Let's lead this world a merry dance
February 8, 2019 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Pet Shop Boys are still here, and they have an Agenda [YT playlist, ~13m]. That is, a four-song EP released with little warning and a whole lot of political... um... agenda. Give stupidity a chance, On social media, What are you going to do about the rich?, The forgotten child

‘Give stupidity a chance’
Neil: “It’s a satirical song about the poor quality of political leadership in the modern world…. Obviously, it’s all meant ironically but I think it sums up quite a lot.”

‘On social media'
Neil: “It goes through all of the issues one might have about social media.”

‘What are we going to do about the rich?'
Neil: “This was written as a lyric as a sort of mock-protest song.” Chris: “We’re talking about very rich.” Neil: “We’re talking about extreme rich – oligarchs and that kind of thing. The super-rich.” Chris: “The ones that don’t pay any tax.”

‘The forgotten child'
Neil: “This is not satirical but it’s got a political theme. It’s sort of got two things going on. It’s kind of about a refugee who’s gone missing while fleeing for safety with her family. And there’s sort of a point being made that maybe we’ve all forgotten something about human values…That maybe there’s something being lost, and it’s summed up by the idea of the innocence of the child.”
posted by hippybear (21 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I saw Pet Shop Boys at the Universal City Amphitheater in... 1991? Fantastic show and I was too young not ready to appreciate the incredible theatrical stage design and set changes. Thanks for posting, looks like a PSB heavy weekend.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:24 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]

Eh, it's been done.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:32 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]

So what ARE we going to do about the rich?
posted by The Whelk at 8:02 PM on February 8 [9 favorites]

Come on!

Well, come on!
posted by hippybear at 8:30 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]

What are we going to do about the rich is Sparks-worthy.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 8:58 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]

“It goes through all of the issues one might have about social media.”

posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:28 PM on February 8

So what ARE we going to do about the rich?

Start by overcharging them for everything. And when they complain (they always complain), slaughter and eat them. It's really the only way.
posted by philip-random at 10:56 PM on February 8 [14 favorites]

Somewhere in the wilderness Al Stewart looked up from his half-empty wine glass and thought, 'That voice sounds oddly familiar... if they had only added a sax solo and Peter White on guitar, they might have had a winner there.' He took a sip and went back to writing his seventh alternate lyric for a song about the holes in Paul Wolfowitz's socks as a metaphor for neocon ideology at the turn of the millenium.
posted by zaixfeep at 12:45 AM on February 9 [5 favorites]

@philp-random but we are what we eat, non?
posted by DJZouke at 5:45 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

I've heard give stupidity a chance a few days ago, and not sure of they are taking a piss, because that sounds like something a bored Stephin Merritt would do in 10 minutes (and with time to spare) as a joke.

The rest is... slightly better, but not by much.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:49 AM on February 9 [3 favorites]

Remember when they discovered Devo in the 90s and started wearing funny plastic hats?
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 7:56 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

I'm really thinking "The forgotten child" is the main track here, and the rest are b-sides. It is the one that is most fully realized lyrically and musically, while the others feel like they were written on a lark and ended up being fully produced as part of a warm-up process or something.

I do find it interesting that these tracks were done with a producer they haven't worked with in a while, and that none of them are intended to be album tracks. (Their next album they are working on with Stuart Price is the third in their intended trilogy which started with Electric and continued with Super. I assume it will be more energetic dance-oriented music like the previous two albums have featured.

(Those albums themselves are a response to the failure of their album Elysium to capture much attention, when someone wrote a review that they wanted more dance and lasers from PSB, or something like that. The result has been their trilogy with Price. This sideways step with Tim Powell [who worked with them on their album Yes] is definitely not in the stream of what they are mostly working on right now.)
posted by hippybear at 8:37 AM on February 9 [4 favorites]

I too, am increasing concerned about the rich. My current healthy diet proscribes fat, greasy bastards.

Maybe not great music, but Stupidity has a catchy tune, and I can see 1000s of people singing it sotto voce at a SOTU.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:05 AM on February 9

I'm not really in the Pet Shop Boys' demographic but I really like their music. I'm a sucker for catchy electronica and thoughtful, self-aware lyrics. Here's hoping they score the next Adam Curtis doc.

More on topic, I think it's important to break down the mythology surrounding wealth in our society. Many of the super rich are in good shape, lightly bronzed from ranging freely on the yacht and artfully arranged into a colorful array of tax avoidance shelters. Delicious and healthy.
posted by ropeladder at 9:54 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]

If you like their music you are literally in their demographic.
posted by hippybear at 9:56 AM on February 9 [8 favorites]

If I’ve learned anything from reading recent MeFi posts by The Whelk and kliuless, I suggest we tax the ever-loving shit out of the ultra-rich’s income and wealth. That, or we eat ‘em.

(If when why what how much have YOU got, fuckers?)
posted by cheapskatebay at 10:16 AM on February 9 [4 favorites]

I take it you're choosing the hard option.
posted by hippybear at 10:58 AM on February 9 [10 favorites]

lmfsilva: "I've heard give stupidity a chance a few days ago, and not sure of they are taking a piss, because that sounds like something a bored Stephin Merritt would do in 10 minutes (and with time to spare) as a joke."

Wait, what part of that song gives you doubt that they are taking the piss? Even your "because" is followed by "it sounds like another person also taking the piss."
posted by Bugbread at 5:19 PM on February 9

I found this while listening to Pet Shop Boys remixes on Youtube tonight: Jean Michel Jarre and Pet Shop Boys: Brick England.

My kid is a Pet Shop Boys fan, thanks to "Super" and it makes me happy.
posted by mogget at 7:29 PM on February 9

My track-by-track thoughts:
Let's Give Stupidity A Chance: Sort of the same ground as "I'm With Stupid," but not nearly as catchy or fun.
On Social Media: OKAY, DAD.
What Do We Do About the Rich: Better than the previous two, but not really a classic.
The Forgotten Child: This is, so far, the winner by far. A haunting, chilly song about the Family Separation policy. Like the other songs, the lyrics might be a little on-the-nose, but in this one it really works. The other three feel like they could each have used another draft or two on the lyrics. (And "On Social Media" probably coulda been scrapped entirely.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 1:50 PM on February 10

I'm really thinking "The forgotten child" is the main track here ...

It's definitely the one I find most appealing. I think it narrowly escapes bathos, but it conjures a particularly PSB-ish kind of alienation and melancholy that they do so well. (Given the topic, I'm uneasy that it delivers pensiveness at a cost, but I'll overlook that for a moment.)

'What Do We Do About the Rich'— maybe a bit clumsy, but catchy and funny. It might make a good marching song.

'On Social Media' — "Okay, Dad" gets it exactly right. Maybe they should leave the topical humor to Weird Al Yankovic.

'Give stupidity a chance' — Oh God. The leaden sarcasm and ironic boorishness in pursuit of sub-Borowitz "satire" all set to a beat as limp as an over-cooked noodle may make this the worst PSB song ever. Everything about this is dire. It doesn't deserve a chance.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:30 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]

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