Pet Shop Boys released “Numb” as a single this week and I’m still a bit ambivalent about the song. I like that it’s different than anything else they’ve done and that it has one of Neil Tennant’s most emotional vocal deliveries but it still doesn’t sit entirely right with me because Diane Warren’s fingerprints are still all over the song making it a little too much not PSB (yes I am aware that I like and dislike the song for the same reason, but that‘s why I‘m ambivalent you see). I’ve previously mentioned that I didn't want the song to be a single because it's edging out better songs that could have better demonstrated the albums strengths, but I have to admit that they did an amazing job creating a solid single package. I picked up the good stuff at 7digital so I can tell you that the two b-sides are utterly fantastic, visit The Zapping if you want proof, and the Ewan Pearson remix of “Psychological” finally makes the song soar in a way that was missing from the original and the Alter Ego mix on the bonus disc of Fundamental. Also of interest is the original PSB demo of “Numb” which clarifies Trevor Horn’s contribution as those futuristic chimes over the quiet moments and amping up the wall-of-sound orchestra. Then there is the creepy cover art with the Boys wearing Plague doctor masks that might be a commentary on our times.
There are two other PSB releases out this week: the two disc live album Concrete and the book chronicling the sleeve designs of the Boys work Catalogue. Both of those are on my maybe lists and if I see them for the right price I’ll pick them up but having listened to the BBC stream of the concert I didn’t find that much to get excited about. Maybe I’m not just a live album kind of guy.
Here is the offical video for "Numb" done in the style of early Soviet cinema. I wonder what gave the video directors that idea?