Pet Shop Boys Pop Art

Of all the great "bands" from the '80s, the Pet Shop Boys were always the most boring to watch. But as evidenced throughout Pop Art's 41-track video retrospective, it's their stoic embracement of the pop life that somehow made the Boys' videos unique. The early stuff like "West End Girls" and "Love Comes Quickly" is strangely interesting, with Neil Tennant perfecting the art of expressionless lip-synching while Chris Lowe stands back mute and disaffected. The Actually era and onwards is much more theatrical and humorous, with occasional glimpses of the duo breaking out in dance — the best is when Lowe joins in on the b-boy routine for "How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously?" The black-and-white shots of high fashion models letting loose at a mansion party in "Being Boring" captures the Boys at the height of both their flamboyance and their sexual ambivalence; the latter gets clarified through the homo-social casting of all-male bodies in "Go West" and "Paninaro '95." It's interesting that the Boys never discuss these matters in the commentary. Instead, they draw our attention to the names of the costume designers, high-art directors and hairstylist in a way that's totally Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It is more fun watching these clips with Tennant playing pop culture critic, but it's unlikely that Pop Art will convert first-time viewers. This one's really for the die-hard fans. Plus: extended versions of "Domino Dancing," "So Hard," and "Go West." (EMI)