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Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant Thinks Taylor Swift's Music Is 'Disappointing'

'Where are the famous songs? What's Taylor Swift's "Billie Jean?"'

neil tennant taylor swift
Source: MEGA

Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant expressed bewilderment with the success of Taylor Swift.

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Taylor Swift's new album The Tortured Poets Department is already the UK's fastest-selling album of 2024, and she's likely to sweep the top three spots on the national singles chart, but not everyone is a fan. Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant, for one, finds Swift's music "disappointing."

Pet Shop Boys are releasing their own new album Nonetheless on Friday, and Tennant shared his measured yet honest opinions on Swift during a conversation with The Guardian critic Alexis Petridis in London on Monday.

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"To have a successful pop career now you have to have a series of relationships, which are amazing and then break up tragically. In the world of pop, people don’t write songs like 'Karma Chameleon' anymore," Tennant said early in the conversation, referencing Culture Club's 1983 hit.

"I was looking at the chart earlier today, and … it's all Taylor Swift," he later added. "I have listened to Taylor Swift's album. Taylor Swift sort of fascinates me as a phenomenon because she’s so popular and I sort of quite like the whole thing. But then when I listen to the records, we both have the same feeling actually, for a phenomenon as big [as she is] … where are the famous songs? What's Taylor Swift's 'Billie Jean?'"

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Taylor Swift
Source: MEGA

Taylor Swift's new album 'The Tortured Poets Department' is the UK's fastest-selling album of 2024.

When someone suggests “Shake It Off,” Tennant shook off the suggestion: "Is it though? No, because I actually even know that’s the answer, but I listened to that the other day, and it’s not ‘Billie Jean,’ is it? It's not."

"She’s got a great voice, by the way, and the production’s beautiful," he continued. "But melodically, it's almost a recitative of notes. It's all sung one or two notes going up and down. But, anyway, it’s a fascinating thing.”

Petridis suggested that Swift's massive success comes down to fans' "desire for a collective experience," to which Tennant responded, "I sort of appreciate that, and I like the fact that it brings all these people together, even multigenerational, but I just think the one disappointing thing is the music. Not even the lyrics, the music."

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pet shop boys
Source: MEGA

Pet Shop Boys are releasing their own new album 'Nonetheless' on Friday.

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Pet Shop Boys' upcoming album Nonetheless, the follow-up to 2020's Hotspot, is their 15th studio album — and their first since returning to Parlophone, the label they were signed to between 1985 and 2012.

"Well, I don't like it, but it's our lockdown album," Tennant explained. "See, that sounds really naff, I think. But we wrote the songs 2020, 2021 primarily. During the lockdown we were obviously both in separate places. Chris [Lowe, Pet Shop Boys keyboardist] persuaded me to learn how to program, which I had never done before, using GarageBand. It's quite straightforward. I looked at a YouTiube tutorial. Chris told me what keyboard to buy from Amazon, cost 70 quid ... I would send Chris lyrics, he would send me tracks, and that went on over a two year period."

The record was produced by Depeche Mode/Blur collaborator James Ford and features an orchestra. "We wanted this album to be a celebration of the unique and diverse emotions that make us human," Pet Shop Boys shared in a press release. "From the more dance-orientated tracks to the raw poignancy of the introspective ballads, with their beautiful string arrangements, each track tells a story and contributes to the overall narrative of the album."


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