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 PET SHOP BOYS (Synthpop/Electronica)

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Number of posts : 172
Registration date : 31/05/2008

MesajSubiect: PET SHOP BOYS (Synthpop/Electronica)   Sam Mai 31, 2008 6:56 pm

(Thanks to Kaleid)

Pet Shop Boys are a popular English electronic music duo, consisting of Neil Tennant, who provides main vocals, keyboards and occasionally guitar, and Chris Lowe on keyboards and occasionally on vocals.

Pet Shop Boys have sold more than 50 million records worldwide. Since 1986, they have had 39 Top 30 singles and 22 Top 10 hits in the UK, including four number ones: "West End Girls", "It's a Sin", "Always on My Mind" and "Heart".

As stated on the Pet Shop Boys website, they are working on a new album with Xenomania which will be released early 2009.

Origin: London, United Kingdom
Genre(s): Synthpop, Electronica, House, Pop, Dance, Alternative Dance
Years active: 1981–present


Neil Tennant
Chris Lowe

Pet Shop Boys are a Grammy Award nominated British synthpop/pop music/electronic music duo, consisting of Neil Tennant who provides main vocals, keyboards and very occasionally guitar, and Chris Lowe on keyboards and occasionally on vocals. The duo write the vast majority of their songs and have also written songs for other artists.

Pet Shop Boys have sold more than 50 million records worldwide. The longevity of their career is generally attributed to their ability to create melodic and interesting pop/dance music. Since 1986, they have had thirty-nine Top 30 singles and twenty-two Top 10 hits in the UK, including four number ones: "West End Girls", "It's a Sin", "Always On My Mind" and "Heart".

Pet Shop Boys were very successful in the United States in the mid-1980s, with "West End Girls" reaching number one. Their last Top 40 single, "Domino Dancing", reached number 18 on the US pop chart in 1988. Since then, they have continued to enjoy cult and club success in the USA and are the fourth-most successful dance artists ever in the USA Billboard dance charts, behind Madonna, Donna Summer and Janet Jackson with eight Billboard Dance number ones. Pet Shop Boys have undertaken four world tours in 1991, 1999-2000, 2002 and 2006-2007. During each tour they performed a long series of concerts in the USA.

Pet Shop Boys' most recent studio album, Fundamental, was released on the Parlophone label on 22 May 2006. The album peaked at number five in the UK and in the rest of Europe at number two, marking a strong return to the charts. The album's first single, "I'm with Stupid" was released in the UK on 8 May 2006, reaching number eight in the UK Singles Chart. In December 2006, the duo was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Dance Recording ("I'm with Stupid") and Best Electronic/Dance Album (Fundamental).

In July 2007, Pet Shop Boys signed a new deal with Parlophone Records. They originally signed to the label in 1985 followed by a renegotiation in 1990. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe commented: “It’s over 20 years since we originally signed to EMI and we’re very happy to be continuing our relationship with them”. Miles Leonard, Parlophone’s MD says: “What Pet Shop Boys are doing is unique. They continue to be at the vanguard of pop culture, constantly surprising and thrilling us with their every move. We are extremely pleased to have them on the label.”

In October 2007, a new compilation album of their remixes titled Disco Four was released.

Band dynamic

The dynamic of Pet Shop Boys' image lies in the duo's public personalities — Tennant is perceived as an erudite intellectual, articulate, and verbose in speech; while Lowe, now almost always seen in his trademark attire of hat and sunglasses (since as early as 1985), appears as guarded and terse but nevertheless behaves as casual, flippant and fun-loving. They have even cultivated a pattern for interviews, in which Tennant is the primary speaker, answering questions at length, while occasionally being interrupted by brief, generally humorous interjections from Lowe (comparable to the concept of a comedic double act).

They are also seen as willfully contrary, defying expectations of record labels and the music industry in terms of commercial image, self-promotion, and the nature of their music; it is said that the members of Pet Shop Boys are defined by the things they refuse to do. A 1986 quotation by Lowe, taken from an Entertainment Tonight clip and subsequently sampled in their song "Paninaro," is often cited as the prime example of this:

“ I don't like country and western. I don't like rock music, I don't like rockabilly or rock and roll particularly. I don't like much, really, do I? But what I do like, I love passionately. ”

This also formed the foundation of the band's reputation as being anti-rock music (allying themselves with disco, positioned as a diametric opposite), which would later be built up in additional songs such as the 1993 single "Can You Forgive Her?" ("She's made you some kind of laughing stock / because you dance to disco and you don't like rock"), or the appropriately titled B-side "How I learned to hate rock and roll." Eventually, however, these differences were reconciled — a process that symbolically culminated with Pet Shop Boys' performance at the 2000 Glastonbury Festival, which was the surprise highlight of the three day event. Tennant expressed his gratitude to the crowd by thanking them for "being kind to us" and that they were "Glastonbury virgins".


This band dynamic has played a role in their public image as well. Early in their career, the duo were frequently accused of lacking stage presence, said to be a deliberate reaction to the hyper-cheerful music of the time demonstrated by bands such as Wham!. A typical early performance featured Lowe in the background hitting the occasional note on a Fairlight synthesiser keyboard and Tennant singing, but otherwise passive, in the foreground.

However, when they began touring in 1989, they were heavily influenced by opera and theatre staging. Derek Jarman staged their first tour, making a series of films to be projected behind the costumed singers and dancers. In 1991 they brought in David Alden and David Fielding from the English National Opera to create the staging and costume design for a show which made no attempt to involve or even acknowledge the audience, and pushed the choreography and staging centre stage. Subsequent tours have used artist Sam Taylor-Wood and architect Zaha Hadid for stage design. Their latest tour, ongoing in 2006 and 2007, was conceived and designed by theatre designer Es Devlin with choreography by Hakeem Onibudo.

Traditionally, Pet Shop Boys have always favoured avant-garde tailored fashions. Tennant often references the designers of his suits in interviews, and Lowe has often sported outfits and glasses made by Issey Miyake, StĂĽssy and Yohji Yamamoto's Y-3 for Adidas. Presentation has always been a major theme, and Pet Shop Boys have dramatically "reinvented" their image twice in their career. In 1993, when promoting their Very album, they wore brightly coloured costumes and used state-of-the-art computer technology to place themselves in a modern computer graphic world. This concept of reinvention was again realized for the promotion of the Nightlife album, in which they transformed their look wearing wigs and glasses with very futuristic urban wardrobes. In 2006 both Tennant and Lowe were seen on stage and in photographs wearing clothes designed by Hedi Slimane/Dior Homme.

Live shows

The duo employ a programmer, Pete Gleadall to oversee the computers (which are all actually running live) and play keyboards, as well as backing singers, which include long time singer Sylvia Mason-James. The boys have used Katie Kissoon in the past for vocal duties, and have used other musicians, Danny Cummings, Jodie Linscott, and Dawne Adams (percussion), Scott Davidson, Dominic Clarke, Mark Refoy and Bic Hayes (guitarists), as well as the late J.J. Belle (guitars and percussion). For their 1999 - 2000 Nightlife Tour, the boys employed NYC-based Peter Schwartz, (keyboards / programming) as their musical director, programmer, and keyboardist. As with previous tours, backing tracks were sequenced on a computer playing sounds from a massive rig of synthesizers.

On using computers and playing live shows, Neil Tennant commented in 1991 that

“ There is nothing actually on tape, Several synthesiser-based groups use tapes extensively but we don't. The reason we don't use musicians to play it all is that we are a computer based group, That's how we make our music. That is the kind of music we like: electronic music.That's how we make records; we program computers. There's no sneaky secrecy about anything. Everything is done in an entirely logical way. ”

Chris Lowe also commented in the same interview, (by Chris Heath for the Performance DVD sleeve notes), that

“ Apart from the guitar and extra keyboards it's all sequenced using MIDI. You set it up and it just plays. The machines are rack mounted and each one plays a different part.


The duo have always been very interested in the artwork, design and photography for their releases. Photographer Eric Watson helped create the original image of Pet Shop Boys, creating many of their photographs and videos from 1984 to 1991. In design they have primarily worked with Mark Farrow, who designed the cover of their first Parlophone album release in 1986. The collaboration between Mark Farrow and Pet Shop Boys is comparable to the designer-band relationship of Peter Saville and New Order,Anton Corbijn and Depeche Mode, or the epic-length collaboration of Simon Halfon and Paul Weller. Their record sleeves are quite often very minimal, and the attention to detail is obvious, down to the font type and style. In October 2006, they released a 336-page hardcover book entitled Catalogue, showcasing their accomplishments in artwork, design, and of course, music. This retrospective of work is certainly one of the most comprehensive anthologies any music artist could have.


Neil Tennant is openly gay, although he refused to confirm rumours about his sexuality in the 1980s until finally coming out in Attitude, a UK gay lifestyle magazine, shortly after the release of 1993's Very. Lowe, meanwhile, has remained tight-lipped on the subject. The duo are sometimes incorrectly assumed to be a couple (in the 1990 biography Pet Shop Boys, Literally, Tennant recalls that even their ex-manager, Tom Watkins, was under this impression for a time).

Pet Shop Boys are seen as significant figures in gay culture for such songs as "Can you forgive her?", "It's a sin" (for which gay director Derek Jarman produced the video), "New York City Boy" and their cover of Village People's "Go West". They have written a song about a young male fan spending a night with a rapper, based on Eminem, called "The night I fell in love" and a song about coming out, "Metamorphosis". Their 1990s single "Being boring" dealt with the gay experience and the devastation wrought by the AIDS crisis; the song (and its supporting video, filmed by Bruce Weber), remains one of their most popular. However, Neil Tennant has stated many times that his lyrics are not specifically gay. Many of their songs are written from an ambiguous view point that can be taken any way the listener perceives it, and this goes some way to explain why a large segment of their die-hard fans are heterosexual.

Pet Shop Boys have performed and worked with many artists considered to be gay and bisexual icons such as Elton John, Liza Minnelli, Dusty Springfield, Bananarama, Boy George, Kylie Minogue and Madonna. Pet Shop Boys attempted to organise and perform in a planned 2001 tour of out gay musicians, entitled 'Wotapalava'. However, the plans were later put on hold and the idea seems to have been discarded.


Pet Shop Boys have released nine "proper albums", twenty-two compilations and remix EPs, and fifty-five singles.
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