Pop music has always held a place in our hearts at this magazine. Great pop music is increasingly easier to come by today, but there are some acts who’ve never really released bad pop songs. For an iconic group like Pet Shop Boys, that’s just how they roll. The duo has sold over fifty million albums, their tours have sold out increasingly for the past twenty years and thirty-five years since they dropped their first hit track, they’re still going strong. On their fourteenth album Hotspot, they prove they can still bring excellently crafted pop songs while charting new territory in how they craft it.
The album falls in line with the catchy pop that made the duo famous. The opening track is a great example of this, as “Will-o-the-wisp” is a dance pop banger from open to close. That disco opening build alone evokes eighties synth pop nostalgia without sounding dated. The mix of Neil Tennant’s signature voice and Chris Lowe’s synthesized tones is still as powerful as it was when the duo began. And it doesn’t end on the opening track. There are multiple songs where that upbeat tone is strewn throughout. Where “Happy people” has a bit of a more somber opening, it gets poppy and hook filled quick without relenting. “Burning the heather” has just as much up tones as you’d want from the legends with a more moderate pacing, while the single “Monkey business” drives that vibe home.
But the duo also lends to their more introspective side here too. Tracks like “You are the one” and “Hoping for a miracle” both offer those tender moments that have always made Pet Shop Boys stand apart from their contemporaries. It’s that mix of the two sounds that make the group still as relevant today as they were in the synth soaked eighties. With that said, our favorite track of the ten comes on “Dreamland.” Made with Years and Years, the song just has that sheen of pop greatness. The neo-disco pops and the dark synth undertones create a sound that pulls you close like a lover on the dance floor. It’s nice to see that the duo still knows how to get our feet moving while erupting our most intimate moments.
Hotspot is available to purchase physically directly from the band’s web store. It’s also available to stream on all streaming sites or to purchase from all digital outlets. Pet Shop Boys will be on tour beginning May 01 in Berlin, Germany at Mercedes-Benz Arena until July 11 in Bilbao, Spain at Bilbao BBK Live Music Festival. Their complete tour schedule can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Alex Lake.