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A world of opportunities

Pet Shop Boys – Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)

I was thinking that there is a lot of talk in the world today about opportunities, which is quite normal when things aren’t going too well. Everything is a great opportunity! But in the 80s there were those who were already talking about opportunities very clearly! And in fact it didn’t take much to make money: one smart and one good looking guy, and you could make lots of money.

Of course it was a song halfway between invective against materialism and a sort of Thatcherian capitalism, since this song comes from the heart of England, and precisely from the boundless genius of a group that was among the absolute protagonists of the second half of the 80s, Pet Shop Boys.

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe had launched a couple of songs between 1984 and 1985, but they were not particularly successful. There were disagreements with the production, and they changed record companies. They thus came into contact with one of those characters who even being behind the scenes had a fundamental impact on the decade. We are talking about J. J. Jeczalik, of Art of Noise. Above all, the producer who added all the electronic sounds to Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax, for example. And J. J. did the same thing with Pet Shop Boys songs: a year later, he picked up West End Girls, added electronic effects, and in October 1985 re-released it and this time it topped the charts. And so, a few months later, and after the release of Love comes quickly and the entire, fabulous album Please (one of the iconic albums of the 80s), on May 19, 1986 this beautiful Opportunities (Let’s make lots of money) was also released in a rearranged version.

As we said, the idea is very simple and Neil Tennant makes it clear from the first two lines. And with his irony he continues for his logic: I studied mathematics, I program computers, I studied at the Sorbonne … you put your face and look to it, and it will be impossible not to be successful! The criticism is aimed at materialism, and more directly at the world of entertainment in general, but as Tennant himself later recalled, in the second half of the 80s it seemed impossible that only a few years earlier there had been a period where people had other values besides money.

Opportunities also had two videos. The one in the first version sees Neil popping out of a garage trap door, where he will remain for the entire video, and ends with some rather solemn verses. Jeczalik removed them from the second version, and had another video made where Tennant and Lowe, one in a suit and tie and the other in a mason’s outfit, seem to be passing tools and briefcases, but most of the time Neil passes the briefcases to himself, and Chris hands the tools over to himself, as if their two worlds were close but distinctly separate (actually, some exchange takes place).

The song reached the top ten in both England and the United States, and was instrumental in the future of the Pet Shop Boys’ career. In the United States there was a flashback during the 2021 Superbowl, when one of the commercials had this song as a background. And Pet Shop Boys were once again back in the charts.

Pet Shop Boys on Wikipedia

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