h e r e s i e s

Derailed Trains Of Thought
previous heresy: A Christmas Tale | next heresy: The Devil Made Them Do It

On This Page: "A tale of Love, Loss and two Guys who named themselves after a pet shop in London"

www.Hell On Earth.com - "serving dubious content since 1998"
Wide Audience:Bunnies ] [ Gallery ] [ Misc. Hints ] [ HTML Editor Reviews ]
Narrow Audience:Site Info ] [ Opinion Pieces ] [ Mad Ideas ] [ Health ]
You Are Here:  Hell On Earth  >  Heresies  >  Hating The Pet Shop Boys

Hating The Pet Shop Boys

A Musical Obsession

The first time I took notice of the Pet Shop Boys was when everybody else did -- with WEST END GIRLS. When their single SUBURBIA came out a year later, I bought it, but soon my appreciation for their music ebbed -- a brief listen to their album PLEASE at the record shop failed to impress.

When IT'S A SIN was released, once again the airwaves were saturated with Mr. Tennant's nasal delivery, accompanied by Mr. Lowe's lush synthesizer arrangements. Naturally, I and everybody else interpreted the song credits "(Tennant/Lowe)" as Mr. Tennant writing the lyrics and Mr. Lowe doing the hard work of composing the music.

(Yes, I was also one of the people who believed that Paul McCartney had sung and written the lyrics to every Beatles song, while Mr. Lennon was busy writing chord changes. So I was naive, big deal.)

A friend lent me her tape of their their third album INTROSPECTIVE which not only completely failed to impress me -- the songs had stupid names and the album version of ALWAYS ON MY MIND wasn't the one I'd heard on the radio. Pet Shop Bah, Humbug.

Then, I met this stunningly beautiful woman who considered the Pet Shop Boys to be the unparalleled masters of popular music. I fell madly in love with her, only to discover she was herself madly lusting after Neil Tennant. Her persistent fascination with the British duo led me to the other extreme. I began to loathe them.

The turning point came one New Year's Eve (no, I don't remember the year), which she insisted we spend in an underground, sound-proofed practice room, listening to the Pet Shop Boys. Hoping to change her mind, I brought some other music, but after some feeble attempts to convince her that Adamski's KILLER was the pop song to end all pop songs, I eventually gave up and she slid INTROSPECTIVE into the CD player.

Given the fact that it was New Year's Eve and we were sitting in a sound-proofed basement, she turned the volume way up. The first song (LEFT TO MY OWN DEVICES) launched with a lush string arrangement and an angelic female voice which eventually gave way to a strong, energizing disco beat. It was way too loud, but she stopped me from lowering the volume.

Eventually, I gave up, closed my eyes and tried to see the bright side: Outside, New Year's Eve's deafening fireworks would have frightened and deafened me; instead I was sitting in a cozy bunker next to a woman I blindly adored, listening to dreadful, deafening music.

The first song finished with a thunderbolt, segueing into the bizarrely titled I WANT A DOG. The thumping bassline resonated in my stomach and, in a brief moment of epiphany, I finally got it.

Suddenly, it all became clear. This was great stuff and I had been an idiot for failing to notice earlier. The lyrics were carefully weighing the advantages of owning a dog instead of a cat. The music was flowing freely through my body. I had the strange "high" feeling one gets when one finally realizes that the answer to a problem had been there all along, right after inadvertently solving it without meaning to.

We listened to the full album and by the time the CD player got to the last track, I was a convert. It also was two minutes to New Year's Eve. We climbed out of the bunker, into the street and watched the fireworks. They were bright, loud and frightening, and I felt as if I was trapped in the middle of a war zone.

We went back into the practice room, locked the trap door and commenced the new year by listening to more Pet Shop Boys. When we got to BEING BORING, my eyes began to water and as I looked at the gorgeous woman next to me, I saw tears streaming down her chiseled cheekbones.

Over the course of the next weeks, months and years, I proceeded to purchase every Pet Shop Boys CD and CD single I could find. Any decent magazine with more than one page of information about Sirs Tennant and Lowe was soon mine. I even purchased and read two books.

The relationship never really took off -- not that night, not ever. But even after I ceased my hopeless pursuit of this impossible woman, we kept in touch: "I hear there's going to be a new single next month" and "Oh, actually I have been listening for it non-stop for two days now". Eventually, I traveled to London and ended up purchasing more CD's for her than for myself.

The bitter void in my heart was filled with the last track on the INTROSPECTIVE album, the one she had made me listen to just before New Year's Eve, IT'S ALRIGHT:

I hope it's gonna be alright
'Cause the music plays forever
And it goes on and on, and on and on and on

Ironically, the song isn't even by the Pet Shop Boys, just a cover version. But the way Mr. Tennant sang about the woes of the world and the feeble hopes we keep to avoid going insane still resonates in my stomach.

It is likely that some people detest the Pet Shop Boys so much is because their oevre encompasses the full spectrum of the human emotional existence.

Whatever feeling you might hold, they have already made it into a song: teenage angst (BET SHE'S NOT YOUR GIRLFRIEND), failing relationships (CAN YOU FORGIVE HER?, JEALOUSY) and the fear of aging (TO STEP ASIDE) -- they've covered all bases.

It helps that Neil Tennant's sometimes sloppy vocalization of the lyrics gives ample room for misunderstandings: In BET SHE'S NOT YOUR GIRLFRIEND, the intrinsically beautiful verse "I am kind of shy and dry and verging on ugly" is easily misheard as "I am kind of shy and dry and virgin and ugly".

Mr. Tennant's reminiscence about leaving a station "with half a sack and some trepidation" (on BEING BORING) seems to allude to a painful and embarrassing war wound, but as the lyric sheet uncovers, he was merely leaving "with a haversack and some trepidation". (No disprespect meant, Mr. Neil "Mumbles" Tennant.)

For the longest time, The Pet Shop Boys have insisted that their music is neither postmodern nor ironic, eventually hammering the point home with a hit single (YESTERDAY, WHEN I WAS MAD).

It didn't work, of course -- everybody smiled at the thought of the Pet Shop Boys denying their allegiance to irony: That Mr. Tennant, what a card.

Just weeks before, journalists of alll covers had declared their cover version of the Village Peoples' GO WEST to be high camp. How can they expect to be taken seriously when they have even written a song about not being able to respect rock stars?

Mr. Neil TennantThen, one day, suddenly Mr. Tennant came out of the closet. Tragically, this obliterated my ladyfriend's feeble chance of ever achieving her main aspiration in life, which was to marry him to spend all his money.

The irony being, of course, that I would probably stand a better chance, were I thus inclined. Upon finding out the news, she promptly called me, urging me to go for it and, and after successfully conquering Mr. Tennant's heat, share the loot -- err, his wealth -- with her. For some reason, I hesitated. Perhaps I can settle with just the Pet Shop Boys' musical output.

Postscript: Seeing other people scrambling for cover in their fear of the Y2K Bug, I can't keep myself from humming the last bars of the Pet Shop Boys song which always gets me up when I feel down:

The year 3000 may still come to pass
But the music shall last
I can hear it on a timeless wavelength
Never dissipating but giving us strength...

They have really all bases covered, the bloody bastards.

Selected Discography

ACTUALLY -- their second album

INTROSPECTIVE -- Turn it up!! I said LOUDER!!!

BEHAVIOUR -- including their magnum opus, "Being Boring"

BILINGUAL -- very accomplished, if you can forgive "Se La Vida E"

(Quotes from IT'S ALRIGHT by Sterling Void, as performed by the Pet Shop Boys, except where indicated)

This Thought: © MOATMAI (March 1999)

Previous heretic thought: An Out-Of-Season Christmas Tale
More heretic thoughts: The Devil Made Them Do It

More Heresies

No Afterlife for me, please: Against Life After Death

Don't ask how I'm doing; you don't want to know: Too Much Honesty

It's all Steven Spielberg's fault: Grow Up, Already

A true, if indiscreet, story: Christmas In A Tree

A musical obsession: Hating the Pet Shop Boys

Yet another opinion about Littleton: The Devil Made Them Do It

Spider-Man, The Early Years: Everything A Spider Can

Babies in Airplanes, Oh My: The Screamer

About the Terrorist Attack on New York and Washington: Terrorizing People

Hell On Earth:

Cute RabidBunnies | Misc. HTML Editor Reviews | Image Gallery | Health Status | Hints & Help for Games and Applications | Mad Ideas | Heretic Opinions | Site Information

Wide Audience:Bunnies ] [ Gallery ] [ Misc. Hints ] [ HTML Editor Reviews ]
Narrow Audience:Site Info ] [ Opinion Pieces ] [ Mad Ideas ] [ Health ]

You Are Here: Hell On Earth > Out Of Focus > Hating The Pet Shop Boys

Form & Content © 2000 MOATMAI at HELLONEARTH dot COM ... except where indicated