IT IS always a red-letter day for me when Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe reveal Pet Shop Boys have new music on the way.
They did that recently when they announced a new album in the pipeline.
Then came the news their Inner Sanctum residency at London’s Royal Opera House last year is to be released as a Blu Ray, DVD and 2CD Set.
This week, the breaking news on Monday was that The Boys were set to release four new tracks over four days, starting on Tuesday.
Comprising their new EP, appropriately entitled Agenda, the tracks were described by Neil as “three satirical songs and one rather sad song, but they all have, broadly speaking, political themes. I think it’s because of the times we’re living through.”
Having now listened to all four, Agenda certainly works as a title. The first three songs are biting, if rather blunt satires on the world we find ourselves in and the fourth is a thought provoking electro-ballad.
With little fanfare, the imminent release of Tuesday’s Give Stupidity a Chance, was flagged up on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter 24 hours before.
An attack on the populist politics that have enabled Trump and Brexit, it is classic Pet Shop Boys; a gentle electronic pulse driving it as Neil’s trademark vocals invite us to ‘lead this world a merry dance’ by giving ‘stupidity a chance’.
There’s nothing subtle about the lyrics, but then, that’s the point.
Wednesday brought the more upbeat On Social Media, an ironic number in more ways than one.
Again instantly recognisable as a Pet Shop Boys’ track, the subjects of ego and greed raise their heads, themes returned to on Thursday with the anthemic What Are We Going To Do About The Rich?, described by Neil as “a sort of mock-protest song” as he clarified that the old-school ‘banger’ was about the “extreme rich - oligarchs and that kind of thing. The super-rich.”
Chris added, “The ones that don’t pay any tax.”
Yesterday’s final release, was the melodic and poignant The Forgotten Child, which shines a spotlight on the innocent victims of any war, children.
It provides a thought-provoking conclusion to the EP as, sadly, whether that child be living through the nightmare of war or the horrors of escaping with the hope of life in a ‘better’ country, it’s a song that brings Agenda full circle.
If they escape, chances are they’ll find themselves facing the stupidity of Tuesday. If they’re lucky and find a ‘better’ country, they run the risk of being sucked into Wednesday’s world. Either way their lives, like ours will be controlled by Thursday’s Rich.
Not all their fans have approved of Neil and Chris’ social comment, personally I say all kudos to them.
Agenda is available now digitally, or can be ordered now on CD (exclusively with this year’s issue of Annually) and on 12-inch vinyl from www.petshopboysshop.co.uk