She Was Never Being Boring: Tove Lo Puts a Tender Touch on a Pet Shop Boys Classic
I only find myself identifying more with the music of the Pet Shop Boys over time, and these amazing reissues of all their records released over the past few months only make it overwhelmingly obvious that I’ve merely scratched the surface of analyzing their colossal output. (Luckily, the incredible Commentary site has already done a solid job of devouring it all for us.)
Their catalog is vast (and meticiously cataloged!), and their signature brand of smart, sarcasm-laced, wistful, melancholy lyricism is simply unmatched. Also, hello: Liza‘s Results, anyone?
Unexpectedly, one Swedish songbird with a big ol’ pair of Disco Tits knows a thing or two about good music. And for whatever reason, she recorded a soft and sparse cover of “Being Boring,” one of the band’s very best off of their 1990 record, Behaviour.
PSB took notice of this tribute and brought attention to the recording (which appears to have popped up online in early September?), calling it “very pretty” on their socials this week.
Nothing could ever touch the original obviously, as a handful of PSB purist commenters on YouTube have already pointed out, but that doesn’t make this cover not special.
“Being Boring” was penned by Neil Tennant as a reflection on his youth — specifically on the death of a friend to AIDS as he simultaneously rose to fame — all based around a quote by Zelda Fitzgerald: “she refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”
Given the heavy back story, Tove’s quiet approach to the song especially brings out the underlying bittersweet emotion of the track.
Also, considering that Tove’s pop persona is generally a balls — err, ovaries-to-the-wall burst of rowdy self-empowerment (and self-destruction) covered in loads of synth-y production, it’s quite something to hear this specific song from her perspective, stripped down, like a pensive look back at her career many, many years after the madness of her own rise to stardom.
Because Tove — much like Zelda, the flappers, the Pet Shop Boys and their friends — was never being boring, either.