We wonder what the third single from Elysium is doing out already…
Brad Shoup: When the alveolar trill provides your only thrill.
Anthony Easton: I always liked the Pet Shop Boys as aphorists, with a slightly hermetic bent to their supreme camp. Though this attempts to the old style, earnestness has replaced the flatness of the earlier, better work.
Jonathan Bogart: Every review of the Pet Shop Boys’ new record I’ve read has stunk of resentment at their daring to grow old; but if I ignore all that I’m still left with the music, which is so underwritten and lethargic (and not just compared to their peak) that it’s almost a relief to talk about age.
Alfred Soto: The first thing about “Leaving” is how much warmth Neil Tennant can coax out of singing without affect. A voice attenuated only slightly by age gives lines like “Our love is dead, but the dead they’re still alive/In memory and thoughts and the context they provide” the wryness of late Philip Larkin. The second thing about “Leaving” is that it needs all the warmth and wryness it can get.
Sabina Tang: In recent Tumblr conversation with Ian Mathers, it transpired that I am an oddball because I only ever get ASMR from listening to intricately produced dance music. This track triggers the response so intensely I can barely feel my arms to type right now. Pillowy Luomo-esque synth pads, Neil Tennant murmuring multitracked regrets in my ear — but also, specifically, the fact that you can watch Chris Lowe play that low-down toms fill in the video. There’s not much by the way of melody, but if all of Elysium is like this and “Invisible” I have a new favourite album to sleep to on plane rides.
Will Adams: “Invisible” bored me so much that I couldn’t bring myself to write about it, so it’s nice to hear something with a pulse. I concede that the tempo is mostly the reason, but there are other features that inject life into “Leaving.” Take the chorus’ dense harmonies, the string swells, or the rumbling toms that crop up every couple of measures. They’re almost enough to overcome the bloodless lyrics.
Katherine St Asaph: Desiccated dance to evoke your desiccated feeling inside is… still pretty desiccated. Tennant manages to rouse some sounds by the bridge, after everyone’s stopped noticing.
Edward Okulicz: Neil Tennant, who never used to write more than a few dead lines per album, has put stacks of them in here, and maddeningly, he’s interspersed them with some interesting ones too, enough to make one long for the effortless, economical poetry of Behaviour. Musically, it pulls off the trick “Love, etc.” stumbled on, which is to throw enough low-key hooks at you that once you’ve managed to focus in, you’re humming along. As all national treasures do when they’re agreed to be national treasures, they exist pleasantly, and have earned the right to do so. They haven’t earned the right to get high marks just for doing so.