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Pet Shop Boys / Agenda EP

Four new songs • Won’t be on the new album • 12-inch vinyl and CD


The Pet Shop Boys return in April with a new four-track EP, Agenda.

Neil and Chris have been previewing tracks from it this week, starting with ‘Give Stupidity A Chance’ on Tuesday, ‘On Social Media’ yesterday and ‘What Are We Going To Do About The Rich’ today. The fourth and final song is due tomorrow. Update: It’s called ‘The Forgotten Child’.



The four-track Agenda EP will be available digitally from 8 February and will be issued physically on 12-inch vinyl in April. A CD edition is only available to those who order the 2019 edition of Annually, the PSBs once-a-year publication.



Discussing the EP, Neil Tennant said: “It contains three satirical songs and one rather sad song. I think it’s because of the times we’re living through.”

The four tracks were produced by Tim Powell and Pet Shop Boys and recorded towards the end of last year. They will not be included on Pet Shop Boys’ next album which is being produced by Stuart Price and is due for release in the autumn.

Pre-order Annually with the CD of Agenda via this link and the 12-inch vinyl from below (not in bad price in the UK). What do you think of the new songs? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Pet Shop Boys

Agenda (12 EP) [VINYL]

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  1. Give Stupidity A Chance
  2. On Social Media
  3. What Are We Going To Do About The Rich
  4. The Forgotten Child

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[…] have never been short of material. In the last year they have not only delivered a standalone EP (Agenda) with four exclusive tracks, but they’ve also released the new album Hotspot and – almost […]

Chibb

Stupidly ordered direct from PSB website before it went on Amazon – cost me more plus postage! But still looking forward to adding it to the collection…
The tracks aren’t PSB best, hoping the new album will be good.

Jason

Nice to see people so PASSIONATE about what they expect from Pet Shop Boys these days. The songs are fine…not album-worthy and they KNOW this, hence the concept EP. However, they are all pretty darn catchy in their own ways, reminding me that their throwaways are better than most people’s best! My fave is On Social Media, a song that could really be a single in the traditional sense…very strong…and The Forgotten Child is actually quite beautiful and beautifully arranged. Clean out your ears Paul…Agenda is still a winner (and better than that song of theirs by a fair amount…).

Antony Hudson

I heard Social Media on BBC RADIO 2.
Decent enough time.

craig simmons

Great to have the guys back again. LOVE every track on the EP, I ordered Annually with the CD straight away. Best twenty quid ever. Miss the video’s they used to make, but excited to have new material from them anyway. Chart music can kiss it. PSB’s still got it and still have that cheeky SOH. Love the Kraftwerk stylee at the end of the Forgotten child.

HS

Love the new songs and ordered both the CD (with the book) and the 12″. This EP is a really nice surprise and I am thrilled that the Boys always make sure to release their stuff on physical formats.

Then there is the live BluRay/CD coming out soon and the new album later in the year. I’m a happy fan.

Kevin Henry

I’m a rocker at heart with Queen, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Genesis and Yes as favourite bands, but I adore the Pet Shop Boys (and have done so since 1985) and even went to see them wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt. I love the fact that they still release CD singles with superb non-album tracks. I am not a musical download/streaming person and still buy CDs and blu rays from HMV whenever possible (we lost one of the two stores in Sheffield last week) and was reluctant to listen to Agenda until it was on a CD but gave up tonight. I won’t review the four tracks as others have and, I need to listen to them more. In my youth I bought books galore, but once I hit 50 my eyesight was not as it once was and so I bought a Kindle – font size 14/16 helps. As a result, I was not going to buy Annual. I will be buying Inner Sanctum and do wish the band would have put the EP on this as an extra. Great marketing that it will contain a DVD and BR.

craig simmons

There are level headed, reasonable people in the world ( even the virtual world ) who leave comments like this. I like you and we’ve never even met. LOL. Some of the comments, well, Give stupidity a chance I guess.

PSB FAN

great news that the PSB have a new offering on EP and following that an album. I have every item of theirs on CD format be it single, remixed, album and reissued remastered albums, seen then in concert on various occasions, I really admire that they still offer new material to their loyal fans. One thing I need to moan about is that I am a cd collector and gone are the days one could just simply purchase cd singles and albums without hassle. On several occasions Ive had items from the PSB Online Store (only place to purchase psb singles) lost in the post and simply never replaced as they are out of stock quickly as they are of limited run which leads to paying higher process form ebay. Apart from that winge I love the new 4 track EP even though its of a streaming format.

Cris

I received your latest Week in Review Paul, it is extremely well written as usual and I fully agree to all of its content.
Your example of Duran Duran as opposites of PSB’ approach towards fans is painful but pertinent.
However my question is it really 100% up to them? (i. e.: Nick always underlines his love for the good old days, and vinyl and tangible products [see the diamond sprayed Diamond in the Mond double vinyl] and so does John). I have commented more than once in articles regarding Paper Gods: the non release of Pressure Off as a 12″ Night Version (let’ s not consider the absurdly priced box set) was scandalous, and the lack of physical product apart from the CD and LP is as well, but I have always ascribed this to Warner’ s idiocy. Is it not so?
I do not know PSB’ s situation: what is their label? Do the release records independently? That or a small label would make it more easy…
I mean, if one is on, say, Mute one knows how one’ s releases will be treated…

Cris

Thank you Paul, makes absolute sense… They’ ve become quite lazy I guess..!!! (Bad for us fans, good for their private lives!)

(Indeed, also the Live at Budokan was a bit of a letdown… Horrible art (but wonderful graphic solutions) and a disconcerting and meagre content… If their fear was of having too many live albums around, they could have played half a setlist of hidden gems and then put those on the record).

mark

I have just read most of these comnents … What a horrible bunch of moaners and sad old keyboard warriers you all are! Well done Chris & Neil. So much respect for you. Where are the rest of the artists using their craft to make some thoughtful, political statements? I noticed this EP was #2 in the UK, #1o in the usa and Australia yesterday. Theres something brilliant and even PSB-ironic about that. And if that wakes 0.01% of people up to thinking then well done. How about making this constructive critiscism on here in the spirit of the brilliant man who runs the site! Pls think about this you lot !! As you were then …

craig simmons

Yes, thank-you.

Wes Headley

Thank you– you’re right. The UK has been drowning in the neoliberal policy kool-aid since Thatcher and as a direct result, UK social mobility has been going south, producing wonders like Brexit. It’s going just about the same here in the US. So given all the darkness we’re blessed to have artists like the PSB who care enough and are inspired enough to try and say something about the sinking ship we’re all (mostly) stuck on… complacency is not cool.

Enda Guinan

Heh, am I the only person that pretty much loves the development of PSB over the decades? Loved Elysium, Electric and (most of) Super. This seems like a continuation of their ‘we don’t care about charts, let’s do what we want’ vibe. As the youth say, I’m here for this… :D

richard

nope..I do one better, I also love Super (All of it).

MR

Soft touch a past best songs with current sounds. Keep work in that mood and style for rest of upcoming CD. I like it!

Michael

Loving the new stuff, to many (former) fans live in the past.

Jack Moon

I’ve lived with these songs for only a couple of days but they’ve been on repeat all that time and I haven’t had enough of them – the first time that’s happened to me with PSB since Release!! (barring Twenty-something and Leaving) Amazing what working with a different producer can do.
Can’t say I’m overexcited about the coming album but Stuart Price IS married to their manager so I guess we’re stuck with it.
Hilarious that so many posters have said these songs are barely-worthy b-sides when many PSB fans say the b-sides are the best of PSB!!!

Gareth Pugh

I’ve got to say, as another fan of 30+ years’ standing, I’m really enjoying this EP. 80% for the tracks themselves, and 20% for the gesture. As Paul’s Sunday e-mail newsletter says, the sheer unexpectedness of a full, and non-album, EP of quality tracks out of the blue (with physical formats to follow for those who want these – count me in) is a great way to keep your fanbase excited. My one ‘entitled’ fan wish (I prefer to call it that, rather than a ‘moan’!) is I’d like to hear some remixes/12″ versions of one or two of these songs. A classic ‘PSB Extended Mix’ of ‘On social media’ and especially ‘What are we going to do about the rich?’ would be very welcome here and those two would lend themselves well to it. Hey ho, maybe something like that could surface somewhere down the line, or maybe later this year on the single packages for the new album?

EW99

Oh that’s a good idea. Some Xenomania-esque remixes would be amazing.

Cornelius

Most people would buy this release on CD. However, it’s only available with the £20 book. Why? The 12″ is being sold separately for £7.99, why not the CD? This vinyl obsession is a red-herring.

richard

it is tough on me too so I had to buy the book for the CD but I am sure it is great reading

martin farnworth

Rather mediocre stuff. Quite dull musically with no great hooks burdened by some fairly righteous lyrics. For comparison I thought songs like “Your Early Stuff” and “Ego Music” from Elysium were similar in quality of the music and also in their directness/transparent subject but at there was a good dose of humour in there- because it felt Tennant was singing from a more personal view. Of course Tennant’s not wanting to repeat himself but these songs don’t bear repeated listenings

Kevin Galliford

I’m a huge fan but hated “Elysium” apart from “Everything means something” & “Yes” was just a full disappointing all round. For me, great to see them back on form with the last 2 albums. Horses for courses… The book though is a great read & I really enjoyed the article in last years book about PSB London history. Hopefully this new book will be just as good.

richard

seriously? Yes is Fabulous & Elysium is fantastic…That must have been a typo

CJ

I’ve always been curious about Annually, so the CD-exclusive is giving me an excuse to finally order a copy. I’m sure we’ll eventually get a Further Listening release with the EP tracks, but why wait that long when I can get them now along with a nice book and have the original release?

Martyn Alner

You won’t be disappointed with “Annually”. They are always very good, well produced and designed (by Farrow, natch).

richard

I love everything the boys have done. I admit the Stuart price produced albums are not as great as “Yes” but they are still great & any PSB fan needs to own all their albums etc. I wish they moved to a new producer but that is ok I guess. I love all the new songs & ordered it asap without hesitation. They are catchy & for people who say they are only B side worthy…well that is ok since they also say their B sides are fantastic as all their other songs,.

Don

I like it a lot.
It has been a long time protest songs have been written.
Ordered the vinyl,

pootle

“Agenda” indeed!
You can only have it on a crisp clear CD IF you buy the damn book as well….

I don’t do “digital” downloads.
Have they progrssed to lossless formats yet or are they still on crappy mp3?

Martyn Alner

Social Media is the new ‘Shopping’ :)

mike

If only it was 10 per cent as good!

Soren

I just want the CD (not the book)

Matt F

First I was afraid, I was petrified…then after a few listens, I think the songs are great. The lyrics are a little ‘in your face’ for PSB. I think Neil is definately taking on ‘Characters’ in these songs. Maybe because the lyrics are very direct, they distract from the overall song? I think if these were issued individually as ‘B’ sides they would be looked at in a more favourable light?

Mikael

So gave it a listen this morning, sounds like demos with placeholder lyrics.
The forgotten child was ok, the rest not so much. And what happened to Neil’s normalt elegant, refined and ironic lyrics? These read like slogans from a left wing demo.

Jon

These four songs were produced by PSB and Tim Powell and not Stuart Price. With that said, the first three songs are rubbish and this is coming from a lifelong PSB fan. As hard as it seems for me to admit but they really have lost the plot. Elysium was half boring, containing some of their worst efforts. Electric contains 4 good songs and 4 utter sh*t. Super was meh. Price’s days as an innovative producer are long gone (but was he ever innovative?). It seems the boys have hit that part of their careers where they seem to be running out of ideas.

pootle

To Jon, who says they’ve really lost the plot.
I agree.
For me the last album of any merit (ie, with more than just one or two great tracks of consistant quality), was “Very”, back in 93!

They should forget “moving with the times” and go back to producing 80’s pop hits.

Neil Young

Not sure what I think of these humdrum efforts. The low tide mark for me was Elysium, with the exception of Invisible which was a really clever song both musically and lyrically. It’s the only album by PSB I never bought. I liked Electric, although Super was weaker. I wish they’d go back to Trevor Horn for another album, Fundamental was brillinat, even Xenomania would be good. Yes was the last album I really enjoyed.

Jack Moon

As a long term fan I have to say Agenda is better than anyone has a right to expect and worthy of a little more respect. I immediately found all the songs to be catchier than anything PSB have released in a long while and, although Neil’s lyrics are sometimes awkward, they’re energised and bluntly forceful. Imagine PSB still singing about getting older (and older), feeling alienated and realising love is a catastrophe! As artists they would be irrelevant but here they’re engaging with the wider world in a very concrete manner. They’re still charting their course through life because that’s what artists do; they’re still reflecting the culture they’re a part of.
As “legacy” artists, though, the songs don’t sound like anything that will receive widespread attention and that’s a shame.

Alessandro

far, far away from their best. All of them sound really poor. Yes, the tune is catchy but how poor are the songs. How banal the lyrics. They all sound like fun demos they did in their spare time, when they mess around playing some notes.
These are not PSB songs, not the PSB I loved since since day one.
And I look with suspect at the real LP album of late 2019, both because of this new horrible stuff and because of Stuart cooperation which frankly did not bring them anything good: Electric was too much electronic and confused and Super, except a couple of songs, was without a soul. They still work with this guy because of the contract ?( Neil mentioned years ago it was a trilogy) or they really believe this producer helps their sound ?

Nigel D Day

Super has to be the most ironic album title ever !

Craig Hedges

Pet Shop Boys, moan.

Caroline

I broadly agree about the lyrics but the sleeve is absolutely dreadful – there’s something rather snotty and even vaguely misogynist about it. “Oh these youth of today, eh?” is not a slant I expected PSBs to take.

Mind you, given some of the rhyming couplets on “On Social Media”, it’s just as well they haven’t tackled Brexit…

Gerbrand

My first thought about The Forgotten Child is it’s about Theresa May though…

Jack Moon

I see the selfie-taker every day, everywhere. There’s nothing misogynist about the sleeve image – it’s the fantasy that blankets capitalist culture for men and women. The fact it’s a woman alone only adds to the poignancy: there she is, “living the life”, with no one to share it. Just a bunch of ghosts on “social media”.

Iain

“You’re on (dum de dum) Social Media” PULEEZE!! I think that I could write better lyrics – and that IS saying something!

mike

Lyrically obvious, very disappointing for a lyricist of Neil’s ability and history. Wasn’t a fan of Super either, wonder whether they have now officially lost it.

Wes Headley

Weird so many seem to hate PSB being a bit political given that’s what they’ve ALWAYS BEEN from DAY ONE. Shut up and dance, that’s more like Wham or A-ha isn’t it?

Frank Bruce

I’m not being forced to buy something else just so I can buy the 4 track CD, this is a massive mistake on the part of the PSB. I’d rather just miss the chance of owning the CD. I won’t lose any sleep over this one

David Carter

I enjoyed Electric and some of Super but I agree I really wish they would move away from Stuart price as a producer, he is a long way away from the Stephen Hague/Julian Mendohlson days. As a completist I have ordered the vinyl of this , even though its no where near their best work.

Gary Hunter

I hated the album “Electric”, their worst album to date and to be honest only half of “Super” is decent. “Electric” is the only Pet Shop Boys album I never bought.

Regards the new songs, I think they are good B side quality, however, “Give Stupidity A Chance” is excellent, hated it on first listen but my god it gets into your head, singing that chorus all the time.

Their forthcoming album needs to be outstanding for me, but I worry that Stuart Price is producing again, under his guidence they have lost their wow factor and their sound is all over the place, let’s be honest the tracks “Bolshy”, “Shouting In The Evening”, “Happiness”, “Groovy” and “Pazzo”, wouldn’t have even been considered as B Sides 10 years ago.

Oliver

I was quite a big fan of “Electric” for its “Introspective” ethics of making dance music for people who like dancing; and I thought “Super” was really fun.

This reminds of me of “Elysium” however, which I found uninspired, bland and forgettable. It’s a shame – I think the chord changes in “The Forgotten Child” are great, and the lilting power-pop of “…Stupidity…” is lovely, but all-round, the lyrics are clumsy.

I haven’t despised every Stuart Price effort, but tend to agree with Paul; they (and we) are overdue a change. Here’s to hoping these were left off the album because they weren’t good enough, and that it’s just angular marketing putting out those ‘b-side’ efforts before the LP proper

Glenn

Ordered the book + CD. Really liked the CD in last year’s bundle. April 12 release date.

V

Kind of like the sound of Social Media but the lyrics are just ridiculous. Other two songs are dreadful. Total pass for me but am glad others are enjoying the opportunity (let’s make lots of money!). Admittedly, I have lost interest in the band’s newer output and am in agreement with an earlier post that Very was the last of their great work. I’m really a fan of Alternative. That is one of my top b-side compilations and I never get bored with it.

Jm

Those new songs are truly awful. They can do a lot better. They have done a lot better.

Andy Lindley

I have to agree that ‘On Social Media’ is the best of the three I’ve heard so far. Love that track and have been putting it on repeat. Managed to snap up the Annually publication with bonus CD. The 12″ is a decent price in the UK, but here in Australia it’s available for preorder at JB HiFi for $23. That’s the price of some full Vinyl LPs. Remember when 12″ were like $5-$7. I guess that was in mass production times?

Steve

Thank god a return to form after the last two dismal albums with a good ep’s worth of material between them both. Let’s hope they wake up and stop being so bloody pretentious and realise they are a “pop group” and embrace it. Stop the pantomime costumes and give the fans what they all are waiting for! Stuart Price has had his day hopefully PSBs have not. The lyrics of tased new songs made me laugh out loud and that’s not an easy thing to do – genius! leftvtobthsorbown devices they have released something worthy to add to their imperial back catalogue.

Ralph

Definitely three of the worst written “relevant” lyrics PSB ever put out. Sorry, used to love them but those days are gone

negative1

horrible, just horrible.

it’s very sad to see the pet shop boys whittle away
to making subpar, not even b-side quality songs for
release.and limited no less.

as a fan of their earlier work, there’s just not much
here.

it just ticks of the list:
– semi clever title
– pseudo artsy cover
– limited release

ughh. please, no more.

later
-1

alan hansen

I almost completely concur! of course, I did also order the Annually package with the cd/ep. I remain a completist with PSB. please don’t hate me.

Monofreak

Nice songs, but why they don’t offer a CD without the book? That’s not very “social” …

shingouz

I absolutely adore Give Stupidity a Chance, I’ve been listening to it on repeat for two days. The other two are quite nice too.
I really like when the PSB go in full irony/sarcastic mode. I’ll be getting the 12″ for sure.

Neil Kelly

Not heard any of the tracks yet in fact i noticed it dropped on ‘one of my sites’ 2 hours ago (i’ll say no more except i thought it was one of those fake things a compilation or something thought if they had new tracks i’d know before spotting them for immediate download – how wrong was I). Anyhow needless to say i’ll be listening to all four tracks very soon. But don’t worry i do plan to order the book and CD (vinyl of no interest to me). Good to see some clever reviews of the 3 tracks above as opposed to the ‘they haven’t done anything great since 1948’ nonsense you always get with PSB. I’m a big fan of many of the recent albums having played them all lots. One of my fav PSB singles was ‘Love etc’ which wasn’t that long ago. I look forward to the next album hope it’s a goodun!

Gary Clutterbuck

I wish they’d go back to working with Xenomania. ‘Yes’ was the last album they recorded where I felt as though a lot of effort had been put into it with great reward. The production of that album, along with some lovely melodies and great lyrics showed just how good Pet Shop Boys can be. I’m hopeful that they will return to making an album that I want to listen to over and over again, but I fear I may be in for a long wait.

TG

Keep in mind, this was produced by Tim Powell who was pretty much the head honcho of Xenomania when Yes was recorded.

Kevin

I wasn’t thrilled with Electric (except for “Bolshy”, I hardly ever listened to it before getting rid of my vinyl copy), so I skipped Super.

As for these new songs… “Give stupidity a chance” has a classic PSB melody, but the lyrics are rather simplistic. “What are we going to do about the rich?” suffers from the same problem—the lyrics are simplistic and often feel forced (e.g., rhyming “Hansard” and “answered”). “On social media” is the best of the three revealed so far.

Bob Gaulke

The writing seems sharp; but I can’t really tell as the mastering threatens to shred my Harmon Kardon speaker at the lowest volume setting :(.