On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Pet Shop Boys – It’s a Sin (1987)
Actually (stylised as Pet Shop Boys, actually. ) is the second studio album by English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys. It was released on 7 September 1987 by Parlophone in the United Kingdom and by EMI Manhattan in the United States and Canada.
We’re continuing in the UK today but make our way back down south to London to check in with Pet Shop Boys once more. They previously appeared in 1985 with West End Girls but it’s now two years later and a second album, Actually, has been released. 1001 Songs have elected to go with the lead single from the record – It’s a Sin.
Singer, Neil Tennant, wrote It’s a Sin as a way of exorcising demons from a Catholic school he went to as a child. By the sound of things discipline was strict as was adherence to the Bible and its many lessons. In the song, Tennant reflects on his life and recalls those lessons from school which laid out what it meant to sin and to be a sinner. The narrator reflects that he did try to stay true to the word of God but in the end the school could not tame him and his entire life is now one of being a sinner, the very thing that his teachers tried to prevent him being.
It took two years after the release of West End Girls but Pet Shop Boys once again returned to the UK no.1 with It’s a Sin. Though not as strong as its no.1 predecessor or the likes of Suburbia and Always on My Mind, It’s a Sin still boasts some memorable melodies and the message it conveys is a profound one even if Neil Tennant himself has attested that people took it too seriously.
Favourite songs so far: