Pet Shop Boys say new album Nonetheless ‘one of our most melodic’

By Thomson Reuters Apr 25, 2024 | 4:39 AM

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) – British electro-pop duo Pet Shop Boys say their new album “Nonetheless” is one of their most melodic from their four-decade-long career, featuring songs about solitude, freedom and looking for a new bohemia.

The record, out on Friday, is the 15th studio album by the duo – singer Neil Tennant and keyboardist Chris Lowe – and was written during the various COVID-19 lockdowns.

“It’s one of the most melodic albums we’ve ever made … This may be less dancey than some of our (other) albums but … it’s very warm,” Tennant told Reuters.

“The lockdowns must have had some sort of influence because the first song’s called ‘Loneliness’ and the third song, ‘Why am I dancing?’, is about why am I dancing when I am so alone? It was true, I did used to dance by myself sometimes.”

Track “New London Boy” looks back at Tennant moving to London as a teenager and the uncertainties of young adulthood, while in “A new bohemia” he sings about looking for just that.

“Dancing star” was inspired by famed Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who defected from the Soviet Union in 1961.

“In the ’60s you could feel a freedom, and I think around the world now in a lot of places we see the freedom being rolled back,” Tennant said.

“We all need to feel the freedom and think about a great dancer like Nureyev who wanted to feel the freedom.”

Other songs envisage the perspective of a bodyguard for former U.S. President Donald Trump (“Bullet for Narcissus”) or focus on German pop music (“The schlager hit parade”).

Asked if he had a favourite, Lowe said: “You can’t have a favourite child, can you?”

“We’ve always been prolific songwriters and that has always been the focus of what we do … and we enjoy doing it,” Tennant said.

The Pet Shop Boys, who formed in 1981, released their debut single “West End Girls” in 1984 and it became a smash hit with a re-mix a year later. They went on to release singles like “It’s a Sin”, “Heart” and “Go West”.

“We don’t really examine it … We just go with it,” Tennant said when asked about the duo’s enduring successful musical relationship.

“We’ve shared … more than 40 years … here’s only the two of us been through it and we have a quite good sense of humour about it because a lot of it’s quite ridiculous … it’s created a sort of bond I suppose.”

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by Mark Heinrich)