Anyway, Brandon Flowers’s speech. It was about the day aged 13 when he’d had to make a choice between two singles collections (Mom only gave him enough money for one). Either The Smiths’ Louder Than Bombs or The Pet Shop Boys’ Discography. He chose the Pettoes and I think he was right, don’t you? Sure we love The Smiths, they’re great and all that, but if you had to take just one set of music to a Desert Island, which would it be:
Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others; Panic; There Is A Light That Never Goes Out; Stop Me If You’ve Heard This On
West End Girls; Go West; Being Boring; It’s A Sin; Can You Forgive Her; Rent; Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money); etc.
It’s a toughie, but I reckon Pet Shop Boys have the edge. They’re more dancey for one thing (useful if there were any exotic plants on the island you could synthesise into E), they’ve more variety, they’re more sophisticated and a lot more influential.
I mean, apart from The Sundays, who did the Smiths ever really influence musically?
Also Neil Tennant would never have misspelt “cemetery”, would he? Nor would he have ventured into terrain as crap as Morrissey’s PETA-style whinge, Meat Is Murder.
Of course, both The Smiths and The Pet Shop Boys write beautiful, moving songs suffused with a rainwashed melancholy that makes you believe as you listen that to be English is at once the most tragic and wonderful thing in the world. And really choosing between them is like having to choose between Bach and Beethoven.
But if you had to be really picky, I think you could say that Morrissey’s moping is a bit one-note and solipsistic, whereas Tennant’s is more nuanced, tender, sympathetic. And Tennant’s miles better at light shows and wearing silly hats.