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4.2 out of 5 stars27
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 24 March 2007
Every time I listen to this fantastic album it makes me yearn for those hot summer days, sitting outside drinking chilled Chardonnay and watching the world go by. This is simply the coolest record I have and puts me in such a positive mood every time I hear it. If only they'd played this during the warm summer evenings of my younger years. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
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on 22 January 2008
I got this album around this time last year on amazon, and I have really enjoyed going back to listen to it. I've noticed this isn't exactly every fans favourite PSB album, but it might be mine, or maybe my 2nd favourite.

This album was after their huge success of Very, so there was probably a lot expected of them. There is a sort of latin feel to this album, and I like it. I'm not entirely sure what latin is but I'm guessing it's in the first two tracks discoteca and single, they have loud snare drum rolls to them. That continues on the se vida e track, which is a song I have always loved from them for 12 years now, when I was 7 I loved the song but never knew the name of the artist or track.

It varies a little through the album, after the first two songs comes metamorphisis, a song which connected with me instantly. It's fantastic a great house music feel to it, the chord changes and brass improvisation. What's also great is that Neil tries rapping on the song, which I think really works, a song where he reveals his sexuality, hence the title metamorphisis. His rapping continues through the catchy rap style beats of electricity, quite a catchy small chorus to it 'its the greatest show with the best effects since disco tex and the sexelettes'.

The latin feel definitley comes back on the album when you hear it always comes as a suprise, a beautiful slow love song which moved me right away, Neil in great voice, and a hypnotic tune to it. Possibly their best song in my opinion, or perhaps the next track A red letter day, absolutely brilliant. It has a choir of voices singing the tune, and then it breaks into their trademark disco sound, a lovely chorus, it should've been no. 1 when it was released as a single. Their usual disco sound is also the songs to step aside and up against it. There is also another beautiful song The survivors, which has a great melody and great lyrics, '...life is worth living its still wotrh a damn'.

The other two songs left to say about are before and saturday night forever, which bring back their house sound. Before was another single released of the album, a bit different to any other singles they'd release, but then again, they usually are trying to sound a bit different with each album and single. Saturday night forever is just fantastic, and wraps up the album brilliantly, it really sounds like it would be perfect to hear on a saturday night. Each time I listen to it, its utter bliss. A perfect tune to it on the chorus and then you hear Neil sing 'forever forever, saturday night!!'.

So, to sum up, this is quite simply their most beautiful and blissfully unpredictable album, if you're a PSB fan and don't have this album, I'd highly reccommend getting it. It may take a few listens, and then it would surely grow on you!! I think its a tie between this album, and their most recent, fundamental, for being their best.
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on 4 August 2013
In the XIXth century, Spain (or more accurately the conception that the world had of Spain at the time) became a source of inspiration for many composers: Carmen (by Bizet), the Capriccio Espagnol (by Rimski-Korsakov), Alborada del Gracioso (by Ravel) are but a few examples of the importance of "Latinita" for these European composers.
To be fair, this interest in Latin music has continued over the decades - and, in light of the triumph of their Discovery tour in Latin America in 1994, it shouldn't come as a suprise that "latinita" would form the core of a Pet Shop Boy album sooner or later. Their only experience with such music was limited to the excellent single "Domino Dancing" in 1988 and there was every reason to believe that the Boys would succeed in mixing their pop/dance music with this particular culture.

And let's face it: I think that "Bilingual" is not far from being a triumph. It sounds like a postcard from this glorious 1994 tour (in particular the magical Rio de Janeiro concert, reviewed here - Pet Shop Boys: Discovery - Live in Rio [VHS]) and it sounds sunny, cool, and almost improvised at times. But let's not be lured by the obvious here: the Boys have the gift to make you believe that tracks are much simpler than they are in reality.
The production here is as sophisticated that on "Very" but clearly less noisy, more delicate and more relaxed. The best example of this is the beautiful "It always comes as a surprise" with its delicate guitars, drums and saxophone solos.

But what makes this album priceless is the fact that Pet Shop Boys remain...Pet Shop Boys. The first three tracks are amazing: "Discoteca" and "Single" (which should really be listened to together) benefit from the wonderful drums and percussions of women-only Glaswegian group Sheboom. The lyrics of Neil Tennant reflect the sadness and loneliness linked to the increased globalisation of our planet, enabling one to travel everywhere in the world but being confronted with totally different, incomprehensible cultures. "Metamorphosis", the third track, is a fantastic rap performed with the great Sylvia Mason-James, and sounding very autobiographical for Neil...
While many of you will remember my reservations on "Before" and "Se a vida é" as singles, here they both fall into place remarkably within the album and they sound beautiful in the context of the LP.

The album is not all Latin though. Neil gets a proper Russian song out ("A Red letter day"- more convincing than the previous one, "My October Symphony" on "Behaviour." in 1990). Also, nostalgic fans from the 80s are rewarded by a mad dance track that concludes the album ("Saturday night forever" - means what it says and says what it means!). There is also a beautifully orchestrated ballad ("The Survivors").

To be sure, like on "Very", there are a couple of clinkers: "Electricity" is just uninteresting, and I have some reservations on "Up against it" (dull) and "To step aside" (weird).

But overall, "Bilingual" is a very good album, showing that Pet Shop Boys are still magnificent musicians, able to bend a different musical culture to their own style of music - and at the same time, keep the planet dancing.

After 16 years of working together, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe were still firmly on top of the planet pop. But wasn't this starting to become too boring for them?

UPDATE: Please note that there is also a "special edition" 2CD-set of "Bilingual", including a selection of the remixes of the album's songs. This special edition is a welcome addition to the PSB's discography, since it contains some gems: first, the BEST version of "Somewhere" in a beautiful extended mix - which was not available on any of the single CDs. The bonus CD also includes a decent version of "The boys who couldn't keep his clothes on" - a track that would have been on the album had it been ready on time, as well as a good remix of "To step aside" - which had been issued separately as a 12" only.
The other singles of "Bilingual" are represented by their very best remixes (with a particular mention to "A Red Letter Day" and "Discoteca" both amazingly revisited by the Trouser Enthusiasts). One regret only: that the Boys decided not to include the Motiv8 12" mastermix of "A Red letter day", probably to this day the best remix of a Pet Shop Boys song, ever.
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on 21 June 2001
The new release of "Bilingual" is an absolute must have because of the inclusion of a second disc of B sides and remixes. Some of PSB's greatest songs are found here, and if you've not heard "Delusions of grandeur" or "The view from your balcony" you haven't heard the best PSB have to offer. "Bilingual" is also a vastly underrated album that sounds better now than it did on first release; I hope the same thing will be said for their more recent "Nightlife", but "Bilingual" now sounds as creatively vibrant as "Nightlife" sounds exhausted.
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on 26 May 2000
This is an album that people either love or hate; I fall into the former category. I think Neil and Chris did their most consistent, accomplished songwriting here (better than the great "Behavior" and certainly the overrated "Very") but, because of the Latin flavor, the album was misunderstood and ignored by many fans. Don't make the same mistake. Wit, melody, humor, references to Beckett and Pinter, all set to relentless dance beats. What more could you want?
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"Pet Shop Boys" have been my favourite group from the 1980's, I have all their albums.

I saw them for the first in concert back in 2009, and again for the second time in 2013 and both were GREAT nights :-)

The seventh CD album I bought of theirs. My version is the original from 1996, (has all the same songs on as this).

With every album they do they go from strength to strength. :-)

If you asked me if I’d any favourites my answer would be yes, it’s the entire CD. :-)

I love listening to the music as they have such a fantastic sound. :-)

If you’re a Pet Shop Boys fan then this a great album to have. :-)
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HALL OF FAMEon 23 December 2005
Again the Pet Shop Boys played their little trick on their fans. The album Very was released in 1994, and didn't do very well commercially or critically, and while the Pet Shop Boys shortly thereafter toured, it had the feeling (partly due to the rumour mill) that this was in fact a farewell series of performances. The next year, when the dual-disc set Alternative was released, the question was largely, 'Alternative to what?' -- a real album, a continuation (Alternative was made up of all the non-album b-sides that had been released during the Pet Shop Boys career, once again fueling speculation that this was a tying-up-of-loose-ends at the end of a career).
Then, in 1996, the album Bilingual was released, again following the by-then-well-established pattern of releasing a single, then follow-up with the album. This was an 'out' album; while most people always knew the alternative sexuality of the group, it had never been made explicit in the group's official publicity. Now, it had been. No surprise to anyone really (does anything coming from any band from the 80's really surprise anyone?).
The Pet Shop Boys managed to release an adequate album, alas, not their best work, and indeed some commentators, remembering the speculation that they were ready to retire, opined that retirement would have been better than this.
Not so, to be sure -- this is a perfectly serviceable album, good in many respects; the first single, Before, was released with a CD-movie of the video (very useful for those without Euro-MTV, American MTV long since having left the genre of the Pet Shop Boys behind and thus unlikely to carry their videos even when they win Euro-MTV awards). This song included many of the classic Pet Shop Boys elements -- poppy dance tune, double-edged lyrics, sample heavy feel, and toe-tapping rhythm.
The rest of the album is influenced obviously by the groups adventures in Latin America and Latin Europe during their concert tour, as well as holidays in the sun. Songs such as Discoteca and Se a vida é contain in their titles the influence; peppered throughout with almost spoken lines in Spanish (¿Hay una discoteca por acqui?), almost as if they had simply lifted lines from their Berlitz travel phrase book. But, in the traditional quirky Pet Shop Boys way, these fit in nicely with the tune.
The transitions on this album are interesting -- for the first time, the Pet Shop Boys didn't have their songs as isolated bits, but many instead flowed together--Discoteca and Single being two prime examples, which bleed together musically and lyrically, the end of Single being also the first line from Discoteca: (¿Hay una discoteca por acqui?).
Songs in the much more traditional upbeat, lyrically-cynical and clever, electronically pop include To step aside, A red letter day, and Saturday night forever. Tennant begins to allow himself some more direct social commentary in songs like The survivors, which can be understood on many levels. Of course, Tennant's lyrics on the album Behaviour poked fun at those celebrities who, because they have fame, suddenly start taking themselves seriously as experts on social concerns, so he is understandably cautious and understated in his own observations, which are usually very much rooted in his own, direct experiences.
As with many Pet Shop Boys albums, Bilingual had a follow-up single, Somewhere, which was not included on the album, but was on the special edition, limited release of the double-CD Bilingual. This second disc includes in addition to Somewhere remixes of several of the album cuts, as well as an additional b-side.
The songs Before, Single, and A red letter day charted variously around the world, but didn't catch hold and take top honours anywhere. Alas, the Pet Shop Boys looked like they were past it. But history has proven differently.
This is an essential album to anyone who wishes a complete Pet Shop Boys collection -- the special album only for those die-hard collectors who can spend extra on auction sites or some such to track it down, but one gains little musically from it. However, this album is for the most part a placeholder in the overall history of the Pet Shop Boys (for the historically inclined, perhaps it is the 'James Polk' of their albums, adequate but undistinguished, often forgotten, but still on the books).
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on 24 March 2016
This is basically a remix of some well known tunes and a few extras. As such it's playing safe and familiar to fans. I like it but wouldn't rave about it as I would other of PSB's albums.
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on 19 April 2000
They really don't get any more unfashionable than the PSBs were when this was released. And yet surely this was the first sighting of the latino pop phenomena that has shuffled through the public consciousness over the last couple of years.
Its easily my favourite PSB album with all the familiar arch observations thrown in with a little bit of matt black 80s disco & a clever line or 2. What a splendid cd to have in the car
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HALL OF FAMEon 29 December 2005
Again the Pet Shop Boys played their little trick on their fans. The album Very was released in 1994, and didn't do very well commercially or critically, and while the Pet Shop Boys shortly thereafter toured, it had the feeling (partly due to the rumour mill) that this was in fact a farewell series of performances. The next year, when the dual-disc set Alternative was released, the question was largely, 'Alternative to what?' -- a real album, a continuation (Alternative was made up of all the non-album b-sides that had been released during the Pet Shop Boys career, once again fueling speculation that this was a tying-up-of-loose-ends at the end of a career).
Then, in 1996, the album Bilingual was released, again following the by-then-well-established pattern of releasing a single, then follow-up with the album. This was an 'out' album; while most people always knew the alternative sexuality of the group, it had never been made explicit in the group's official publicity. Now, it had been. No surprise to anyone really (does anything coming from any band from the 80's really surprise anyone?).
The Pet Shop Boys managed to release an adequate album, alas, not their best work, and indeed some commentators, remembering the speculation that they were ready to retire, opined that retirement would have been better than this.
Not so, to be sure -- this is a perfectly serviceable album, good in many respects; the first single, Before, was released with a CD-movie of the video (very useful for those without Euro-MTV, American MTV long since having left the genre of the Pet Shop Boys behind and thus unlikely to carry their videos even when they win Euro-MTV awards). This song included many of the classic Pet Shop Boys elements -- poppy dance tune, double-edged lyrics, sample heavy feel, and toe-tapping rhythm.
The rest of the album is influenced obviously by the groups adventures in Latin America and Latin Europe during their concert tour, as well as holidays in the sun. Songs such as Discoteca and Se a vida é contain in their titles the influence; peppered throughout with almost spoken lines in Spanish (¿Hay una discoteca por acqui?), almost as if they had simply lifted lines from their Berlitz travel phrase book. But, in the traditional quirky Pet Shop Boys way, these fit in nicely with the tune.
The transitions on this album are interesting -- for the first time, the Pet Shop Boys didn't have their songs as isolated bits, but many instead flowed together--Discoteca and Single being two prime examples, which bleed together musically and lyrically, the end of Single being also the first line from Discoteca: (¿Hay una discoteca por acqui?).
Songs in the much more traditional upbeat, lyrically-cynical and clever, electronically pop include To step aside, A red letter day, and Saturday night forever. Tennant begins to allow himself some more direct social commentary in songs like The survivors, which can be understood on many levels. Of course, Tennant's lyrics on the album Behaviour poked fun at those celebrities who, because they have fame, suddenly start taking themselves seriously as experts on social concerns, so he is understandably cautious and understated in his own observations, which are usually very much rooted in his own, direct experiences.
As with many Pet Shop Boys albums, Bilingual had a follow-up single, Somewhere, which was not included on the album, but was on the special edition, limited release of the double-CD Bilingual. This second disc includes in addition to Somewhere remixes of several of the album cuts, as well as an additional b-side.
The songs Before, Single, and A red letter day charted variously around the world, but didn't catch hold and take top honours anywhere. Alas, the Pet Shop Boys looked like they were past it. But history has proven differently.
This is an essential album to anyone who wishes a complete Pet Shop Boys collection -- the special album only for those die-hard collectors who can spend extra on auction sites or some such to track it down, but one gains little musically from it. However, this album is for the most part a placeholder in the overall history of the Pet Shop Boys (for the historically inclined, perhaps it is the 'James Polk' of their albums, adequate but undistinguished, often forgotten, but still on the books).
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