Synthwave artist Robert Alfons is continuing on his journey with his TR/ST project. With a new record deal in the bag he has released a new EP for the New Year, and he is joined by Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters for their take on the Pet Shop Boys’ classic “Being Boring.”
“Being Boring,” from 1990, is a song about privilege. The privilege of looking back at the follies of one’s younger years. To do that, you have to reach the age when you can look back at the ups and downs of youthdom with those close to you. The tragedy of being in the gay community of the ’80s and early ’90s is that you were acutely aware that you wouldn’t grow old with a disproportionate number of those you knew and loved. The song was not a smash hit but is a justified fan favorite, appearing top of some ‘best of‘ lists. However it has not generated as many covers, reflecting the difficulty of the subject matter.
Alfons and Shears come from a different generation than Tennant and Lowe, but the losses they have felt are real and expressed here. They acknowledge the emotions of previous generations, and their own experience. Their tone is that, given the circumstances, we should make the most of the days that we have. Carpe diem. The distance from the events of the ’80s allows use of a major key, with the pacing of the original retained. With Alfons and Shears have a wider range, and between them different registers, from Tennant, and they can soar without being flashy, adding melisma to “boring” if required. In an arresting modern soundscape the effect is haunting but positive, a worthy memorial to a dark period.