The new Pet Shop Boys album ‘Electric’ is really good, let’s all try and make it Number 1 please

If you didn’t know, the Pet Shop Boys new album ‘Electric’ is out this week. Its being hailed as their big comeback, despite their last album only coming out ten months ago. That’s because last year’s ‘Elysium’ was chilled, reflective and… a little bit boring to be honest. ‘Electric’ is the Boys returns to the dancefloor, and the true sequel to 2009’s FANTASTIC Xenomania produced (the guys behind Sugababes, Gabriella Cilmi and the Almighty Aloud‘s biggest hits to name a few) album ‘Yes’. But not only that, it feels like the album PSB should be making and in fact… the album Daft Punk should have made this year with ‘Random Access Memories’.

This is absolutely amazing, why is this not played everywhere?!?

Don’t get me wrong this album is clearly the work of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe (y’know, the Pet Shop Boys) and producer Stuart Price (The Killers, Kylie, Take That, Madonna). But it’s got the interesting electronic twists and turns that people who know Daft Punk pre-‘Get Lucky’ are used to. ‘Axis’, linked above, is a kitchen sink affair, and could easily be the work of Godfather of Electronic Music Giorgio Moroder, whilst ‘Shouting In The Evening’ is insane in a ‘Skins party sequence/keep the dubstep kids happy’ way whilst still sampling Lionel Richie. 

Elsewhere, ”Vocal’ is a full on raveathon with lyrics about being in a club and getting lost in the music and ‘Thursday‘ is an ode to starting the weekend early, featuring ‘What We Made’ hitmaker Example. Of the 9 tracks here, 7 are instantly gratifying, with only ‘Inside a Dream’ and Bruce Springsteen cover ‘Last to Die’ being overshadowed by the amazingness of everything else on my first dozen or so listens. But the Boys are (usually) clever with writing tracks that take just that little bit longer to reveal their brilliance, so I’ll get back to you on that one.

And now we come to my highlight of the album; a song with possible the most Pet Shop Boy-ish title of all time – ‘Love is a Bourgeois Construct’. An italo-disco affair that hits the sweet spot on first listen, where we find Neil is disillusioned with love, believing it only exists in books and whatnot. Its all very tongue-n-cheek and bounces along giddily, occasionally blasting off into some computery vocal effects (but tastefully done).  There’s even some classic ‘Go West’ male choirs thrown in for good measure. Listen and love:

Yeah, its that good I put it up there twice.

Now here’s the thing: the album is currently sitting at Number 2 on the album charts. This is great, because although ‘older’ bands like Black Sabbath have done great in the album charts this year, and a lot of old stuff is coming back into fashion, the Pet Shop Boys are seen by people of my age and pretty ridiculously ‘uncool’ (maybe its coolness, not love that is a bourgeois construct). The person keeping them from Number One is… this dude.

I mean, REALLY?!?

‘Blurred Lines’ (the song) has been Number 1 for 4 weeks, before getting knocked off by Icona Pop‘s amazing ‘I Love It (feat. Charlie XCX) and then climbing up to the top spot again last week. Well done everyone. I’m not being funny but whilst the song has a really catchy production, the song is dreadful and like the video, it’s a little bit… rapey.

Maybe since turning 21 I’ve actually become 40 but I find #BLURREDLINES (grrrr) crass and… pretty trashy. And off the back of that, this guy is going to have a Number 1 album over British music legends, with a career spanning 25+ years and legendary songs like ‘West End Girls’, ‘It’s A Sin’ , ‘Suburbia’,’Always On My Mind’ and I could go on but you get the point. So I’m begging of you please, music buying public of Great Britain; put aside your ideas of Pet Shop Boys being too old, boring, posh or… gay and go buy a very good electronic/dance album and enjoy it for what it is. Which is pretty spectacular.

Also, I got my first ever vinyl yesterday:

Iconic.

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New Music Video: Diana Vickers ‘Cinderella’

How this didn’t make it into my Top 5 I don’t know, I think I stopped listening to it because the release date was (and still is) so far away, I didn’t want to get tired of it. Now the video is out the song is back on repeat again and I love it even more.

The music video’s not exactly groundbreaking, but looks very well done despite Diana being on a smaller label. There’s great use of location and simple colours (white/cream and black mostly) and all that technical stuff. The story is exactly as you’d expect: Diana meets a cute bought in male model type, they flirt and avoid getting caught. What sets it apart from many is that there’s genuine chemistry between them, and the male love interest is good looking but not in the ‘straight out of the Topman website’ kind of way most (*cough*Yo-yo*cough) videos do. Diana’s cute little winks extend to her solo shots, and she flirts with the camera brilliantly. She’s got natural star power, this girl, like some sort of… ‘X Factor’.

The song is still all kinds of incredible, co-penned by (ex) Xenomania lyrical genius Miranda Cooper, Diana voice goes perfectly with the light synthpop production and the lyrics. The ‘I believe in thunderbolts and butterflies’ is a standard Miranda-ism, as is the time-checking middle eight, but my favourite bit of the song – the ultimate Miranda touch and bit that makes me feel all magical and whatnot – is the chorus. Specifically the bit in the chorus where Diana sings “for you I would lose, buh-both of my shoes”. The triple ‘ooh’ rhyme and the fact ‘both’ is ‘buh-both’ just makes it for me. Its kind of hard to explain, but its just one of those little things that add to it. 

Cinderella‘ is criminally not out until July, and here’s hoping it starts Diana’s second album campaign off with a hit. It’d sadden me to see that now both Xenomania geniuses Miranda and Brian Higgins solo female projects fail (that’s Amelia Lily by the way).

Amazing New Song Alert! ‘Racer’ by Giorgio Moroder

Giorgio Moroder is a pretty big deal. He is practically the godfather of synthesized music, producing Donna Summer’s classic ‘I Feel Love’ all the way back in ’77 (the year of A New Hope. What a great year!) and kickstarted the use of of all electronic instruments in everyone’s favourite genre – disco. Modern music owes so much to disco, and Moroder – techno, house and the current Eurodance EDM craze all have these 70s influences all over them. You could even say ‘dance music’ is just a way of repackaging disco after America decided to wipe it from its history, along with racism and the fact the country was built off immigration.

I’m digressing (into possible controversy), the point is that this genius is making something of a comeback. He features on the new Daft Punk album – apparently the most pre-ordered in UK history, in a song called ‘Giorgio by Moroder’ which is a monologue set to his life set to amazing music. I assume, although the whole thing is streaming legally online I’m saving myself until its out properly. But this is more than keeping me entertained.

The song is called ‘Racer’, for a Google Chrome game of the same name. It’s a free download if you have a Google account and some music app software I deleted right away after download. Its a full on electronic assault affair, building on a funky beat with sparse, possibly French vocals, occasionally dropping to a twinkly piano melody before coming back up for you to game – or dance to.

There’s not really much else to say about it; its simple but layered and progressive, totally throwaway but utterly addictive. Give it a spin.

(Get it, spin like a record, but also like wheels on a car – coz its a racing game. Oh I give up)