“Where you gonna run to now from loneliness? Who you gonna turn to out of loneliness?”
The Pet Shop Boys are back, and still never being boring.
The iconic electronic duo, made up of Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant, are kicking off the year with a string of incredibly exciting announcements, beginning with the release of their brand new single, “Loneliness.”
The single is the first to come from nonetheless, the quintessentially titled 15th studio album from the enduring group and follow-up to 2020’s Hotspot, which finds the two working with the talented James Ford (of Gorillaz, Simian Mobile Disco, Depeche Mode and Jessie Ware fame, among other contributions) for the first time.
“It was great to work with James Ford, who we think has brought new elements to our music. James has dared to make us a bit more minimal at times and the final result is a record we’re very proud of,” the two said in a statement.
The single, described by the duo themselves as “uplifting music with reflective lyrics,” sounds a bit like what I imagine a What’s Your Pleasure? collaboration with the boys might sound like, full of luscious disco strings, joyous horns and a four-to-the-floor pulse. There’s also some incredible background vocal work happening here, recorded at The Church studio in North London.
Despite this being their first time working with James Ford, every inch of the record feels instantly and immediately PSB: from the earworm melodies, to the deadpan delivery and pensive, melancholy-yet-encouraging lyricism (“When you gonna not say ‘no’ and make the answer ‘yes’?”), the duo’s latest entry into their colossal discography feels right at home.
The group is back home in a few ways, actually: it’s also their return to Parlophone Records, the label they released music under for nearly 30 years from 1985 until 2012.
The (age-restricted, sorry) accompanying music video was directed by Alasdair McLellan, who has worked with The xx and St. Etienne, and it’s surprisingly…quite hot and horny! And adult! And yes, lonely too!
The visual features several gorgeous models in various states of coupling and solitude, with a whole lot of underlying queer tension and yearning – quick glances at urinals and cruising at gyms, crotch grabs, and glory hole references, oh my! The duo even make a brief cameo themselves at one point. It’s very “Domino Dancing” in 2024 – and Euphoria, Call Me By Your Name and Saltburn are shaking a bit.
And because PSB still care about giving us the full experience – The Way It Used To Be, if you will – the single will also be released as a CD single on February 16, and comes bundled with two B-sides: “Party in the Blitz” and “Through you,” as well as a radio edit of “Loneliness.”
“We wanted this album to be a celebration of the unique and diverse emotions that make us human. From the more dance-orientated tracks to the raw poignancy of the introspective ballads, with their beautiful string arrangements, each track tells a story and contributes to the overall narrative of the album,” the duo said.
The 10-track album will be released on April 26, ahead of five performances at the Royal Opera House in London in July later this year. Plus, there’s a a 4-track bonus EP called Furthermore (of course), with all new recordings of classics: “Heart,” “Being Boring,” “Always on My Mind” and “It’s a Sin.”
From the album artwork to the track titles, every part of the campaign is so utterly and reliably Pet Shop Boys, one of the strongest brands in pop music of all time. Four decades (!) since their official debut with “West End Girls” this year, the group sounds as fresh and razor-sharp as ever.
In PSB we trust.
3. WHY AM I DANCING?
4. NEW LONDON BOY
5. DANCING STAR
6. A NEW BOHEMIA
7. THE SCHLAGER HIT PARADE
8. THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS
9. BULLET FOR NARCISSUS
10. LOVE IS THE LAW
Photo credit: Parlophone Records
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