This is the first, and considered by
many fans and non-fans, to be the quint-essential Pet Shop Boys album.
Anyone familiar with the popular music of the 1980s will know the
dominant track on the LP, West End Girls. Still considered their
greatest hit, the Pet Shop Boys capitalised on the synthesizer and
sample-heavy sound conjured up for this song by producing a slick
London-based video that catapulted the PSB into the limelight around
the world for the next several years.
The music of the Pet Shop Boys defies easy
explanation. The lyrics are witty and urbane, very much a product of
the disco and consumer-big-money culture of the 1980s. Songs like
Opportunities/Let's Make Lots of Money became a sort of capitalist
anthem, spawning two different video versions and countless remixes for
the disco environments.
cue from the popular television of the time, the song Suburbia has a
piano overlay that sounds similar to the then massively-popular
Eastenders, and the lyrics recount a East End-esque storyline which
sparks familiarity with those immersed in the pop culture.
The song Love Comes Quickly highlights
both synthesizer effects and masking as well as simple and elegant
poetic lyric. No base or screaming lines in this disco, no banal or
forced words simply to serve as fronting for a drum-machine-produced
rhythm, this song perhaps shows the Pet Shop Boys at their early height
in development of words to music (that was finally fully developed in
the album Behaviour).
songs of note on this introductory album include the first track, Two
Divided By Zero, which has a simple introduction and simplistic
development that ends up gradually increasing in sound complexity while
the sense of 'what does this song mean?' continues to agitate (for the
mathematically inclined, anything divided by zero becomes problematic).
Tied together with the lyric in Opportunities: 'I doctored in
mathematics/I could've been a don', the nuances are subtle and
interesting. The almost triumphant yet existential-based Tonight is
Forever generates images of glory and failure, pleading and confidence,
subtle and direct, an interesting paradox.
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have continued their
collaboration (with the great assistance of many others) to produce
ever more complex and interesting albums, not all of which have been
successful, commercially or artistically. While Please is not their
best album, it is certain a classic, and very much the seed from which
all the rest of their sound derives (a dialogue lyric on a later album
states 'you've both made such a little go a very long way'). Everything
on any future album of the Pet Shops Boys is present in some form here.
A must have for any collector of the Pet Shop Boys or of 1980s pop
culture and music.