Time for one more record along with dinner before we settle down for the evening with the last of our prerecorded episodes of Big Brother, the ‘Actually‘ album by the Pet Shop Boys.
I long ago reminisced about my record collection no longer being mine, but “ours”, with each of my ladies asserting their own music tastes on my original stash of records. This is just the recent addition that Kelly asked for for her birthday.
I’ve never been a Pet Shop boys fan, in high school or otherwise. Oh, sure, I might have feigned an interest depending on who my female crushes were at the time and who they were into but, seriously…not a fan.
And this was not an easy album to find but HRH and I did eventually locate it at the NAC Studio Shop in St. Catharines on a complete lark.
With this, their second album (released in 1987), the Pet Shop Boys perfected their melodic, detached dance-pop. Where most of ‘Please‘ was dominated by the beats, the rhythms on ‘Actually‘ are part of a series of intricate arrangements that create a glamorous but disposable backdrop for Neil Tennant’s tales of isolation, boredom, money, and loneliness. Not only are the arrangements more accomplished, but the songs themselves are more striking, incorporating a strong sense of melody, as evidenced by ‘What Have I Done to Deserve This?‘, a duet with Dusty Springfield (maybe the sole redeeming factor for this album with me). I do remember the then-scandalous video for ‘It’s A Sin‘ on MTV where Tennant’s lyrics are clever and direct, chronicling the lives and times of urban, lonely, and bored yuppies of the late ’80s.
And let’s not for forget this deep, philosophical little brain nugget:
“We’re S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G, we’re shopping.”
This album is right up Kelly’s alley for sure!
Despite how I might feel about this album, ‘Actually’ was featured in the 2005 musical reference book ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die‘ and in 2006 Q magazine placed the album at #22 in its list of ‘40 Best Albums of the ’80s‘.
So what do I know?