Edgy mall music…and I love it.
Pet Shop Boy’s 1984/1985 hit “West End Girls” is such a good song. It’s another one of those songs that’s just at a Goldilock’s pace when it comes to the beat. This is less a dance song, in my opinion, and more of a lounge song.
I love listening to this song while laying around my room. The beat definitely influenced a lot of modern music, particularly that new ambient music that’s been filling up internet videos.
The opening of the song is also incredibly distinct. The soft cymbals start up, followed by the synth strings, and then there’s just the brief sounds of the streets of England. People screaming, traffic, walking: it’s ambiance at it’s best.
Then you’re hit, softly, with the opening line: “Sometimes you’re better off dead, there’s a gun in your hand and it’s pointing at your head.”
Now that is a way to start off a song.
The entire song is incredibly soft spoken, which makes it so soothing. The softness, of course, hides the fact that the lyrics are pretty intense. The song is like a better, British version of Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”: it’s a song about the “East End boys” and “West End Girls”. The song feels like a working class jab at upper class life.
The entire song is just dense enough melodically that it’s pleasing to listen to. I love this song. I really, really love this song.