10 Records in 10 Days: Day Seven

17 Feb

Welcome back to 10 Records in 10 Days. A Facebook chain-turned 10 day blog series. The concept is simple. ”Post an album a day covering your 10 all time favourite albums. What really made an impact and is still on your rotation list, even if only now and then? Post the cover, no need to explain, and nominate a person each day to do the same”.

We’ve been nominated but rather than post without explanation, we thought it would be more fun to provide a little context. That is just the first of the rules we plan to break in this series. We are also not nominating anyone else (if you want to join in, you are more than welcome to do so) and we are also not adhering to any of the other implied rules either.

For the purpose of this series, we’ll be posting in the first person.

Day seven takes me back to my primary school years and the first proper album I can remember owning.

Pet Shop Boys – Introspective

I was 10 years old when Introspective was released. At the same time, my listening was dominated by whatever was in the charts, including a lot of very, very cheesy pop (Glenn Medeiros anyone?). Given their success previously, listening to the charts should have exposed me to the Pet Shop Boys but instead it was thanks to a girl at my primary school that I heard them.

The combination of brightly coloured cover and her continual excitement about the music resulted in me borrowing her tape and then buying my own copy. I’m pretty sure this is where my enduring love of synth-pop first began.

Introspective was only six songs long, but the songs and arrangements were incredible. I didn’t appreciate at the time that these were 12” mixes and that the use of orchestration was fairly unusual, I just thought the pop songs and sounds were absolutely amazing. From the very start it was clear this was no “I Should Be So Lucky”. “Left To My Own Devices” begins like some strange hybrid scandinavian opera / Bond theme before breaking down into the most infectious and danceable pop tune around. Immediately the tone was set as Neil and Chris took me into their world.

I felt like I was in some mysterious and special world. I was 10, I had little knowledge of the world around me or how popular the Pet Shop Boys actually were. All I knew was that only a couple of people in my school knew who they were so that immediately made them cool. This feeling was only magnified when I saw Patsy Kensit and Eighth Wonder playing “I’m Not Scared: on Top of the Pops. The notion of cover versions was alien to me and, having heard the Pet Shop Boys version beforehand, I felt like I was in on some great secret that no one else knew.

At 10 years old, there were an awful lot of lyrical references that went way over my head, but I still knew the words, still sang along and still wanted to play the album again and again. The melodies and hooks were something else entirely and I have been a fan ever since.

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