Fundamental (Pet Shop Boys album)

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Fundamental
Studio album by Pet Shop Boys
Released 22 May 2006
Recorded 2005, Sarm West Studios, London
Genre Synthpop, dark wave, house
Length 48:39
50:26 (Fundamentalism)
Label Parlophone
Rhino (U.S.)
Producer Trevor Horn, Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys chronology
Battleship Potemkin
(2005)
Fundamental
(2006)
Concrete
(2006)
Singles from Fundamental
  1. "I'm with Stupid"
    Released: 8 May 2006 (2006-05-08)
  2. "Minimal"
    Released: 24 July 2006 (2006-07-24)
  3. "Numb"
    Released: 16 October 2006 (2006-10-16)
  4. "Integral"
    Released: 8 October 2007 (2007-10-08)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
BBC (Favourable) [2]
CANOE 4/5 stars [3]
CBC (Favourable) [4]
The Guardian 4/5 stars [5]
The Independent 5/5 stars [6]
Pitchfork Media (6.5/10) [7]
Slant Magazine 4.5/5 stars [8]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention) [9]
Q 4/5 stars [10]
Yahoo! Music UK 3.5/5 stars [11]

Fundamental is the ninth studio album by English synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys. It was released in May 2006 in the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan, and Canada, and was released in late June 2006 in the United States. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number five on 28 May 2006 (see 2006 in British music). In the US the album peaked at #150 selling 7500 copies in its first week. As of April 2009 it had sold 46,000 copies in the US and 66,000 copies in the UK. Fundamental earned two Grammy nominations at the 2007 Grammy Awards for Best Dance/Electronic Album and Best Dance Recording with "I'm with Stupid".

The album was produced by the Pet Shop Boys and Trevor Horn and it features eleven new Pet Shop Boys compositions, and "Numb", written by Diane Warren (Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe originally planned to have "Numb" be one of two new tracks on PopArt, but opted instead for "Miracles" and "Flamboyant").

The liner notes show that the album is dedicated to two executed Iranian gay teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, who were hanged on 19 July 2005. Some reports have suggested the two may have been executed for engaging in homosexual behaviour, though the official Iranian report was that they were hanged for raping a 13-year-old boy. The album was critically acclaimed and had healthy sales.

Overview[edit]

Subject matter[edit]

The album has been noted for being more political than any other of the duo's albums to date; even the title, in one sense, is a reference to religious fundamentalism — portrayed here in a light, critical manner, which singer Neil Tennant attributes to the relatively relaxed status of religious freedom in the United Kingdom.[12]

Specific contemporary issues discussed in the lyrics include tensions and fears in the United States caused by the War on Terrorism, addressed in songs such as "Psychological" and "Luna Park"[13] ("Luna Park" being the name of various amusement parks around the world). Other songs refer to the politics of the band's home country; "Indefinite leave to remain" refers to an immigration status in the United Kingdom, while "Integral" criticizes the Identity Cards Act 2006. (A statement from a band spokesman cites the issue as the reason that Tennant ceased his well-publicized support of Tony Blair's Labour Party.) "I'm with Stupid", meanwhile, touches upon both countries by satirizing Blair's alliance with George W. Bush. (See also special relationship.)[14]

Other subject matters are dealt with as well. "Casanova in Hell" is about the 18th century historical figure Giacomo Casanova, and how he immortalized himself by writing memoirs about his history of sexual seduction of numerous women. Tennant refers to, specifically, the book Casanova's Homecoming by Arthur Schnitzler as his inspiration for the song.[13] (It was sung by Rufus Wainwright at its very first live performance, at a private concert recorded for BBC Radio 2 at the Mermaid Theatre on 8 May 2006.)[15] "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show" references two of the biblical cities of sin, Sodom and Gomorrah, in saying that to learn to 'go where angels fear to tread' (i.e. to sin) is to learn to live freely.

Music[edit]

The album is Pet Shop Boys' first collaboration with Trevor Horn since the 1989 single "It's Alright". Its sound bears the producer's heavily orchestral style (also present on that song), most frequently associated with the 1982 ABC album The Lexicon of Love as well as the 1984 Frankie Goes to Hollywood single "Two Tribes" and subsequent album Welcome to the Pleasuredome. Horn was also musical director for the Radio 2 concert, which featured the BBC Concert Orchestra.[15]

The album's personnel included many of Horn's frequent musical collaborators, including Anne Dudley, Tessa Niles, Jamie Muhoberac, Phil Palmer, Steve Lipson, Lol Creme, Tim Pierce, Earl Harvin, Frank Ricotti, Luis Jardim, Lucinda Barry.[16]

Fundamentalism[edit]

Special limited editions of the album include a second bonus CD called Fundamentalism. The disc includes remixed tracks with contributions by artists such as Alter Ego. "In Private", here presented as a duet with Elton John, was originally a Dusty Springfield song written and produced by the Pet Shop Boys. First released as a single in 1989, it was later included on the 1991 album Reputation. Powerful opening track 'Fugitive' contains lyrics suggestive of a dialogue between two terrorists 'clean and prepared, to be lead, indivisible', thus continuing the political themes of the main album.

Track listing[edit]

all songs written by Neil Tennant/Chris Lowe except where noted.

Fundamental[edit]

  1. "Psychological" – 4:10
  2. "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show" – 5:19
  3. "I Made My Excuses and Left" – 4:53
  4. "Minimal" – 4:21
  5. "Numb" – 4:43 (Diane Warren)
  6. "God Willing" – 1:17
  7. "Luna Park" – 5:31
  8. "I'm with Stupid" – 3:24
  9. "Casanova in Hell" – 3:13
  10. "Twentieth Century" – 4:39
  11. "Indefinite Leave to Remain" – 3:08
  12. "Integral" – 3:55

Fundamentalism[edit]

  1. "Fugitive" (Richard X extended mix) – 6:06
  2. "Sodom" (Trentemøller remix) – 7:24
  3. "Psychological" (Alter Ego remix) – 7:13
  4. "Flamboyant" (Michael Mayer Kompakt mix) – 7:58
  5. "I'm with Stupid" (Melnyk Heavy Petting mix) – 6:07
  6. "In Private" (Stuart Crichton club mix) (featuring Elton John) – 5:07
  7. "Minimal" (Lobe remix) – 4:47
  8. "Gomorrah" (Dettinger remix) – 5:39
  9. "I'm with Stupid" (PSB maxi-mix) (Japan bonus track) – 8:12
  10. "Minimal" (Tiga's M-I-N-I-M-A-L remix) (Japan bonus track) – 5:40
  11. "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show" (demo version) (iTunes Store bonus track) – 5:02
  12. "I'm with Stupid" (demo version) (iTunes Store bonus track) – 3:38

Personnel[edit]

Guest musicians
  • Pete Gleadall – Original programming
  • Nick Ingman – Orchestral arrangement and conduction on tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 & 12
  • Alanna Tavernier and Laura Edwards – Backing vocals on track 1
  • Pete Murray – Additional keyboards on track 1, 4, 5, 10 & 11
  • Jamie Muhoberac – Additional keyboards on tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11 & 12, Bass on track 4
  • Patrick Lannigan – Bass on track 1, 3 & 4
  • Earl Harwin – Vibraphone on tracks 1 & 2, Acoustic drums on track 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 & 12, Electronic drums on track 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12, Marimba on track 2 & 4, Bass on track 3
  • Skaila Kanga – Harp on tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 & 9
  • Anne Dudley – Orchestral and brass arrangement and conducting on tracks 2 & 11
  • Helene Parker, Sarah Eyden, Emma Brain Gabbot and Julia Doyle – Backing vocals on track 2
  • Tessa Niles – Backing vocals on tracks 2, 8, 9 & 12
  • Jenny O'Grady – Choir master on track 2
  • Fred Appelgate – Narration on track 2
  • Oliver Pouliot – Additional voice on track 2
  • Dave Clayton – Additional keyboards and programming on tracks 2, 7 & 9, Keyboards and programming on track 6
  • Luca Baldini – Additional keyboards on tracks 2 & 11, Additional programming on track 2
  • Phil Palmer – Guitar on tracks 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11
  • Steve Lipson – Guitar on tracks 2 & 12
  • Lol Creme – Guitar on tracks 2, 8, 10 & 12
  • Trevor Horn – Guitar on tracks 2, 6, 9, 11 & 12, Bass guitar on tracks 2, 4, 6 & 7, Additional keyboards on track 3 & 7, Additional vocals on track 4, Additional programming on track 7
  • Virgil Howe – Acoustic drums on track 2, Percussion on track 7
  • Cliff Hewitt – Electronic drums on tracks 2, 7, 8, Acoustic drums on track 9, Percussion on track 12
  • Frank Ricotti – Percussion on tracks 2, 7, 9, 10 & 12
  • Lucinda Barry – Harp on tracks 2, 4, 7, 9 & 12
  • A McGoran - Additional Guitar on track 8
  • Steve Sidwell – Orchestral arrangement and conducting on track 5
  • Gavyn Wright – Orchestra leader on track 5
  • Tim Pierce – Acoustic and electric guitars on track 5
  • Luis Jardim – Percussion on track 5
  • Simon Chamberlain – Additional keyboards on track 7
  • Robert Orton – Shaker on track 7
  • Lucinda Barry and Debi Doss – Backing vocals on tracks 9 & 12
  • Andy Caine and Bruce Woolley – Backing vocals on track 12
Guests on Fundamentalism
  • Pete Gleadall – Original programming
  • Richard X – Production on track 1
  • Pete Hoffman – Mix on track 1
  • Anders Trentemøller – Additional production, instrumentation and remixing on track 2
  • Mikael Simpson – Additional bass on track 2
  • Roman Flügel and Jörn Elling – Remix and additional production on track 3
  • Michael Mayer and Superpitcher – Remix production on track 4
  • Melnyk – Remix and additional production on track 5
  • Elton John – Duet vocals on track 6
  • Stuart Chrichton – Production and mix on track 6
  • Lobe – Remix and additional production on track 7
  • Olof Dettinger – Remix production on track 8

Fundamental (original track listing)[edit]

On 22 December 2005, the official Pet Shop Boys website announced an early track listing for the album and gave a release date of 17 April 2006 with new single "Minimal" arriving a few weeks beforehand. This was quickly followed up on 23 December, when pop music fansite Popjustice gave the first review of the album.[17] On 13 February 2006, it was announced that the release date of Fundamental had been pushed back to 22 May, because EMI needed "more set-up time". At the same time "I'm with Stupid" was announced to be the revised lead single. This was followed on 4 April 2006, with news that there would be a limited edition of the new album that would include a bonus CD called Fundamentalism.

Singles[edit]

  • "Psychological" — In December 2005, a limited 12-inch white label of "Psychological" was released. This one-track promo single featured an instrumental mix of the track, clocking in at 4:05.
  • "I'm with Stupid" — the first commercially available single from Fundamental released 8 May 2006 in the UK.
  • "Minimal" — released 24 July 2006, "Minimal" was announced by the Pet Shop Boys on 6 May as the second commercially available single from Fundamental in the UK.
  • "Numb" – released on 16 October 2006, announced on the official website on 4 September.
  • "Integral" – a new version of this song was released to promote the album Disco 4.

B-sides and other released songs[edit]

  1. "Fugitive" (Fundamentalism)
  2. "In Private" (featuring Elton John) (Fundamentalism remix and "Minimal" original B-side)
  3. "The Resurrectionist" ("I'm with Stupid" B-side)
  4. "Girls Don't Cry" ("I'm with Stupid" B-side)
  5. "Blue on Blue" ("Minimal" B-side)
  6. "No Time for Tears" (Battleship Potemkin original, "Minimal" B-side)
  7. "Party Song" ("Numb" B-side)
  8. "Bright Young Things" ("Numb" B-side)
  9. "Psychological" (Ewan Pearson remix) (Fundamental original, "Numb" remix)

Unreleased songs[edit]

These were written/recorded during the writing for Fundamental in 2005 and are yet to be released:

  1. "For Every Moment"
  2. "Ring Road"
  3. "China"
  4. "Dirty Tricks"
  5. "One Way Street"

There is also a demo of a song called "Dancing in the Dusk" that Sondre Lerche asked them to record.

It remains to be seen whether any of these songs will materialise as future B-sides.

Release details[edit]

The album was released in various countries:

Country Date Label Format Catalog
Japan 17 May 2006 Toshiba-EMI CD TOCP-66524
2CD (Fundamentalism)[18] TOCP-66581
United Kingdom 22 May 2006 Parlophone LP 362 8591 / 0946 3 62859 1 7
CD 362 8592 / 0946 3 62859 2 4
2CD (Fundamentalism) 362 8602 / 0946 3 62860 2 0
Canada 23 May 2006 Parlophone CD
Thailand 24 May 2006 Parlophone CD 0 0946 3 62859 2 4
United States 27 June 2006 Rhino Entertainment CD R2 79525 / 0 8122 79525 2 5
2CD (Fundamentalism) R2 79532 / 0 8122 79532 2 5

Chart information[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
position
European Top 100 Albums 2
Argentina 3
Germany 4
UK 5
Sweden 6
Switzerland 7
Czech Republic 7
Denmark 7
Estonia 9
Finland 9
Italy 19
Norway 23
Malta 23
Ireland 24
Australia 25
Austria 25
Belgium 26
New Zealand 42
Canada 63
France 74
Hungary 94
USA 150
US Top Electronic Albums 4

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jeffries, David. "Pet Shop Boys: Fundamental > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  2. ^ Kraines, Talia (20 November 2002). "Pet Shop Boys Fundamental Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Sterdan, Darryl (26 May 2006). "Pet Shop Boys: Fundamental". Jam! Music. CANOE. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Anderson, Jason (12 June 2006). "The Boys Are Back". CBC. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Petridis, Alexis (19 May 2006). "Pet Shop Boys, Fundamental". The Guardian (London). ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  6. ^ Gill, Andy (19 May 2006). "Pet Shop Boys: Fundamental". The Independent (London). ISSN 0951-9467. OCLC 185201487. Archived from the original on 27 May 2006. 
  7. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh (30 May 2006). "Pet Shop Boys: Fundamental". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  8. ^ http://www.slantmagazine.com/music/review/pet-shop-boys-fundamental/869
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Pet Shop Boys". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  10. ^ Q (Bauer Media) (#239): 118. June 2006. ISSN 0955-4955. 
  11. ^ Britten, Anna (21 May 2006). "Pet Shop Boys - 'Fundamental'". Yahoo! Music UK. Archived from the original on 18 June 2006. 
  12. ^ Skrufff, Jonty (1 June 2006). "Pet Shop Boys interview". News. Trust the DJ. Archived from the original on 14 June 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2006. 
  13. ^ a b "Interview – Recording". Literally (Pet Shop Boys fanclub magazine). November 2005. Retrieved 23 May 2006. 
  14. ^ Teodorczuk, Tom (1 March 2006). "Pet Shop Boys' Labour snub". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 13 March 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2006. 
  15. ^ a b "PSB and BBC Concert Orchestra concert". Pet Shop Boys official website news. 9 May 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2006. 
  16. ^ Potts, Henry (2 June 2006). "Fundamental". Yescography. Retrieved 6 September 2006. 
  17. ^ "It's like Busted never happened". Popjustice. 27 June 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  18. ^ Jenkins, Brooks "Amosboy" (15 June 2006). "Getting around the stinky copy protection!". Amazon.com Customer Reviews. Retrieved 16 February 2009. 

External links[edit]