Prior to deciding to go in randomly among the 7″ singles for the new Sunday series in 2023, I did give a brief consideration to Pet Shop Boys being the focus of an extended series in a similar fashion to The Fall in 2021/22. I have been picking up second hand copies of a few of the 7″ singles in recent times, and there’s also the fact that many of their re-mastered and re-released CDs have been extended to include various b-sides and mixes from their singles. In the end, I felt it would just be too tall an ask to actually track down everything, and besides, while I’m a huge fan, I appreciate not everyone who drops into TVV feels the same.
Here’s wiki on today’s offering.
Suburbia is a song by English synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys. It was remixed and released as the fourth single from the duo’s debut studio album, Please (1986), and became the band’s second UK top-10 entry, peaking at #8.
The song’s primary inspiration is the 1983 Penelope Spheeris film Suburbia, and its depiction of violence and squalor in the suburbs of Los Angeles; in addition, the tension of the Brixton riots of 1981 and of 1985 hanging in recent memory led Neil Tennant of the duo to thinking about the boredom of suburbia and the underlying tension among disaffected youth that sparked off the riots at the least provocation.
The various versions of the song are punctuated by sounds of suburban violence, riots and smashing glass, as well as snarling dogs on the re-recorded single version (extended even further on the music video), which were derived from typical scenes in suburbia. The Please version of the song sounds very sparse in comparison. The version used for the video was the song that appeared on the PopArt compilation in 2003.
The b-side has long been one of the duo’s most loved among the fan base, partly for the fact that the majority of the vocal, albeit more spoken than sung, is provided by Chris Lowe.
It is seemingly about an 80s Italian youth subculture whose members hung around US-style fast food restaurants and had preferences for designer clothing and disco music. Paninaro was actually released as a limited edition 12″ single in Italy in 1986.