Post-Pride pressings; reissues from Cher and Pet Shop Boys

  • by Gregg Shapiro
  • Tuesday July 11, 2023
Share this Post:
Cher's deluxe "It's a Man's World" reissue
Cher's deluxe "It's a Man's World" reissue

Pride month has passed, but you can fly your own flag of fandom for two popular musical favorites; Cher and Pet Shop Boys, with reissued vinyl and CD collections.

Cher is a gay icon, but, no, Cher isn't queer.

However, the expanded deluxe edition reissue of her underrated 1996 album "It's A Man's World" (Warner Records), available on vinyl and CD, certainly is. "It's a Man's World" was originally released between her late 1980s/early 1990s Geffen Records rocker chick period and her second disco diva era (following the late 1970s on Casablanca) driven by "Believe" and "Song For The Lonely" in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

It's a singer/songwriter record on which Cher covers songs by Marc Cohn ("Walking in Memphis"), Don Henley ("Not Enough Love In the World"), Eric Kaz ("I'm Blowin' Away"), Prefab Sprout's Paddy McAloon ("The Gunman"), and even James Brown (the title track).

More significantly, Cher covered songs by two extraordinary lesbian singer/songwriters, Patty Larkin ("Angels Running") and Maia Sharp ("Don't Come Around Tonite").

The reissue is also significant in that it not only features the three tracks from the Japanese import edition — "Don't Come Around Tonite," "The Shape of Things To Come," and "I Wouldn't Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me)" — cut from the previous domestic version, but also reorders the song sequence to that of the import.

But wait, there's more! As if to hint at what was coming down the pike, the "It's A Man's World" reissue includes a second disc of dance remixes, including four remixes of "One By One," four of "Paradise Is Here," two of "Walking in Memphis," and one of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore."

The only complaint, if there could possibly be one, is that the disc doesn't include the hologram found on some of the original CD releases.

Just a few years shy of the 40th anniversary of the release of its 1986 debut album "Please," which peaked at number seven on the US album charts, Pet Shop Boys are feted with a long overdue box set, "Smash: The Singles 1985-2020" (Parlophone/Rhino).

Already the subject of decent hits collections, including 1991's "Discography" and 2003's "PopArt," the three-disc (or six LP) and two Blu-rays (of videos and video extras) "Smash" compilation (also available on cassette and digital download) covers all the bases. Even more importantly, it's presented in chronological order, giving listeners an opportunity to (re)experience the duo's extraordinary creative trajectory.

Pet Shop Boys' "Smash: The Singles 1985-2020"  

From the first distinctive ticking beats and subtle synths of "West End Girls" to the fat beats and buzzing keyboards of "I Don't Wanna," Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe established themselves as creators of irresistible queer dance pop, paving the way for Erasure and countless others.

Equally important is that Pet Shop Boys achieved both commercial and critical acclaim, releasing almost a dozen major-label albums before starting its own indie label.

Also of value is the way PSB never shied away from queer subject matter on songs such as "Being Boring," "It's A Sin," and "New York City Boy."

In addition to numerous originals, "Smash" includes PSB covers of "Always On My Mind," the "Where The Streets Have No Name/I Can't Take My Eyes Off You," the Village People's "Go West," and "Somewhere" from "West Side Story." Guest artists include Dusty Springfield ("What Have I Done To Deserve This?" and Olly Alexander's Years & Years ("Dreamland").

And "Love Is A Bourgeois Construct" is one of the greatest dance songs ever written; a must-have!

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.