Picture it. Memphis. The summer of 1994 was fast approaching. I’d just turned 18. I’d just graduated high school. And I’d just come out of the closet.
And one weekend night I faked not having an ID to get into a gay bar with some friends. It was a night of many firsts. And one of those firsts was hearing the DJ in the bar play “Go West” by the Pet Shop Boys from their September 1993 album VERY.
I’d never heard of the Pet Shop Boys, but I loved that song and wanted to hear more. My friend got the name of the group from the DJ and we scoured our local Sound Shop store in the mall back home (This was pre-internet days.), but they didn’t have it.
The next time we were in Memphis we stopped by a Blockbuster Music and they had it! It was a bright orange case and the CD itself was accented with purple. I played that CD over and over and over, memorizing every song as it became the soundtrack to my youth that year. I still enjoy listening to it today and it brings back so many memories from that year.
There are other songs on the album that I even like better than Go West. I think it’s because they are about gay youth, so I could relate to the songs and there was an obvious connection. “Young Offender” and “Liberation” are two of my favs.
And that’s where I was the first time I ever heard a Pet Shop Boys song.