tremble clef

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pet Shop Boys, "The Resurrectionist (Goetz B. Extended Mix)" (2006)

"Actually the whole b-sides collection," Chris Lowe has said of Alternative, "is kind of a historical record of contemporary dance music..." "...often of us trying to copy things," Neil finished. The more recent Pet Shop Boys b-sides have taken their inspiration from current pop and rock, but the sentiment remains true: thus, "The Ghost Of Myself" is an obvious homage to "...Baby One More Time," while "I Didn't Get Where I Am Today" is the Boys' attempt to do a kind of Strokes pastiche. Sometimes it doesn't work (the clunky former); sometimes it does so brilliantly (the rollicking latter, which, despite what Neil and Chris have claimed, would have fitted perfectly on Release -- say, between "I Get Along" and "Birthday Boy" -- and given it the jolt of energy it needed).

"Does anybody need a body/From a resurrectionist?" This is blindingly brilliant. A bonus track on the forthcoming "I'm With Stupid" DVD single, "The Resurrectionist" take a leaf from The Killers' book -- which of course was itself completely written in, and by, the 80s. There is the classic 80s bassline ("Into the Groove"/"Loves Come Quickly"), and the big, big drums that Trevor Horn is clearly still in love with, but most Killerish of all, a new wavy synth riff that sounds like a rejiggled version of the one on "Smile Like You Mean It." Even lyrically, the song touches on a favorite Killers topic -- but in a wittier and more erudite fashion -- and one that a friend has unfortunately had to think about these few days. As with many of Neil's words, this set apparently arose from his reading, specifically of Sarah Wise's The Italian Boy: Murder and Grave-Robbery in 1830s London, which is about pre-Victorian criminals who supplied medical schools with cadavers, first by robbing graves, and then eventually by creating the supply themselves. "We all gotta earn ourselves a living/All it takes is a little bit of digging." "We don't bring them back to life/But we do bring them back from the dead."

Should this have been on the new album, which some people are already grousing is too ballad-heavy? Discuss. At some point, probably closer to the release date, I'll write about Fundamental, if I don't decide there's way too much to say. (Oh, and this one is just up for three days.)

8 Comments:

  • u r a peach 4 posting this. (don't ask why I am in Prince speak - or "eye am")

    I imagine what I will do is "remove" a few tracks and replace them with bsides and songs from the bonus disc for my own version of this album. I like this song better than "Psychological" for instance.

    Have you heard the album?

    By Blogger xolondon, at 9:53 PM  

  • I'm a bit dissapointed with Fundamental (though I haven't listened to all of the tracks yet). The Pet Shop Boys have lost something essential, and it bothers me that I can't figure out what is it. It probably has to do with Neil's voice.

    By Blogger daavid, at 3:12 AM  

  • Daavid, I agree with you completely. I think that a bit of what's happened is that PSB have made a Turn Toward Seriousness. It was always there, of course -- "Hit Music" is one of the first, and best, pop songs about AIDS -- but Neil gets closer and closer to Bono as time goes on. "I'm With Stupid" is hardly "It's Alright."

    Fundamental, as an album, seems to be a statement about the relationship between music and politics -- the costs and benefits of pop as escapism. In my opinion, they used to think that the benefits far outweighed the costs, and now they're not so sure -- hence the songs implicitly about Blair (not only IWS, but also "I Get Along") that they wouldn't dared to have recorded a decade ago.

    By Anonymous esque, at 10:29 AM  

  • Yes, xo, I've been listening to the album. One reason why more posts recently have been on older songs, because I haven't listened to much else.

    esque, I agree that the Boys are Turning Towards Seriousness, which isn't always flattering. But at the same time the issue of pop as escapism seems to me more vexed, and it's not entirely clear to me that the Turn Towards Seriousness is accopanied by, or results in a Tuirn Away From Escapism. They're never been uncritical of the idea of escapism -- I think they've explicitly mocked the idea that love is all you need, or even that "it's gonna be alright," because it's not going to be (that's why "It's Alright" was so jarring, and they've themselves admitted that it contradicts things they've said before).

    By Blogger Brittle, at 2:37 PM  

  • I am sort of surprised by the disappointment with Fundamental, but just because of the album it follows, which was truly tepid. Everyone has their own PSB faves.

    I would say they needed one more slamming song on this CD - they have one too many slowies. A few songs sound like they needed a little more baking too... but the trio of great songs (Minimal, S&G and Integral) are just PSB at their finest.

    About the turn toward seriousness, I think they do it periodically, esp on Behaviour.

    By Blogger xolondon, at 7:29 PM  

  • The Turn Toward Seriousness on Behaviour is a bit different than the TTS on Fundamental. Behaviour is about coping with death and destruction at home; Fundamental is about coping with death and destruction halfway across the globe.

    I have to confess that I don't know how to judge the logics of either of those coping mechanisms. But I do think that the second is far more Bono-ish than the first, and that the dancefloor can't be the same answer that it used to be. Fundamental is trying to figure out how to rethink music in an age of protease inhibitors, and I think that this is part of the reason why "Twentieth Century" is a ballad. A decade ago, it would have been the disco stomper to end all disco stompers. But everything is so much more ordinary now, and the difference between Neil and Bono has become eclipsed as a result.

    By Anonymous esque, at 10:20 PM  

  • I still think Neil is great as a lyricist. I mean yes, I'm With Stupid" may be a bit more obvious, but it could certainly still be interpreted as being about love and deception.
    What puts me off really is how things start to sound a little forced sometimes. The line "If you've done nothing wrong..." is great but it doesn't really fit in a chorus, does it? Same with "Love is a Catastrophe".

    By Blogger daavid, at 5:22 AM  

  • arrrgh, i can't believe i missed this...i am the suck.

    By Blogger John, at 2:27 AM  

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