New EP incoming?

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Suburban_Boy
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New EP incoming?

#1 Post by Suburban_Boy »

From an article published in the Sunday Times. If you have a free account, you can read three articles per month.
The new tour is a five-star hit; their most recent album was well-received; new music — possibly an EP with songs about modern fascism — will be incoming.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/pet- ... -strhtr8wr

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leesmapman
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Re: New EP incoming?

#2 Post by leesmapman »

Fascism, always a fun subject.

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rashomon
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Re: New EP incoming?

#3 Post by rashomon »

Well something new would be most welcome …. Hope it’s true!
you could say conventional ... and I could claim intentional

Dog
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Re: New EP incoming?

#4 Post by Dog »

GLASTONBURY | INTERVIEW

Pet Shop Boys: pop’s great survivors on Glastonbury, Taylor Swift and Napoleon III

The duo reveal the secret of pop longevity — 20 years after they almost quit, they are headliners at Britain’s biggest festival

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Pet Shop Boys play Glastonbury next Sunday
ERIK WEISS, MASK DESIGN BY TOM SCUTT
Jonathan Dean
Sunday June 19 2022, 12.01am, The Sunday Times

Pet Shop Boys went to Hull last month, for a gig at the Bonus Arena. It followed a triumphant run in London, Manchester and Newcastle — but could the synth pop stalwarts do it on a rainy Tuesday night in East Yorkshire? Absolutely. The sold-out show ran through the hits, with its finale of It’s a Sin, West End Girls and Being Boring lifting the crowd to bliss. Suitably, the arena’s next big event was a seniors darts tour: another group of mature men who still know how to hit a target.

Next Sunday Pet Shop Boys play Glastonbury. Forty-one years and 14 albums after the singer Neil Tennant, 67, and the keyboard player Chris Lowe, 62, formed the band, they headline the Other Stage at the same time that the American rapper Kendrick Lamar tops the Pyramid. It is a battle of the hyped v the historic, and don’t rule out Pet Shop Boys being the bigger draw, in Somerset and at home via the BBC.

“We aim for euphoria,” Tennant says of their show’s continued appeal. We talk in a bare conference room in their Hull hotel the morning after the gig. “But people do go for a drink during the acoustic song.” (You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk.) “I know I do,” Lowe adds. Then they both laugh. They have a groove like this — in person and on stage. Tennant? Long, wry observations. Lowe? Quiet, before offering a probing aside. It is rare for two colleagues to get on this well, let alone those who have been stuck with each other since 1981.

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Tennant’s extra: Pet Shop Boys performing in Glasgow last month
ROBERTO RICCIUTI/REDFERNS

It was not always like this. Twenty years ago Pet Shop Boys played to a half-empty, smaller venue in Grimsby and considered packing it in. “And it was my birthday,” Tennant says with a sigh. “How old were you?” Lowe asks. “46.” “You weren’t even young then.” “I’ve never been young in this business.”

Now, though, they sell out arenas — it is some arc. In the mid-to-late 1980s, the band had what Tennant, who used to be a journalist on Smash Hits, calls their “imperial” phase.

Their first two albums, Please and Actually, sold by the millions. Then the spotlight faded and the 1990s was a lengthy “survival” period.

Grimsby, down the road from Hull, fell in that phase and they even wrote a self-deprecating song, Your Early Stuff, about becoming a has-been. Tennant had the idea when he was in a taxi and the driver told him: “‘I suppose you’re more or less retired now?’”

Yet they rose again. “You don’t expect your career to do that,” Tennant says. “You could just dwindle out.” So, what happened? First, the band made “big, brash pop” albums, which do well. Second, they got an outstanding contribution to music award at the Brits in 2009, at which Lady Gaga sang with them. Third, they supported Take That on a huge 2011 tour. Finally, they began playing festivals. Essentially, they reached new crowds. Last year the mega-selling US rapper Cardi B tweeted to her 23 million followers: “Pet Shop Boys are really underrated.” Her favourite song is Rent. “My mom used to listen to them!”

So is this a second imperial phase? “No, it’s not,” Tennant insists. But you are long out of survival mode? “Well,” he says, “my idea about that is based on Napoleon,” a line that no other pop star has uttered. In brief, Napoleon was emperor and ruled a lot of Europe. Then his power ebbed, but, says Tennant, while in prison on St Helena, Napoleon created his own myth and it endured to the extent that, 30 years later, his nephew became Napoleon III.

“I’m making this up as I go along,” Tennant says. “So, we need to create a myth?” Lowe asks. “No, we’re in the myth phase now. We are, in effect, Napoleon III. But remember. He was defeated at the battle of Sedan and went to Chislehurst, where he died.” (Tennant adds that the mansion in Chislehurst where Napoleon III lived is now a golf club — he visited once and got thrown out.)

“Basically, everybody goes through a phase where people lose interest,” the singer continues. “Then you can get to a time when apparently everybody always liked you, which is simply not true. Because everyone used to hate Abba.”

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Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant in 1987
MIKE PRIOR/GETTY IMAGES

At the gig in Hull there was a mixed crowd of gay, straight, young, old and Lowe’s very old mum, Vivien. As I watched fans watch Pet Shop Boys, it was clear how well age suits this band. Anthems once danced to take on a deeper meaning when one sits down, listening to lyrics, and there is a whole short story to be written about the couple in their fifties who could not look at each other while both singing along to I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Anymore.

New layers are being peeled off their old hits. In Hull, Tennant dedicated the elegiac Being Boring, written in 1990 about Aids, to “those we lost along the way” — the gig was delayed for two years because of Covid. “Everybody had a shared experience,” he says. “Unless you were in 10 Downing Street.”

Then there is It’s a Sin, the 1987 song that Russell T Davies borrowed for his show about Aids in the British gay community. If it was not the band’s best-known song before, it is now. “Everyone assumed it was about being gay,” says Tennant, who came out in 1994. “But it was about going to a Catholic school and being taught sexual activity other than for procreation is a sin. It was broader than about being gay.” He agrees the series changed that. “I’m very happy that the show has made it more gay.”

So they, and their music, evolve. Sometimes they release overtly political music — such as 2019’s Give Stupidity a Chance (“Well, stupidity is being given a very serious chance,” Tennant reasons). And sometimes they just play the hits.

The industry evolves too. They are notoriously quiet about their private lives, so how would they have found the modern marketing need to share everything on TikTok? “Quite difficult,” Lowe says, smiling. What are the big differences between musicians then and the younger ones they work with today? “They’re all really good,” Lowe says with a laugh. “And it’s not like the 1980s, where everyone was a rival so you hated them.”

Still, it is hard for young pop stars. A glance at the Glastonbury line-up reveals key slots being given to acts of a certain age, while streaming means significantly lower income and less chance to have your song heard, given that it is up against every piece of music yet recorded. All of which means that there is less chance to have enough hits to secure longevity.

“I don’t necessarily agree,” Tennant says, patiently, leaping into a state-of-the-nation speech about the mechanisms of pop. “There is a simple calculation for longevity — you need eight to ten hits people know and then you’ve got something. Like Ed Sheeran has.”

“But,” Lowe interjects, “now you can have eight to ten hits and people don’t know any of them. I don’t know any of Taylor Swift’s records and she must have had eight to ten hits?” He pauses. “But then,” he adds, “what is a hit?” “I always define it as something you have to make no effort to hear,” Tennant says.

OK, but with streaming services, we choose what we listen to — where does one hear a song by accident? “Shops. Ads. TV shows. In a taxi with the radio on,” Tennant says. Then the old pop hack in him reappears. “Or is hit music something in the past?” That would have filled a page in Smash Hits.

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Pet Shop Boys perform at the Brit Awards, 1994
DAVE HOGAN/GETTY IMAGES

I could have discussed this for hours. Ten years ago Tennant was invited to the BBC to talk about bringing back Top of the Pops. He told them the show had failed because they had moved it from being a light entertainment show to one that was about music because they worried that it was uncool. “But they are not cool people and Top of the Pops was never about being cool,” he insists. It was about being top of the pops. “Music fans are like football fans — they want their team to win prizes.”

He does not see the show coming back, to which Lowe adds, somewhat sombrely: “We never thought we’d outlast Top of the Pops, did we?”

Yet here they are — thrivers, not just survivors. The new tour is a five-star hit; their most recent album was well-received; new music — possibly an EP with songs about modern fascism — will be incoming. How do they manage it? Humour helps. “One of the reasons we carried on is that we take a certain pleasure in the low moments,” Tennant says with a smile. “A lot of people thought Pet Shop Boys were a bit of a joke; there was total amazement when Axl Rose said he was a fan. But, as you go on, you get a grudging respect.”

Well, most of the time. Once, in Manchester, a couple asked Tennant for a selfie. The singer said he did not do selfies, so the wife said: “Why, because you’re such a diva?” Her husband’s retort? “With a face like that, would you do selfies?”

Lowe laughs so hard that he is probably still laughing. “I love people saying tactless things,” he howls. Tennant shakes his head. Then he laughs too. After all, the band have had the last laugh. “People just say the most awful things,” he says. “Even a basic, ‘I used to like you’.” He rolls his eyes. “Is that a nice thing to say?”
Woof.

domino
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Re: New EP incoming?

#5 Post by domino »

Dog wrote: Sun 19 Jun 2022, 8:34 am At the gig in Hull there was a mixed crowd of gay, straight, young, old and Lowe’s very old mum, Vivien.
That’s the best bit for me. :lol: :lol: :lol:
A blues would be in B flat, pain defining wisdom,
but the soul is in the high hat, programmed in the system.

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Re: New EP incoming?

#6 Post by Dog »

domino wrote:
Dog wrote: Sun 19 Jun 2022, 8:34 am At the gig in Hull there was a mixed crowd of gay, straight, young, old and Lowe’s very old mum, Vivien.
That’s the best bit for me. :lol: :lol: :lol:
Maybe it was meant to read “very own mum”! That would have been a little more pleasant.
Woof.

Disco.
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Re: New EP incoming?

#7 Post by Disco. »

:lol:

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#8 Post by Ally »

“But people do go for a drink during the acoustic song.” (You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk.) “I know I do,” Lowe adds. Then they both laugh…
I love them 😀

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Re: New EP incoming?

#9 Post by Dog »

I could imagine an EP inspired by current world events, dropped suddenly a year ahead of the next album, in the same way that Agenda cleared the Brexit pipes ahead of Hotspot.
Woof.

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Drico One
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Re: New EP incoming?

#10 Post by Drico One »

Let's assume, for a moment, that the author is clued in rather than rambling. "Incoming" is a term that could be swapped for "imminent" or "on the way". It does not suggest 2023. If you were going to headline Glastonbury on a Sunday night, wouldn't it be in your interest to have a new release to capitalise on that in some small way? I mean, they could drop this at any time - they are not chasing chart positions - but if you wanted to release it for maximum exposure, wouldn't you tie it in to the biggest event you are going to take part in in 2022?

Drico.

PS As there has clearly been some speculation, an "incoming" release would also add justification - should there need to be any - for the decision to release Annually without a CD.
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leesmapman
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Re: New EP incoming?

#11 Post by leesmapman »

Yeah, I was thinking about that too. And "Imminent" and "Annually 2023" would also not rhyme.

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Patrick Bateman
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Re: New EP incoming?

#12 Post by Patrick Bateman »

It's funny how they keep discussing going down the dumper at the end of the 90s. It wasn't as easy as it was or as difficult as it could be - weren't they already playing festivals by the end of the decade? They went down well at Glastonbury in 2000. The period as the synth-pop Pink Floyd effectively began then.

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Drico One
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Re: New EP incoming?

#13 Post by Drico One »

I think this is the theme they have decided they will push for this greatest hits tour. It was the same in the programme: "How we have survived to tell the tale, triumphantly."

Glastonbury 2000 was, indeed, the turning point - but nobody really knew it then. Nightlife had, comparatively-speaking, flopped. The musical had yet to inflict itself on us. The catharsis of Release and their necessary reinvention as synth purists was still in the future. By the 2009 Brit Awards, they had done a lot of the hard work: become a viable touring behemoth, revitalised themselves with Fundamental, and further explored off-piste pursuits with the Potemkin score. Most importantly of all: they stuck around to benefit from this "new love" - or at least the restated appreciation that us loyal foot-soldiers always extended to them.

By 2009, they had survived long enough to be worthy of mainstream reappraisal and they had completed their touring apprenticeships. They always had that most crucial of ingredients for live success: a vast catalogue of hit music.

It was easy street after that: The Brits and Pandemonium, Glastonbury 2010, The Olympics, Electric and Stuart Price and It's A Sin on TV. Meanwhile, they were transmogrifying into the synth-pop Pink Floyd waddling pompously around the world like an overweight middle-aged man. Dreamworld is the apotheosis of this.

Basically, I'm pretty sure they couldn't have dreamed of having such a stellar career the day I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Anymore made number 15 and transformed the DotMusic forum into a blazing inferno of fan panic, volcanic depression, and a virtual death row for fairweather fandom.

Drico.
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PopArt
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Re: New EP incoming?

#14 Post by PopArt »

It does sound like we might get something new pretty soon. Maybe before the end of the year. I'm not sure it will be as soon as post-Glastonbury as this interview was only conducted a few weeks ago and it sounded a little uncertain. But who knows. What it does suggest to me is that they haven't got a new album ready to go. Which suggests that we might have to wait until autumn 2023 or even Q1 2024 for their next full length album.

All the talk of their 'down the dumper' phase is interesting. Times were tough for PSB from 1996 onwards. Bilingual felt hugely out of step with the times and all of the singles charted lower than they should have. They began the campaign confident, not even promoting the album, and ended it by covering Somewhere, playing festivals and putting on the Savoy residency.

But Nightlife was when it got desperate. They went all out to push the album- interviews, expensive videos, appearances designed to target the record buying public, a huge arena tour- and yet it basically flopped. They were in danger of becoming a joke with the 'dresses', wigs and of course New York City boy (which btw I love, but at the time it did raise eyebrows). And to be fair- after their first five albums were near on flawless- both Bilingual and Nightlife were not. They each could have done with a good edit and a clearer sense of purpose.

Then came Closer to Heaven which divided opinion, to say the least. And Release was then the product of all that. A retreat to indie-like status. A university tour. Only two singles. Smaller gig venues. Art house videos. A John Peel session. It felt like middle age had set in. However, my view is that it took the pressure off them. The reason they mis-stepped a bit on Bilingual and Nightlife was because the pressure was huge to stay relevant after a decade in pop. Whereas Release was the beginning of PSB just doing what, creatively, they felt like. And that liberation gave us Potemkin which I have always seen as the genuine turning point. Fundamental followed and the rest is history really. They have gone from strength to strength taking creative risks, evolving and cementing the PSB legacy.
I'm always waiting...


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