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Saturday Deluxe / 30 Jan 2016

psb_superlpPet Shop Boys are back and in a couple of months will release a new album SUPER. It’s too early to start writing it off, but the song they’e made available, Inner Sanctum, has all the drama of It’s a Sin, without, er, the song. It sounds like they’ve skipped the ‘album version’ and cut straight to the club remix. Or make that dub remix  since this song has 17 words which are repeated three times “In the inner sanctum you’re a star, the girls, the guys, they all know who you are”. And that’s it.

I hope this ‘song’ is atypical when it comes to the album, because I’m not impressed. It’s hardly Only The Wind or October Symphony. Neil Tennant is a great lyricist, so this seems rather lazy. They’ve perhaps given up on the ‘pop’ charts and turned the ‘club’ dial up to 11. Anyway, I’ll save my excitement and anticipation for the reissue of Please, an album that really has stood the test of time.

Read about Pet Shop Boys and SUPER here


Phil Collins / Face Value reissuePhil Collins was on BBC Breakfast in the UK this week, to promote his reissues. I always find this kind of inane promotion problematic. It was a really boring interview, Phil was ill at ease and there was literally no conversation AT ALL about the reissues. The Breakfast team were obviously pleased to have such a big star on ‘the sofa’ but there was a bit of chat about his health issues, a does-it-bother-you-that-you’re-not-cool enquiry, and a few clips of some of his his many hits. Fair enough, the ‘general public’ got some kind of message that he was promoting something, but how many of those folks still buy physical music and how many would buy a Phil Collins reissue remains to be seen. I asked Warners if I could talk to Mr Collins about the reissues but was told this was not possible. Apart from when SDE talks to artists, they hardly ever get asked about the specifics of reissues or campaigns. The just chat about the album in general. You’ve already sold the album millions of times over, 30 years on let’s talk about the reissue!!

Read about Phil Collins’ reissues here


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ChartWatch

David Bowie continues to dominate the UK charts, with – wait for it –HALF of the top ten taken up by his albums in the physical sales chart; two hits compilations (Best of Bowie and Nothing Has Changed at numbers two and four respectively) and three studio albums. Blackstar is still number one (yay) while Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars are seven and eight respectively. Adele and Justin Bieber have no place mixing it with Bowie but the public gets what the public wants, so both of those are in the top five. In total 15 David Bowie albums are in the UK top 40 physical sales chart.

In other news, Suede’s Night Thoughts is in at number six, which isn’t bad and Steven Wilson‘s 4 1/2 is another new entry at number 14. My deluxe Night Thoughts turned up from Amazon Italy on Tuesday, but so far remains unplayed. I’ve avoided all the social media promotion so haven’t heard a single snippet from the album yet. Will have to make an effort to listen to it soon, since I’m going to see them on 12 February when they play their NME show at London’s Forum venue.

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44 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 30 Jan 2016

  1. Mike says:

    Inner Sanctum sounded like a typical PSB club instrumental of the type theyve done several times since Relentless. Like you, fine as b sides, but hope the songs are stronger, Elysium and Electric were average psb albums though both had odd high points – can listen to Thursday ad infinitum! Sure they can still pull it out though.

    • David says:

      It like axis from electric,I don’t mind it but I think it should be judged in context of the whole album.

    • Carlton says:

      “Inner Sanctum” bored me, and I’ve never been bored by a PSB song. I was taken aback at it, to be honest, and it worries me about the album, because this is what they consider being worthy of first-single status. I normally hate people who get all up-in-arms at a first single release, and I’m not going to diss the entire album based on one song, but it sounds much more like something from one of their Disco projects (and even then, some of their more “dubby” songs, like “Time on My Hands,” do a better job of catching my attention than”Inner Sanctum” did). It’s the first time they’ve had a debut single from an album that I didn’t hear and have some part of the melody stuck in my head after the first listen. In fact, I listened five or six times and still barely remember anything about it. :(

  2. gb says:

    might bump into you at the gig Paul ;)
    I’m not listening to the album before the gig, so I get the full impact live.
    always loved hearing new suede songs for the first time in a live context (fan club 96/99 gigs) and should be doubly good combined with the film playing

  3. Paul Kent says:

    I had a quick scan through the Phil Collins reissues on Spotify. Given how much he’s talking up the importance of the live recordings, some of them sound absolutely shocking. Lifting something from the sound desk is one thing but a couple of the tracks sound like they are radio recordings on chewed up cassettes. Awful! I wish there was an option to buy the remastered albums as single discs.

    • Darren says:

      Totally agree Paul, the 2nd disc on face value is a bit of a mess. I have to say the remastering of the actual album is superb, even on Spotify. If leaving me is easy sounds fantastic.

  4. Eugene says:

    In the interview with the Super promo kit Neil stated there were three “instrumentals” on the new LP. Inner Sanctum is one of them. Perhaps they will enhance the full album experience like David states above.

  5. Jason says:

    Agreed on the new PSB teaser. I think they are really going after the dubbing crowd this time – even more than with Electric.

    I don’t think it’s really reasonable to expect the kind of quality we once heard on Behaviour. That was another era altogether.

    • Mark says:

      I disagree, while Behaviour is my fav PSB album, a number of their recent songs are every bit as good as the older stuff . ” King of Rome “,
      ” The way it used to be ” and ” Memory of the Future ” to name just a few. A truly remarkable band still making great music after 30 years .

      • HS says:

        I have to agree – you named some excellent examples of just how good PSB still are.

      • Matthew McKinnon says:

        Nah. I was hoping Electric might be a return to form, but it was weak songs propped up by cutting-edge bluster.
        For me, they’ve moved into ‘two or three good songs a decade’ territory now, along with New Order and Depeche Mode. That energy just isn’t there any more.

  6. Ralph says:

    I don’t get it. Who are These Folks who go and buy Bowie now that he is dead? It’s the same with Michael Jackson and all the others. The fans have all the Albums, the hardly go and buy everything again when their Idol dies. Why didn’t all the others buy Bowie Albums while he was still alive? How can someone become a fan after the fact, when Bowie has been around the 60’s? I mean it’s not painter from the 17th century who was forgotten for Ages and recently rediscovered. Bowie was THERE all the time, so why wait until he dies??? Can anyone explain this to me – because I can’t!

    • Charles K. says:

      Casual fans who don’t necessarily place music as high in life as we do. They suddenly get reminded of an artist they liked back in the day and pick up a few releases. These casual purchases add up.

      Also, the record stores in my area put all his stuff on sale which encourages more serious fans to plug up holes in their collections, just my opinion of course!

    • J T says:

      I don’t get it. Who are These Folks who say once someone is dead, their sales should slow to a trickle and their albums go out of print? It’s the same with Michael Jackson and all the others. 36 million copies of Thriller when he was alive, now not one more, do you hear me?! Why didn’t the other 4.75 billion people on the planet buy Thriller at the time? And how can someone who’s been around since the ’60s appeal to any of the 2 billion who’ve come along since? I mean unless it’s a painter forgotten for ages, then why should anyone today give a rat’s butt? Bowie was THERE all the time, so now that he’s not, interest in him and his work should die with him.

      Honestly no personal offense to you, Ralph, but reframing your post back to you is the best way I could think of to answer your question. Don’t be fooled by the charts: as much as all artists need a major coincidence of commercial support immediately upon putting something out, and could lose the opportunity to do so again without that—and far too many good albums, singles, remixes have long gone out of print and remain unavailable—there’s no expiration date on music you are able to get your hands on.

      Most of Bowie’s most brilliant work preceded my dawning interest in music. I loved his collaborations “Under Pressure” and “This Is Not America,” and got them on vinyl LP and 45 respectively while each was on the charts. I saw “Labyrinth” in the theater. I got the Maxi-CD of “Heart’s Filthy Lesson” when that came out. A couple of his ubiquitous ’80s hits are on compilations I’ve picked up over the years. His spoken-word break on the 12″ mix of “Do They Know It’s Christmastime” sends a shiver up my spine each December (I bought 10 of those 45s in December ’84 and handed them out to random strangers in the mall). So he was a part of my life, just not in the way he was for major fans.

      I purchased the Beatles Box Set two or three years ago; I had three or four Beatles records, am I not allowed any more? Same with Queen, three or four of their LPs and then two Christmases ago I got the three box sets. Not cool? Or is it when it happens right at the time of their death that bothers you?

      I do kind of get that from the personal standpoint, of all those who show up to a funeral who didn’t show up in that person’s life as it got harder and bleaker toward the end, and won’t show up again any time soon to further comfort the bereaved. But that’s not the dynamic with a superstar like Bowie. He had a wife and kids and friends, and colleagues banding together to record his final album. He enjoyed an estate estimated at $100 million. What I feel sorrier for is the one-time stars who were struggling to pay the bills (or worse) at the time of their deaths, who thought they were forgotten, and only after they died was there a resurgence of interest they could’ve benefitted financially and emotionally from. Heck, I feel sorry for the artists who WERE largely forgotten at the time of their deaths, which went more or less unnoticed with no resurgence of interest after all.

      It’s called publicity. It’s why the U.S. is trying to get campaign finance reform passed. The masses are sheep who consume whatever’s advertised as popular—but only then—who want to place their bets on the horse already winning, buy whatever’s already a hit—even if it’s “only” because someone’s just passed away.

      But you know, plenty of us just kinda liked the guy, and the renewed sense of respect we feel at his loss, and the significance of his body of work as we see its entirety flash before our eyes on news and entertainment programs and blogs like this one, make us realize it’s long overdue we got something of his on CD or iTunes. What more appropriate way for strangers to pay their respects to a recording artist than to send their recordings back on to the charts?

    • Randy Metro says:

      One possible explanation is that there is not one Bowie fan base, who would now be in their 50’s and 60’s, but successive & future generations who will discover Bowie. His death has brought Bowie to the fore in an unfortunate way, and newer generations are now becoming fans as they discover his music. I became a fan of Hendrix a decade after his death. The same with Led Zep & The Doors – for all intent & purpose, I consider them dead when the bands broke up in the 70’s. And we keep on buying Page’s remastered retreads.

      David sang in Lazarus, “Everybody knows me now.”

  7. Jon Hank says:

    The live versions don’t sound that bad. I listened to them in my car on the way to and from work and they sounded fine to me except the live version of “Both Sides of the Story” which has the vocals way up front and the music is light in the background like it was recorded from radio or poorly mixed and the supposed acoustic version of that song is a band performance (Phil describes it as just him and a piano). The live versions are rather random and there are no mention at all in the liner notes what concerts they came from. The reissues aren’t that bad and the remastering are top notch. As a lifelong fan of PSB I’m (once again) greatly disappointed with “Inner Sanctum”, it’s as if they’ve lost the plot. Elysium was a disaster and Electric is easily forgettable. It’s sad to see a once great band burn out this way.

  8. Simon says:

    Saying Adele has no place rubbing shoulders with David Bowie is a bit harsh.

    • Richard says:

      No. No it isn’t.

      • Daran says:

        +1 Paul & Richard. I said it before on SDE, but her album sales are an unexplainable order of magnitude greater than either the quality of her voice or songs. Best description I ever saw to sum her up: A pub singer who got very very lucky. The fact that at the present rate of sales per album she may well end her career with greater album sales than Bowie and many other genuinely talented legends shows just how lucky she has got.

    • John Carey says:

      I will not argue that Adele is a fantastic singer. However, David Bowie was a CREATOR!

  9. Alan Jones says:

    Anyone able to confirm if all vinyl copies will be coloured and if so what colour?

  10. Wes says:

    People like what they like. Some people like to eat at Burger King and think it’s great while some eat fresh organic food. You can like what you like, but there are differences in the quality of ingredients whether you like it or not. Adele is to Bowie what a box of wine is to Opus One. It is what it is. You like box wine? Adele is on sale!

  11. Chris Lancaster says:

    Even serious Bowie fans buy his albums sometimes. For instance, I’ve bought Black Tie, White Noise this week as a) I can’t find my original CD anywhere, and b) my three-disc set of it is staying shrink-wrapped. I know I could listen to it on Spotify, but the gap in the CD cabinet was too much to take. I would think some sales can be chalked down to other people having similar issues!

  12. Mark says:

    I’m looking forward to the PSB new long player. I too find
    ” inner sanctum ” rather bland. It’s not bad just a album track. Mind you, I don’t generally enjoy instrumentals, so I’m pleased that its only one of three such tracks out of 12 on Super. The press release seems to hint that the bulk of the album is more lyrically ambitious. I suspect ” the Dictator decides ” will be a classic. I’m also very excited about a Please reissue. Hope it will be a super delux version like those Tears for Fears has done in the last few years.

  13. XO says:

    Is Saturday Deluxe now just an excuse for you to have a whinge, Paul? I imagine most people come here for news about reissues, not your complaining. Same goes for the SDE twitter.

    • Eric says:

      Paul really can’t win!

      If he posts solely, and dryly, about reissues he’s a paid-up industry stooge trying to sell us product, or if he includes more personal viewpoints and opinions he’s a whinger.

      I look forward to each Saturday Deluxe, myself.

  14. James says:

    I worked in indie record shops for over 25 years and sadly the death of an artist does make the general public go ‘oh, yeah – that’s pretty good.’ While personally I always loathed stocking up and taking advantage of the situation, it’s a fact – death will always sell. Record companies love it. Radio stations love it.

    Just wait when Macca and Dylan finally kick it…

    • Randy Metro says:

      No disrespect to Bowie, but death has often been referred to as “a good career move.” James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and Hendrix are all bringing in more money than when they were alive.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        IF Bowie was worried about his ‘career’ he wouldn’t have taken the best part of ten years off. I think one of the most impressive things about the man is that he took time off to bring up his daughter, and was able to put some perspective on what’s really important after 35 years of being on the album-tour treadmill.

  15. Neil says:

    Those 15 bowie albums that are in the top 40 well i had a look in HMV and Tesco and they only seem to be stocking Blackstar the rest are nowhere to be seen as far as the charts go or do they make up their own charts ? I would also go further and say that none of that crap in the top 40 deserves to rub shoulders with Bowie as music now is garbage and has been for quite a while now and it’s nothing to do with me getting older either. The news recently that reissues of old albums are selling more than new releases further proves my point to a degree.

    • Eric says:

      @Neil – Sainsbury’s are stocking pretty much the whole Bowie catalogue in their bigger stores, and as mentioned HMV have the lot right out at the front of store, along with books and DVDs connected with him.

    • Ken says:

      Neil is right sadly music is slowly drying up and losing it’s heart and soul. If you look at the charts 30 plus years ago there was innovative music that still has a place in people hearts. Now look 5 years back and those songs are sadly forgotten or at least not iconic. Not sure why this is happening but I think the resurgence in vinyl has a lot to do with people wanting to hold on to music’s better days. Or perhaps it’s because I am older…

  16. Neil says:

    Regarding the PSB they reached their peak with Behaviour and haven’t matched it since and that was 26 years ago not to say that what they have released since has been rubbish ok some of it has been but they will never get back to the quality of Behaviour. Keeps me in mind of Depeche Mode and U2 whose last good albums were around that time.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Yes, I don’t think they’ve bettered Behaviour since, although I really like (a lot) Bilingual and Fundamental. Lots of fans love Very, which I’ve never thought was very good at all (no pun intended). Can’t understand the love for that album.

      • Daran says:

        The ‘Relentless’ ltd edtion bonus disc (which was all new songs in addition to the main album) has a total gem on it called “One Thing Leads to Another”. One of their very best dance ‘songs’. All PSB lovers should check it out if you get a chance.

    • Daran says:

      @ Neil. I think DM were majestic from Violator in 1990 through to Ultra in 97. Ultra is a work of greatness considering the state Mr Gahan had got himself in. With Alan Wilder gone by then I assume Tim Simenon is responsible for it’s strength. But since then I agree, output has been patchy to say the least. I have to force myself to listen to Exciter!

  17. Marko says:

    I don’t understand people who criticize great bands (Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, Duran Duran…) . Thanks god they’re still with us after 30-40 years of making music. They are all legends, and we must respect that they still making music for their fans. Every Pet Shop Boys output is a good news from me, and on every album they have some good songs. Behaviour is from another world, and that album is a unrepeatable masterpiece.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      It’s inevitable that if bands have careers that span 30+ years that when new records come out they are going to be judged against their best work. I don’t think anyone is criticising the Pet Shop Boys, rather people are judging the music. The band chose to put out Inner Sanctum from the new record, so that’s all we have to judge it on for the time being.

  18. JeroenF says:

    “Inner sanctum” is a really good running/workout track. I expect their new album will sound much more sophisticated than ever.
    Bowie’s back catalogue is great. With this popularity new re releases, five years boxes will be released even faster.

  19. Eric says:

    Re: Phil Collins – perhaps it’s symptomatic of an artist who was so used to being in the mainstream, pressing flesh and racing around the globe on promo trips, that when the time’s come around again to push a new project/product, they simply can’t adjust their mindset to something other than the inane promotional methods.

    His PR team sees him back on the weekend front pages, and on the BBC, and consider it a success, no doubt. It must be difficult to accept that the game has changed for you, but I’m surprised he’s not savvy enough to realise that the more (dare I say it) serious and devoted music purchaser’s market is one that’s very willing to shell out on quality catalogue reissues.

    I (re)watched the Face Value classic album documentary on SkyARTS the other night, and Phil’s clearly not a stupid man, he is into the recording/creative process in a big way. Which makes his continual blind-spot regarding his own material a strange one to understand.

    It’s not the 80s anymore, but more people are interested in a thorough archival of his work than he seems to realise, or want to accept. Mind you, Sting’s another one with little interest in this side of things.

  20. baward says:

    All the Bowie albums (except The Next Day) are going UP this week. Marvellous for his memory, and Iman & the children.

  21. Don says:

    Agreed on the new PSB song. It’s dreadful. A continuation of the generic, tepid dance music that marred “Electric,” a bottom-tier PSB album. They’re too old to be churning out this mindless club music that aims only at the groin, rather than the heart and the head.

    • Mark says:

      They have always made great dance music. Taste is of course subjective but imho a great song like ” Love is a Bourgeois construct ” can’t be justifiably called ” mindless “. The real reason we are getting a second high energy dance album from PSB is that ” Electric “sold twice as many copies as Elysiam which was more reflective and centered on songs about death and getting old.

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