Band,Bass,Dance,Drums,Electronica,Hip Hop,Keyboards,London,Lyricist,Pet Shop Boys,Pop,Pop music,Producer,Rap,Singer Songwriter,Songwriter,Spoken word,Track Of The Day,UK,Vocals

Single Review: “West End Girls” – Pet Shop Boys

On 11th January 1986 The Pet Shop Boys scored their first UK No.1 single with ‘West End Girls.’ The first version of the song was released in April 1984, becoming a club hit in the United States, after the duo signed with EMI, the song was re-recorded with producer Stephen Hague.

Now I remember the first time I heard this it was on Top Of The Pops, Chris Lowe in his baseball cap at his PPG, Neil Tennant at the microphone.

It starts off with street sound effects and the chords on a synth, over hi hats and a kick.

Snare hit with long decay!

Then the bass line drops.

Neil deadpans the lines (Pretty much a rap) to this:

“Sometimes you’re better off dead,
There’s a gun in your hand
And it’s pointing at your head,
You think you’re mad too unstable
Kicking in chairs and knocking down tables
In a restaurant in a west end town
Call the police there’s a madman around
Running down underground to a dive bar
In a dead end town.”

This could easily take its influence from “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five.

Then Neil launches into a vocal with a catchy chorus, one that will inspire late 80s pop songs to come, and set the stage for what they would do – redefine synth pop. This set the stage for making me want to learn how drum machines work, which would happen over a year later in secondary school. Brilliant pop and still stands up 37 years later.


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