Review: Pet Shop Boys Yes


23 avr. 2009, 19h41m

Pet Shop Boys: Yes
Pet Shop Boys- Yes
One of the few groups that started in the 80s that keeps on going, and for the most part, keep to their core principals of clever and witty lyrics(in Neil Tennants love it or hate it nasal voice) lush synth melodies, and orchestral flourishes.

While their last album was a rather political affair with old collaborator and Art of Noise member Trevor Horn, The Boys have swerved into the other direction with a very optimistic, buoyant pop album with the super production house Brian Higgins, Xenomania, responsible for many Brit hits from Girls Aloudand the Sugababes, with their crowning achievement being Cher’s auto tune classic,Believe.

For the Pet Shop Boys, YES a is downright SUNNY album, probably the sunniest since the latin influenced Bilingual. Neil is less cynical and snide in his lyrics. And there isn’t really a single Neil Tennant “rap” on the entire album.

While nothing here reaches the height of their 80s work lyrically or musically, or their magnum opus, 1993s Very, there are some fun moments on Yes.

It kicks off with the lead single, and best track on the album Love etc. A bouncy, sprite swing beat synth pop songs with a lush electronics, and a big male Chumbawumba like chorus. This one is all about finding love, and it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, or your possessions in life, its love that matters. Sounds a bit cliché when I write it hear, but it’s a great single.

Track 2 is All Over the World. They nick some of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite putting it over a mid tempo house beat that’s not too dissimilar to Royksopp’s Someone Like Me. Once again, another ode to love, and feeling it everywhere. A nice and usual mix of orchestral and electronic elements that the Boys pull off so well.

Beautiful People harkens back to their album Release, and is heavily influenced by California 60s Rock, and one of their most different songs, with The Mamas and The Papas like harmonies on the chorus. Johnny Marr from Electronic and The Smiths helps out on Guitar and Harmonica. Its about trying to attain that dream, id even say the American dream..the house, the car, the kids.

Did You See Me Coming seems like pure Xenomania pop, but with some Chris Lowe arcade noise/70s space ship noises thrown in for good measure. Definitely the brightest and poppiest moment on the album. About that first initial meeting and the spark and excitement we feel when meet that special someone.

Vulnerable is about the masks we wear with people, but really being vulnerable inside. Not an album highlight, but still a solid track.

More Than A Dream is a pop dance number, with a bit of funk disco. A repeated motif about feeling the magic of love but seeing it through the obstacles. Female vocals on the chorus

Building a Wall mixes cold war images, a long with mixing Ceasar, Jesus, and Marvel Comics Captain Britain (where Neil used to be an editor in the early 80s) about conflicts in relationships, and the defense mechanisms we use to shut people out. Probably the finest lyrics on the album

King of Rome seems to me like a watered down version of some of Very’s more superior work musically. Using his softer, higher register, sings of loss and lonliness

The PSB even admits it themselves that Pandemonium sounds like Knock on Wood by Amii Stewart, with its swing beat. It’s a loving relationship that seems to be always in jeopardy by a partner who is always finding themselves in some sort of drama or trouble.

The Way It Used to Be is another Xenomania highlight. Very poppy, but at the same time, touches of sadness with a relationship that’s dissolved but still pined after. The song has a strong and catchy female backed chorus (that was supposedly for Tina Turner to sing) There also a great instrumental break with synth arpeggios, piano, and lush instrumentation.

Legacy is the closing track, an orchestral/synth affair about surviving the loss of a love and being able to move on afterwards.

While it may not be there best album, a “poor” Pet Shop Boys album still beats the pants of anything else calling itself “pop” these days, even though Neil’s lyrical depths aren’t what they used to be.


  • DaHouseN-Gineer

    YES is just a great album. I am so proud, that the world can still bring me another PSB album. which changes my life. love ya !

    20 août 2009, 19h53m
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