52. Pet Shop Boys, Discography: The Complete Singles Collection (EMI America, 1991)

Of course Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe made good albums; a few of 'em were brilliant, actually (including ...Actually).  However, like all musicians fascinated with/critical of this whole popstar business, they put extraordinary care into their singles and this chronological roll-call is a piece of history.  When your greatest hit (in this case, "West End Girls") comes at the very beginning, you're continually challenged to keep up the pace, and that's just what this synth-pop duo did.  It's hard to single out highlights, so let's just say they evolved by dueting with Dusty Springfield, cheekly covering "Always on My Mind", daring to extrapolate U2 with Frankie Valli, writing poignant AIDS and Gulf War elegies, and taking detours into Miami latin-disco and orchestral house.  But they summed up the decade they'll forever be linked to with this only half-ironic declaration from "Opportunities": "You've got the brawn, I've got the brains / Let's make lots of money."