Yes, we're karaoke Boys
Pet Shop Boys, whose new album is a hit, say KTV is home to great pop. -myp
By KRISTINA TOM
SONGS like Go West and It's A Sin may be big karaoke hits, but you'd never catch Chris Lowe, one half of the legendary British pop duo Pet Shop Boys, singing those in a karaoke bar.
"I'd have to be really drunk. With my singing voice, I'd be dreadful!" the British keyboardist and songwriter, 49, told my paper in a recent phone interview from his London home.
"I'd require effects and all sorts of things to sound decent," he added with a chuckle.
In fact, though he provides back-up vocals for the duo - they've sold over 50 million records over a career spanning more than two decades - Lowe is still "shy behind a mike".
Perhaps his response is understandable.
Lowe leaves most of the singing to music partner Neil Tennant, 54, whom he met in an electronics shop in Chelsea, London, in 1981. The two began working on music together, and released West End Girls in 1985.
That single proved to be the Boys' entry into the music industry, for it became a hit in Britain and the United States.
Lowe and Tennant, who have won six Grammys and were last in Singapore for the inaugural SingFest festival in 2007, have since released hits like Suburbia, Heart and Where The Streets Have No Name.
The duo released their euphoric 10th studio album, Yes, last month. The album reached No. 4 on the British charts, and has been a smash hit with critics.
Mojo magazine, for example, said: "It's the same PSB sound - huge electronic hooks wed to archly recited lyrics. The only difference is (that) almost every track here is a potential hit."
When this reporter asked teasingly if the Boys are a little old to be pop stars, Lowe replied candidly: "Well, it's an interesting one, isn't it, being an old pop star"
"Pop music is great when it's by young people, but I don't see why you can't carry on doing it."
He turned serious when asked why he referred to pop as an "underrated form of music" in his acceptance speech for the duo's recent Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution To Music in February.
Although pleased by the award, he said that pop now does not get the recognition that maybe rock music does. And, he added, there is no reason for that being so.
"Pop music is the music that you tend to remember from your youth," he said firmly.
"It's the music that lives beyond its generation."
He doesn't even mind that Pet Shop Boys' songs have helped many a karaoke-pub owner rake in the dough.
"What people really remember, and what people sing at karaoke (bars), is really the great pop music of the day," he said with a laugh.
Yes by Pet Shop Boys is out in stores.
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