British music icons, Pet Shop Boys, have been recording music for more than 30 years together. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe released their first album Please way back in 1986. Preceded by the single “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” the year before that withered on the charts before disappearing, the duo returned with the classic techno pop single “West End Girls” that went to #1 in both the UK and coveted US market. A grey sky video shows the pair walking around parts of London which captured the eye and ears of this young writer (I was 11 at the time) and may very well have influenced my eventual move to the UK for a couple of years after university.
“West End Girls” is one of the most memorable singles of the 80s and appeared as song one on the band’s first greatest hits compilation, Discography. Three other tracks from Please also made the cut on that album including “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” whose re-released version made it into the top 10 in the US, the sort of ballad “Love Comes Quickly”, and “Suburbia” (presented here without the single’s memorable barking dogs). Superb album track “Tonight Is Forever” appears after this run of singles. It would be hard to keep up the momentum and that is what happens with last four fine but non-essential tracks.
The 2018 Further Listening version comes with an extra disc of remixes, 7”/12” edits, and B-sides. Two versions of “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” are included with the 12” version being the preferred. “West End Girls” appears in a dance mix that ups the percussion ratio to floor filling effect. B-sides include the “Blue Monday” sounding “In The Night”, upbeat “Was That What It Was” that could easily pass as a single and the dance track “Paninaro” presented here in it’s Italian Mix. The Further Listening disc of non-album tracks shows that there was very little drop off in quality from the excellent debut, Please.
Please – 8.5/10
Further Listening – 8.5/10