The Pet Shop Boys have a habit of releasing 'minor' albums between their major releases. Between their first and second albums, Please and Actually, they released Disco, a six-track piece which featured no real new material, but rather remixes of previously released tracks (some primary, some B-side works).
Between Actually and Behaviour, the Pet Shop Boys released this album, Introspective, another minor album, with six tracks. However, this time there was new material--remixes of two previously released pieces, and four new works. This was done in an interesting format--each of the tracks on the album were in the form of 'extended dance versions', usually the kind of thing one gets when purchasing the single apart from the album. However, to get the tradition 'album' version of songs such as Domino dancing, Left to my own devices, or It's alright, one had to purchase the singles. This was an interesting marketing ploy, and extended the sales and life of this small album far beyond what it otherwise would have had.
Domino dancing was released first, and a classic Pet Shop Boys sound took over dance floors worldwide, combined with a Latin rhythm which was also in vogue during the fall of 1988. This had also perhaps the last MTV-hit video for the Pet Shop Boys; after this time, the videos released by the Pet Shop Boys no longer fit the game-show-and-rap-video dominated MTV schedule, although their videos continued to be played extensively on Euro-MTV.
Left to my own devices features more of the signature obscure-intellectual lyrics that Neil Tennant has been noted for:
I was faced by a choice at a difficult age,
would I write a book, or should I take to the stage,
but in the back of my head, I heard distant feet
Che Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat.
Simple music tracks backing introspective lyrics (perhaps this is how the album came by its title--Introspective).
I'm not scared was actually written for Patsy Kensit and Eighth Wonder (not so much of a wonder, in fact!), and was produced as a single for them by the Pet Shop Boys, before Eighth Wonder decided they did not care for the collaboration. (Take note--where are they today?) The Pet Shop Boys did their own version on this album which, while it was not released as a single, fared rather better than the Eighth Wonder version critically and in radio playtime.
It's alright was released immediately prior to their tour in the summer of 1989, actually long past the 'hot' time of the album, but served to show the enduring value of the Pet Shop Boys--that their albums can sit on the shelves for some time and lose none of their luster. Originally written by Chicago-House artist Sterling Void, this song was revitalised, had some new lyrics inserted, and became a hit for the Pet Shop Boys, their last for over a year, until Behaviour and its attendant singles began to be released late in 1990.
This is an album really for fans, but it is, like most of their albums, remarkably consistent in the look-and-feel of all songs, high quality and interesting to the ear.