There is still a certain appeal in modern day popular culture to obtain the youth. Popular music is constantly thinking, acting and presenting itselfs in the dependancy on youth culture and the promises of adolesence. In a time when the clear boundary between youth and gown-ups seems to slowly vanish and the western society slowly becomes a victim of its demographic development – it makes us wonder why pop culture hasn’t noticed the signs of time and isn’t looking in another direction? This brings us to the thought of how to grow old in pop music without making you look embarrissing? How to keep the fire alive, bringing out the own strength, staying fresh and classy without ingratiation to the more and more accelerating youth culture. It’s hard and often unfair – and even more often artists fail at this challenge. The PET SHOP BOYS did not. After thirty years in the music business the elder statesman of synthetic pop return with their eleventh album – and it’s a return in form. [one_half last=”no”][/one_half]You can fill more then three articles with the biography of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe – we spare ourselves this task since everyone might know these two legends and everyone got his own opinion on them. But promise us one thing – leave all this behind and listen to the new longplayer Elysium without prejudice but with open ears. Recorded in Los Angeles with KANYE WESTs producer Andrew Dawson the new record is – of course – less a hip hop record than a sensitive and homogenetic electronic pop album. Since the PET SHOP BOYSS have always been fans of their records reacting in opposite to the previous ones Eylisum is way less over-the-top as 2009s Yes. After a – sometimes – desperately longing for hit singles and the continuation of past success in the past decade it finally seems to be all about the music, the mood and the messages on Eylsium. Starting with the melancholic grooving new single Leaving the atmosphere is set. “I know when ‘enough’s enough’ / and you’re leaving / you’ve had a lot of time to decide on your freedom” – bittersweetness surrounds the characteristic voice of singer Tennant. The following Inivisible deals with the older age of the protagonist and its effect on his social life in form of a hip party – “Look at me / the absentee / disappearing finally / Goodbye”.
You’ll find a lot of these references and themes throughout the whole longplayer – the problems that comes with age, the sense of melancholia by probably facing the final quarter of the own life. It’s a lot of ‘looking back, saying soodbye’-mood within every song. Although the band already declared that this is not their farewell record it would be a perfect one. Next to the deepness – that’s wrapped in catchy melodies, just like in the past thirty years – there is the typical approach for writing really impressive pop songs. A Face Like That is clearly something from this area – probably one of the best ones this duo has written in the past years. Might be a hit, well, if it wasn’t performed by these ‘old guys’. And there is even the typical humor on Elysium that makes Tennant and Lowe such unique songwriters – Your Early Stuff confronts the group with all the cliché reactions towards their ongoing career. And Ego Music is an even funnier reaction to narcissistic and arrogant artists these days. Critic in form of a fancy pop song – there are only a few groups who could come away with this in style.
Altthough it sounds a bit like a last ‘salute’ after the final notes of the smooth closer Requiem In Denim And Leopard Skin fade away the PET SHOP BOYS are not over yet. Elysium proofs once again why these duo British gentleman are one of the most underestimated groups in the history of pop music. They manage to stay relevant and hungry despite what trends and preconceptions might say. They’re bringing together the essence of what pop music once was and should been again. Quality not quantity, depth instead of a shallow surface. But we’re optimistic that Neil and Chris might find a way to point the new generation in a better direction, not only in terms of music. And that’s why we have to close with another quote from this record that couldn’t be more fitting – “Hold on, there’s got to be a future.”
PET SHOP BOYS
pop / electro
from London, UK