Songs I Wish Everyone Knew: “Paninaro ’95” by Pet Shop Boys

Just FYI, the Pet Shop Boys are pretty much the greatest duo in pop music history. Neil Tennant (lead vocals, occasional instrumentation) and Chris Lowe (keyboards, etc.) have written more hits than they’ll ever have space for. They’ve been so critically lauded for their relentless, dynamic and multi-faceted art-driven electropop sound that they’re put on a pedestal alongside some of rock’s greatest legends. They were even awarded the BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, which is not only an amazing honor, but a rare feat for a pop group. Outside of classic hits such as “West End Girls,” “It’s A Sin,” and “What Have I Done To Deserve This?,” the boys have a good number of singles that have, more or less, gotten lost in the sands of time, at very least in the eyes of the public. There’s one such track that I find to be a particular shame: “Paninaro ’95.” All things considered, the song has a pretty interesting history. It was originally released as a b-side (simply as “Paninaro,”) to their mega-hit, “Suburbia” in 1986, before being retooled and rerecorded a decade later to promote their b-sides compilation, Alternative, despite only the original version appearing on the collection. Additionally, Chris Lowe handles the main vocal duties, all of which are spoken in a pseudo-rap, while Neil Tennant only sings the title word, the closest thing the record has to a “hook.” “Paninaro ’95” is a lush and indulgent dance record that sounds surprisingly fresh and relevant today, despite being almost 20 years old. It’s one of the more “artsy” PSB singles, but it really helps exemplify their genius and why they’ve been able to sustain a successful career as long as they have. It’s a stunning track.




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