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4.7 out of 5 stars35
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 21 November 1999
As a massive PSB fan, I wasnt impressed with this on first hearing. But after 2 or 3 listens Ive come quite attached to it!! The opening 2 tracks are Pure Hi NRG followed by the best track on the album, I Dont know what you want... which should have been a number 1. My own personal favorites are The Only One and Footsteps. All in all a fine album - Just dont knock it on the first play!!
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on 25 May 2000
I got to herar this album accidentally and what a pleasant surprise it was too.With Nightlife their 7th album proper the Pet shop boys look set for just as much success in this millenium as they had in the last.Neil Tennant's lyrics are as sharp as ever and this combined with the range of dance styles on offer makes for compelling listening,The real high points of the album are "You only tell me you love me when you're drunk"a sublime song that ranks along side their best easily,"New york city boy" which nearly turns into Y.M.C.A half way through, and the duet with Kylie Minogue "In denial" which is classic pop.If you thought Pet shop boys were yesterdays news then listen to this you'll soon change your mind.
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on 29 November 1999
Having been a PSB fan for a number of years, I was uncertain that Nightlife was going to be a good album. I was proved wrong. Nightlife has got to be Neil and Chris' best album to date, and that seems to be the current view with most people I know.
The album follows what seems to be a "night out" - and the things that people experience - the starting process, getting worked up about going to a club, the expectations one has in going out, the hope, the joy, the let downs, the journey back home.
The first 2 tracks are probably the best - something quite meaty, and the type of records that the PSB's should return to. I remember hearing Chris Lowe talking about a track they were reviewing in the studio, and he said that they were probably not 80's enough .... meaning that the sound and energy that 80's dance music is retained in their best tracks.
The album as a whole is a masterpiece - it does take a few listens to enjoy it, and my favourite has to be Boy Strange which has a certain raw quality about it - I actually stomped to this record!
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on 6 November 1999
Neil and Chris have produced their finest since Behaviour. All the songs here are given the trademark PSB cinematic sheen but they are each individual vignettes of modern life told from different perspectives. "You only tell me.." is country tinged, "Radiophonic" is Kraftwerk while "Boy Strange" is Bowie when he was any good. They are the only group in the UK who really understand pop music's ability to move and also to groove. Peerless.
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on 26 March 2000
It's a funny thing being a Pet Shop Boys fan you spend years waiting for the next album and when it finally comes along its always exactly what you were hoping it would be.
In this case its futuristic, fresh, and yes the best PSB album in ages. Produced by Craig Armstrong (Romeo and Juliet Score), Rollo (famous for his work with Faithless), Club DJ David Morales and the boys themselves, the album delivers a fresh perspective to the PSB sound. From the trance-like Euphoria of "For Your Own Good" to the sheer disco of "New York City Boy" With an elegance of using strings "In a non bombastic way" on tracks like "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When Your Drunk".
If you liked the singles you should buy this album, if you're a fan you already have it so why are reading this review?
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on 8 March 2014
The Boys closed the nineties the same way they opened them: with a problematic album.

The best way for me to describe the feeling produced by this album is the fact that it seems uneven and all over the place musically. The beauty of both "Very" and "Bilingual" lied in the fact that both albums were tight, consistent, and thematically related (despite different co-producers in the case of "Bilingual").
Here, the only common thread to these twelve songs is the concept of "Nightlife" going through every lyric and the fact that these songs all tell the same story, from two different viewpoints: The lover wants to have fun ("New York City Boy", "Vampires", "Happiness is an option", "Radiophonic", "Boy Strange") while on the other hand his/her partner is worried senseless (all the remaining tracks except maybe "The Only One", ambivalent). The problem is that by systematically focusing his writing on the same theme, Neil Tennant's lyrics become repetitive and, after a while, boring. This is quite unfortunate as in some cases the lyrics are beautiful (on "I don't know what you want..." for example) but after a couple of songs, the element of surprise is definitely gone. In a way this statement is a tribute to Neil and to the Pet Shop Boys: a lot of the group's success depends on its lyrics - and not exclusively on the music and the tunes.

What about the music then? When listening to the album, it is clear at times that the Boys do not quite manage to go the distance the same way that they could with pretty much all their prior albums (with the exception of "Behaviour." - the other problematic album in the 1990s IMHO). Part of the issue (like for "Behaviour.") will in my view be a producers' problem. "Nightlife" has four producers: the Boys of course, Rollo, David Morales and Craig Armstrong. Armstrong ends up co-producing half of the album. One can understand why: he is a great orchestrator and he was very successful in the prior Noël Coward album produced by Neil Tennant (the song Armstrong performed with Shola Ama is one of the best there). But here his universe seems to be somewhat at odds with the Boys' and the orchestra all too often seems added to the songs rather than be an organic part of them, the way that Anne Dudley and Richard Niles (two much more "natural" classical collaborator for the Boys) could do it. Songs like "The only one", "Footsteps" or the much overrated "You only tell me you love me when you're drunk" are simply not very inspired. Rollo, the second co-producer of the album, manages a bit better although the overall outcome of "Boy Strange" is not totally convincing. The Boys themselves are not devoid of criticism. Their only stand-alone effort, "Happiness is an option" is extremely lame.

But the biggest frustration lies in the fact that, as in "Behaviour.", "Nightlife" offers us some of the best Pet Shop Boys tracks ever. "New York City Boys" and "I don't know what you want..." (reviewed before) show that David Morales is a "natural" Pet Shop Boys producer and that the combination of both universes tends to create magical music. The two opening tracks, "For your own good" (why wasn't this a single?) and "Closer to Heaven" are superb songs, beautifully produced and extremely musical). But the real PSB masterpiece in "Nightlife" is clearly the fantastic duet of the Boys with Kylie Minogue, "In Denial". Right here, the orchestration of Craig Armstrong blends naturally, the vocal chemistry between Neil and Kylie (what a voice!) is superb, the lyrics are very moving and overall the Boys composed a 3-minute opera with two characters and a feeling of time suspended: wow.

Too bad the rest of "Nightlife" is not always up to this beautiful moment of magic.

Please note that the US edition of "Nightlife" included one bonus disc including all the B-sides of the singles released so far ("Screaming", "Silver Age", "Je t'aime moi...non plus", "The ghost of myself", "casting a shadow") as well as a selection of some of remixes (the Morales remix from "what you want" - dull, THe Madkatt courtship 80 witness mix from the same song - better, then four remixes of New York City Boy: The Superchumbo uptown mix - acceptable, The Almighty Definitive mix - definitive indeed, the Thunderpuss 200 club mix - fun, and the Lange mix - seminal. The quality of all these goodies (B-sides plus remixes) could justify one more star to the above review.
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HALL OF FAMEon 3 April 2006
...buy this album. The Pet Shop Boys have roared back with a vengeance, after a so-so showing with their last album, _Bilingual_, which took the running joke of a trip to Spain a bit too far I think. This album, backed up by their first tour to include USA dates in half a decade, is sharp, clean, fun, witty, poppy, dance-filled -- all the things the PSB are known and loved for. I've collected almost every disk they've ever put out -- this one ranks up there with 'Actually' and 'Behaviour' as the trinity of the best. What a shame that MTV won't show their videos, being dominated by rap groups or boy bands. The Pet Shop Boys are most definitely 'out' now, too -- no surprise to those of us who have been avid fans for (gulp!, could it be?!) a decade and a half since their first singles came out under the tutelage of Bobby O., but perhaps a reason why in the USA they have become more of a cult-following band rather than a generally popular one. Even their old number one singles don't seem to get much air time any longer. Oh well, that just makes it all so much nicer for those of us who have discovered their enduring talent.
I guess the rest are just 'In Denial' ??
Get this album, read the lyrics as you listen to them, contemplate their meaning and tap your toes. Good fun all around.
The videos to I don't know what you want but I can't give it anymore and New York City Boy are available on the single releases which accompany this album. These are interesting and innovative, as are many things PSB.
The music is varied but consistent through the album. In Denial, with guest artist Kylie Minogue (not well known to American audiences since the mid-80s, but still popular in Europe and Asia), is an interesting psychological song, with so many layers of meaning (given the proclivities of the PSB) that it ends up being quite dazzling. The simple strands and disappointment in You only tell me you love me when you're drunk are interesting, strangely dance-able while being introspective and darker.
Backed up by a world tour, Nightlife has become a well-received if not major seller throughtout the world. Even as Neil Tennant approaches the age of 50, he shows no signs of slowing, and, unlike much of the pop-py music around today, the lyrics and strains that Tennant and Lowe produce are not age-specific; one might gasp at the idea of a 60-year-old Brittany Spears doing anything, much less belting out Do that to me one more time; but the Pet Shop Boys can sing their songs without fear of physical betrayal for decades to come.
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on 3 September 2015
I was a massive fan of the Pet Shop Boys in their early days. I must have listened to their albums Please, Disco, Actually and Introspective more than all the other albums l've ever listened to put together. I started to lose interest when they released Behaviour, though there was some good stuff on it and then, in my view, they went downhill after Very. They lost their dark edginess.

I recently renewed my interest in the Pet Shop Boys after many years. After re-listening to their early stuff I thought I'd check out some of their later efforts and bought Nightlife because it had good reviews. I'm sorry to say this album is utter s**te. Track 2 may have been a half decent clubbing track back in 1999, but everything else on the album is dreadful and has nothing of the musical genius which was so evident in their early work. Indeed their first 4 albums sound as fresh today as they did back in the late '80s, but Nightlife already sounds very dated.

If you're buying your first Pet Shop Boys album get one of the early ones I already mentioned and steer well clear of this.
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on 25 November 1999
excellent album with that great dance sounds in the "for your own good" track and very catchy numbers like "boy strange" & the ymca like "new york city boy" the sort of album that you have to listen to a few times but it grows on you and is brilliant! well done pet shop boys. dj joey dee (dublin, ireland)
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on 24 November 1999
by far the best album release to date from the best duo in music. I was lucky enough to attend their recent NIGHTLIFE tour stop in Denver, and can honestly say that it was the BEST artistic performance I have ever attended in my LIFE!!!!! I am a PSB addict for life, and highly recommend NIGHTLIFE to any one who appreciates musical greatness! J. Archuleta. Pueblo, Colorado
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