Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Pet Shop Boys – Love, Etc.

Fresh from their Lifetime Achievement Award at the Brits, and not featuring Lady Gaga…


Doug Robertson: The thing with the Pet Shop Boys, and I speak as someone who willingly sat through the entirety of the entertainment vacuum that was this year‘s Brit Awards just to see their bit, is this: do we really need any more Pet Shop Boys songs in the world? This is good, mind, with bleepy shouty bits aplenty, full of all the things that make the band great, and even a slight hint of mid-period Depeche Mode lurking in the background, but would you really choose to listen to this ahead of the vast majority of their back catalogue?

Edward Okulicz: A relatively slight song, but flashes of excellence; the slightly sinister plinky backing and the call and response chorus are both fine. Some problems though: the first verse’s melody doesn’t suit Neil Tennant’s voice at all (a sign that while 25 years in the biz have made them sure of his strengths, it may have made them forget his weaknesses too) and the lyrics are frankly awful in places – “a supercar to get far”, oh please. Still, miles better than “I’m With Stupid”.

Hillary Brown:Quietly marvelous stuff that taps just the right mildly melancholic vein without ever becoming depressing. It’s not a barn-burner, but it’s a good cool-down/make-out song.

Ian Mathers: If I say that Neil Tennant’s vocal presence has been getting wispier and more sly as the years go by, I hope you’ll agree that’s a compliment – by now he’s pop’s Holy Ghost, flitting through the Boys’ maximalist synth-pop palaces (now with Xenomania!). This might be their best single since the mind-bendingly great “Flamboyant,” and like that song it sees the band in a reflective, advice giving mood, one that suits them surprisingly well. At this rate, it’s tempting to say that the empire never ended.

M. H. Lo: We’re now accustomed to using “etc” as a dismissive phrase (as in “love, blah blah blah”), so it’s a nice twist to find that the title of the Boys’ single is not only sincere, but literal: it is a song about love and other things. But the surprise ends there, because what the song says about these material things – the car, the jet, the Gerhard Richter painting – is simply that they aren’t as important as love. It’s a clichéd sentiment, especially from a band that once wrote a song (“If There Was Love,” for Liza Minnelli) to rebut the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.” The unfulfilled promise of the lyric, sadly, is representative: while still above-average, this track falls short of being one of the band’s best.

Additional Scores

Martin Kavka: [8]
Martin Skidmore: [7]
Keane Tzong: [8]
Alex Wisgard: [7]

One Response to “Pet Shop Boys – Love, Etc.”

  1. Heh, this might be the most lukewarm 7.22 in the Jukebox’s history.