- Audio CD (Oct. 25 1990)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: EMI
- ASIN: B000002U9K
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
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Pet Shop Boys ~ Please
This duo worked hard before this debut album broke through in the mid-1980s. Formed in 1981 after a chance meeting in a record shop, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe (the former an ex-Smash Hits journalist) made endless demos before their first version of "West End Girls" flopped in 1984. It wasn't till November 1985 that the song hit No.1, and only then after an early release of "Opportunities" fell flat too. Which explains the maturity and sly, camp ennui that infuses this record, from the title to Chris Lowe's occasional sardonic voiceovers. Tennant possesses a voice that is affecting because of its imperfections, which, heard at the start of their career, sound even more touching in his faltering falsetto. The music underlying Tennant's sad words is fantastic--hard, sleek synthesisers that revel in their lack of human input. --Charlie Porter
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The music of the Pet Shop Boys defies easy explanation. The lyrics are witty and urbane, very much a product of the disco and consumer-big-money culture of the 1980s. Songs like Opportunities/Let's Make Lots of Money became a sort of capitalist anthem, spawning two different video versions and countless remixes for the disco environments.
Taking a cue from the popular television of the time, the song Suburbia has a piano overlay that sounds similar to the then massively-popular Eastenders, and the lyrics recount a East End-esque storyline which sparks familiarity with those immersed in the pop culture.
The song Love Comes Quickly highlights both synthesizer effects and masking as well as simple and elegant poetic lyric. No base or screaming lines in this disco, no banal or forced words simply to serve as fronting for a drum-machine-produced rhythm, this song perhaps shows the Pet Shop Boys at their early height in development of words to music (that was finally fully developed in the album Behaviour).
Two other songs of note on this introductory album include the first track, Two Divided By Zero, which has a simple introduction and simplistic development that ends up gradually increasing in sound complexity while the sense of 'what does this song mean?' continues to agitate (for the mathematically inclined, anything divided by zero becomes problematic). Tied together with the lyric in Opportunities: 'I doctored in mathematics/I could've been a don', the nuances are subtle and interesting. The almost triumphant yet existential-based Tonight is Forever generates images of glory and failure, pleading and confidence, subtle and direct, an interesting paradox.
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have continued their collaboration (with the great assistance of many others) to produce ever more complex and interesting albums, not all of which have been successful, commercially or artistically. While Please is not their best album, it is certain a classic, and very much the seed from which all the rest of their sound derives (a dialogue lyric on a later album states 'you've both made such a little go a very long way'). Everything on any future album of the Pet Shops Boys is present in some form here. A must have for any collector of the Pet Shop Boys or of 1980s pop culture and music.
Disc 2 consists of remixes and b-sides from that era (1984-1986). Highlights include the two songs released on the Disco EP - In the Night and Paninaro, as well as the dance remix of West End Girls. The full version of Opportunities is also included here, which includes the infamous spoken word ending (All the love we had/ and the love that we hide/ Who will bury us/ when we die). Yes, it's pretentious, but typical Pet Shop Boys!
Best of all is the 36 page booklet. It includes numerous pictures from that era, all song lyrics, and comments from the PSB themselves about the CD as a whole as well as each song. You get all kinds of fascinating tidbits, such as Chris' suggestion that Opportunties (Reprise) is the best track on Please! This collection is a bit pricey if you already own the original Please, but it is an essential for any PSB fan.
The music is very electronic and the lead singer Neil Tennant is probably not what you would think of as being a great singer. However, his voice works with the lyrics, and those lyrics really make you think. They stay with you.
My favorite songs on this album in addition to "West End Girls" would be "Love Comes Quickly" and "Suburbia". I also like the very simple "Later Tonight", which I learned to play on the piano (but I am not a good musician by any stretch). The Pet Shop Boys never really made it big in America past the mid-80s and it seems after their follow-up album ACTUALLY they practically disappeared from MTV and the radio waves. But fans like me still buy their albums.
But their musical story starts here, and it is a worthwhile album to have.
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