Save their debut, I’d wager Behaviour is by far the Pet Shop Boys’ best, certainly most consistent, well-rounded album to date. Defined by lead single “Being Boring”, the album tilted the duo’s bitter-sweet axis to also take in melancholy. Granted, the album also created a cul-de-sac problem; comfortable and mature, at least by pop rules is a dangerously short road into irrelevance. Nevertheless, it was a great album while it lasted; even if it did leave me wondering, across far too many subsequently mediocre reappearances, why the Pet Shop Boys couldn’t just hanker down and write something that fantastic again.
So imagine my delight upon clicking play on “Invisible” this morning, the new single in waiting by Messrs Tennant and Lowe. Within ten seconds I was caught. By 20, I was right back in headphones, late at night circa 1990, drifting. Then, a little after 30 seconds in, and a first line admission that “After being, for so many years, the life and soul of the party, it’s weird… I’m invisible…” I was in heaven.
Like an author finally returned to an old, much-loved character; one repeatedly requested but steadfastly refused, seemingly abandoned, lost to time, Tennant has once again become the narrator of “Being Boring” — he that spoke of passing trends and fashions, and the dreaded consequence of life’s pernicious gift. All accompanied by Chris Lowe (finally stepped out of that dreadful Euro disco phase he insisted on dragging us through for too many years) back conjuring a lush cinematic sound-bed; there’s strings, bleeps, delayed piano chords — all gorgeous headphone music as balm.
Smart, arty video too.