Smile If You Dare is the book that finally puts the Pet Shop Boys under the academic microscope following decades of near-total neglect. A creative analysis of the band’s fifth album Very, it examines topics as diverse as technological paradise, sexual paranoia and representations of class in British pop music. As well as a keen critical edge, it is equipped with an undisguised mad love for the source material, a sense of passionate abandon induced by the tragic/ecstatic synth-pop that pours out of the speakers.
In an attempt to uncover the heart of this technicolour record, Smile If You Dare rummages frantically through an impossible orange room, an aeroplane, a gaming arcade, an East End council flat and the beaches of California. It is also a partial history of Aids, the recording industry, homelessness in London and the doomed but rapturous search for the gay utopia.
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