On February 10, 2023, the Pet Shop Boys delighted fans with the sudden release of a brand new song via YouTube titled “Living in the Past.”
When you go to the Pet Shop Boys’ website, the first thing you will notice is that the landing page is an entire Ukraine flag and nothing else, which helps give the new song a bit of context.
Described as a “home demo,” “Living in the Past” seems to have been written in response to recent events, which the Boys had noted on their website. There on February 3, under the header “Stalin is back,” they wrote about how “A new bust of the Soviet dictator was unveiled in Volgograd, Russia, as [Vladimir] Putin arrived, invoking Stalin in a twisted defense of his war on Ukraine.”
The song is written and sung from Putin’s perspective, with the lyrics:
I arrive in the city
Where they’ve unveiled a bust
Still much discussed
The song goes on to describe how Russia has been unable to escape its history as a dictatorship and history goes on to repeat Russia’s crimes against humanity with Putin now emulating Stalin: “I want men to die with my name on their lips.”
In one of the song’s many clever lyrics, Neil/Putin describes himself as “a living embodiment of a heart of stone” and “a human monument to testosterone.”
After decades, Pet Shop Boys are as relevant as ever.
They will be releasing their first new music for two years with the four-track CD EP, “Lost”, which accompanies the 2023 edition of Pet Shop Boys “Annually” book, available in April. The four songs, “The lost room”, “I will fall”, “Skeletons in the closet” and “Kaputnik” were written and recorded as demos in London and Berlin in 2015 for potential inclusion on the album “Super” but weren’t included “not because we didn’t like them,” according to Neil Tennant, “but because they didn’t fit the album.” The decision to release them now as an EP was made because “they all sit together quite well, production-wise, they’re all super-electronic,” and also because “some of them are sort of relevant to the world at the moment.”
The EP takes its title “Lost” from “the first song, “The lost room”, but “it also seems to represent “a sort of larger, philosophical or political point, where there’ve been times recently where the world feels a bit lost in terms of the direction it’s going in.”
The “Lost” CD EP and the 2023 edition of “Annually” will be released on April 15. Pre-order here.