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Fundamental
     

Fundamental

4.2 5
by Pet Shop Boys
 

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Working together for the first time since the 1988 single "Left to My Own Devices," the Pet Shop Boys and producer Trevor Horn partner together for Fundamental, an extremely well-crafted effort that is more of its time message-wise than any previous PSB album. Fundamental is heavily influenced by Tony Blair's allegiance to George W. Bush and his dragging

Overview

Working together for the first time since the 1988 single "Left to My Own Devices," the Pet Shop Boys and producer Trevor Horn partner together for Fundamental, an extremely well-crafted effort that is more of its time message-wise than any previous PSB album. Fundamental is heavily influenced by Tony Blair's allegiance to George W. Bush and his dragging of the U.K. into the Iraq War, which has left previously Labour Party-loving vocalist Neil Tennant bitter and disillusioned. Fully aware that the Pet Shop Boys would sound ridiculous if angry and punkish, Tennant and partner Chris Lowe show restraint, putting their venom on simmer on the most riveting songs and searching for a reason not to stick their head in the sand elsewhere. Surprisingly, the usually extravagant Horn follows suit, and while he gives the album a very modern, slick sheen, the production is well designed instead of gloriously decorated. Beautifully polished by Horn, "Luna Park" lazily strolls through a holiday where fortunetellers and fire breathers divert attention from the slowly developing storm. Giving up hope entirely is "Numb," an insular ballad that songwriter Diane Warren originally gave to the duo for the hits collection PopArt that's much more at home here. Better still is infectious and uptempo "I'm with Stupid," which casts Blair and Bush as irresponsible lovers who grin and pose while having their way with the world. It's not the only instantly gripping track -- the paranoid "Integral" speaks out for personal freedom with a wicked hook while the New Order-esque "Minimal" ranks with their best club cuts -- but the majority of Fundamental is like the majority of their great album Behavior in that repeat listens are required to do these rich songs justice. For Pet Shop Boys fans who lean to the left and are skeptical about the future, this is as close to heaven as they want to be.

Editorial Reviews

Billboard - Michael Paoletta
There is something quite comforting about a new Pet Shop Boys album. Neil Tennant's vocals always manage to soothe and, when necessary, invigorate. The same is true of Chris Lowe's electronic wizardry.
Boston Globe - Christopher Muther
Tennant and Lowe are as prickly, dry, and ironic as ever.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/30/2006
Label:
Emd Int'l
UPC:
0094636285924
catalogNumber:
362859
Rank:
277818

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Pet Shop Boys   Primary Artist
Anne Dudley   Conductor
Simon Chamberlain   Keyboards
David Clayton   Keyboards
Debbie Doss   Background Vocals
Earl Harvin   Bass,Drums,Marimbas,Electric Drums,Vibes,Electronic Drums
Cliff Hewitt   Electronic Drums
Trevor Horn   Guitar,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Nick Ingman   Conductor
Skaila Kanga   Harp
Stephen Lipson   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Jamie Muhoberac   Keyboards
Tessa Niles   Background Vocals
Phil Palmer   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Tim Pierce   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Frank Ricotti   Percussion
Steve Sidwell   Conductor
Bruce Woolley   Background Vocals
Louis Jardim   Percussion
Andy Caine   Background Vocals
Lalo Creme   Acoustic Guitar
Sarah Eyden   Background Vocals
Fred Applegate   Narrator
Pete Murray   Keyboards
Robert Orton   Shaker
Virgil Howe   Percussion,Drums
Patrick Lannigan   Bass
Lucinda Barry   Harp,Background Vocals
Laura Edwards   Background Vocals
Oliver Poulot   Vocals
Alanna Tavernier   Background Vocals
Emma Brain-Gabbott   Background Vocals
Jenny O'Grady   Choir Master
Helen Parker   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Anne Dudley   Brass Arrangment,Orchestral Arrangements
David Clayton   Programming
Pete Gleadall   Programming,Vocal Engineer
Trevor Horn   Producer,Audio Production
Nick Ingman   Orchestral Arrangements
Chris Lowe   Composer
Steve Sidwell   Orchestral Arrangements
Robert Smith   Engineer
Neil Tennant   Composer
Diane Warren   Composer
Tim Weidner   Engineer,Vocal Engineer
Gavyn Wright   Orchestra Leader
Dave Farrow   Art Direction
Tim Lambert   Engineer
Robert Orton   Engineer,Vocal Engineer
Chris Waugh   Engineer
Taz Mattar   Engineer

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Fundamental 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent release from PSB, with the usual glum lyrics/upbeat music. Even includes commentary on the war (I'm With Stupid) The deluxe edition is a must buy (as are all the 2-disc sets from PSB) it includes the Elton John duet 'In Private' and 'Flamboyant'. Best tracks on Disc 1:The Sodom and Gomorrah Show, I Made My Excuses and Left, Twentieth Century, Minimal, I'm With Stupid.
Dalav More than 1 year ago
Some critics call this their best work in years, however I don¿t see much difference between it and Discoteca, which I quite liked. It does have a better balance than Release, which was essentially Behavior 2, all nice and sweet. This one¿s got some punch. ¿Integral¿ is a classic Pet Shop Boys industrial-future romp that recalls the `80s. ¿I¿m with Stupid¿ is apparently about the relationship between Bush and Blair. As usual, Neil keeps the references subtle. ¿The Sodom and Gemorrah Show¿ has a bizarre beginning but the song works. The lyrics for ¿Numb¿ feel a bit cliché, but maybe that¿s because this is the only non-Tennant/Lowe track on the album. It was written by Diane Warren. ¿Minimal¿ sees continued experimentation with the voice processor tool, but I love the mood of the song, with its ¿light and shade; time and space¿ chorus. ¿Luna Park¿ and ¿I Made My Excuses and Left¿ are both very pretty and will be favorite tracks of some. The latter is a heart-breaker, with lyrics that everyone can can all relate to at one time or other in their lives. So, overall, a solid album. Neil's voice is still in fine form. It's a pleasure to see such consistent work album after album. They're true pros.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although I liked CD as soon as I heard it, it took me several listens to get all the nuances of each track. The layered arrangements, the richness of the sound and the extreme polish all make this an incredible listening experience. Chris Lowe once said that each of their albums is a protest against the previous one and to that extent Fundamental sounds very different from Release. And for the better. What makes Fundamental an amazing album is the timeless lyrics of each track that are very much relevant today for those of us who are troubled by the whole Blair/Bush/Cheney brigade. PSB still does a wonderful job at portraying the world through their unique perspective, such as talking about immigration rights in "Indefinite Leave to Remain" or the anti-war tracks "S&G Show" and "Integral". Fundamental provides a welcome breath of fresh, intelligent air and a respite from a popular music culture with misogynistic, racist, sexist, homophobic lyrics. You may not agree with the message in the music, but it's still great music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fundamental is proof that Tenant and Lowe are still important artists in the world of Electronica and are able to create fresh exiting works. "I'm With Stupid" is definitely the best song on the disk but with the Blair and Bush slant on the song it probably won't get alot of airplay here in the US. The extra disk with Tenant and Elton John doing a song written for Dusty Springfield makes this a must for every PSB fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just had a chance to listen to an advance copy of the entire album (minus the bonus disc) and I must say this falls way, way short of all the hype it has gotten in the last few months. In fact, out of the entire PSB catalogue, this album ranks at the bottom. What really makes this disappointing is that the album had a very promising single in "I'm With Stupid". It turns out this is one of 2 songs that meets expectations. PSB & Trevor Horn strike out on this collaboration. Read below. Breaking it down from top to bottom: 1. Psychological: Not much at all to this track, just minimal techno with repetitive loops. Pure filler. Not even good enough to be a b-side. I give this a 2 out of 10 rating. Nuff said. 2. Sodom & Gomorrah Show: This is what I call a pretty decent track. Especially if you give it a chance a few times around. However it's a bad sign when you also hear recycled lyrics such as "where angels fear to tread...". A page right out of the Cure's book. This track is 5 out of 10. 3. I Made My Excuses And Left: This track is hard to listen all the way through. It starts off with a very long classical instrumental and then just plods along endlessly. I guess this is supposed to be artsy but it left me bored. This is very yesterday for PSB. 1 out of 10 here. 4. Minimal: This is much better, more upbeat. I had hope for the album at this point. 5 out of 10. 5. Numb: Another slow track, but this time the lyrics make you pay attention. A song about someone who's lived a long, hard life. This one will grow on you after a few listens. 6 out of 10. 6. God Willing: Pointless, brief filler instrumental. 1 out of 10. Page out of Depeche Mode playbook this time. Not in a good way either. 7. Luna Park: Ugh, I utterly hate this track. Yet another boring, plodding track that you almost certainly hit the skip button. Sample lyric: "a storm is coming soon, like dust on the moon". Very weak. This track makes a vague reference to war/nuclear disaster, to make it of some substance. Sorry, an important issue doesn't always make a good song idea. 8. I'm With Stupid: Now we're talking!!! The only bad thing about this song is that it makes you think, "what the hell happened to the rest of this album?!" Great instrumentation, great lyrics. 9 out of 10. 9. Casanova In Hell: In the tradition of Release, this is the comedy track. I kind of like this one, but it's a little on the bizarre side (lyrics about a rape fantasy and failure to get, uh, excited). Slow once again, but worth a listen. 6 out of 10. 10. Twentieth Century: I have a mixed reaction to this track. Pretty good tempo and groove, but devoid of lyrics. It just repeats many of the same lines over and over. Sort of like "The Samurai In Autumn" in that respect. Forgettable I must say, 3 out of 10. 11. Indefinite Leave To Remain: Here we go with the same old formula from Release once again. Yet another slowed down track heavy on guitar. I don't why, but it reminded me a little of "If Love Were All", just with a slow beat and guitar added. No "hey ho" at least. Bad, 2 out of 10. 12. Integral: This track is absolutely excellent! At least the album ends with this great track. Very relevant lyrics, and fantastic backing instrumental track. Once again I ask, why was this formula not applied to the entire album? 10 out of 10 without a doubt. It's very discouraging to me that bands I have always liked can't come up with a cohesive album that makes you listen over and over again anymore. It also is tiresome that all of these so-called reviewers at famous publications are always saying "best album ever", which I heard with "Release" and "Nightlife" before they came out. Then when the real experts, the fans, get hold of it, we realize it's just a rehash of previous efforts with some kind of twist. PSB would do themselves a favor if they would quit tr