With its enormous, evocative analogue synth pads, Thursday is, at the time of writing, Pet Shop Boys‘ most recent single. It’s also very definitely one of the best songs on their most recent and entirely brilliant album Electric.
Curiously, there are two different radio edits, one on each of the download packages, and featuring the middle section from Example in varying quantities, but neither really catches the sheer perfection of the five minute album version. It’s still up there among the best songs PSB have ever recorded, but it does feel a little bit incomplete, and the fact that they quietly released both edits would seem to suggest they weren’t entirely happy with either. In this case, you have to say that there would have been no shame in a five minute single.
The first of the two b-sides is called No More Ballads, an ironically downtempo piece which, while entirely nice, was never realistically going to be on an album. That’s not unusual for b-sides, but it is unusual for Pet Shop Boys, who have always been able to explore exciting new worlds on their b-sides and bonus tracks, proof of which can be found on their two fantastic compilations Alternative (1995) and Format (2013). With that in mind, this seems a very rare example of filler.
Odd Man Out is better – it still wouldn’t have fitted on Electric, and so a bonus track for Thursday is an appropriate thing for it to be. Unlike No More Ballads, it has a typically intriguing Neil Tennant lyric (probably more interesting than the single, actually), and an extremely catchy chorus, which are really the key ingredients of a great song. The quote at the end leaves me particularly mystified, as I’ve never managed to work out exactly what’s being said.
The fourth track on the first package (or the CD, if you’re that way inclined) is a remix of Thursday by Tensnake, which features relatively little of the original but is somehow rather compelling – actually it’s probably the best of the remixes, so this disc is definitely worth owning.
The second package is less essential. The radio edit of Thursday which opens this set is the one which removes Example‘s rap in its entirety, leaving only his singing sections and making the track feel rather empty. It’s still brilliant and powerful; just not quite as good as the full version.
The other two tracks are less exciting too – Eddie Amador‘s remix of Thursday is a curious disco/house crossover, which almost works but somehow seems to be lacking something, and Mindskap‘s version is a similarly odd mix of styles with much the same outcome. It’s difficult to get too excited about anything here.
So ultimately Thursday is one of the finest tracks on Electric, but while it definitely deserved a single release, the treatment it got was something of a disappointment. Still, as the only single from this album to creep onto the charts, it does at least have the place in history it deserves.