Chart for stowaways – March 2020

With the start of the lockdown, March was a quiet month, with Pet Shop Boys solidifying their grasp on the upper reaches of the charts. Hotspot held onto the top of the album chart for the whole month, and Monkey business, Will-o-the-wisp, Musik, Dreamland, and Happy people all performed well on the single chart. Opportunities (Let’s make lots of money) even poked its head onto the Catalogue Singles chart briefly.

The Beloved continued to perform well too, with Where it Is following at number 2 for the whole month, a firm grip onto the top end of the Catalogue Singles with Forever Dancing and If Only, and Grin even grabbing the number one spot on the singles chart for a couple of weeks.

Other than that, things were really very quiet, with Depeche Mode and Air throwing occasional re-entries into the lower reaches of the Catalogue Singles, Albums, and Artists charts, and the odd new entry here and there. Here are the singles from 21st March:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – Will-o-the-wisp
  2. The Beloved – Grin
  3. Frances Barber & Pet Shop Boys – Musik (Original Cast Recording) – EP
  4. Pet Shop Boys – Monkey Business
  5. Pet Shop Boys – Happy people

And here are the albums:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – Hotspot
  2. The Beloved – Where it Is
  3. Sparks – Past Tense – The Best Of
  4. Caribou – Suddenly
  5. Sparks – Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins

Chart for stowaways – February 2020

February was the month of Pet Shop Boys‘ intriguing homage to Berlin, Hotspot, which started the month off by entering at number 4, and then stole the top spot from Sparks, holding onto it for the rest of the month. They also did the double, with Dreamland holding onto the top spot for another three weeks and then relinquishing it to Monkey business at the end of the month.

This was also the month when The Beloved saw debut release Where it Is finally hitting the charts, deservedly spending the whole month in the top three. Singles Forever Dancing, If Only, and Grin all performed well, the first of those taking the top of the Catalogue Singles chart and also peaking at number 4 on the main chart.

Otherwise this was generally a month for introspection, with new releases by David Bowie, Marc Almond, and Ben Watt all performing well but failing to shake the acts at the top. Here are the singles from 22nd February:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – Monkey Business
  2. The Beloved – Grin
  3. Pet Shop Boys feat. Years & Years – Dreamland
  4. Frances Barber & Pet Shop Boys – Musik (Original Cast Recording) – EP
  5. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Almost

And these were the albums:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – Hotspot
  2. The Beloved – Where it Is
  3. Sparks – Past Tense – The Best Of
  4. Sparks – Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins
  5. Hot Chip – A Bath Full Of Ecstasy

Chart for stowaways – Singles 2019

Here are the top singles for 2019:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – Agenda EP
  2. Frances Barber & Pet Shop Boys – Musik (Original Cast Recording) – EP
  3. Hot Chip – Hungry Child
  4. Pet Shop Boys feat. Years & Years – Dreamland
  5. Ladytron – Horrorscope
  6. The Beloved – For Your Love
  7. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Almost
  8. Marshmello Ft Chvrches – Here With Me
  9. Jean-Michel Jarre – Flying Totems
  10. The Future Sound of London – Yage
  11. Tiësto / Jonas Blue / Rita Ora – Ritual
  12. Ladytron – The Animals
  13. Sparks – Let’s Go Surfing
  14. The Beloved – Your Love Takes Me Higher (Evil Mix) / Awoke
  15. Mark Ronson Ft Lykke Li – Late Night Feelings
  16. The Radiophonic Workshop – Arrival Home
  17. New Order – Ceremony
  18. Gesaffelstein Ft Weeknd – Lost In The Fire
  19. Tiësto & Mabel – God Is A Dancer
  20. The Beloved – It’s Alright Now

Chart for stowaways – Christmas 2019

This is the exciting Christmas chart for stowaways for 2019:

  1. Pet Shop Boys feat. Years & Years – Dreamland
  2. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Almost
  3. Sparks – Let’s Go Surfing
  4. Pet Shop Boys – Burning the heather
  5. The Beloved – For Your Love
  6. Hot Chip – Hungry Child
  7. Jean-Michel Jarre – Remix EP (I)
  8. Röyksopp – I Had This Thing
  9. Frances Barber & Pet Shop Boys – Musik (Original Cast Recording) – EP
  10. Boards Of Canada – Aquarius

Chart for stowaways – 12 October 2019

Here are the top singles for October:

  1. Pet Shop Boys feat. Years & Years – Dreamland
  2. The Beloved – For Your Love
  3. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Almost
  4. Frances Barber & Pet Shop Boys – Musik (Original Cast Recording) – EP
  5. Hot Chip – Hungry Child
  6. Tiësto & Mabel – God Is A Dancer
  7. The Future Sound of London – Floating into Focus and then Moving Away
  8. Hot Chip – Positive
  9. New Order feat. Elly Jackson (La Roux) – Tutti Frutti
  10. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Electricity

Chart for stowaways – 17 August 2019

Here’s the singles chart for August:

  1. Frances Barber & Pet Shop Boys – Musik (Original Cast Recording) – EP
  2. Hot Chip – Hungry Child
  3. The Beloved – For Your Love
  4. The Beloved – Deliver Me
  5. Tiësto/Jonas Blue/Rita Ora – Ritual
  6. Pet Shop Boys – Agenda EP
  7. David Bowie – DJ
  8. Hot Chip – Melody of Love
  9. The Future Sound of London – Yage
  10. The Beloved – Ease the Pressure

Pet Shop Boys – Concrete

By 2006, Pet Shop Boys were already twenty-five years into their music career, and they still hadn’t released a live album. But that would change with Concrete, released a decade ago this week.

Of course, the problem with live albums is that they often aren’t actually very good. You normally just get a few marginally different versions of tracks, which are clearly being played with a lot of energy, but unless you were actually there in person, it’s hard to get a feeling for what was actually going on at the time.

Trust Pet Shop Boys to do something different. Concrete starts with the enormous orchestral swell of Left to my own devices, and as on the original, that orchestra is actually real. This time it’s the BBC Concert Orchestra, in a concert recorded for BBC Radio, and as you might expect from that fact alone, it truly stands out as an exceptional live album.

There’s an unusual mix of tracks on here – of the seventeen, there are six from the latest album Fundamental, but the bulk were selected for their suitability to play with an orchestra, so after the introductions we get Angelo Badalamenti‘s rather awful rearranged version of Rent, and then an adorable version of You only tell me you love me when you’re drunk.

After a pretty awful sleazy introduction, Frances Barber of all people turns up to introduce the first new track, The Sodom and Gomorrah show, marking the first of the surprise appearances on this release. There’s another on the next song, as Rufus Wainwright appears to sing the bulk of Casanova in Hell, which suits the music well.

Concrete is characterised by a few things, then – the orchestral accompaniment, the guests, and the unusual selection of tracks. Continuing on the latter theme, we now get an excellent version of After all, from the Battleship Potemkin soundtrack, followed by another guest appearance from Frances Barber, now in character as the flamboyant Billie Trix on Friendly fire. The latter just about works, although it does require a bit of an explanation from Neil Tennant beforehand.

Disc one closes with a triumphant version of Integral, and then the pairing of new singles continues on the second disc with the lovely (but largely hated by the fans) Numb. In an environment such as this, you might think that a 1980s acid house classic might not fit too well, but somehow It’s Alright sounds amazing alongside these neighbours.

After Luna Park comes a major surprise: Nothing has been proved, written for Dusty Springfield back in the 1980s but rarely performed by Pet Shop Boys, and sounding completely fantastic here. Then comes Jealousy, in its wonderful extended form, but which maybe could have done with a little more rehearsal, as Neil has to rush a bit when he announces the surprise singer, Robbie Williams.

More surprising, though, is the inclusion of the adorably silly Dreaming of the Queen, from Very. It’s great to see the duo taking their art with a pinch of salt, even here. There’s grandiosity – It’s a sin closes the main set – but there’s also definitely a sense of humour.

Of the encores, Indefinite leave to remain falls a bit flat now – it’s a nice song, but that’s about all you can say for it. But right at the end, it mixes into the orchestral version of West End girls, which, of course, sounds amazing.

Concrete definitely has its ups and downs, but you can’t question its inventiveness as a live set, and for the most part it’s quite excellent. It’s not often I would say this, but this is a live album which is definitely worth tracking down.

Which you can do by clicking here or looking in any major retailer of your choosing.