It all started with “West End Girls.”
The Pet Shop Boys are an enduring techno pop band that tours and releases albums to this day. While their career stretches to 35 years, I’m only going to talk about their 1980’s albums and a few references to select 1990’s works.
In 1986, Please was released, the first Pet Shop Boys album. Four singles came off this album, including “West End Girls.”
Since the beginning, Pet Shop Boys have predominately used synthesizers and programmed bass and drums as the foundation of their music. They weren’t the first band to rely on synthesizers, not even the first pop band, but they became the best at it. Strong on pounding beats, their music has been popular in clubs around the world. They do use guitar but very selectively. Guitarist Johnny Marr has guested on albums. Marr was a member of the 90’s group The Smiths and was a member of Modest Mouse for awhile, two bands entirely different from techno-pop.
Actually appeared in 1987. “It’s a Sin” was the first single, followed by “What Have I Done to Deserve This,” a duet with Dusty Springfield, that helped to re-emerging her career. Four tracks written and produced by the Pet Shop Boys appeared on her album Reputation (1990).
Introspective follows as an album of longer structured dance songs, with the first single being “You Are Always On My Mind.”
In their career, the Pet Shop Boys have sold more than one million albums around the world, proving there is a vast market for dance-oriented music. Their albums, aided by niche singles, were even charting in the U.S.
In 1990, Behavior, their fourth album was released, and my favorite. This their most diverse collection, featuring guitar more prominently and deviating from entirely dance to include several ballads.
Very appeared in 1993, and every three to four years since have released a new collection.
A very unusual but successful pairing of the Pet Shop Boys with Liza Minnelli for the album Results (1989). The album peaked at number 12 on the charts and produced four singles.
Pet Show Boys have released four remix albums, collections of tracks that have been re-imagined by producers, essentially creating entirely new versions of tracks. In recent years, their early albums have been remastered with bonus albums of live tracks, demos and working versions, remixed and extended tracts. The vaults have been emptied as fans gobble up these re-releases.
No matter what you call this music, electronica, house music, synth-pop or techno-pop, it seems to have not generational boundaries.