TCS Tapes: The Cover

Matt Worth 8 November 2013

Surely one of the most covered pop songs ever – it’s been released over 300 times – ‘Always on my Mind’ took a long time to perfect. The famous Elvis version is a wet sponge of a song, wrongly paced for the King’s rich voice, wistful lyrics reduced to dolorous mush. It took a shy, clever boy from Newcastle, of all places, to wring the best out of this country classic. The genius
of the Pet Shop Boys was to see what the song could be when given a higher tempo and a more assertive musical arrangement. Lowe brings flashing synths and sweeping strings; Tennant his trademark, metallically soulful delivery like a lonely robot singing
the blues. The result is a towering pop classic, part decadent disco floor-filler, part epic heartache ballad. An utterly transformative re-imagining, unlocking the song’s potential and pushing it to higher heights, ‘Always on my Mind’ is everything a great cover should be.