by Sam Taylor-Wood, produced by Pet Shop Boys
That's an unwieldy credit line, isn't it? Nevertheless, that's how this record is attributed, and it's appropriate. Not only is this a Pet Shop Boys record in all but vocal and cover shot, but its actual singer, British artist and veteran PSB collaborator Sam Taylor-Wood, sounds so much like a breathier, higher-pitched Neil Tennant that it might as well be him—the way she sings the line "It's a glamorous world" as "It's a glamorous wall," for example.
The Pet Shop Boys choose their covers very carefully, whoever is singing them, and this is a good choice. The Passions were London post-punks, and this song was their one great shot: "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" was a British No. 25 in early 1981. This languid cover (it's dreamlike even when at club tempo) gives PSB a way to wallow in nostalgia for the period, while allowing the listener to wallow in nostalgia for PSB as well. And not just the listener: It's no accident this came out via leading German techno label and distributor Kompakt. It's the culmination of a long-standing mutual admiration society: Kompakt co-owner Michael Mayer is a massive PSB fan, while Tennant included Dettinger's remix of Closer Musik's "One Two Three (No Gravity)"—originally on Kompakt 100—on his half of PSB's Back to Mine volume. "German Film Star" is, in its way, an event record.
So how is it? Pretty good. The CD version has five mixes: short, long, and instrumental versions of PSB's original mix; one by Mark Reeder that doesn't vary it enough; and Gui Boratto's, whose infrared bass tone updates it just enough, in ways PSB wouldn't bother with. That's the privilege of being an institution."Another Way to Die"
by Jack White and Alicia Keys
Speaking of events, collaborations, and institutions, this new Bond theme is relatively lean: intrusive horns only here and there and not throughout, as is the Bond trademark. It's marginally more surprising than either artist is capable of on his/her own. But it's also a Bond theme, meaning it's an instant relic.