9 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Using just about every imaginable musical format—from albums and extended dance floor singles to ballet and film scores—the Pet Shop Boys have spent three decades turning out lavish pop compositions of unfailingly high quality. The UK duo’s 12th studio album, Electric, is a demonstration of their lasting relevance as pop artists. Produced by Stuart Price (Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor, The Killers’ Day & Age), it features focused pop hooks, thundering rave-ups and arching melodies that stand among the best in their catalogue. It also has one of the most surprising offerings in the band’s history—a dazzling cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Last to Die”.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Using just about every imaginable musical format—from albums and extended dance floor singles to ballet and film scores—the Pet Shop Boys have spent three decades turning out lavish pop compositions of unfailingly high quality. The UK duo’s 12th studio album, Electric, is a demonstration of their lasting relevance as pop artists. Produced by Stuart Price (Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance Floor, The Killers’ Day & Age), it features focused pop hooks, thundering rave-ups and arching melodies that stand among the best in their catalogue. It also has one of the most surprising offerings in the band’s history—a dazzling cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Last to Die”.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.3 out of 5
469 Ratings

469 Ratings

Chrismac78 ,

A return to the top

Finally 20 years in from the release of very in 1993 the pet shop boys make a return to top form with all guns blazing, a very up beat young and fresh album with some amazing and catchy songs, the track "Thursday" is surely the hit on the album.. Come on boys I think another number 1 album is on the horizon at last!

custardboy ,

What a dream...

Amazing....THIS is the pet shop boys at their best,vocal,fluorescent,Thursday and inside a dream are stand out tracks...BRILLIANT..been a fan since the beginning and they never disappoint ....

Alcazarized ,

Electric energy...

Got my order in for the release date, but I've heard the songs on the Guardian stream. I wasn't one of those fans that hated Elysium: in fact, I've always liked the more subdued side of the PSBs' output. However, I love their dance side, and if you do too you'll probably like this album.

Opener 'Axis' channels the early 1980s: the period in which Neil and Chris first started working together. There are hints of Patrick Cowley's classic 'Menergy' in the introduction, the downward synth slide and the overall feel of the song, coupled with elements from Bobby Orlando. 'Bolshy' shifts us to the end of the decade with an insistent house piano riff and phenomenal breakdown. 'Love is a Bourgeois Construct' is classic PSB, four to the floor. It's in the vein of 'Go West', or 'Shameless', or 'It's a sin', and samples Michael Nyman (who in turn had borrowed from Purcell.) A bonkers lyric and great production. 'Fluorescent' is darker, very Visage-like. 'Inside a dream' kicks off with an enormous organ melody, a bit like the long-lost cousin of 'It's a sin', before everything drops out. The section with the bells in the middle is lush.

'The last to die' is a cover of the Bruce Springsteen song, treated to an electric dance makeover in the vein of the PSBs' reworking of "Where the streets have no name'. It works well here, and the political slant of the lyrics recalls the boys' 'Fundamental' album. 'Shouting in the evening' could have come straight from the PSBs' 1993 dance album, 'Relentless'.

'Thursday' is less frenetic. Neil Tennant has said that it's obvious that it's from 'the group that brought you "West end girls"' and there are certainly similarities in overall mood (and, I think, key). However, to me the song also recalls one of the songs the boys did with Liza Minelli, 'If there were love', in its squelchy baseline and synth washes. It's an incredibly catchy number, helped by a guest rap from Example, and the production (with the verses deep in the mix) is great.

'Vocal' rounds things off with a tribute to the potential of dance music, and especially the PSBs' version of it: 'Aspirations for a better life are ordained'. I'm not normally a fan of this kind of trance, but it fits in here and rounds things off really well.

This album has been likened to the PSBs' 'Disco' series, but it's really a companion piece to 'Introspective' or 'Relentless'. 'Return to form' is a hackneyed phrase, and one that I don't think is deserved here because I'm not sure they ever lost their form in the first place. However, 'Electric' demonstrates that Neil and Chris haven't lost the knack of writing hook-laden dance music. Coupled with Stuart Price's production, it's an exciting listen.

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