I know I should be listening to something Australian on my iPod. I really should. INXS or Crowded House or Men At Work or Empire Of The Sun or something, anything. Kylie even! But looking out of the window of our train as it is whistling through the Australian outback through mile after mile of endless treeless scrubland with nothing but Salt Bush and Blue Bush to break up the monochrome burnt sienna flatness there is only one artist that seems to fit the scene. Only one lyricist seems to speak to me about the isolation and loneliness of this place as it relentlessly flies by. And it may surprise you.
It's funny how trips away from home, holidays often, seem to attract certain songs. Certain albums. Oh you remember albums. Those collections of ten or so songs that a single artist would put together that you'd buy together on vinyl or CD before MP3 players and iTunes came along and ripped their audio hearts out. The 'album track' i.e. non-promotional single has gone from being a potentially interesting song that a favoured artist might include in a collection of songs. You don't get the chance to get to know and maybe love these album tracks - now they are considered an unnecessary bit of extra padding that you can all too easily unclick to save you 99p from your online basket. Such a shame. But I digress.
No, a certain place and time can attract a certain soundtrack to them. Usually it's a trip somewhere. I remember going on a cycling holiday with four Uni chums and we listened to (and sang) The Human League's entire Dare album until our cassette tape broke from over-use. I can remember every place we visited - all welded to The Things That Dreams Are Made Of and I Am The Law.
On a trip to Brazil my mate Marcus and I listened to Madonna's Ray Of Light album on repeat for eight hour stretches - every day for three weeks. Call me obsessive but there's something about getting a song or an album in your head that just goes round and round that so fits wit where you are time and how you're feeling. There's a white sandy beach on an island off the southern part of Brazil that for me will always be Frozen.
And so it is here in Oz on this very train right now. Like the distant horizon that can never change in this desolate place I've an album buzzing round endlessly in my head and on endless repeat on my iPod. Yes, for me I shall always associate this trip with... The Pet Shop Boys and their glorious 1990 album Behaviour.
Goodness only knows why I landed on this particular album of the boys but it seems to speak to me out here. The introspective and slightly sad lyrics are resonating strongly with me in this wide open landscape. Maybe there some analogy to be made with Neil Tennant's very personal lyrics and producer Harold Faltermeyer's expansive audio landscape. But whatever the reason I have Being Boring, This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave, To Face the Truth, How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously?, Only the Wind, My October Symphony, So Hard, Nervously, The End of the World and Jealousy spinning around and around in my head on looping around and around on my playlist.
It's truly obsessive Behaviour.