Syllabus Music: Essential Fops


By T. Cole Rachel

Pet Shop Boys
Actually (1987)
Few artists in the past two decades have made a more erudite, foppishly chic impact on pop music than the Pet Shop Boys. Stocked with cynical consumerist tracks ('Rent,' 'Shopping'), their sophomore album also found the gay duo reviving Dusty Springfield's career on the standout 'What Have I Done to Deserve This?' -- a synth-laced evocation of romantic discontent that perfectly sums up love in the '80s. Get it on:'Pet Shop Boys - Actually

Suede (1993)
With the release of their winning debut, Suede single-handedly made floppy bangs, fey dance moves, and ambiguous sexuality (note the album cover) cool again. It didn't hurt that alterna-fops Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler had an arsenal of era-defining tunes at their disposal: 'Animal Nitrate,' 'Sleeping Pills,' and 'The Drowners' (with the line 'We kiss in his room to a popular tune') remain some of the most theatrical, sweepingly romantic in Brit rock. Get it on:'Suede - Suede

The Divine Comedy
Casanova (1996)
Neil Hannon is charming and he knows it, so on Casanova the group's front man ramps up the romance. He's a total dandy on songs like 'Middle-Class Heroes' and 'Becoming More Like Alfie,' simultaneously swooning and causing the swoon. Meanwhile, 'Songs of Love' does justice to lyricists everywhere who are holed up penning love songs while everyone else is out getting the girl (or boy). Not available on iTunes.

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