Pet Shop Boys : Ultimate
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Pet Shop Boys : Ultimate

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As the dynamic duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe edge ever nearer towards the thirtieth year of their terrific partnership, there seems to be no better time for the more or less aptly titled Ultimate compilation.

As the dynamic duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe edge ever nearer towards the thirtieth year of their terrific partnership, there seems to be no better time for the more or less aptly titled Ultimate compilation. Track for track, Ultimate proves an exciting and efficient showcase Pet Shop Boys’ finest moments.

It should be said that Ultimate is certainly not the first of its kind, the duo’s electro-pop expertise explored in previous releases. Fans will undoubtedly make a case for their earlier collections, PopArt and Discography arguably proving as effective an insight to the Pet Shop Boys’ work. The fact remains, however, that Ultimate sees and often raises its predecessors. For instance, tucked away at the end of the record is a brand new song – Together – its heartfelt sentiments chock full of that synth-pop fuzz we’ve come to know and love. Not only that, but the two-disc edition of Ultimate contains 183 minutes of BBC TV performances, plus the Pet Shop Boys’ set at 2010’s Glastonbury Festival. It’s truly comprehensive and immediately irresistible.

Sure, like most compilations, the ‘right’ one for you will inevitably come down to a matter of taste, Ultimate is well positioned to please. The release kicks off with West End Girls, soon including Always On My Mind, Heart and Domino Dancing. Much later, there’s the delicate Home And Dry, the thunderous dance-anthem I’m With Stupid and the hypnotic Love Etc. In truth, it’s astounding to think how kind the years have been to the duo and their distinct, unwavering synth-driven approach. Each song is seemingly as fresh and remarkable now as when it had first been received, Tennant and Lowe’s knack for striking melody prevailing brilliantly throughout each song. Moving, slick and charismatic, there is a certain charm that surrounds even their cover versions.

It’s a testament to the two larger-than-life pop superstars that they have not needed to sacrifice of their artistic integrity over the years much to remain as popular and as thrillingly entertaining as ever. Ultimate succeeds in reaffirming the praise bestowed upon the Pet Shop Boys throughout the career whilst also re-energising and reintroducing their back-catalog. In arriving at the conclusion of Ultimate, it’s difficult not to get excited concerning the future of the Pet Shop Boys. They’ve clearly captivated the world before and there’s every indication it will happen again.


Nick Mason