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4.1 out of 5 stars
125
4.1 out of 5 stars
Elysium
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 17 September 2012
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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on 12 October 2012
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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on 26 February 2014
I liked this one right away and had it on repeat play in the car for a few days. It has grown on me continually. Recommended.
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on 9 April 2013
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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on 11 September 2012
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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on 22 September 2012
As many have said this is like a new pair of shoes that need breaking in. But once Elysium has been played a good few times it fits very comfortably indeed. The Pet Shop Boys continue to show British pop at it's very best and remain leaps and bounds ahead of competition from any current bands/groups. Even with a more thoughtful, less upbeat collection of songs there remains a quirkiness and enough knowing-nods to please fans. And Neil sounds exactly the same as he did 30 years ago! Personal faves are "Breathing Space", "Everything Means Something" and "Invisible".
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on 16 September 2012
For an album that starts and ends with songs about death it has a wonderfully warm production (which the 'instrumentals' certainly highlight) by Andrew Dawson who's worked on several Kanye West albums. Although this hasn't turned them into Pet Shop Hip Hop B-Boys.

Much closer to 'Behaviour' in sound than the uplifting Hi-NRG pop perfection of 'Very' or more recently 'Yes'. I love the forthcoming single 'Leaving', the relaxing and deft 'Invisible', the daft 'Ego music' (Me, me, me, me. Yes, yes, yes, yes. You, you, you, you. No, no, no, no).

The enjoyable 'Your early stuff' features comments from London taxi drivers in conversations with Neil Tennant. Which segues perfectly into the 80's tinged 'A face like that'.

Other standout tracks are the superb 'Memory of the future' with it's hints of Abba and 'Everything means something' featuring a soundscape akin to Blade Runner and Depeche Mode's 'Violator'. Recorded in Los Angeles over a few months the backing vocals on several tracks are by Oren, Maxine and Julia Waters (The Waters family) and vocal collective Sonos - including on the anti-recession song 'Hold on' which is based upon music by George Frideric Handel.

Overall a rich and luxurious album with the additional bonus (if you buy the 2CD set) of having the accompanying instrumental versions.
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on 9 October 2012
I decided that i wasnt going to write a review of Elysium Deluxe Edition until a month after purchasing it from amazon,the reason being i wanted to really listen and get a vibe from the album,listening at home,in the car,out walking etc etc.Its too easy nowadays to listen once and think "yeah its amazing" or "no not for me thanks".
In my opinion i have to say i love it,kicking off with the first track Leaving this has grown steadily for me and i just love the song,reminding me ever so slightly of Being Boring.Other highlights include Invisible,Your Early Stuff,the sublime Breathing Space which takes you to another world!,Memory of the Future and Everything Means Something...all are fantastic songs.Disc 2 is the instrumental version of the album and its really interesting to listen to the songs without lyrics,makes you appreciate them even more.
This is another legendry album by the Pet Shop Boys,i heartily recommend it.
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on 11 August 2013
I have always liked them as they do something different when it comes to music. They never suprise me because they are pretty consistant when it comes to producing new albums. Elysium might be a little bit on the softer side but good all the same.
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on 11 September 2012
It's probably very close to Behaviour in its feel and the less uptempo sound overall. But - like Behaviour - it work very well as an album. If you're after another Very or Yes - you're in the wrong place. Don't be fooled by Winner - the weakest track. Highlights are A Face Like That, Leaving, Have A Go and the absolutely glorius Requiem In Denim & Leopardskin - up there with Being Boring. Truly wonderful.
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