Friday, April 2, 2010

80s Music Video Flashback

Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls

Pet Shop Boys are an English electronic dance music duo, consisting of Neil Tennant, who provides main vocals, keyboards and occasionally guitar and Chris Lowe on keyboards and occasionally backing vocals.

They have sold over 100 million records worldwide and are listed as the most successful duo in pop music history. Since 1986, they have had 42 Top 30 singles and 22 Top 10 hits in the UK, including four Number Ones: "West End Girls", "It's a Sin", "Always on My Mind" and "Heart".

At the 2009 BRIT Awards, Pet Shop Boys received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music presented to them by Brandon Flowers.

"West End Girls" is a song by British pop duo Pet Shop Boys. Written by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, the song was released twice as a single. It is a synthpop song, influenced by hip hop music. The lyrics focus on class, and inner-city pressure, and were inspired by T.S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land. It was generally well received by contemporary music critics and has been frequently cited as a highlight in the duo's career.

The first version of the song was produced by Bobby Orlando and was released in April 1984, becoming a club hit in the United States and some European countries. After the duo signed with EMI, the song was re-recorded with producer Stephen Hague, for their first studio album, Please. In late 1985, the song was re-released, reaching number one in the United Kingdom and the United States in 1986. In 1987, the song won for Best Single at The BRIT Awards, and Best International Hit at the Ivor Novello Awards. In 2005, 20 years later after its release, the song was awarded Song of The Decade between the years 1985 and 1994, by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters.

The video: directed by Andy Morahan and Eric Watson, and consists of shots of the duo around London. At the beginning of the video, noises from the city can be heard, a camera passes Lowe on the street, and focus on two vintage dolls in a shop window. Then appears a sequence of quick cuts with shots of the city's different sub-cultures, the video freezes and cuts to Tennant and Lowe, who walk through an empty Berwick Street in Soho. They stand in front of a red garage door, Tennant is in front dressed with a long coat addressing directly to the camera, Lowe stands behind him with a blank expression.

Then the video shows shots of people walking into the London Underground metro system, and as the chorus starts the duo appears on the boarding platform. In slow motion, the camera passes through a shopping mall in central London, followed by the duo walking along the concourse at Waterloo Station. It cuts to a brief shot of a red double-decker bus, and black and white shots of the Tower Bridge, Westminster and the Big Ben from the sky. The duo poses on the South Bank of the River Thames in a pastiche of a postcard image, with the Houses of Parliament as a background.

The camera shows shots of young women, and passes through arcades and movie theaters in Leicester Square. The camera now passes the South Africa House, showing protestors in an anti-apartheid vigil. The video cuts to a closeup of Tennant singing the chorus, with a purple neon sign passing across his face. At the end the camera passes again through Leicester Square, where people queue to see Fletch and Desperately Seeking Susan. The video was nominated for Best New Artist in a Video at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards, but lost to a-ha's "Take on Me".

On the Web:
Pet Shop Boys Official website

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