Album: Very, 1993
Justification: Pet Shop Boys hold a very special place in my heart, but even I have to concede that they’ve never made a consistently excellent album. Neither have they made an entirely awful one (although Bilingual rarely gets a spin on the APS decks), but that puts them in the company of the likes of ABBA, Madonna and (whisper it quietly) New Order who have never made a stone-cold classic long-player, but whose singles collections are pretty much nothing but gold.
However, in the unlikely scenario that someone was to hold a gun to my head and demand that I declare one PSB album as being their least-flawed effort, it would be Very. I concede that this particular situation is, at best, wildly unlikely and is in fact only made remotely possible by this very post, assuming some deluded gunman was to read it and think it was a pretty decent sounding idea. However, hopefully-imaginary gunman, this is kind of a spoiler alert: Very’s got a slab of their best songs (‘I Wouldn’t Normally Do That Kind of Thing’, ‘Yesterday, When I Was Mad’, their triumphant cover of the Village People’s ‘Go West’), their ballads are tolerable rather than ghastly (although I could merrily go through the rest of my life without hearing ‘Dreaming of the Queen’ again, which goes double for the godawful hi-NRG of ‘One in a Million’, which sounds like it took 15 minutes to write and record), and they did some awesome other tracks around this time (including their remix of Blur’s ‘Girls & Boys’).
But the reason this album has such a place in my heart is two lines from this song, the album’s opening track and first single: “She made you some kind of laughing stock / Because you dance to disco and you don’t like rock”. Now that is just plain awesome. It’s also one of the few songs ever sung with a degree of genuine sympathy to a closet case, although it’s quite possibly autobiographical: the single came out a good six months before Neil Tennant did.
The ‘Yesterday, When I Was Mad’ single had an amazing swing band cover of this as a b-side. It’s worth hunting down.
SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2010: Marcy Playground were having the only hit of their lives with ‘Sex & Candy’.
AND HERE’S THE LAST FIVE…