“Please” Pet Shop Boys
By Evan Ferstl
Synth-pop had changed by the mid-1980s. The quirky, robotic, novelty genre had been refined into a polished, attractive brand of production-heavy dance music. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, together known as the Pet Shop Boys, would become the face of this new synth-pop. Sleek and seductive, their music would catch on incredibly well, especially in their native UK. “I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks, let’s make lots of money,” a lyric off their debut album, “Please,” gives the game away succinctly. But making money isn’t a bad thing, as long as the music holds up.
“Please” is an incredibly front-loaded album. Synth-soaked energy punctuates every note on the first five tracks, which include the record’s most popular song, “West End Girls,” and its best song, the heartbreaking “Love Comes Quickly.” Unlike other dance acts at the time, the duo’s lyrics prove astute and powerful, especially on “West End Girls” and “Suburbia,” a pair of songs which shatter the illusion of idealist urban living, proving the Pet Shop Boys were not afraid to make the masses dance to songs about crime and poverty.
Unfortunately, things take a noticeable downturn on the second half of the album. Starting with “Tonight is Forever,” the music is stripped of any semblance of creativity and languishes in the worst tendencies of generic dance music.
Though the two would enjoy major success lasting well into the decades to come, “Please” proved that the Pet Shop Boys would never be an album-oriented band.