With The Pet Shop Boys’ latest album out this month, it’s a jump back to the 80’s and 90’s. Their new release, Hotspot, will have you reminiscing about an era from before your birth, where electronic synthesizers, raving clubs, disco balls, bright neon lights and avant-garde fashion reigned supreme.
Hotspot is the 14th studio album and third in a “back to basics” trilogy alongside 2013 Electric and 2016 Super, including vocals by Neil Tenant and with Chris Lowe’s storic bassline. The Synth-pop genre may be familiar territory for the duo, but nevertheless it successfully combines retro Hi-NRG with a modern-day commentary. All the tracks in this album are unique in their own way but for the length of this article I highlight six of the most outstanding singles to listen to.
‘Will O’ the Wisp’ deals with an individual recalling his past life as “free spirit” before settling down with a family and job in local government; ‘You are the one’ gives us an Alphaville vibe with Tenant’s melancholic and passionate tone.
Thirdly, ‘Happy People’ is a catchy tune, a hymn to always think positive “even in a sad world” that’s oversaturated with technology and soul-crushing jobs. Proceeding further in the record,‘Dreamland’ is the product of the collaboration with Years & Years that will also have listeners humming along to the chorus whilst driving or studying.
On another note, ‘Burning the Heather’ is a notable folk song intermixed with synthesizers highlighting and going back to the duo’s Northern English origins.
Finally, ‘Wedding in Berlin’, with its beats and wedding music, is a modern commentary on the changing nature of marriage. In effect, Hotspot is the definitive album to conclude Pet Shop Boys’ return to their 80’s synthpop roots whilst still providing original content for newcomers to their work.