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Pet Shop Boys Offer Early Demos in Upcoming BBC One Special 'Imagine…Pet Shop Boys: Then and Now'

The documentary also delves into the duo's upcoming album, 'Nonetheless,' scheduled for release later this month.

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Pet Shop Boys performing at Palco Barcelona.

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In conjunction with the upcoming release of their new studio album Nonetheless later this month, Pet Shop Boys have participated in a new documentary entitled Imagine... Pet Shop Boys: Then and Now for BBC One.

In addition to featuring backstage access to their worldwide “Dreamworld” tour, the documentary also features a segment where duo Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe play some of their earliest demo tapes for the first time on film.

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Pet Shop Boys performing at Palco Barcelona in December 2023.

Among the songs featured in the early-demos segment: a track with the distinctive title of “Bubadubadubadum.”

Upon playing the song, Tennant said it “sounds a bit like Depeche Mode; the words are hopeless, I think." Meanwhile, Lowe seems somewhat stunned that that “even then you were doing harmonies," something he apparently thought Tennant hadn't started doing until the 1990s.

Also in the mix: the demo for “Jealousy,” a song that the duo would eventually record for their fourth studio album, 1990’s Behaviour. “At the time, it felt like we’d written a proper song,” Tennant observes after listening to the demo, although he added, “I always thought it should be in French.”

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But, of course, that’s part of the “then” of the documentary, whereas there’s also plenty of the “now” as well, including a sneak preview of the aforementioned Nonetheless album, produced by James Ford of Blur and Arctic Monkeys fame. In addition, Tennant and Lowe discuss the process of putting the album together as well as how their music has evolved over the course of their 40-year career.

As for the backstage footage, it’s taken from the duo’s rehearsals in London as well as including some backstage footage from Helsinki. The documentary also includes contributions from Olly Alexander, Marc Almond, Brandon Flowers, and Jake Shears as well as Javier De Frutos, Es Devlin, Mark Farrow, James Ford, Tom Scutt, and musical journalist Miranda Sawyer.

The fact that Pet Shop Boys have been making music together for 40 years now and are still popular is something that isn’t as surprising to Tennant as you might expect.

“Weirdly, music ceased to be ageist,” he said in a recent interview with The Guardian. “Young people are listening to their parents’ records. It’s all up for grabs. You could have a fond memory of seeing the video for ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ on Top of the Pops in 1967, and then you never saw it again. But I could look at it [on YouTube] now. Something happened then. It all existed at the same time.”

“I think pop stars have managed to do what we used to think only old blues musicians could do – turn into sort of ‘authentic’, classic,” Tennant continued. “I think the public accept that. You could call it nostalgia, but I think it’s a desire to witness an authentic movement recreated. Age doesn’t seem to matter any more because the music doesn’t seem to have aged.”

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