Living in the Past + Relentless - commentary?

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NotInvisible
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Living in the Past + Relentless - commentary?

#1 Post by NotInvisible »

Neil and Chris have commented on virtually every song they've ever written, between Literally/Annually releases and the liner notes for the re-issues. But there are a few exceptions:

Relentless tracks
Living in the Past

Have they ever commented on these songs?

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Dog
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Re: Living in the Past + Relentless - commentary?

#2 Post by Dog »

NotInvisible wrote:Neil and Chris have commented on virtually every song they've ever written, between Literally/Annually releases and the liner notes for the re-issues. But there are a few exceptions:

Relentless tracks
Living in the Past

Have they ever commented on these songs?
You’re right - they have said very little on the Relentless tracks. Presumably Living in the past will be covered in the forthcoming Annually. Pet Shop Boys is another track they’ve never said a great deal about.
Woof.

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daveid
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Re: Living in the Past + Relentless - commentary?

#3 Post by daveid »

Dog wrote: Fri 16 Feb 2024, 10:00 pm
NotInvisible wrote:Neil and Chris have commented on virtually every song they've ever written, between Literally/Annually releases and the liner notes for the re-issues. But there are a few exceptions:

Relentless tracks
Living in the Past

Have they ever commented on these songs?
You’re right - they have said very little on the Relentless tracks. Presumably Living in the past will be covered in the forthcoming Annually. Pet Shop Boys is another track they’ve never said a great deal about.
I'm sure there's a Chris Lowe quote somewhere regarding "Pet Shop Boys" along the lines of the potential of animal sounds to make a pop song.

As for Relentless...we don't talk about it. It's our mystery album...ooooh... Now that's what I call mysterious

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Xakrij
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Re: Living in the Past + Relentless - commentary?

#4 Post by Xakrij »

daveid wrote: Fri 16 Feb 2024, 11:01 pm
As for Relentless...we don't talk about it.
The first rule of Relentless is:
You do not talk about Relentless.

The second rule of Relentless is:
You DO NOT talk about Relentless!
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Re: Living in the Past + Relentless - commentary?

#5 Post by domino »

daveid wrote: Fri 16 Feb 2024, 11:01 pm As for Relentless...we don't talk about it. It's our mystery album...ooooh... Now that's what I call mysterious
But what we do talk about is Postscript, even if it's not listed on any sleeve. :gag:
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Re: Living in the Past + Relentless - commentary?

#6 Post by stormynight »

daveid wrote: Fri 16 Feb 2024, 11:01 pm
Dog wrote: Fri 16 Feb 2024, 10:00 pm
NotInvisible wrote:Neil and Chris have commented on virtually every song they've ever written, between Literally/Annually releases and the liner notes for the re-issues. But there are a few exceptions:

Relentless tracks
Living in the Past

Have they ever commented on these songs?
You’re right - they have said very little on the Relentless tracks. Presumably Living in the past will be covered in the forthcoming Annually. Pet Shop Boys is another track they’ve never said a great deal about.
I'm sure there's a Chris Lowe quote somewhere regarding "Pet Shop Boys" along the lines of the potential of animal sounds to make a pop song.

As for Relentless...we don't talk about it. It's our mystery album...ooooh... Now that's what I call mysterious
There Chris only says of it, rather cryptically, "The musical possibilities of animal noises." As Neil has put it, it was "just us playing around on the Emulator," an early sampler. Neil has also described how, after he and Chris had returned to Britain from recording with Bobby O in New York City, he played for his colleagues at Smash Hits some of their fruits of their labors: "The track everyone liked best was 'Pet Shop Boys' because it was weird." Neil has also pointed out that it doesn't appear on Alternative because he and Chris don't own the rights to it. (Apparently Bobby O does.) So it's safe to say that "Pet Shop Boys" is indeed part of the "true PSB canon," so to speak, whereas "Theme for the Pet Shop Boys" isn't.

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Danimal
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Re: Living in the Past + Relentless - commentary?

#7 Post by Danimal »

In terms of "Relentless", they've never really commented on its specific tracks over the years, but rather of spoken of it in terms of its general concept or mood. Back in 1993 Neil said when they were writing the songs that would become "Very", they found they were also writing songs similar to the ones David Bowie's "Low" album, meaning more partial or unfinished songs. While they didn't say this directly, it was implied this was new for them, but it was a facet of their art they enjoyed exploring, hence it became it's own body of work.

The only track I remember them commenting on directly was "One thing leads to another" when Neil commented the words were in reverse chronological order. If one listens closely to this track one may hear an edit toward the end, indicating the album version was extended in production, hence they may have been considering it as the album's single had they ever decided to release it on it's own.

Personally, I find it baffling they don't seem to consider it an official studio album. The basic tracks were written and recorded during the "Very" sessions, then they spent three weeks finishing those basic tracks at Sarm West after "Very" was completed. They seem to consider "Relentless" something less than a proper studio album, but something more than an EP; it is truly a unique release in their cannon. Taken as a whole, one could look at "Very Relentless" a true double album, with each album of the set representing a different facet of their art. It would seem fitting their only album entitled with two words is their only double album effort. In this sense it could be considered "Very" 1.1 or an extension of "Very" rather than something truly distinct.

A release that could have been divided in a similar manner to "Very Relentless" is The Cure's "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me" with one disc containing pop songs and the other containing psychedelic tracks, but The Cure choose to intermix these two styles on the album rather than segregating each to its own separate disc.

As a music enthusiast, I tend to enjoy an artist's more unusal efforts, and in this sense "Relentless" is one of my absolute favorite releases, along with Erasure"s "Day-Glo (Based on a True Story)." When one has followed an artist over the course of years, their standard releases tend to lose some of their appeal over time, so the diversions and novelties are often extremely welcome.

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