#596 – West End Girls

New wave and synth pop was the name of the game in the mid 80’s on both sides of the Atlantic, and the Pet Shop Boys found success through a blend of synthesizers and electronic rhythm that creates a hypnotic effect on the listener.

“West End Girls” was mainly a cult favorite in the United States when it was first released in 1984, gaining traction in clubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but it never had a formal release in the states until the following year, when it finally made it’s way to #1 for one week on May 10th, 1986.

Lead singer Neil Tennant is at the top of his game, drawling his way through the almost post-apocolyptic pictures that he paints, talking about there being “too many shadows whispering voices/faces on posters, too many choices,” and being “better off dead,” with a “gun in your hand pointed at your head.”

Though the original by the Pet Shop Boys is a great piece of down-beat new wave, let’s not forget that it also inspired the Flight of the Conchord’s fantastic “Inner City Pressure,” which touches on many similar themes, including giving up on being a concert flutist, playing with synthesizers, counting coins in a 7/11 for hours, and wearing second-hand underpants.


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