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Actually

60 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
$19.37
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$19.37 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 2 left in stock. Sold by IMS Distribution and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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When they released Actually, their second proper album, in 1987, the Pet Shop Boys proved they were no flash-in-the-pan pop sensation. Neil Tennant wrote about disaffected consumerism ("Rent," "Shopping") with the wry insight only the former editor of a teen pop magazine could have. Often accused of being emotionally bankrupt by their critics, Tennant and his partner, keyboardist Chris Lowe, effortlessly proved them wrong, camouflaging clever commentary ("It's a Sin") behind deadpan attitude and catchy dance music. The jewel in Actually's crown is probably "What Have I Done to Deserve This?," a classic hit for which Lowe and Tennant coaxed '60s pop icon Dusty Springfield out of semiretirement. Actually has aged better than anybody--including perhaps the Pet Shop Boys themselves--could have expected. --Elisabeth Vincentelli


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B000002UD7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,946 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Derek Reardon on June 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I was introduced to the Pet Shop Boys in 1987, just in time to experience Actually. This was a defining release for me, both as a teenager and for my passion for music. I played the tape constantly while out on school sponsored functions, letting it psyche me up for whatever the competition. Today, Actually still has the same power it did then. When I want to get excited, singing and moving, yet keep my brain engaged, this is always toward the top of the list. Not just for PSB fans, Actually is well crafted euro-pop that features 80s classics you'll remember from summers by the pool as well as classics that never made it to the airwaves.
The release revs up appropriately with "One More Chance" and its car chase intro. It gets your blood pumping and your attitude primed, although it really isn't a dance floor classic. Released as a single, "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" is and absolute classic PSB and dance tune (featuring Dusty Springfield) with great lyrics for everyone who has ever been dumped. Find the remix for this one if you can -- it's great! While not released as a single, "Shopping" is one of my favorite PSB songs ever. The lyrics are clever, the beat and programming hook you, and the refrain is great to yell along with a sneer; it's perfect fodder for the cynics (or realists) out there. "Rent" is a beautiful, classic PSB ballad that really touches one's heart and soul if you let it; this song set a definite standard of excellence. [PSB later allowed Liza Minnelli to record a version for her collaboration with the Boys (on Results) that, while good, didn't quite hit this high standard.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Reams on January 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is definately the album that was a catalyst for their career. With the popularity of their first album PLEASE, this album exceeded everyone's expectations and since then they have been known as the band that always has a hit every couple of years. Bands come and go, some flourish for years and then eventually disappear.

Pet Shop Boys are quoted as one of the first bands that continually keep going regardless of the era or fads that pass through. Their music is original for any decade. This album ACTUALLY is a perfect example of their creative intelligence and wit just beginning.

What makes this album marked as a favorite among fans is not just that half the songs were radio hits, it's more that every song is unique and sounds completely different from the next track. They experiment with numerous types of styles, and often go from electronic to a sudden orchestra of strings and trumpets.

This kind of strange and sudden diversity is their trademark. ACTUALLY is the album that states that this was just the beginning; bringing popular tunes in a more intelligent and sensual manner that goes deep into the soul, and with each new album since they continued to touch listeners through classical, electronic, rock, and even operatic pieces.

An example is the track "Hit Music"--very typical 80's, fun and simple to listen to. In their own blunt way, Pet Shop Boys will go to a slow and romantic pace of action, that lasts for only a few seconds, if not a full minute. But always knowing to bring audiences back to the original sound, they tempt our hearts with quite beautiful, flirtatious chords that wink at you, and stop...and then begin again.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles Sutherland on May 21, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The PSB have long been my favorite group. I first caught a sight of them on MTV, and ordered their first album, and liked it fairly well. But it was their second album, ACTUALLY, that really did it for me. From the first single released, "It's a Sin" to the follow-ups of "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" "Rent" and "Heart", each song with its accompanying video was a real treat to listen to and watch. I also got the special release album that had the remake of "Always on my Mind", a special packaging that was a brief marketing item. This album will probably stand out as their greatest, when they were at their height of both popularity and musical sophistication. Their next album continued the sophisticated and subtle mix, falling a bit in subsequent albums. But for the "Golden Age" of the Pet Shop Boys, nothing beats this album.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mars Velvet on May 4, 2003
Format: Audio CD
When the Pet Shop Boys were working on the second album their original working title was JEALOUSY but then they changed to the
strangely adverbal "actually". Such a subtle title for a brilliant album.
"One More Chance" was one of the first songs Chris and Neil ever wrote. It was one of their first singles too. But here it gets a high production rework with sound effects of screaching cars and city sounds. Brilliant hi-NRG!
"What Have I Done to Deserve This" a mouthful of a title that sounds like a Smiths song! But indeed it is PSB with Dusty Springfield on this top 10 hit where Neil and Dusty's voices melt beautifully!
"Shopping" is a statement on buying and selling, on society and influence. "We're buying and selling your history...we're shopping".
"Rent" seems so simple at first. The confessions of a kept perosn in a relationship where love is calculated by money and presents. So wonderful Neil really delivers a wonderful vocal on this with the line "i love you, you pay my rent". But further sinsister is Neil chanting at the end the refraim from a Buddy Holly classic "it's easy it's so easy..." The effect is haunting and beautiful.
"Hit Music" brings you back to the dancefloor with the sounds of late 70s eurodisco. So roll up the rug and play this tune and turn your bedroom into discoland.
"It Couldn't Happen Here" was also the title of the movie the PSBoys made. Everyone sees horrors happening in other places and say it couldn't happen here. Moody and atmospheric this song, a very underated song!
"It's a Sin" was an over the top video with the seven deadly sins personified with Neil getting excommunicated! He sings about how growing up in the church he was taught that sin was unescapable. "everywhere I'm going to...it's a sin!".
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