It’s true his band still has a large following (including myself). It’s also true they are not getting any younger. (Nor am I alas.) Bifocals be damned though: what a pleasure it is to drift through more than three decades of droll vignettes, metropolitan tristesse and bittersweet generational chronicles.... Pet Shop Boys have always been mirror ball magicians. Their songs are euphoric and bruised. If most dance songs are about the intense present or the heady future, Tennant and Lowe’s talent has been to flood theirs with references to yesterdays, to looking back, to tearful goodbyes.
Before fame, Tennant was an editor for Marvel Comics and Smash Hits, where, he continues, he learnt about “editing text to make it clearer and more focused… I could apply this to song lyrics and the songwriting process as a whole”. This approach sounds oddly unromantic, and the mood it creates affects the lyrics that follow, as fabulous, sophisticated and melancholy phrases frequently fall with similar coldness on the page...Throughout, Tennant’s precise Englishness requires something bolder to offset its simplicity: you miss fellow Pet Shop Boy Chris Lowe’s neon-lit synthesisers, and those turbo-charged disco pulses.
His throat-clearing introduction rattles off some major life milestones, and you can’t help but wonder if this elegant little compilation – full of observation and lashings of pain, stoically borne, but rich with eye-rolling satire too – is the publisher’s way of softening Tennant up for a memoir. When he mentions the excitement of recording early tracks in New York with producer Bobby Orlando, he notes, tantalisingly, “but that is a story for a different book”... For now, though, there are the words; some already etched indelibly into the forebrain, some from lesser-known corners of Tennant’s notebooks.