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Sardonic Street Preachers
Synth-pop icons the Pet Shop Boys are back with their eleventh studio album, Elysium. It is another excellent collection of electro tunes that are by turns celebratory, witty and moving.
Paul Nolan, 21 Sep 2012
“We used to say, ‘It’s pop that survives more than rock music’. We did once nearly do an EP ironically titled Rock Classics, which is actually where our version of ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ came from. We were going to do four rock classics in a Hi-NRG style. The other ones were going to be ‘Pretty Vacant’ and ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ – and we were going to get Patsy Kensit to sing them.”
Recent times have also found Tennant and his musical partner Chris Lowe doing a live version of Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’. Was that in a similar spirit to their U2 cover?
“It actually comes off our song ‘Se A Vida E’ – geddit? – which goes into ‘Viva La Vida’, with a bit of ‘Discoteca’ in between,” explains Tennant. “It astonished us, I remember hearing that song for the first time in the car, when we were making our previous record with Xenomania, and we were driving out to them in Kent. We were both amazed, ‘Wow, Coldplay have made a really good song!’
“ It’s sort of a four-on-the-floor song, and it reminded us of us. A bit anyway, and so we decided that we should put it in the show. Also, we’ve also been fascinated by ‘oh-oh-oh’ choruses, which you can hear in our song ‘Paninaro’. (Laughs) And when the whole audience sing along with it, I feel like we wrote it in that moment.”
Pet Shop Boys also performed at the recent Olympic closing ceremony, playing a segment of ‘West End Girls’ before handing over to One Direction. Was it a time-consuming commitment?
“It wasn’t at all actually,” replies Tennant. “The designer of the ceremony has actually designed our last two tours. We were invited to a meeting about four months ago and they showed us a model of the performance. It was actually very exciting backstage to think you were going to be performing before such a huge global audience.”
The same night, I was across town at Hyde Park to see Blur, for whom PSB remixed ‘Girls & Boys’.