I was tempted to go with Nightlife, what with New York City Boy being one of the greatest pop songs ever recorded and that, but in the end I decided it was silly not to pick Behaviour. It’s the more complete album. I know that, deep down inside.
New York City Boy though. It’s like… whoa. So good. So good.
I was tempted by Very too. There is an obvious sense that Behaviour marks the end of the first run of Pet Shop Boys albums and Very starts the second. Consequently it feels almost as if Behaviour should be seen as an eighties album by proxy and that Very should be celebrated as a very nineties new beginning. But Behaviour, you know, it’s the more complete album.
And of course there is their first singles collection, Discography, which was released in 1991 and is therefore technically eligible for inclusion, even if most of its tracks were released first in the eighties. But if I started including compilation albums then where would it stop? Divine Madness was released in 1992 but you couldn’t put it in a list of the best 90s albums, could you? Could you? I decided you couldn’t. And so I went with Behaviour, which is arguably the more complete album, and definitely more legitimately a 90s album.
And it really is a complete album, you know, with like songs and everything, all in a similar sort of mood, which is a little bit sad or (if you prefer) sombre. It’s downbeat but the singles (especially Being Boring and So Hard but especially Jealousy) sing. Have I mentioned it is a complete album?
Behaviour feels like a goodbye to the eighties, and specifically to the music Pet Shop Boys made in the eighties. I could have handled one or two more before the BPM went up a tad but it wasn’t like they stopped being good. They were just different after Behaviour And that is good too. Without that change we wouldn’t have New York City Boy, and a world without New York City Boy is a world with 5% less joy.