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PET SHOP BOYS Nightlife (1999 UK 12-track CD album including New York City Boy & You Only Tell Me You Love Me When Your Drunk highly glossy lyric booklet picture sleeve)
The reason dance-pop sustains greater longevity than wordless dance music is because dance-pop is about something. Albums released by the great ones--New Order, Depéche Mode, Erasure and, of course, the Pet Shop Boys--maintain their appeal throughout the years because the lyrical content is intelligent, clearly narrative and forever relevant. With Nightlife, the Pet Shop Boys continue to write startlingly honest and lyrically pointed songs, despite 13 years of cultivating an image of vacant boredom and smug indifference. Likewise, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe need not follow trends to keep current. Nightlife is uniquely a Pet Shop Boys album and arguably the zenith of their career. Mid-tempo techno tracks build out from a disco sensibility. Body-rocking rhythms are softened with sorrowful swells of strings, synthesised vocal choruses and Tennant's sandy, monotone recite-singing. Conversely, the Boys augment the album's ballads with fat blips of bass line and elusive back beats. Lyrics are as innuendo-laden as ever, although this time out (ahem) the veil is thinner than ever. Think the Pet Shop Boys' records will ever get stale? Oh, please. --Beth Massa
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Whilst things seem to fall in place halfway through the album, with such tracks as Vampire, New York City Boys, and Footsteps providing plenty of substantial substance, the album is a solid musical journey, with a few unique elements that make it stand out from their previous albums. These include a lovely duet with Kylie Minogue, and a take on a George Clinton Junior song.
Nightlife is definitely a solid entry from the duo's back catalogue from the 1990s, so it is well worth starting here if you are new to their group's work from this decade, or have been curious to hear how their sound evolved from their 1980s heyday.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"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... Read more
if you are like me and like the pet shop boys then this will not dissapointPublished 19 months ago by bob
My original copy was very badly scratched,so I had to replace it , great CD much played & listened to.Published on 19 Jun. 2014 by Jenny
I brought this as I m kylie fan and heard they done a duet so went out to purchase this. So glad I did it got me hooked from track 1 each track is brillant and haunting. Read morePublished on 25 Jun. 2013 by David
Many of the Pet Shop Boys albums and tracks are worthy of high praise. I think this just might be their bestPublished on 9 Jun. 2013 by CyprusPluto
A fantastic upbeat album by the masters of pop. There are some epic tracks on this masterpiece including the breathtaking Happiness is an Option and You Only Tell Me You Love Me... Read morePublished on 11 Feb. 2012 by Ant