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

4.4 out of 5
466 Ratings

466 Ratings

ppdix ,

THE BEST IN YEARS!

WOW! Great album. Creative and totally back to their signature sound but with an updated feel.
Although Patrick Cowley's and Bobby Orlando's influence is totally there…
Even PSB can't help but copy from the originators in the 80's. ;)

BillyHolcombe ,

Best in a long time!

Electric is a trip back to their dancey roots, nearly every track is blistering HiNergy mixable bliss and stand out lyrics, as usual… The review comes from various online sources, as well as my own super-biased views...
1. Axis. An instrumental opening for the CD, a techno-dance instrumental with minimal lyrics and vocals, the latter provided by both Neil and Chris on a roughly even basis, it indeed provides a powerful introduction to the album.
2. Bolshy. This was among the last songs composed for 'Electric.' Its chorus ("Bolshy, Bolshy, Bolshy, Bolshy, oh/Where your heart leads I will go") immediately suggests two possible readings. In the first, Neil's narrative persona is in love with a "Bolshy," which could refer to a leftist political radical or simply to a rather boisterous individual. In the other reading, that persona is, in effect, singing to himself—or, more precisely, to his own leftist political ideals and beliefs—affirming that he will always go where his heart leads.
3. Love Is a Bourgeois Construct. The song is very much in the semi-epic mode of such past favorites as 'Go West,' 'A Red Letter Day,' and 'Delusions of Grandeur,' with that mood derived largely from the fanfare-like components and chord structure drawn from the Nyman/Purcell work, 'King Arthur.' The narrator is bitter about a recent relationship and sour grapes can be detected, but a twist ending makes one believe all will be okay.
4. Fluorescent. Refers to the way in which this person can "light up a room." Containing sampled 'pops' and 'crackles,' invoking both an earlier age of analog recordings and nostalgia for when they were a virtually inevitable by-product of listening to one's favorite music over and over again. One can't help but feel that the person about whom Neil is singing, will not—for all of his or her "brightness," beauty, and fame—come to a good end.
5. Inside a Dream. The lyrics of this song are in many ways extremely vague and impressionistic, thereby lending themselves to all sorts of interpretations. After a chordal synth-organ intro, a bouncy electro-bassline forces you to move.
6. The Last to Die. Neil and Chris decided to cover this song after Chris's sister, Victoria, brought it to their attention. The title is inspired by words spoken by John Kerry in 1971 while testifying before U.S. Senate committee hearings on the Vietnam War. Not surprisingly, the PSB keyboard-dominated rendition contrasts with the more conventionally hard-rocking Springsteen original, though the differences aren't as radical as one might have expected. Both versions are truly epic in feel, even if they feel somewhat different in their "epicness."
7. Shouting in the Evening. A somewhat hard-edged number—the most abstract and experimental track on the album—it's basically an instrumental with scattered "processed" vocal interjections, strongly reminiscent of the techno music played at raves back in late 1980s and early 1990s. Most interestingly, however, Neil has noted that those vocal interjections were initially inspired by Lionel Richie's 1986 hit "Dancing on the Ceiling," especially its line "Oh, what a feeling…." Chris also makes a recurring vocal appearance with the words "That feels so good." Most if not all of the other vocals are apparently by Neil, although like Chris's they're treated in such a way as to make them barely recognizable.
8. Thursday. British singer/rapper Example (Elliot John Gleave) appears as a guest on this Electric track, which originated as an instrumental composed by Chris—on a Thursday—that he tentatively titled "A Thursday Night Special." The setting of this song is, indeed, a Thursday evening during which the narrator is trying to trying to persuade a hesitant, vacilating lover to stay with him at least for the upcoming weekend. He would even like to get an early start on it—surely in hopes that, if the weekend goes well, his lover will decide to stay even longer.
9. Vocal. The Boys told an interviewer for the Spanish newspaper El País that "Vocal" is about "the feeling of dancing in a club." A subsequent press release described it being inspired "by the way British youth [in the late 1980s] found its own freedom with a new culture epitomized by dance music and raves." That being the case, the song celebrates music—and, yes, dance music in particular—as a shared experience, a source of almost spiritual communal pleasure.

The entire CD is a great dance gift. I give it as many stars as possible. A must-have for any PSB fan.

MisterKen ,

Am I missing something?

So many gushing reviews…have we entered that territory where no matter what they do someone adores it because they are PSB?

IMHO this is weak. The songs are PSB b-sides at best. Gone is the witty song writing and storytelling that was made its return on 'Yes'. With the misstep of Elysium (what a mess that release is...) it feels like they are running back to electronic music for comfort. Sure there are hooks here but most of the instrumentation you have already heard, and done better, by other artists. This release could be be from 2005 or 1995…its faceless and tired…like the cover art.

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