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HOTSPOT BOYS

Over the last 35 years, Pet Shop Boys have crafted some of the greatest pop music of all time, most of it with a discernible gay sensibility. Neil and Chris sat down together in London with DNA to chat about coming out, cruising, crusading for Alan Turing and - yes! - their cool new album, an electronic valentine to the city of Berlin called Hotspot. Feature by Marc Andrews.

Only just released in late January this year, Hotspot is the Pet Shop Boys’ sexy, sweet and quite splendid 14th album. Along with fellow gay icons Kylie Minogue and Madonna (who also both issued their 14th studio albums recently), Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are true pop survivors of the ’80s. So many of the big pop names of the era (Prince, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and George Michael, to name but four) are no longer with us.

Hotspot is the third album in what has been a trilogy produced by Stuart Price, still remembered fondly for his glossy work on Madonna’s Confessions On A Dance Floor. This final missive is undeniably a love letter to Berlin, where most of the ten tracks were recorded. The opener, Will O The Wisp is classic Pet Shop Boys electro-disco with a shimmering 2020 sheen and coyly risqué lyrics about cruising the German capital, possibly the gayest city in the world.

Elsewhere on the album, Years And Years vocalist Olly Alexander helps out on Dreamland, the uplifting first single. Then there’s You Are The One, a romantic ballad devoted to the German capital; and a nod at the seedier city underbelly on Monkey Business (“where we all cross the line”).

Initially, Neil and Chris thought of giving the album a German title.

“We wanted a German word that everyone knew in English and one day it occurred to me that Berlin was the hotspot of the Cold War,” says Neil. “Also, ‘hotspot’ is an internet thing. And also, when I was a kid, it was an old-fashioned term for a popular club, or something where you’d listen to the latest jazz, or something. It just floated to the top and stayed there.

Proving they’ve lost none of their quirky sense of humour, the day after the UK election, PSB released the album’s second single, the soft rock anomaly, Burning The Heather featuring a bonus track, Decide a pulsating poke at Brexit.

To forget politics and accompany the release of Hotspot, however, the duo is sailing off on a massive world tour later this year, dubbed Dreamworld, to play their greatest hits and some of their wunderbar new Germanicinspired tunes, too.

Besides their consistent musical output and occasional touring, the PSB have found a neat, if not profitable and critically acclaimed sideline in the theatre world. In September last year, the stage version of the film My Beautiful Laundrette opened in the UK featuring seven new Pet Shop Boys pieces, plus several of their recordings from the 1980s.

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About DNA Magazine

On the cover this month is Hollyoaks' hunk, David Tag. He reveals what he thinks of his DILF status and what he wears to bed! Other hunks this issue include the hot and hairy Ben Dudman, Ivan G naked on a beach and Aussie boy Luke in his "party wear". Seriously, we look at the looming crisis for the LGBT world in Uganda and across Africa. And we review a full-on documentary about Israeli performer, Jonathan Agassi. Pet Shop Boys deliver their most revealing interview ever – will Chris come out? Have they ever been a couple? What's their new Berlin-inspired album about? Pop queens Dua Lipa and Kesha are profiled and outrageous drag DJs The Jawbreakers tell us: "If you have money, we have a talent!" Plus we learn all about Nova Gina, Australia's "faboriginal" Indigenous drag star. Plus all your favourite regular reviews and columns!