Mötley Crüe play dirtball L.A. metal that gets more popular every year; the Pet Shop Boys play sophisticated English disco that doesn’t sell as well as it used to. Yet, oddly, the two acts have much in common. Both appear to be descended from ’70s glam-rock (the Pet Shop Boys from David Bowie and Roxy Music, Mötley Crüe from Kiss and the New York Dolls). Both revel in conspicuous consumption, the Crüe by rolling around naked in it, the Pet Shoppers by overloading their credit cards, then stopping by the confessional on the way home. And neither group has ever made an album as consistent as these recent retrospectives, which supplement long lists of hits with a few new tracks that have the potential to be just as successful.
Mötley’s Decade of Decadence documents progress: Starting out as ordinary sludge dorks, the Crüe slowly learn to use funk rhythm and bubblegum harmony to their frat-party advantage. The sweet new ”Angela” may be the shiniest machine they’ve pulled out of the garage.Likewise, Discography‘s new tunes suggest the Pet Shop Boys are still in their prime, too, while in their older songs — stirring big ideas into an irresistible hybrid of electric salsa percussion and opera-hall hooks — they reveal themselves as the planet’s canniest, most compulsively shameless pop group of the last 10 years. Decade of Decadence: B+; Discography: A+