|Vocal CD single cover|
As any Pet Shop Boys fan knows, they excel at B-sides. Not only that, but B-sides are a regular thing for them. They're the only artist that I listen to that still does them without fail even in the digital age. For example: Winner, the lead single of their last album had three B-sides. And not only that but they're known for doing exceptional B-sides. They have two double disc compilations of B-sides: Alternative and Format. They're both full of many of the duo's best songs.
Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that Vocal has a stash of remixes but no B-sides. None whatsoever. I had a feeling that would be the case because a news item on their website a few weeks ago only mentioned that "a CD single containing remixes will be announced shortly". Nevertheless it's very disappointing news indeed. I don't know the reason why. Perhaps they felt that because their last era produced 9 B-sides (many of them stemming from the Elysium sessions) it was time for a break. Having said that it's a pretty poor excuse if so. It's well known that Pet Shop Boys are not only very prolific in the studio but songs will lie unreleased for years before being used. Sometimes they even surface as B-side if they're particularly eclectic. Even if they didn't record new tracks for Electric era B-sides there's no shortage of already recorded material I'm sure.
Not only that, but it's a pretty poor business move. Many fans continue to buy their singles exclusively because of their B-sides. Particularly the newer singles which come after the release of Format. I don't buy CD singles (never did really) but I do make a point of buying Pet Shop Boys ones when I can find them because of their B-sides. Add to that the fact I find remixes of their songs to be very hit and miss.That's a fairly common view amongst fans too I think. However, I won't be buying Vocal. Unless the remixes are of exceptional quality. However I don't like Vocal as a song to begin with so the chances of that are slim.
I really hope this isn't a sign of Pet Shop Boys slowing down.. B-sides have always been a strong point for them. Also, the singles from Elysium were utter non-entities in the charts. And fans had more reason to buy them because they contained B-sides. I can see some fans not buying Vocal because it hasn't got any B-sides, so I dread to see where it will chart (if it even does). This is a move that will harm them on every level I think, I only hope that it's just a move exclusive to Vocal. Time will tell.