Monday, 6 September 2010

And the greatest single of all time is... Being Boring!

Yes, according to the Guardian’s Music Blog Being Boring by the Pet Shop Boys is the greatest single of all time. “No one thought that when it came out” admits Neil Tennant himself. BB only peaked at number 20 in the UK chart of November 1990.
The Guardian is right in saying that this attempt at emulating the Stock Aitken & Waterman formula actually results in a mature and panoramic song. Key to it’s many themes for me, BB is indeed “about growing up” and I love the typically ironic title, since the Boys are usually perceived as “boring”. Although melancholic, the PSB have never seemed so hedonistic.

But greatest single ever? As a Pethead since Day 1 I’m biased, although I wouldn’t even consider BB to be the Boys best work. Some YouTube commentators insist that Jealousy is their best song, and I tend to agree that it’s amazing classical flourishes are grander.Personally, I prefer the (rather pretentious) Shakespearean intro of the Extended Mix of Jealousy to the hand-written prologue of BB. Here, Tennant delivers a line from Othello:
“Not poppy nor mandragora/Nor all the drowsy syrups of the east/Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep/Which thou owedst yesterday”.
The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers comments in A Life in Pop (DVD, 2006) that BB is a modern version of the Beatles' In My Life. Praise indeed. Apparently MTV didn't like the video for BB, because it was made in black and white, and it didn't really feature the artists. However, this fan-favourite (directed by Bruce Weber) is now regarded as a masterpiece.
My own favourite PSB track has to be the first of their collaborations with Dusty Springfield, What Have I Done to Deserve This? Released in August 1987, this single reached No. 2 in both the UK and the US.