It’s been two decades since Soft Cell last released an album, but the influential synth-pop duo who made “Tainted Love” famous still provokes a huge amount of public fascination.
Teased by the pre-album release of tracks “Bruises On All My Illusions” and “Purple Zone,” a new collaboration with Pet Shop Boys, fans know what to expect from *Happiness Not Included, Soft Cell’s first album in twenty years - a distinctive and striking balance between light and shade, hope and despair, the personal and the universal. Their innovative cocktail of songcraft and future-facing production continues to cast an influence over the wider world of music, as most recently demonstrated by Jamie Jones’ remix of the era-defining smash “Tainted Love.”
The impetus for making a new album started with the phenomenal “final” show at The O2 in London in 2018. Emerging to a rapturous reception at the sold-out 20,000 capacity arena, Soft Cell’s extensive set covered all the hits and fan favorites: "Tainted Love," "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye," "Torch," "Memorabilia" and many more. What they had planned to be the end instead became a new start.
Pet Shop Boys attended one of the tour’s London shows and immediately picked out “Purple Zone” as one of their favorites from the evening. The two legends of electro-pop initially planned for Pet Shop Boys to remix the song, but the idea quickly mutated into a full collaboration and was quickly added to the *Happiness Not Included album.
“Purple Zone” is a dream duet for synth-pop connoisseurs as Marc Almond’s ultra-expressive delivery intertwines with Neil Tennant’s wistful yearning, encapsulating the existential questions about the passing of time that are posed throughout the course of the album. Raising its tempo, Pet Shop Boys also added a sheen that elevates the track’s moody melancholy, Chris Lowe’s trademark high-drama synths producing a theatrical intensity.
Marc Almond says, “Working with the Pet Shop Boys was a pleasure, and this track is the perfect combination of us and them." Pet Shop Boys add, “We are thrilled to collaborate with such an inspirational duo as Soft Cell on this gorgeous song.”
Soft Cell first shot to prominence when their version of "Tainted Love" raced up charts all over the world, including a two-week run at No.1 in the UK and a Top 10 position in the States. It sparked a stellar run of success which saw their first two albums, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret and The Art Of Falling Apart, crash into the Top 10.