The unmistakable voice that is Marc Almond is gracing our ears with new music once again. Soft Cell is poised to release “Happiness Not Included” in June, but next week, we will get a taste when they share “Purple Zone.”
“Purple Zone” is the first ever collaboration of Soft Cell and Pet Shop Boys and includes vocals from Almond and my beloved Neil Tennant.
“Purple Zone” set to premiere right here March 21, 2022
“Happiness Not Included” is the first new album from Almond and Dave Ball in 20 years with their last being “Cruelty Without Beauty” in 2002. Soft Cell already dropped “Bruises on My Illusions” last year and the full album is due June 5th.
Front-man Almond told Rolling Stone the album will cover some heavy topics, including his “disenchantment with the future and the media landscape, as well as the inevitability of death.”
The band played a handful of shows in 2021, which was also the 40th anniversary of their 1981 album, “Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret.” “Non-Sop Erotic Cabaret” put Soft Cell into our musical world and the band played the album in full with additional favorites.
Almond and Ball met as art students and became the first popular synth duo from Britain with their pioneering style, ushering in Pet Shop Boys, Erasure and Eurythmics. The required performance on “Top of the Pops” helped make them famous overnight, even when artists like David Bowie – and Almond himself – were still misunderstood and homophobia was common. It was a lot to handle so quickly, and Almond has admitted they were not prepared to handle it.
“Tainted Love” became the best-selling UK single of 1981 and commanded the US chart for 43 weeks. In addition to breaking records all over the place, it remains a staple ‘80s tune for flashback weekends. Plus, who could forget the blend of “Tainted Love” and “Where Did Our Love Go?”
In addition to “Tainted Love,” the album contained other key singles “Bedsitter,” “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye,” and the classic love song, “Sex Dwarf.” (While researching this article, I learned the full video for “Sex Dwarf” – which includes “people rolling around in meat… handloads of maggots… a dwarf jumping out of a crate with a bondage mask on” – is STILL banned from British TV.)
Unfortunately, the success and drug use that came with that sudden fame led to the duo ending things after a farewell tour in 1984. They regrouped in 2001 for a few shows and released the aforementioned “Cruelty Without Beauty.” More shows and farewells followed, but here we are about to receive a whole new album. There’s no telling what will happen next; maybe we will see them live soon once again…
The two iconic groups have already filmed a video for the track and it will premiere on Tuesday at 8 a.m. in London, so when you wake up Tuesday morning in the US, it will be ready for you to watch.
Make sure to look for “Purple Zone” from Soft Cell and Pet Shop Boys on March 22nd, then plan for the full album release June 5th.