Pet Shop Boys – Burning the heather

“As heather and grass plants become older, they become less palatable and less nutritious. The process of burning small areas removes the older growth and allows the plants to regenerate after the burn.”

Tom: You know it’s going to be a Deep, Artistic Album when bands start playing about with the capitalisation of their tracks.

Tim: Very true, and for the agriculturally challenged amongst us, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust provides a lengthy explainer. Key sentences: “As heather and grass plants become older, they become less palatable and less nutritious. The process of burning small areas removes the older growth and allows the plants to regenerate after the burn.” Now you know that, here’s the new Pet Shop Boys track.

Tim: Now, I don’t want to be accused of taking anything to seriously or anything, but according to that link heather burning typically happens October to April, with the vast majority of it happening in the spring – any earlier, you see, and the ground is dry and it’s harder to control, so the line ‘autumn is here and they’re burning the heather’ is, well, if not entirely incorrect then certainly dubitable, with its implication that we’re round about late August, early September. I just find it difficult to take seriously, really. Though, seriously, what are those lyrics about?

Tom: I’m not entirely sure, and that “hell for leather” lyric lands like a brick through a window. I’ve said here before that Tennant and Lowe are much better producers and remixers than they are pop songwriters. I don’t mean that as an insult: they’ve written some absolute bangers: It’s A Sin, Left To My Own Devices, New York City Boy, Rent, and, yes, more. Those are all good songs. They have a heck of a Greatest Hits album.

But the big, breakthrough, mainstream, radio-play pop hits, the ones they end the concerts with, are covers: Always On My Mind and Go West.

Tim: Huh, I’d never thought of that before, but you’re right. I’d also add The Pop Kids to that list, though.

Tom: So new Pet Shop Boys music needs to be seen in that light: it’s probably not going to be a Big Radio Smash Hit. But it is probably going to be a good song.

Tim: Fair, and it’s worth noting the music’s not bad. Certainly wasn’t what I expected to hear when I pressed play, mind, but then as soon as Neil’s vocals came along I was very “ah, yep there it is” and it sounded okay.

Tom: Yep. Once you manage your expectations of both music and instruments, this is a decent Pet Shop Boys track.

Tim: Dragged on a bit, though. A little bit.

1 thought on “Pet Shop Boys – Burning the heather”

  1. Huh. The Pet Shop Boys track that seems to get the most play on the 80s stations around here is West End Girls, actually, though You Were Always On My Mind is a close second and Go West something of a distant fourth behind Opportunities. West End Girls is original though isn’t it?

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