he went on. The second punch point was Left to My Own Devices and the third one was unbelievably, New York City Boy. :shifty: Now he is a fan, not as big as me, but he has six albums and has subscribed to PSB page on Youtube...

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