|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|
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 ›