The series has reached 1999, and if I now begin to appear a little unsure of myself, then it’s all down to the fact that I’ve only just got familiar with the songs as part of the idea to do this series as I didn’t buy any of the singles or the next album at the time.   Indeed, after 1997,  not too many Pet Shop Boys songs were picked up at the time of release.


Two years after the Savoy Theatre residency and the release of the Noel Coward cover version, Pet Shop Boys came back with a single of their own,

mp3:  Pet Shop Boys – I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Any More

Released on 19 July 1999, it went straight into the charts at #15.   But, unlike so many of their other brand-new singles from the previous years, this one immediately plummeted right back out of the charts, dropping to #38 and then #57 before disappearing altogether.   In fact, this was the pattern that would be repeated with every subsequent PSB single thereafter, with fans buying the CD/vinyl/download within the first days of it being available, thus delivering a more than decent first-week chart position which would prove to be its peak.

As tunes go, it’s nothing terribly special.  I’d never accuse PSB of being boring (see what I did there?), but this is one which doesn’t have much in the earworm stakes.  Having said that, it borders on genius that the lines in all the verses seem to consist solely of questions.

2 x CDs and a cassette version were in the shops, along with a 12″ maxi single.  The vinyl offered 40 minutes worth of mixes of the single across six different versions.  CD1 had the single, two new tracks and the promo video, while CD2 had two remixes plus a cover version.


mp3:  Pet Shop Boys – Silver Age
mp3:  Pet Shop Boys – Screaming

Silver Age is a slow, almost ponderous number that took a few listens to grow on me.  The fact I came to it in 2023 rather than 1999 might have something to do with it…..I spent ages trying to recall what it reminded me of, rather than taking it on its own merits.  Oh, and in the end I kept thinking of Portishead but with the hip-hop elements all removed.

Screaming also starts off in a ponderous manner. Until the 18-second mark.  Turns out that it had originally been released at the end of 1998 on Psycho: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture, a CD tie-in with the Gus Van Sant remake of the Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece. As b-sides go, it’s good fun.


mp3:  Pet Shop Boys – Je t’aime… moi non plus

The thing is, although made available on CD2, it isn’t really a Pet Shop Boys recording.

It was originally included on a September 1998 release called We Love You, a collaboration involving modern artists and musicians.  It comprised a book of 118 pages and a CD with 18 songs.  PSB teamed up with Sam Taylor-Wood for a bonkers take on the infamous Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg duet, with the artist taking the female vocal role while the male vocal is computerised, but most likely Chris Lowe having a bit of fun.   Make of it what you will. I think it’s a load of nonsense, albeit it occasionally threatens to break into the sort of tune Air were releasing around the same time.


The next single came out on 27 September 1999.

mp3:  Pet Shop Boys – New York City Boy

Was this written as a sort of ‘thank you’ to Village People for Go West?  It’s certainly a real throwback to disco sounds of the late 70s.

It did marginally better than the previous single in that it reached #14.

Again, there were 2 x CDs, cassette, and a 12″ maxi single.  Once again, the vinyl offered 40 minutes worth of mixes of the single, but this time across five different versions.  CD1 had the single, one new track, one remix and the promo video, while CD2 had the single, one other new track, one different remix and some video footage of a solar eclipse, the reason for which I’ll get to shortly.


mp3:  Pet Shop Boys – The Ghost of Myself

Once again, I find myself really enjoying a PSB b-side.   This is a track that wouldn’t have been out of place among the material released across the earliest of the albums. As I said, this is the era that has taken me almost quarter-of-a century to catch up with, and this is one of the few songs from the period that I regret taking so long to pick up on.


mp3:  Pet Shop Boys – Casting A Shadow

On the morning of 11th August 1999, part of south-west England gets to experience the first total solar eclipse over the British mainland for over 70 years. BBC Radio 1 marks the occasion with a live show from Cornwall at which the Pet Shop Boys perform.  The duo have written a new instrumental for performance to be broadcast during the actual eclipse itself. Said instrumental, which goes through a number of tempo changes (and which at its fastest, certainly owes a debt to Giorgio Moroder), appears as the extra track on CD2 of the next single.


The fact that the previous two singles hadn’t really set any heather on fire is perhaps one explanation as to why it took until 3 January 2000 before the release of the next one.

In the interim, the duo’s seventh studio album, Nightlife, had been released on 8 October 1999.  The artwork around the album was a continuation of what had been used on its preview singles, and quite a number of critics took the opportunity to ridicule the new look.  And, if we are being honest, it wasn’t a style which was well received by many fans.

The album was supported by a world tour called Dreamworld that got underway in Miami on 20 October and would continue through to 12 February with a show in Mannheim.  The calling points were America, Canada, Germany, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium and France. The costumes and wigs were elaborate and were often more commented on in reviews than the actual music. 

Tours are normally very good at giving life to new records, but Nightlife, certainly in comparison to the previous albums, sold in disappointing numbers.  It entered the charts at #7, the first time a PSB album had missed the Top 5.   Within two weeks, it was outside the Top 75 and destined before too long for the bargain bins. 

The January 2000 single was lifted from Nightlife

mp3:  Pet Shop Boys – You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk

It’s a fine song, albeit it doesn’t quite live up to its majestic title.  It’s also still part of the current set lists, albeit in an unplugged version with Neil Tennant strumming away on an acoustic guitar.  It actually works really well.

The best-performing of the three singles from Nightlife in that it reached #8, but that was possibly to do with the timing of its release in the first week of a new year when there are less new singles competing for attention and sales.

This time round, the cassette was dropped in favour of  3 x CDs, and a 12″ single. The vinyl had four remixes of the single, offering up more than 33 minutes worth of music.  CD1 had the single, two previously unreleased songs and the video.


mp3:  Pet Shop Boys – Lies
mp3:  Pet Shop Boys – Sail Away

Lies is a club stomper. Chris Lowe is on lead vocal.  Yup, he sings on this one rather than talks his way through it, albeit he’s greatly assisted with the soulful, diva-style backing vocals.   This would not have been out of place on the Club Ibiza type CD compilations that were flooding the market at the turn of the century.  It’s great fun.

Sail Away is a cover of a song written in the 1940s by Noel Coward. It had been included on the 1998 charity album, Twentieth-Century Blues, which had been curated by Neil Tennant and involved modern-day artists, reinterpreting some of Coward’s best know songs, with the profits going to the Red Hot Aids Charitable Trust.

CD2 had three mixes of the single, while CD3 has a live version of ‘You Only Tell Me…’ along with live versions of Always On My Mind and Being Boring.  As such, there’s nothing further to offer from the release.

No more singles were lifted from Nightlife.   The duo remained on tour for much of 2000 and included their first ever Glastonbury performance.  2001 was taken up by  the staging of Closer To Heaven a co-written by the Pet Shop Boys, something they had been working on since 1996.  The show opened in May 2001 and ran until October 2001.  Reviews were, at best, mixed.

The next new PSB recorded material would surface in March 2002.  I’ll hopefully see you next week…..


7 thoughts on “PET SHOP BOYS SINGLES (Part Fifteen)

  1. Unrelated directly to the material of this post, but for a week now, I have not been able to download anything from your site. 😦 The download option seems to have been taken away, and I can only play the file, but not download anymore. I suspect it’s a issue since they changed their whole”look” recently. Wondering if others are having this issue as well?

  2. Hi folks

    Thanks for highlighting the issue. I’ve checked things through my laptop and phone and had no problems in downloading the mp3s.

    A download button appears when I use the laptop, but it is hiddem when I use the phone. I had to click on a square that has three dots inside it, from which came a dropdown menu, including a ‘Download’ option.

    Hope this helps.

  3. But that’s exactly the problem, there is absolutely nothing to “drop down” anywhere! I only have the “play box” in the middle of a completely white screen now! I do use a Kindle Fire tablet so…guess I will have to go ask themselves. Thanks for trying.

  4. But that’s exactly the problem, as there is absolutely nothing to “drop down” anywhere for me. 😕 I only have the “play box” in the middle of a completely white screen now. I do use a Kindle Fire tablet so…guess I will have to go ask themselves. Thanks for trying.

  5. I added “Casting a Shadow” to my Eclipse mix, which I recently started from scratch (Actually I’m starting it now). Assuming I’m not moving, my next total solar eclipse is on September 3, 2081. I’m looking forward to this.

  6. For me When You’re Drunk and Don’t Know What You Want are underrated PSB gems. There’s a remix of Don’t Know buried on one of those ridiculous double CD singles that is gorgeous. I think it’s the Thee Maddkatt Courtship 80 Witness mix.

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