Thursday, 19 July 2012


So, the new single has been made available to fans for a few weeks now and I've listened to it multiple times. With that in mind, I think I've now developed enough of an opinion to warrant a proper post on the single, although please note that this post may change (and probably will) rather significantly once I get to hear Elysium, as hearing what themes are present on the album may cause me to change my initial interpretations, so this is sill very much a work in progress. As far as opinions go, I have to admit that this really wasn't the attention grabbing lead single that I thought it would be and it feels like an unusually high amount of fans agree; I was expecting an upbeat dance track and I really think that was what they needed after they leaked Invisible (which was beautiful however). I think the biggest disappointment for me with Winner is that as things stand at the moment, it does feel like an Olympics cash in. Cashing in is something that I never expected from Pet Shop Boys, although that isn't to say that the theme of the album is predominately upbeat and euphoric, in which case Winner fits in effortlessly. There's nothing really about the track I could say I out rightly dislike, but it feels characterless. Lyrically, the song is simply about victory and celebrating achievement which does obviously fit in with the Olympic theme. In one way the lyrics are new territory for them: they're simplistic for once with no hidden meaning (at this stage, although the album's release may highlight some implicit reference that's alluded me). Having said that, the lyrics do feel pretty ordinary too, there's not even any wit that is present in so many of their tracks. In some ways that's a good thing, its nice to have more simplistic tracks to balance out more experimental work like Invisible etc. I mean Heart is one of my favourite Pet Shop Boys songs but its almost without doubt their most straightforward love song. In some ways I think Pet Shop Boys have utilized cynical elements in their lyrics so much that once they leave those elements out, fans can feel like they've dumbed down or something. Simplistic lyrics don't bother me in the least (a lot of the dance music I listen to has very little, and sometimes no lyrics whatsoever) as long as there is something else to compensate. With Heart, it had a brilliant dance beat and hook, but whilst Winner has a perfectly nice and inoffensive melody, compared to the likes of Being Boring's melody it just feels ordinary. I could even live with the lyrics if it wasn't for the fact that Neil's voice on this (mainly due to the vocal effects) actually makes the lyrics sound rather miserable which completely goes against the whole theme of the track. The track has a feel of Release era about it, and considering that the theme (for now at least) is about victory doesn't quite add up, I mean uplifting isn't exactly the first word that springs to mind when you think of Release era Pet Shop Boys. Having said that, you could argue maybe what they are doing is totally mocking the whole overly zealous attitude, I mean on one hand its almost too over the top with the audience applauding sound effects etc. Maybe they're meaning it to be ironic but we'll not know for sure until September. It almost sounds like an X Factor winners single, which I personally find to be as dull and characterless as you could get. I still have high hopes for the album, but I really hope the second single will be a massive improvement. I think they need a dance floor oriented track for the next release!

1 comment:

  1. I really like Winner, even though I agree that the Olympics thing seems a bit dubious. What I think they're doing is appropriating a populist sentiment and subverting it by using it as a metaphor for (in my case) a gay romance, like a 70's boys' school running team as the song does have that melodic pastiche from that era I think, and two boys fall in love, and in that context I imagine the congratulatory lyrics as an expression of adoration for his lover. If you imagine the lyrics as transcended by being a love song, it works really well to me.