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Pet Shop Boys – Behaviour (1990)

January 28, 2016

UK

exemplary artwork by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Made in the UK Artist #1: Duran Duran

Made in the UK Artist #2: The Charlatans

Made in the UK Artist #3: Elton John

Made in the UK Artist #4: Pet Shop Boys

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[Album 446/1001]

I remember being particularly offended by a 1998 review of The Tragically Hip (TTH)’s Phantom Power. Offended as only a 16-year old can be when his/her favourite band is not wholeheartedly & unreservedly praised.

I can’t recall the author/periodical/rest of the review, but one (paraphrased) line remains 18 years later:

“only Bobcaeygeon & Fireworks (tracks 4 & 7) provide the expected TTH magic here.”

Why I never!

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Perhaps there are 16-year olds (or some still holding on to 16 as long as they can) reading today who will be equally offended decades from now.220px-PetShopBoysBehaviour

That being said, for me, only How Can You Expect to be Taken Seriously & So Hard (tracks 4 & 7) provide the expected Pet Shop Boys (PSB) magic here.

There’s some mismanaged expectations at play to be sure: I Actually really enjoyed the first two PSB albums from the list so I had Very high expectations here.

There’s also the issue of under-utilized talent in the form of Johnny Marr, who guests on two tracks. Without reading the sleeve, you’d never know it was him. I gather that at the time, he was trying to distance himself from the sounds of the Smiths, evolve as an artist, and other such understandable, even admirable goals. Even still, Marr’s guest appearance here felt a bit like having Louis C.K. as the special guest at a banquet, only to have him deliver a completely serious pre-dinner grace. Sure, he’d probably perform admirably but to give him a microphone and not hear some jokes…

Behaviour likely works best as an appropriate segue, a connecting bridge between the PSB of the 80s into the 90s.

Some might say this bridge between the decades is the main attraction in the PSB catalogue, this journey between 80s & 90s PSB is its own reward.

With this particular bridge, I likely prefer the destinations on either side.

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From → 1990s

18 Comments
  1. Jings! Three Pet Shop Boys albums in the 1001!?! That’s really quite surprising!

    • Jings indeed! The 1001 book’s funny in that way, if it deems an artist as important, they tended to include several by that artist. But then several other deserving artists went completely overlooked.
      Ahh well, perhaps that’s the point of the book, too much good music to be enjoyed, better keep enjoying it while we’re still here!

  2. I have always quite liked their singles, but found them a very boring album band.

    • Joe – about 30 seconds before clicking publish, I deleted a line something along the lines of ‘it was far from offensive but not too far removed from, to borrow the opening track name, being boring’ – glad you addressed it the comments!

  3. Man, anybody who writes about the Hip like that clearly wasn’t LISTENING. I ignore those nimnods.

    HIP FTW!

  4. Pet Shop Boys totally passed me by and I’m really OK with that. Everytime I hear them, I yawn. Meh. 😉

    Power to their fans, though. I mean, right on. Go on and get you some of whatever makes you happy, and all! It’s all for you, I don’t need any!

    • And with 3 albums on the 1001, looks like they’ve got a sufficient number of supporters so not to worry!

      • Well, more power to them all, then. 3 records? Ha I wouldn’t have put one. Ah well. I suppose that’s the point of that book. Who’s gonna totally agree with it all? Great conversation starter, that one.

  5. Hackskeptic permalink

    I haven’t reviewed this yet, but I recall the law of diminishing returns on every new album release so I think my assessment will probably be similar to yours. They were HUGE in the UK.

    Btw I was looking for a review that was relatively negative for DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing”. I was surprised to see that yours is the only one on the internet (the world!). Thanks for taking one for the team before I post my “meh” review for the record.

    • Haha, my pleasure Geoff!
      I was thinking about those ’emperor’s new clothes’ records recently, where it feels like listeners are compelled to say how brilliant something is when they just don’t see it. I look forward to your meh review!

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