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Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. One More Chance|
|2. What Have I Done To Deserve This?|
|5. Hit Music|
|6. It Couldn't Happen Here|
|7. It's A Sin|
|8. I Want To Wake Up|
|10. King's Cross|
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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Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
One of their earliest, and best albums. If you like 80's new wave era, just grab a copy of that classic.Published on July 11 2011 by Sebastien Clement
Actually~ Pet Shop Boys is ok. It does not sound terrible; then again it is not awesome either. The songs sound a bit mechanical and the lyrics are a bit stupid. Even so 3/5 .Published on June 22 2004 by B. Viberg
I like Pearl Jam and Nirvana and Coldplay, but on buying this album again, I am reminded how the Pet Shop Boys were the stand out band in the 80s.Published on March 17 2004 by James V D R Hancock
Actually is a wonderful record. A true example of art from the cover to the music. Today, it is still one of my most favorite records from PSB.Published on Aug. 13 2003 by Jack
The PSB have long been my favorite group. I first caught a sight of them on MTV, and ordered their first album, and liked it fairly well. Read morePublished on May 21 2003 by Charles Sutherland
When the Pet Shop Boys were working on the second album their original working title was JEALOUSY but then they changed to the
strangely adverbal "actually". Read more
I wanted to review some albums for the first time here and decided to review my top 3 favorite albums of all time. Read morePublished on March 15 2003
This is without a doubt my favorite of all of the PSB albums. Why? Because every song on this baby is great. Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2002 by Shark Frenzy