Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pet Shop Boys, exclusively

Christmas has come early for PSB fans: Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are apparently feeling in a generous mood, digging into the vault to share some unreleased material that leans toward Fundamental demos and alternate versions. To stream the songs, go to the official site, select "product" from the navigation menu, and then select "exclusives." A few thoughts on the previously unheard (by legal means) material:

God Willing (rough mix) // It has a long intro that precedes the starting point of the version that appears on Fundamental and includes a section in which the reading of junk e-mails is played backwards. It was intended as the opening track of Fundamental, and I've always felt it should have been, in either form.

A Powerful Friend // From the Disco 3 sessions, it's a down-tempo track with some lovely guitar accents.

Sorry (PSB minimal mix) // Brings to mind some of the disappointing remixes of PSB songs by other mixers — this was best left unreleased in favor of their amazing maxi-mix.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (demo) // This mid-tempo shuffle sounds like what you'd expect them to do with this song as opposed to the lush masterpiece that found its way onto Fundamental. I could listen to either version of this ballad all day; it's absolutely worthy of single release.

The Sodom and Gomorrah Show (Unreleased single mix) // This sounds exactly like the version performed on The Late Late Show, right down to the lovely pizzicato strings in the bridge.

Tall Thin Men // Originally slated to open the Closer to Heaven musical, this, on the surface, is exactly the kind of camp thing I don't want my PSB doing (although I do enjoy "If Love Were All" and "Can You Forgive Her? (Swing Version)", but this gets bonus points for the sly Madonna reference and cleverly scathing lyrics.

I Made My Excuses and Left (Demo) // The demo of this meticulously crafted winner doesn't sound far removed from the Fundamental version.

Love to Love You // A solid cover of the Donna Summer tune with Sam Taylor-Wood (aka Kiki Kokova) doing some of the same obscene groaning she does on the brilliant and underappreciated "Je T'aime … Moi Non Plus."

Bright Young Things (Demo) // No major differences here from the "Numb" b-side version.

Luna Park (Rock mix) // The differences here, as well, are rather subtle, although the description says this take was deemed "too rock." I don't see it, particularly alongside songs like "Sodom."

No Time for Tears (Orchestral Mix) // Potemkin is one of those PSB sidetracks that just doesn't engage me.

Jack and Jill Party (Extended Dance Mix) // Odd lyrics, and the whole thing sounds rather menacing.

Now, if only we could get these on CD, I'd set this up as my alternate version of Fundamental:

God Willing (rough mix) / Psychological / The Sodom and Gomorrah Show (Unreleased single mix) / I Made My Excuses and Left / Minimal / Numb / Luna Park (Rock mix) / I'm with Stupid (Melnyk Heavy Petting Mix) / Casanova in Hell (Live with Rufus Wainwright) / Integral (PSB Perfect Immaculate 7-inch) / Twentieth Century / Indefinite Leave to Remain (demo)

// Also see // Review of Fundamental


Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Wow! Thanks for the track by track review. I will be pointing out this post to a number of my friends. I think they will be interested!

Jebb said...

I think a few more have been added since I wrote this post. I hope the streaming of these songs on the official site doesn't mean they will never make it onto CD.