29
Dec 01

THE PET SHOP BOYS — “The End of the World”

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The holidays were particularly good to me, especially in one respect — thanks to a gift certificate and the idiocy of some crackheads in San Francisco who clearly needed some money to support their habits, I picked up three of the PSB reissues from earlier this year, along with getting two more a couple of days later. Saying that albums like Actually and Behaviour are important to me is understating the case — somehow even the suggestion of a Tennant/Lowe credit on something captures a feeling in me that few other acts can touch, and more on that, perhaps, in a future article.

“The End of the World,” the penultimate track on Behaviour, was always a favorite of mine, one of those album cuts that you have to dig a little deeper for. Reading the liner notes and seeing how the two were blown away by Depeche Mode’s Violator to the point where the guitar on the song is a specific tribute to “Enjoy the Silence” was intriguing enough, but the real revelation was the song itself, again — one I hadn’t heard for some time, but which immediately leaped again to my memory and has been staying there since. If songs are so often meant or said to soundtrack teenage melodramas, then “The End of the World” is special because it’s *about* such a melodrama, one that revels in it even as the delivery and arrangement and more are so purely, wonderfully Pet Shop Boys, that supposed dryness that covers up empathy, that call to recognize that it is ‘just a boy or a girl, it’s not the end of the world’ — but still, it IS.

It begs for a cover version, no, many cover versions, it could work so many different ways in different singers’ hands. Imagine Britney using it as a last kissoff to younger days, think of Jarvis’ jaundiced but hurt-filled croon, consider how a glitch-crumble in the ear could succeed as well as a bombastic storm. But could it top the original?

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