Introspective

Pet Shop Boys

Manhattan/EMI, 1988

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/31/2006

In 1988, the idea of orchestral dance music seemed downright implausible. But that is precisely what the Pet Shop Boys managed to pull off with their minimalist masterpiece Introspective.

Though it only contains six songs, it is a surprisingly weighty album with substantial extended versions of “Domino Dancing,” “It’s Alright” and a revved-up remake of the Elvis Presley/Willie Nelson chestnut “Always On My Mind.”  It’s important to note that the success of the Latin-flavored hit single “Domino Dancing” would pave the way for an entire Pet Shop Boys album of Latin-inspired music eight years later, which was appropriately titled nbtc__dv_250 Bilingual.

The real deal, however, is the very first track “Left To My Own Devices,” which remains the Boys’ strongest song to date. It is another talky story song in the fine tradition of their number one breakthrough hit “West End Girls.”  If that one is all you know of the Pet Shop Boys, then you haven’t heard the best of what Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have to offer.

Former B-side ode to dog lovers “I Want A Dog” and the Halloween anthem “I’m Not Scared” help to flesh out the package of material, which also happens to feature some attention-grabbing, colorful striped album cover art.  The pristine sound quality of Introspective is perhaps the most noticeable aspect of this particular release, making this one of those albums best heard at high volume on a set of headphones.

The Pet Shop Boys would go on to record several more outstanding albums during the course of the '90s, including the critical and fan favorite Very in 1993. In this decade, they have become more subdued as the renowned elder statesmen of the British music scene.  Though they may never have hits as big as “West End Girls” or “What Have I Done To Deserve This,” the Pet Shop Boys continue to be as reliable as ever when it comes to perfecting their special brand of Pop Art (which, coincidentally, is the title of their most recent hits collection).

If upbeat orchestral dance music is what you’re in the mood for, look no further than Introspective.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2006 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Manhattan/EMI, and is used for informational purposes only.