Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday wrap-up

New releases this week Computer Love has its eyes on

Arthur and Martha – Navigation 

The debut album from Arthur and Martha, Navigation, is out this week on Happy Robot Records. Computer Love is planning a review of this album for next week. In the meantime, let's just say it's been on heavy rotation in the iPod machine. 

Marsheaux – Lumineux Noir

Hands down, this album has been the most highly anticipated album of 2009 here at Computer Love. Lumineux Noir is out now and I'll post my thoughts on the album after I've had a chance to jump in the car, drive around aimlessly and spin it a few hundred times.  

News, etc.

Pet Shop Boys – Happy Birthday to Neil Tennant today. Pet Shop Boys have been a huge part of my life and Neil has been a big influence on me. I can still remember the days when my sister and I would spend hours in front of the radio waiting for the DJ to play 'Opportunities (Let's make lots of money)'. Years later, I can remember unwrapping a Christmas gift from my sister only to discover she had purchased 'Behaviour' for me. To this day, 'Behaviour' remains my favorite album.

When Discography, the first complete singles collection, was released I remember my entire family sitting around the living room reading the liner notes and selecting songs to play based upon what Neil and Chris had written in the notes.  'DJ Culture' was requested by my mother, and my dad kept wanting to hear 'Always on my mind' and 'Where the streets have no name' because he was an Elvis and Frankie Valli fan.

Next came 'Very' with it's ultra-bright orange packaging that sort of looks like a giant leggo. I remember picking it up at Tower Records, holding it tightly and being mesmerized by it. Truth be told, I thought the packaging was ugly upon first glance, but since then, it remains my favorite CD packaging to date. Nothing surpasses its originality, and the music is pretty damn good, too.

I returned to the same Tower Records to purchase 'Bilingual'. It remains the one PSB album that disappoints me ever so slightly. The music is there, but the record lacks cohesion. With that said, for years I disliked the song 'Single-Bilingual' but now I think the track has aged beautifully and is a great example of just how diverse Pet Shop Boys really are.  

By the time 'Nightlife' came along, I was managing a music store so it was my mission to do everything in my power to promote this record. 'Nightlife' contains a song that one could argue is the best song the boys have ever recorded, 'You only tell me you love me when your drunk'. If that song doesn't move you, I don't know what will.

'Release' is probably the most underrated album the boys have released; it's also one of their most beautiful. In fact, I've heard it described as 'the best album The Smiths never made'. 'Release' showcases the boys straying from their electronic roots in favor of guitar-driven pop. I took a road trip along the Oregon Coast with my partner when 'Release' came out and the album was our soundtrack for the trip. I can still picture us driving along sandy beaches with 'The Samurai in autumn' playing in the background; nothing else could have been better. 

Pet Shop Boys entered my life again in a totally new way at London's Trafalgar Square a couple years later. We were at Trafalgar to see the boys' debut performance of their soundtrack to Battleship Potemkin. It was a rainy London night, but we hunkered down in the Square with thousands and thousands of fans from all over the globe to witness this never before seen event. Some nights are truly magical, some nights you never forget. This was one of those nights.  

Fundamental was released at the height of the George Bush era, and this new album by the boys echoed the frustrations and cries for justice that could be heard all over the world. The album's lead single, 'I'm with stupid' was often stuck on repeat on the iPod machine, and I still spin it quite frequently. Fundamental also marked a return to Seattle for the boys. PBS had not played live in Seattle for something like 20 years. The show was amazing – another evening I will never forget. 

That brings us up to 'Yes', which was released in March of this year. Many critics are hailing it as the best PSB album since 'Very'. For me, the album's meaning is much more deep and personal. The album was released during my mother's final days, and every day I would listen to 'Yes' going to and from the hospital to see her. The uplifting, positive vibe of this record helped give me the strength I needed to be there for her. For that, I will always be thankful for having this record to fall back on during difficult times.  

Thank you Neil and Chris for bringing such wonderful music and memories into my life and lives of many people. Here's to the glorious future of Pet Shop Boys; Happy Birthday, Neil!

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