Let's hope the Pet Shop Boys earn a bit of cash from this odd collection of rarities and remixes. Long after their departure from Capitol to Atlantic, the Boys' old label has turned out an uneven collection of material designed for the serious -- but apparently indiscriminating -- collector.
Titled Essentials (Capitol, $16.99), the ongoing Capitol series features hard to find tracks from a variety of pop icons. The gimmick: Each title hits the shelves for just six months. The last Essentials installment included such big-time stars as Blondie and Bowie; this new set of releases churns out Duran Duran, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and our beloved Boys.
It goes without saying, of course, that you must adore the Pet Shop Boys. Kings of kickin' Hi-NRG camp, the pair's "West End Girls" and "Opportunities" are unparalleled when it comes to quintessential '80s disco. Both songs show up here, although the version of "West End Girls" is the dance mix (but who's complaining?).
Capitol has already churned out some fairly definitive hits-type collections -- its 1991 Discography release and 1994's Disco 2, a remix record. To avoid re-releasing essentially (no pun intended) the same collection, Capitol has dug into its vaults and found things like extended mixes of "We all Feel Better in the Dark" (which, when extended, drones on forever) and "Being Boring" (guess for yourself). What this disc fails to include, however, are the big fun campy homo tracks like "Absolutely Fabulous" and "Go West." For shame!