The careful curation of every detail of Pet Shop Boys’ career, from what’s released to where it’s released and how it’s packaged, is widely recognised. Whether it comes from Chris Lowe’s time spent studying architecture, or Neil Tennant’s first career as a senior editor on magazines like Smash Hits, the UK’s most successful musical duo have an almost unparalleled grip on their aesthetic. So strong is their approach to visual styling it rendered the more traditional practise of big headshots and band logos redundant, even at the beginning of their lengthy run; Pet Shop Boys believe the sum is unarguably greater than any component parts. Across 14 studio albums, many remix and hits collections, countless singles, videos and DVDs, and even the band’s legendary Christmas cards and (now annual) fan publications, a strong visual narrative threads all the way back to their initial breakthrough. Few pop artists secure a prestigious hardback book celebrating their visual success, but 2006’s Catalogue, published by Thames & Hudson, supported an exhibition of the band’s work at London’s National Portrait Gallery the following year. The title of Pet Shop Boys’ 2003 greatest hits album says it all: Pop/Art. This countdown of all 14 Pet Shop Boys album covers reveals why.
Listen to the best of Pet Shop Boys here, and check out the stories behind every Pet Shop Boys album cover, below.