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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never been closer to heaven
I've been trying to think of which Pet Shop Boys albums are better than this one. Maybe Behaviour; Very, possibly; Actually, Yes (and now I'm confused...). The point is, these guys make it so difficult to choose. But for almost any other pop band around today, you could easily say that Elysium would be their masterpiece.

A group that's been around as longs as...
Published 24 months ago by Nick Green

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not their best.
I've been a Johnny come lately to Pet Shop Boys. I really only started buying their albums from 'Release' which came out in 2002 and completely changed my mind about them. I'd just thought of them as a great pop singles band. Since then I've been a big fan of all their subsequent albums and many of the earlier ones. I'm not a fan of dance music but I am a huge devotee of...
Published on 12 Sep 2012 by P. Wilkinson


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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Grower, 14 Sep 2012
This review is from: Elysium (MP3 Download)
This is a real grower - it's similar in tone to Behaviour but actually much stronger in terms of tunes and lyrical content. Give it a chance people!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Come back home boys, 12 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Elysium (Audio CD)
I've been a PSB fan since day one and I have always found tracks on their albums which have been cool, funky and fun. Moreover, every now and again I have been taken back with the more reflective tracks which you know has been crafted with a lot of thought and love for the subject. However, Elysium just comes across as bland. I want to like it, but I get bored and go off and do something more interesting instead. Hence the title ' Come back home boys' if going to the USA produces this sort of work then come back and fortify your next album with more cool,funky and fun tracks.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful, 17 Sep 2012
This review is from: Elysium (Audio CD)
Elysium sees Tennant and Lowe focusing on what they do best - beautiful, melodic, literate and lush downbeat music, produced to the highest degree. Utilising the production skills of L.A.-based Andrew Dawson, Elysium sees the PSBs explore various melancholic themes with ageing and death the undercurrent throughout the album. From the heavenly decadence of Leaving to the stabbing, snarling Ego Music and finishing with the nostalgic Requiem, Elysium is a work with a sense of completeness that proves once again the versatility of songwriting, arrangements and production that Tennant and Lowe exude. Elysium is a musically and lyrically more mature offering than 2009's YES, and for me, is up their with their best.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets better with repeated play, 13 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Elysium (Audio CD)
On first listen this sounds incredibly bland, which I think is why there have been a few negative reviews. However, I've found that the more you play it, the better it gets. The production is lush & interesting, and the lyrics are as clever as usual. Yes, the music does sound a little more 'mature' than other offerings, it hints at mid-life crisis and takes a swipe at the likes of Lady Gaga, but, lets face it, the PSBs are two guys in their 50s, not twenty-something!

The instrumental versions are basically the backing tracks, nothing added, but all vocals removed. Now this may sound a little lazy, but the instrumentals do sound different and stand up on their own ('Leaving' & 'Invisible' sound great). In fact, I think the song 'Winner' sounds a lot better without vocals.

I would recommend buying this 2-disc set, as overall, its a good album. It isn't as instantly accessible as previous albums, but persevere and you'll reap the rewards. The instrumentals make great background music too!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mature and satisfying, 11 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Elysium (Audio CD)
If I mention Pet Shop Boys to friends, I often get the reply "are they still going?". "Elysium" is a strong PSB album that occasionally alludes to this ( pretty much head-on in the case of Your Early Stuff, with it's background refrain of "hey, what's your name?"). London 2012 undoubtedly gave them their biggest platform for years, and the single Winner plugs straight into the Olympics spirit with a rather typical PSB kind of arrangement, even If it is a rather atypical PSB bit of songwriting. But elsewhere, "Elysium" is a much more laid-back, tranquil and mature album than the single suggests. It makes a good companion to "Yes", rather like "Behaviour" following "Actually" in a way. Like "Behaviour", this is a reflective, wistful album - autumnal if you like - with a fair bit of acoustic guitar, orchestra and self-examination in the mix. Not uncommon territory for the Boys, of course, but less wrist-slittingly gloomy than some of the stuff off "Fundamental" (i.e. Numb, and the lyrics of I made my Excuses and Left).

"Elysium" gets off to strong start with Leaving, a catchy, hook-laden song about the death of Love, complete with a quick homage to the samples used on Heart twenty five years earlier. Standout track in many ways though is the second cut Invisible. It probably has the most interesting electronica arrangement on the CD for a start, which might well reflect the involvement of producer Andrew Dawson. Let's face it, PSB are a good synth-pop band but not supreme synth stylists like, say, Vince Clarke or Orbital. This is reflected by what IMHO is the most ordinary track in this collection, A Face Like That. It's got a dated 80s sequencer sound for a start and recalls the version of Young Offender off "Very", which plodded rather than soared, unlike the Jam & Spoon 12" remix of that song. Lyrically rather ordinary and swamped with birdsong and thunder effects, it would have made a good B-side to the Winner single, swapping place with the excellent A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi". But back to Invisible, which lyrically is superb. Another one of PSB's codified gay songs, Invisible addresses the situation that many gay men find as they get older, suddenly apparently too old to be seen in clubs and ignored by the younger generation around them (so much for solidarity!). Similarly, Give It A Go, all piano-led bossa nova, is Neil's plea to a (younger?) beau, with plea being the operative word -"for all we know/there's not much time left ... I'm not saying that you cant find/someone better, oh no/but in the meantime why not give it a go". Its possibly the first PSB song to feature accordian too and a little cracker. The next song, Memory of the Future, continues the theme ("its taken me all of my life/to find you") set to a more typical PSB sequencer-led disco beat (but much less irritating than A Face Like That). If you want to be pedantic, these are themes visited not infrequently on PSB albums, but they're well executed here. None more so than the rousing disco closer, Requiem in Denim and Leopardskin, which like Being Boring seems to deal with that hedonistic period before AIDS cast a long shadow over the scene. The good and great of the late 70s are name checked with breathtaking speed - Ferry, McLaren, Rotten, clothes stores Let It Rock, Biba and Johnsons, queer film-maker Derek Jarman and designer Ossie Clark - to an uplifting melody which references the horns of New York City Boy, which of course itself referenced a parallel period in NYCs history. Possibly musically the most upbeat end to a PSB album since "Nightlife ", it ends with the sound of a motorcycle, which as Chris Bohn pointed out in a review elsewhere, equates with death in pop music (think Leader of the Pack). So we come full circle.

There's also a sense of deja vu (but in a good way) with Ego Music, which casts withering scorn on popstars who have a well-honed public persona & social conscience to match ("And of course, I've always had a humanitarian vision...Ego Music/It's all about vacuous slogans, innocuous sentiment"). A spritely unusual number, it wouldn't have been out of place on "Actually", following Hit Music or Shopping. Of course, this is also well- trodden PSB territory as in How Can You Expect to be Taken Seriously & Electricity. maybe Neil has some other Olympian performers in mind. It is followed by the real oddity on this PSB album, Hold On, which as other reviewers have mentioned, sounds rather Broadway Musical in its execution. Oddly uplifting, but it works for me. Maybe the dynamic duo have another theatrical experience up their sleeves? So 50 minutes of good PSB music overall, and a star taken away for covering old lyrical ground. It wont mean a thing to people under 30 I'd guess, or those who lost touch with PSB in the early 90s when they got " too gay" (Hallo FM America!), nor my partner (an Erasure fan) who says they only have one song, but should please their long-time companions very well. Actually.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pet Shop Boys' New Album!!, 21 Oct 2012
This review is from: Elysium (Audio CD)
The Pet Shop Boys have always had a very distinctive poppy sound, which is good but can sometimes grate a bit.

1 . Leaving - I think I will have to give this song sometime to grow on me! - Its very poppy.

"The dead are still alive in memory and thought and the context that they provide."

2. Invisible - This was recently released as a single, and unfortunately given the state of the current pop market probably didn't reach anywhere. (But that's not the point and I don't think much of the video personally).
I do like Invisible because even those who achieve greatness do become invisible. (I much prefer it to, "Leaving.")

"After being the life and soul of the party for many years, its weird I'm invisible."

"Its queer how gradually I become invisible."

I quite like the keyboard / piano sounding solo and it comes back towards the end of the song.

"Its too late to find an excuse. The party's over and I'm not much use."

3. Winner - This is a very triumphant song with very triumphant lyrics!

"Its been a long time coming. We've been in the running for so long."
"You're a winner! - I'm a winner! This is all happening so fast!"
"- Let's enjoy it all while it lasts."

"I've been a loser. I've paid my dues. I've fought my way up from the ground."

I could see a lot of people hating this song - getting jealous of the lyrics. Yet for those that don't its a good song!

The last fifty seconds takes it up a level!! I'm wondering listening to this.. is this it? The last PSB's album? It seems very finalised.

4. Your Early Stuff -

"- And I still quite like some of your early stuff."
"Those old videos look pretty. - What's in it for you now?! - Need the money!"

This is a very ironic sounding number!

5. A Face Like That - Now this is a very upbeat number. - I'm just not sure how comfortably it sits with me!

"Why wouldn't I fall in love? - With a face like that!"

The more I think about it the more it seems that the PSBs have gone back to their roots!!

6. Breathing Space - Actually sounds like a guitar at the start of the song! - I didn't think that the PSBs liked guitars.

"When your heart is out of luck and you're felling left behind."

Early on this sounds very similar to the third track - Winner.

This is a bit of a boring number unfortunately.

7. Ego Music - Now this is a weird number, but the lyrics are great!!

"Ego Music its all about sense of entitlement."
"I see myself as a building.. there's a nightclub in the basement.. but in the penthouse that's where the music happens."
"There's a real purity to my work.. but I'm actually smart and sophisticated."

The synth sounds are absolutely fantastic!!

"My commitment is to my career.. and then giving something back!!"
"I am my own demographic.. what does that say about me??!"

8. Hold On - It sounds a little odd, but in an odd kind of way I sort of, kind of, like it!

"Hold On. There's got to be a future!"

9. Give It A Go - Neil Tennant's voice has always been great!

I'm sure if the PSBs are just totally taking the mick with this album..

10. Memory Of The Future - An interesting title.

The background keyboard playing early on is good.

"Its taken me all of my life to find you.." - Is Neil singing about himself I wonder..

11. Everything Means Something - These lyrics are incredibly are incredibly ironic even sarcastic. - To be honest I don't even see this number as a song.

"You said you're overreacting. You're reading too much into this."

12. Requiem In Denim And Leopardskin - And thankfully to the last song of the album.

Its amazing how high pitched Neil can get his voice.

Well the album finishes on a high.. but goodness knows what the lyrics are about!!

Personally, I much prefer their previous album the 2009, "Yes." This album is just so off the mark for me. I'm not sure Neil and Chris have even made this album for their fans.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT!!!, 27 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Elysium (Audio CD)
I am a PSB fan ever since they appeared. This is a very nice album but then again as I said I am one of their biggest fans and I can't be fair-minded. If you are a Pet head like me, buy it!!! :)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Pet Shop Boys, 9 April 2013
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This review is from: Elysium (MP3 Download)
Most of the songs are classic PSB style, with wisftul, philosophical lyrics, nice melodies and a dreamy, rich, production. Breathing Space is my favourite song and a PSB classic, on a par with The Survivors from Bilingual, with a nice chorus and reflective lyrics about life. Everything Means Something and Ego Music are interesting but not tracks I would listen to very often. Likewise the track Your Early Stuff, which is funny and probably a response to some comment made to Neil Tennant by a member of the public or an unfavourable journalist, but not a musical masterpiece. The majority of the tracks are excellent and these easily outway the less good ones. Two thumbs up and five stars from me!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PSB return., 23 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Elysium (Audio CD)
I have loved the PSB since they first formed and own all their music. This shows why they are stll around. An
ability to move and change with the times. go on do yourself a favour, buy this!!!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not their best, 13 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Elysium (Audio CD)
Not their best or most memorable . The tracks washed over us .Disappointed with the content and production. We love this duo and were really keen to get this album but it was a let-down. Here's hoping they bounce back to their usual glorious form next time.
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