Glamour and evasion: the fabulous ambivalence of the Pet Shop Boys
Shifty harmonies in ‘West End Girls’
This first section is for readers interested in technical musical analysis. Others may wish to skip ahead to the next section: while one of my goals is to link technical, interpretive and political concerns, it is possible to read this paper with relatively little attention to the technicalities.
At the beginning of the Pet Shop Boys' ‘West End Girls’, after some street sounds and a sustained chord, there is a three-chord progression (Cmaj7, D, E), mingling harmonies from the keys of e minor and E major (0:21-0:24; see Example 1). The bass-line goes up, with a major triad over each note; only the third chord is free of additional, dissonant notes. The second chord sounds like a way of passing smoothly from the first one to the third.