Monday, 18 March 2013

Pet Shop Boys - Essential

Hm, this is a strange compilation. This was originally released in 1998 as an exclusive release in only Japan and America. At the time of release, this had a lot of rare tracks - a number of which previously unavailable on CD.  The tracks are:
    1. Domino Dancing (Alternative Version)*
    2. West End Girls (Dance Mix)*
    3. Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money) (Original 7" Version)*
    4. Paninaro (7" Version)
    5. That's My Impression (7" Version)*
    6. We All Feel Better In The Dark (Extended Mix)*
    7.  It Couldn't Happen Here
    8. It's Alright (7" Version)
    9. Left To My Own Devices (7" Version)
    10. In The Night (Dance Mix)
    11. Two Divided By Zero
    12. Love Comes Quickly (Dance Mix)*
    13. Being Boring (Extended Version)*
* denotes that the tracks were previously unreleased on CD.

As you can see - a lot of the tracks here were rare to get at the time. 6/13 to be precise. Having said that on the 2001 remasters you can find all of these tracks (and more). As for the 7" of Paninaro, you can find that on Alternative. There is one rarity here though: the 7" of That's My Impression. After checking it on the ever reliable/informative it appears that the mix here isn't the same that was on Alternative, nor was it on any other official release. It appears to be an exclusive mix.

Having said that, I still disagree with the title of this album. Whilst this showcases some of my personal favourite official Pet Shop Boys mixes (Being Boring Extended Version, Domino Dancing Alternative mix) the title is misleading. For a big fan in 1998 this would have undoubtedly been essential: at that time these tracks were very rare indeed. Having said that those special edition albums (not to mention file sharing methods) has rendered this non-essential. I can't see what would have enticed a casual fan to buy this though even then as it deals almost exclusively with lesser known Pet Shop Boys tracks.

So, do I recommend it? Yes and no. For the absolute completist (like myself) this is probably worth a purchase because it does contain that rare mix of That's My Impression. Having said that is isn't the definitive Pet Shop Boys compilation by a long shot. Casual fans and people looking for the Pet Shop Boys compilation to start with should stick to PopArt. Even for bigger fans there's more interesting Pet Shop Boys CD's to get before this. Unless you are a particularly big fan of That's My Impression. Personally, it's one of my least favourites on Alternative which is a big reason why I haven't bothered purchasing this yet. My advice? For big fans its worth a purchase but I'd recommend things like Mini PSB before I'd recommend this. It also doesn't appear to be that rare from what I've seen: I can import it from US for a relatively low price (second hand that is). In brand new condition though it would be much rarer I'd say. For what it's worth, I'd say I'm a bit of a completist and I still haven't bought this yet.

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