The textbook example of how brilliant a pop debut could be
Ian Wade 2009-07-08
Pet Shop Boys: for over 25 years, they've been a very brilliant pop thing. From the artwork, to their outlook, image and, handily, literally quite good ability with tunes, they created an intelligence and panache that has seen them become one of the most successful duos of all time. Not for nothing did they once describe themselves as ''The Smiths you can dance to''. And it was only right they picked up an Outstanding Services To Music gong at the 2009 Brits.
Originally released in 1986, Please was the first great British pop album of the post-Live Aid era when everything else had turned a bit ugly, bloated and Bono. Having met in an electronics shop off the Kings Road, Chris Lowe and one-time Smash Hits writer Neil Tennant took their inspiration from the early 80s dance music emanating from New York, combining a very English sensibility with hi-NRG dimensions, and having seen his fair share of casualties on Planet Pop, Tennant took all the best bits to make sure they wouldn't be veering too near the dumper any time soon.
Alongside the peerless worldwide chart-topping West End Girls, there were delights galore to be found: Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money) is the ultimate Thatcherism statement made danceable; Love Comes Quickly shimmers magnificently and is possibly one of the more overlooked singles in their catalogue. Surburbia may sound a little weedier than the later single version but is still a top pop moment. Even the non-singles such as the opening Two Divided By Zero (recently beefed-up live with a touch of the Shannon about it) still sounds of the moment; Tonight Is Forever is almost Broadway-esque; the ballad Later Tonight has the calm of a post-evening cab ride home and closer Why Don't We Live Together is a celebratory arms aloft marvel. All tremendous.
Within 18 months Tennant & Lowe would be tossing out number ones, resurrecting Dusty Springfield and releasing Actually, a more refined version of what this debut offered, but aside from one or two cultural references and the odd dated synth, Please really hasn't dated at all and should be the textbook example of how brilliant a pop debut could be. Amazing.