Pet Shop Boys, Seriously
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 05/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After the lush ad rich singles on Introspective, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe switched gears and made a low-key album that actually was introspective. "Behavior" tightened up the song lengths, reigned in the sarcastic irony (somewhat) and - to a great extent - made a coming out record. "Behavior" is almost Steely Dan-ish in its quality, a full-bore attempt to be taken seriously.
Which is why starting off the album with the cool, tongue-in-cheek "Being Boring" is so perfect. Addressing the night-life chaos of the 70's and 80's, Neil fast-forwards to the 90's and the sudden realization that AIDS has wiped the slate of friends and associates....as he wistfully notes:
"We were always looking back, hoping that
you could always rely on a friend."
From there, we take looks at the hell of boarding school ("This Must Be The Place I Waited Years to Leave"), relationships gone sour ("Jealousy") and the pratfalls of becoming famous (the dance-hit "How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously"). But the overall tone of the album is low-key, and some of the best songs here reflect that. In particular, the aging Russian Writer's lament "My October Symphony." It's given the same orchestra power of "Left to my Own Devices" but loses the disco pulse, as the vodka-sotted writer wonders if all those songs he wrote for his great cause are all just worthless words, since the revolution went bust. It plays with the notions of ideology and creation, and the ethical dilemma of what you compose vs what you believe. It's one of the best songs on the CD.
Once Chris and Neil had this out of their systems, they took a brief hiatus. The excellent Discography: The Complete Singles Collection was released in the interim, then their masterpiece Very three years later. I consider "Behavior" and "Very" to be a continual work, almost like a double album, Tenant and Lowe's creative high water mark. Get them both, and the versions with the bonus discs where possible."
Bjorn Viberg | European Union | 04/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Behavior being Pet Shop Boys 5th album and 4th of entirely new music and contained such hits as "Being Boring", "So Hard", "How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously?" and "Jealousy". The album does sound a bit like Violator by Depeche Mode and Tennant himself has made remarks that this was actually the case. The lyrics are very introspective and thoughtfull. 5/5."