Duos have always been fascinating to me. They always have interesting style musically and visually. Rolling Stone made a list of best duos and it didn't include any of the duos I am writing about. It seems pop/synthpop shouldn't be taken seriously, because they focused mostly on rock music.
The duo of all duos. Ground breaking. Artistic. Serious and mature. They didn't just communicate through music, but also through their artistic videos. They even were one of the first (if not the first) acts to release video albums. In music, they mixed a lot of different genres. They started as a new wave act and transformed into synthpop sensation. Then they started to experiment. Soul , rock, blues rock, folk, pop...it is all there.
Must have albums: Sweet Dreams, Touch, Be Yourself Tonight
Pet Shop Boys
I haven't checked out their all work, only the 80s albums. Judging by some 90s singles and latest stuff, they didn't capture the magic like they used to in the 80s. Their early works are a bland of disco, synthpop and dance pop, while they focused mostly on electronica after the 80s.
Must have albums: Please, Actually
They never managed to make anything brilliant or successful like their debut, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, but not mentioning them here would be a crime. Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret is one of the best albums of all time full of synthpop/new wave bops. Their sound is very dramatic, cinematic, weird and their songs even evoke cabaret/Broadway style only wrapped in synthpop.Their later works are solid though.
Must have albums: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
They are a very underrated pop rock act. Yes, they have a lot of cheesy material, but even that material is superior to the music of many other acts. Their albums feature catchy melodies and melancholic ballads. Very simple albums, full of bops.
Must have albums: Look Sharp!, Joyride
Tears For Fears
Great lyrics, serious themes, brilliant melodies and production. Their early albums, the best works, are a mix of new wave, synthpop and pop rock elements. They didn't afraid to experiment with other genres such as psychedelic rock, indie rock, jazz and blues. Their third album (The Seeds of Love), released in 1989, was a departure from signature sound. However, their 4th album (Elemental), released in 1993, was focused on modern production at that time and captured the spirit of their 80s works. Something what many 80s acts failed to do in the 90s. Fans of The Killers, Brandon Flowers and Haim should enjoy their music.
Must have albums: The Hurting, Songs from the Big Chair, Elemental
An awesome act that experimented a lot. The first album was trip hop with ambient music landscapes. The second and theird album were an unexpected reinvention – a mix of electroclash and synthpop. Those synthpop albums were ahead of their time, because almost every electropop act today sounds like more commercial version of Goldfrapp. 4th album was folktronica mixed with dream pop, while the 5th album was another synthpop gem heavily inspired by the 80s. The sixth folktronica album evoked the dark atmosphere of their debut.
Must have albums: Black Cherry, Supernature, Head First
Definitely the most unique duo here. Very experimental electronic music. Dark music mixed with Olof's demonic voice and Karin's girlie voice creates a spooky atmosphere. It is really hard to describe them, you will have to listen to them.
Must have albums: Silent Shout
The Ting Tings
They are weird. And when I say weird, I don't mean musically weird. Can you imagine they didn't like the fact that their song Hands was being played on a radio? It was supposed to be underground and they decided to scarp their second album they have been working on at that time. The result: they decided to go in another direction and released Sounds from Nowheresvill as the second album, which became their worst one. Too bad, they should have made a second album in style of Hands, a song which continued the synthpop/indie rock style of their debut.
Must have albums: We Started Nothing, Super Critical
One of the latest brilliant duos. I accidentally discovered them while reading some reviews on Slant Magazine. While reading a review on their Something album, the reviewer compared one song to Kate Bush and I decided to check them out. They make ethereal music with elements of indie pop, synthpop and electronic. Some of their songs are very complex with creative lyrics and some songs are light and catchy pop gems. Their work is also inspired by the 80s.
Must have albums: Something
If this was the 80s or the 90s, probably they would have been celebrated as huge pop stars. Their first album was called Happiness, but it delivered everything expect happy music. Their style is melancholic and moody synthpop (dance songs and ballads) with sometimes dark and mature and sometimes cliche lyrics.
Must have albums: Exile
The last duo I discovered. They released their first album in 2015, with many singles during previous years. Their debut is very cohesive, but lacks experimentation. Still, a great collection of bops.