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Actually Import

4.7 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Discover this year's nominees on CD and Vinyl, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, and more. Learn more

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 7 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: EMI Music Canada
  • ASIN: B000002UD7
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews
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1. One More Chance
2. What Have I Done To Deserve This?
3. Shopping
4. Rent
5. Hit Music
6. It Couldn't Happen Here
7. It's A Sin
8. I Want To Wake Up
9. Heart
10. King's Cross

Product Description


When they released Actually, their second proper album, in 1987, the Pet Shop Boys proved they were no flash-in-the-pan pop sensation. Neil Tennant wrote about disaffected consumerism ("Rent", "Shopping") with the wry insight only the former editor of a teen-pop magazine could have. Often accused of being emotionally bankrupt by their critics, Tennant and his partner, keyboardist Chris Lowe, effortlessly proved them wrong, camouflaging clever commentary ("It's a Sin") behind deadpan attitude and catchy dance music. The jewel in Actually's crown is probably "What Have I Done to Deserve This?", a classic hit for which Lowe and Tennant coaxed 60s pop icon Dusty Springfield out of semi-retirement. Actually has aged better than anybody--including perhaps the Pet Shop Boys themselves--could have expected. --Elisabeth Vincentelli

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The global success of PSB's 1986 debut "Please," was well earned, but let's be honest-- it also put the boys' future in a vulnerable situation. A hugely successful debut album can sometimes spell instant death for a new act, and their landmark novelty single "West End Girls" had "One Hit Wonder" written all over it. Amazingly, they beat the sophomore jinx when they released their followup album the next year: "Actually." The results? More hits and more sales. But even more important, is that "Actually" represents a wise step forward for Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, who take some smart risks this time around. Themes of Catholic guilt ("It's a Sin), consumerism ("Shopping"), Thatcherism ("King's Cross"), and infatuation ("Heart") pop up throughout the album. However, "Actually" is also remembered as the album that revived the career of the late Dusty Springfield, who duets with the Boys on the still timeless "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" (That single began a working relationship with Springfield, who moved on to record other PSB originals such as the hits "In Private" and "Nothing Has Been Proved.") This album was greeted with little critical acclaim in America upon release (check out the original reviews in "Rolling Stone" and "People" if you don't believe me), but over the years it's been revisited by many fans who now consider it a favorite. You can certainly consider me among those people.
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By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on Sept. 7 2003
Format: Audio CD
The Pet Shop Boys made a bit of a splash with their first album 'Please', and their greatest hit song from that album, 'West End Girls' remains the classic Pet Shop Boys song, but it took 'Actually' to establish the duo as a group with credibility and staying power. With this album, the Pet Shop Boys became one of the major groups of the 1980s.
The songs on this album are ironic, witty, urbane--all things would not normally associate with pop/dance music. And, surprisingly, none of this intellectual content seems to interfere with the beat and bop as crowds bounce around on the dance floor.
The magnum opus of this album is probably the collaborative effort the Pet Shop Boys did with Dusty Springfield, entitled 'What Have I Done to Deserve This?' This song showcased Dusty, who had been neglected for years by the music establishment, and brought attention to both Dusty and the Pet Shop Boys as being able to reach just a bit further than anyone had previously realised.
The song 'It's a Sin' was a song very much in tune with the hedonistic, decadent London (and New York/California) nightlife, capturing the bittersweet flavour of life on the wild side. Of course, this was also the 'don't ask-don't tell coming out' song for the Boys (more than a decade before they would 'officially' come out), but then, their music reached different levels so that this never was that much of an issue (people variously heard and didn't hear what they wanted to hear in this song). The Roman Catholic Church even asked Neil Tennant to comment in one of their sectarian magazines, remarking that 'no one talks about sin any more'. Rather reminds me of the US Navy opting to use the Village People's 'In the Navy' for recruiting before realising the undertones (or perhaps, overtones, in their case).
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Format: Audio CD
The Pet Shop Boys stylized Actually to melt the coldest of hearts, and it almost does. Their success of West End Girls was surely a threat to their longevity, considering they were just two guys with synthesizers who wrote pop music. But they duck the pitfall with style.
Some of their best singles are found within, like Heart, It's A Sin, Rent and What Have I Done To Deserve This? And what isn't a single can definitely hold its own to say the least: King's Cross, It Couldn't Happen Here (dedicated to a deceased friend of theirs), and I Want To Wake Up.
But Actually occaisionally lapses into kitchiness as with the silly-sounding anti-capitalist Shopping and the overly-campy Hit Music. One More Chance gives a rough first impression with Neil Tennant's faked enthusiasm ("push me in a corner and I'll scream").
For its faults, Actually is an easily enjoyable album. In one album, the Pet Shop boys simultaneously dodged the sophomore slump AND the one-hit wonder tag. Not everyone can do that.
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Format: Audio CD
This is definately the album that was a catalyst for their career. With the popularity of their first album PLEASE, this album exceeded everyone's expectations and since then they have been known as the band that always has a hit every couple of years. Bands come and go, some flourish for years and then eventually disappear.

Pet Shop Boys are quoted as one of the first bands that continually keep going regardless of the era or fads that pass through. Their music is original for any decade. This album ACTUALLY is a perfect example of their creative intelligence and wit just beginning.

What makes this album marked as a favorite among fans is not just that half the songs were radio hits, it's more that every song is unique and sounds completely different from the next track. They experiment with numerous types of styles, and often go from electronic to a sudden orchestra of strings and trumpets.

This kind of strange and sudden diversity is their trademark. ACTUALLY is the album that states that this was just the beginning; bringing popular tunes in a more intelligent and sensual manner that goes deep into the soul, and with each new album since they continued to touch listeners through classical, electronic, rock, and even operatic pieces.

An example is the track "Hit Music"--very typical 80's, fun and simple to listen to. In their own blunt way, Pet Shop Boys will go to a slow and romantic pace of action, that lasts for only a few seconds, if not a full minute. But always knowing to bring audiences back to the original sound, they tempt our hearts with quite beautiful, flirtatious chords that wink at you, and stop...and then begin again.
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