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20 years old today: Pet Shop Boys’ Very

It’s certainly more unabashedly pop than the music I normally write about or post here, but Pet Shop Boys’ Very turns 20 years old today. It was a hugely influential album on me when I picked it up behind the curve in 1996. I was newly out of the closet, and while most of what I listened to in the mid 90s fell squarely under industrial or experimental music, Pet Shop Boys were my only love as far as gay dance music goes.

While Very is probably PSB’s strongest album of their catalogue (though they’ve finally put something out that rivals it, this year’s Electric), I prefer the deluxe Very Relentless double-disc limited edition. Relentless includes 6 additional tracks that are largely instrumental or sample-based, showing that the Boys still had a lot of love for dance music in its current state (much like Introspective and Disco did previously in their respective release times).

It’s still one of my favorite pop albums today — perhaps the only album this long where Mr. Tennant and Mr. Lowe deliver quality on every single track, even the ballads.

I think the album has aged quite gracefully, especially since it splits the difference between strong songwriting and on-trend sounds for its time (many of which are en vogue all over again 20 years later). The videos, well, they’ve perhaps not aged so gracefully 😉 but I still love them.