Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Pet Shop Boys – Invisible

Left to their own devices they probably would!


Edward Okulicz: Maybe I’m just jaded, but it seems around 15 years ago, every PSB album started to have one floaty nothing of a song that just mumbled “filler.” Now they’re releasing those songs as singles, I don’t know what to say.

Alfred Soto: At their most euphoric Tennant-Lowe have not exactly squelched their preference for the autumnal, so the declaration that “Whatever I have said or done/doesn’t matter in this chatter and hum” isn’t self-pitying. Whether the sputtering electronics serve or hobble the lyrics is a matter of taste. Me, I don’t expect men approaching their sixties to go Guetta or dubstep but you’d think these ace craftsman would remember that leavening moroseness with spirits and sequencers is as integral to their makeup as B-sides with magnificent titles. Tennant should return to his folkie roots and strum a guitar. He’s probably got an album of Tracey Thorn-esque drippy plaints in him.

Iain Mew: It’s difficult not to have the Pet Shop Boys’ position in the pop world in mind when listening to this. As a song that does everything so softly as to almost disappear, that makes it both a meditation on irrelevance and a cementing of the same. Any satirical bite is pulled so far back that it’s only in “well, quite” that it’s clear that there’s still life in there somewhere.

Anthony Easton: It is apropos that this was released during Pride, when the body fascism of twinks with very little clothing meets the toxic nostalgia of daddies with too much money. PSB finds a way of condemning both (sort of like “It’s A Sin” as an oblique commentary on the AIDS crisis) 

Brad Shoup: On this, their 23rd album, Sparks aim for that audiophile ennui, crafting a mordantly funny portrait of an aging pop act half-heartedly hawking their… wait, what?

Katherine St Asaph: Forget all Pet Shop Boys’ history, and this is the most gorgeous, crystalline trip-hop update (those synths aren’t far from “Climax”) we’re likely to get in 2012. This is impossible for millions, I realize, but it’s worth a try.

Colin Small: An interesting concept with absolutely no stakes. It’s “Comfortably Numb” inverted. Instead of not sensing what’s outside, what’s outside can’t sense you. The lack of stakes may be the point: a sad serenity stretching into the distance. These two seem to enjoy being invisible way, way too much.

Jer Fairall: Now this is being boring.

14 Responses to “Pet Shop Boys – Invisible”

  1. Closer to Katherine here than anybody. Slowness does not equal boringness.

  2. I love the prettiness and the immaculate sound design of this track, and will no doubt listen to it a million times, but it isn’t mordant OR dancey, in fact (as Edward pointed out) is basically the sort of floaty downer interlude that PSB have rounded their albums out with for 15 years — actually, it’s kind of worrisome if you take the lyrics together with the fact that they released it as a single, as if it were a declarative statement. (Like that Brandy track where she wondered, “Should I stay or should I go,” then… went, for quite some time.)

  3. I’m not sure if I’m ready for Neil Tennant to have a Leonard Cohen-esque “I am but an insignificant speck in the eyes of the LORD” phase.

  4. Now that I got jokez out of my system, I’m sure this will only get better.

  5. Their worst first single. I like plenty of their ballads and other slow ones and have been more tolerant than most of my favorite duo’s indulgences.

  6. Great blurbs, everyone. Wanted to write about it but found it frustratingly boring and couldn’t put my finger on exactly why.

  7. Because it’s frustratingly boring?

  8. I refuse to hate anything that reminds me this much of “Teardrop.”

  9. It’s an album track, not a single. The sound of Neil looking into the empty void and contemplating an alternative universe in which he married Janet Street-Porter and contemplated her empty void. Vagina dentata to the sound of a disco beat. Or no beat at all.

    An Elysian memento mori.

  10. You may be right, Edward, in that recent PSB albums have suffered at least one middling anti-climatic track that screams ‘filler’. However, you’re wrong in that they’re now releasing these as singles. Invisible isn’t a single, more a teaser for the forthcoming album. A proper single should be out sometime in July/August.

    You can all relax and take a deep breath as the proclamation that this is “their worst first single” is a little premature.

  11. At TSJ we consider pre-album teasers to be mostly the same as a single for most purposes since the effective death of physical media in the singles market renders artists’ idea of what song they’re going to push less important.

    I really don’t know what would make them think this is a good teaser for the album — as a former fan who was really disappointed with their last two albums (despite the relative acclaim they got, both were majority-filler in my ears), this actually makes me less interested to hear what PSB can do in 2012, not more.

  12. The views of Janet Street-Porter’s humanity and biology expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Singles Jukebox.

  13. But the point about it _not_ really being their worst first single is taken – breathe easy, “I’m With Stupid”, your crown is safe.

  14. At least Yes, to my ears their dreariest album — almost worthless — boasts “Love, Etc,” which has aged quite well.