Words: Steve Brown
Neil Tennant says pop music has become ‘very narcissistic’.
The Pet Shop Boys frontman – who came out as gay in 1994 – has released a brand-new single 'Monkey Business' with Chris Lowe and while promoting the new single, the synthpop duo were asked whether pop has a place in asking questions about the world.
Tennant then told BBC 5 Live host Nihal Arthanayake how he believes pop music is now a branch of social media.
He said: “Yes, there’s a trend nowadays for artists to be asking themselves questions about themselves. It’s very narcissistic.
“I think pop music now is really a branch of social media really. It’s how it is consumed a lot of the time and we’re a different generation to that where self-expression is important.
“But at the same time, you want it to be sort of beautiful and catchy and danceable. If you look at its functions, it has a lot of functions really, pop music.
“You are sort of balancing all those things.”
He then went on to say how he loves imagining stories when writing songs and says it’s ‘very self-obsessed’ to write ’14 albums’ about yourself.
He continued: “It’s very liberating to imagine you’re a woman married with two children and write a song about it.
“I like doing that. I like writing through other characters – not in a Ziggy Stardust way – but in an everyday way to imagine, to look at people, to imagine you are them, I find that quite liberating because I probably don’t find myself interesting enough to write 14 albums about.
“You have to be very self-obsessed to do that. Nowadays people are surprised we don’t write about ourselves.
“I think that is slightly ridiculous really. I mean if you look at Bob Dylan or someone who has written more than 14 albums, there not all about him. He writes stories, assumes characters, writes impressionistic poetry.
“I think that’s great. That’s what I want to do as well.”