Heart and Soul in the Milky Way
The liners to the band’s fifth album, Heart and Soul in the Milky Way, says there are no political songs, but that’s not quite right. The opening song, the propulsive “Chemical Spray,” seems to take a cynical approach to acutely political choices—how to eat, how to raise kids, and how to define oneself sexually. If it’s not political, it’s critical of an apolitical stance. (Elsewhere, Pete sings, “I know I’m acting kind of weird/My social conscience disappeared.”) And, as The Girls Are points out, the account of relationships in the album’s love songs is notably egalitarian and, well, mature. The songs aren’t political in any doctrinaire way and better for that. But Pete could write clever songs about anything, including, in this case, record design.
The love songs are what always gets me in any event, notably “Without You,” a glorious back-and-forth duet and “Subject/Object,” which ends “you are not a nun/I’m not a vicar’s son/so come on, let’s get it on.” “Motormouth,” has a little bit of “I Love You, You Weirdo” and the fantastic “La Di Da” follows Pete’s long tradition of covering classics.