Just as there are shockingly few quality Eurythmics covers out there in the ether, so have the Pet Shop Boys too often been paid shoddy tribute (a lot of hard rock/metal, surprisingly). Why do so many talented artists shy away from tackling the songbooks of these British synthpop duos?
This year has seen some definite improvement, however. New recordings by The Jessica Stuart Few (“Here Comes The Rain Again”) and Erika Spring (“When Tomorrow Comes”) have gone a long way toward giving Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox’s shared output some much overdue love. I’ve even come around to Macy Gray‘s rendition of “Here Comes The Rain Again” on her Covered album, at least in the form of the Dirty Plastic Hits Remix on the iTunes bonus edition.
While Gray released two versions of the same Eurythmics’ song, David and Peter Brewis of Field Music picked a pair of Pet Shop Boys tunes from 1987′s Actually. Covering the singles “Heart” and “Rent,” the results were released on a limited-edition 7″ single titled Actually, Nearly, available exclusively on Record Store Day in Britain.
David told Pitchfork that Actually was a “fairly constant fixture” in their mom’s car cassette player, exposing him and his brother to the Pet Shop Boys’ music. For the sleeve of Actually, Nearly, the brothers Brewis brilliantly mimicked the album’s iconic photograph of Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant. The latter did not yawn at the homage. “The sleeve’s really good,” Tennant says in the recent issue of the Pet Shop Boys fanclub magazine, Literally. “It’s really well done.”
So are the covers of “Heart” and “Rent,” actually. Hear here:
Purchase Field Music – “Heart” and “Rent” (Pet Shop Boys covers) on Field Music Play…, an exclusive CD now available via the duo’s website. A limited run of 1000 copies, there will be no digital edition or repressing.
One additional note about “Heart”: Pet Shop Boys intended the song for Madonna, as described in the liner notes to 1991′s Discography. “When we wrote ['Heart'] we wanted to submit it to Madonna but didn’t dare risk disappointment.”
Decades later, their musical paths would officially cross. The intro to “Jump,” from Madonna’s 2005 album, Confessions On A Dancefloor, pays homage to “West End Girls,” while Pet Shop Boys officially remixed the second single, “Sorry,” with Tennant contributing additional vocals.