By 2010, the Pet Shop Boys’ discography had grown to such a size that any one-disc compilation was bound to just scratch the surface, and that’s what Ultimate does, splendidly. Chronologically too, as the set opens with their debut -- and still signature -- hit, “West End Girls,” before laying out a lopsided history lesson that favors their early years and then sprints through their other eras before closing with the 2010 previously unreleased number “Together.” Along the way there are grand moments like the Dusty Springfield collaboration “What Have I Done to Deserve This?,” the melancholy and moving “Being Boring,” plus their minimal electro comeback single, “Love Etc.,” which proved that the synth pop pioneers were still relevant in the age of La Roux. Casual fans get to get catch up on important late-period singles they probably missed, and while it’s easy to argue about the B-list choices (whether “Paninaro” should be here instead of “Before”), the only glaring omission is their second single, “Opportunities.” But look at the overabundance of great early tracks, and deciding what to sacrifice would be difficult. Take the one-disc limitation into consideration and the set is certainly Ultimate.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries