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Pet Shop Boys – Very (1993)

June 12, 2013

[Album 194/1001]PetShopBoysVery

Perhaps what I enjoy most about this album and the Pet Shop Boys (PSB) in general is how delightfully out of place they are, whenever they are.

In ’93, most wore flannel & ripped jeans.  PSB wore futuristic costumes resembling Devo’s Whip It video.

Contemporaries buried melodies in distortion & screams.  Neil Tennant’s soothing tenor is consistently subdued over clean instrumentation.

The fantastic album packaging features raised bumps.  This was at the height of the CD era where customers needed no encouragement to buy a physical copy.

If you played the video of the closing track, Go West, to new audiences today, it is very unlikely its year of release would be guessed.

Let’s see:
– Village People song from the 70s
– Costumes resembling another video from the 80s
– A sound not dissimilar to some early 00s Scissor Sisters

Clearly 1993!

I missed the initial broadcast of the 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremonies (where PSB performed West End Girls).  I was pleased to hear my friend Megan’s assessment of the performance, “The Pet Shop Boys were still The Pet Shop Boys.”

Eccentric, not for everyone, and certainly not exactly like anyone else.

All the more reason to give an album like Very a listen.

From → 1990s

  1. I really wanted to talk about this album in my Record Store Tales. It’s the case — they were impossible to get a price tag to stick to, because of the texture, and when one of these cases busted, you were SOL trying to replace it!

    • I hadn’t thought of it from the retailer’s perspective. As a consumer, what a great case! As the seller, what a pain!

      • I loved it as a music fan though. Anything cool and different appealed to me! Pet Shop Boys have always been innovative with their packaging. They did later cases that were unique. The next album Bilingual came with a case that opaque sections like a shower door.

      • That sounds promising – nice to see they were ahead of the curve too. With CD sales in decline, I’m guessing more groups are now putting more effort into the packaging to persuade customers to buy. Once again, PSB were ahead of their time!

  2. Great post. I loved Very when it was released. Some really great tunes, particularly Can You Forgive Her and Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing (the video for which was broadcast in 3D on UK television one night).

    As well as the bumpy packaging, I remember early copies coming with an extra cd with some quite avant-garde (for PSB at least) dance music. eBay often has copies for a small fortune.

    Oh. And those pointy hats of course…!

    • Those were my two choices for standouts as well! Not my typical genre of choice, but I really enjoyed it.

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