Monday, July 2, 2012

it's alright

"Winner", the new single from Pet Shop Boys has been unveiled. I have listened to it nearly forty times and I have concluded that it is... rather weak. It took quite a while to come up with the appropriate sentiment. Nearly thirty years into their career, PSB have managed to underwhelm. Not that "Winner" is a loser. It simply feels tepid. And it certainly doesn't feel like the lead single heralding a brand new elpee. These are difficult words to type because Chris and Neil have consistently delivered top shelf tunes with sparkling production. But "Winner" falls a bit short, almost as if it isn't quite finished. It's just OK. And we've all grown accustomed to expecting much more than that from ver Boys. Even their return is rather muted and understated this time around as opposed to the triumphant fanfares of the past. Facts must be faced. After a lengthy career such as theirs, it's challenging to come up with the goods every single time. Perhaps another twenty listens will bring me around to a more favorable review. But to my ears "Winner" sure doesn't stack up against their towering pantheon of work. Here's hoping "Elysium", its parent longplayer delivers something grander and shinier within it's zeros and ones.

17 comments:

  1. This song is BUILT for the Olympic ceremonies, either the opening or the closing. I haven't read much press about what the Underworld boys are planning, but I have a hunch it will FEATURE the PSB's doing this song, in a big way. just a hunch. I have to agree with you, sir. It is tepid, as PSB songs go. I listened a handful of times, and have yet to find an iota of irony, tongue-in-cheekiness, lamentia, or anything whatsoever worthy of sinking one's teeth into. On the otherhand, it might sound really grand played in a huge Opening Ceremony venue at the Olympics, and the chorus will be STUCK in the heads of billions everywhere for weeks and weeks.... not that the PSBs would normally write this kind of thing.
    I am optimistic that the album will not be like this. Oh god, please do not let the album be like this.
    I'm reminded of NEW ORDER's "World In Motion", which was done for England's championship soccer team at the time, or something like that. equally as tepid. but catchy.

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  2. I agree it's not their finest moment, but I'd still rank it above "Together".

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  3. If it was built for the Olympics, it could have done something more than just lay there. it's so utterly meh.

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  4. Not that it's saying much, but it's still better than Numb. It's not spectacular, but I still like it. It's better than that god-awful Muse Olympic tune (again, not saying much). Maybe because Andrew Dawson said he'd prepared two singles for PSB, I'm thinking Winner was chosen as lead single solely because of the Olympics and we'll get another single right before the album comes out.

    Btw, what do you think of Invisible, xolondon?

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    1. Now that we're talking about Numb... that was another definitely non-ironic song intepreted by PSB that had its greatest moment as the accompaniment for a sports video (England's defeat at Soccer World Cup 2006). Maybe the PSB are intentionally walking that path again... and their love for crowded arenas is surely growing (see Take That's In Progress Tour).

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  5. I see how Winner could underwhelm if one was had really high expectations, but since Bilingual I have learned not to expect and instead enjoy where Neil and Chris have decided to go. I really enjoyed my first listen.
    I like the orchestral pop feel of Winner and am enjoying the relaxed pace that Winner and Invisible both have. I was concerned we might be in for more slick pop production from Xenomania, which worked on Yes but really didn't need to be continued.
    Sure there is (or should be) an Olympics component to any song titled Winner coming out in the Summer of 2012. If it does end up being a part of the open or close (close making more sense), then I will enjoy the mild irony built into the lyrics passing over the heads of listeners during the ceremony.

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  6. So Hard never really grabbed me. Love Behaviour but never really thought that So Hard fit the tone of the album. It seems like they felt like they had to have a dance stomper on it.

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  7. Don't despair Vinny. According to the PSB OS, a second single will be sent to radio at the end of August. Hopefully it will be a stomper.

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  8. I agree - but I always thought their 1st singles, along with Erasure's, were never good examples of the albums they came from. Just look at "Before" "Can You Forgive Her" "So Hard" "I'm With Stupid" "Love Etc."

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  9. Just try listening LOUD and hearing the sub-text of the song - Gay Rights. It then becomes a moving, rousing anthem. Might even shed a tear?

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  10. OMG!....being a card carrying homo myself, I feel ashamed I didn't even catch the possible gay theme in there. and it is actually quite obvious. good ear, mr anonymous!

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  11. Gay rights !! I don´t hear that at all, its about the Olympics !

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  12. I've been a massive fan since 1986 but this is a very disappointing effort & sounds like a song intended for someone else but reclaimed by them in the last minute. I don't get why they're even bothering to cash in on the Olympics. I thought they were past all this commercialism. Im afraid when the surface lyrics are this bland & cliche, nothing in the subtext can save it.

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  13. After listening a few times, I've decided Winner is NOT a song for Pet Shop Boys fans. Unless you are willing to see a gay-rights subtext here, Winner will not float your PSB boat. This song is meant to soundtrack an Olympics ceremony, or moreso, all those Olympics montage tapes of triumph and glory over and over. It will seep into the general public's brain like a disease, and they will not be able to resist. Neil and Chris KNOW what they are doing...writing a perfectly trite pop anthem to appeal to the masses. I hope it sells bucketloads.

    Invisible is such a different kind of song from Winner that I wonder if this album will be more Behaviour-like, where songs like Being Boring collide with How Can You Expect to be Taken Seriously, So Hard with Jealousy. It's something the Scissor Sisters learned well with their latest lp, Magic Hour. Instead of going for a big "theme", they made an album with lots of flavors so little bits will appeal to different audiences. That way you don't get bored, and even if you don't like something, maybe you'll at least take a chance on it.

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  14. yeah i think this song is more about the olympics tribute persay then anything since there in London so i do like it very much also love the instrumental version of it

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