Pet Shop Boys, Critically (3)

For our second Pet Shop Boys conversation, Alfred Soto and I are joined by critic, and self-described “chart nerd,” Chris Molanphy (whose chart musings can be found at Slate and NPR). Over a roughly 90-minute chat, the three of us delve into the Pet Shop Boys’ monumental, if short-lived, American chart run, which leads into (among other things) a meditation on what Neil Tennant once described as the group’s “imperial phase.”

Part one
Part two
Part three

(Or download part one, two, three)


Small clarification: At one point, I bring up the Billboard Top 10 from the week “West End Girls” reached #1 (May 10, 1986). However, revisiting Billboard online afterwards, I realized I was running down the Hot 100 “sales and airplay” chart as opposed to the Hot 100 “singles” chart; from what I understand (I’d need someone like — well, like Chris Molanphy to explain it to me!), the latter is the more important of the two. (It doesn’t change the PSB being at #1, though the rest of the chart is a little different. I trust this won’t cause anyone reading this to lose even 30 seconds of sleep.)

Hot 100 Singles


Hot 100 Sales & Airplay


One thought on “Pet Shop Boys, Critically (3)

  1. Chart nerd that I am, you know how I knew something wasn’t right? “American Storm.” I was 99 percent sure it didn’t hit the top ten. I’m glad we got to discuss it though!

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