Pet Shop Boys “Leaving (Believe In PSB Remix)”: Idolator Premiere
Whether they’re doing high-profile gigs like the closing ceremony of the London Olympics or recording exquisite albums like their latest, Elysium, Pet Shop Boys always manage to keep pop fans satisfied with their attention to detail. Case in point: the slew of demos, b-sides and remixes for new single “Leaving,” which will be made available in three separate digital bundles on iTunes on Tuesday, October 16 in the US (and on October 15 in the UK).
Today Idolator is premiering the “Believe In PSB Remix” of “Leaving,” which pretty much serves as a good old-fashioned extended version of the song — one where many of the flourishes in the background are more prominent and punched up. Listen below!
Yesterday we spoke with Andrew Dawson, co-producer of Elysium, about recording “Leaving” with Pet Shop Boys members Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. He noted the following: “There are a lot of little subtle production elements in ‘Leaving,’ and some we went back and fourth on quite a few times. Sometimes I think more than the average listener would catch or hear. The great thing about it is we were all very focused on the larger details all the way down to the small ones, so you’ll hear a little more each time you listen.”
See if you can catch some of those details more easily in the “Believe In PSB Remix” of “Leaving”:
One quality that stands out the most on “Leaving” — and on many of the tracks on Elysium — is the unmistakeable presence of backing vocalists Oren, Maxine, Luther and Julia Waters, who have worked with everyone from Michael Jackson in his Motown days to Adele. You can hear them prominently in the remix above.
“Chris and Neil knew from the start that they wanted a thick, lush BV environment on this album,” Dawson told us. “Early on in the process I was talking with my management and they had just done some work with the Waters. I ended up reaching out to them and invited them over to see how it would work, and as I recall, ‘Leaving’ was one of the first songs they recorded on. We were recording within 30 minutes of them arriving to the studio. They were wonderful at harmonizing everything and working out the balance and blend between themselves, because they have been singing together for so long.”
As we noted in our review of Elysium, “Leaving” is a song about growing older and facing death — in particular, Tennant penned the lyrics to reflect his thoughts on the recent passing of both of his parents. Still, it’s an upbeat track, and the “Believe In PSB Remix” really plays up its more uplifting pop elements.
Andrew explained how he and the Boys went about creating that quality: “The ‘happy sad’ tone of the album is most easily set by Neil’s lyrics. A very bittersweet, reflective, yet peaceful look at things. So the challenge is to find something that compliments that direction. Certain instrumentation can subtly and subconsciously steer your emotions to angry, happy, sad, thoughtful — the whole gamut of sounds. So the challenge is to put the pieces together that work as a whole, not throw everything in the kitchen sink at it. Let it breathe, but still give detail to the music. There’s a lot of clever subtlety in this album.”
Pet Shop Boys have been Grammy-nominated several times, most recently for their 2009 album Yes. Dawson himself has three Grammys thanks to his work on Kanye West‘s albums. Still, the producer notes that collaborating with Neil and Chris allowed him to explore new avenues with music.
“Usually in the pop/urban world, an extremely high prevalence is put on the ‘beat’ — almost to the point that sometimes the melody, and more so the harmony, are an afterthought. Chris and Neil from the start have top notch chordal and harmonic structure, complimented by really great melodies. The harmony/melody are really important to them, so it was really fun for me — especially being from a classical background —to embellish and work with harmony/melody.”
Elysium is out now. Pet Shop Boys’ “Believe In PSB Remix” of “Leaving” will be made available on iTunes on Tuesday, October 16. Give it a spin above, and let us know your thoughts on the song below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!