Bilingual (album)

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Bilingual
Studio album by Pet Shop Boys
Released 2 September 1996
(see Release history)
Recorded 1995–1996, Bunk Junk & Genius, Sarm West, Sarm Hook End, London; Axis, Bass Hit, New York City; The State House of Broadcasting and Sound Recording, Moscow
Genre Dance-pop, Latin music, synthpop
Length 53:56
Label Parlophone (UK)
Atlantic Records (US)
Producer Pet Shop Boys, Chris Porter, Danny Tenaglia and K-Klass
Pet Shop Boys chronology
Alternative
(1995)
Bilingual
(1996)
Nightlife
(1999)
Singles from Bilingual
  1. "Before"
    Released: 22 April 1996 (1996-04-22)
  2. "Se a vida é (That's the Way Life Is)"
    Released: 12 August 1996 (1996-08-12) (United Kingdom)
  3. "Single-Bilingual"
    Released: 11 November 1996 (1996-11-11)
  4. "A Red Letter Day"
    Released: 18 March 1997 (1997-03-18)
  5. "Somewhere"
    Released: 23 June 1997 (1997-06-23)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau A−[2]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[3]

Bilingual is the tenth album (sixth containing all original material) by the English electronic duo Pet Shop Boys, released in 1996. The album has sold about 1,000,000 copies worldwide.

Overview[edit]

Bilingual continues the heavily instrumented arrangements and backing vocals Pet Shop Boys began adding to their music with the album Very. As suggested by the title, the songs on the album have worldwide influences, particularly from Latin America. After the release of their Very album, Pet Shop Boys toured South America and were influenced by the beats and rhythms associated with Latin American music. Three of the songs have bilingual lyrics, mixing the English language with Spanish and Portuguese.

In late 1995, the band ended their contract with the American branch of EMI and signed with Atlantic Records. A renewed marketing campaign was launched to promote the band in the US via both radio airplay and club play.[4]

The singles released from the album were all successful, with three of them—"Before", "Se a vida é (That's the Way Life Is)" and "A Red Letter Day"—reaching the UK Top 10. A fourth, the English/Spanish language composition "Single-Bilingual", peaked within the Top 20.

The single "Se a vida é (That's the Way Life Is)" peaked at number eight in the UK charts in late August 1996, having already gained a great deal of radio airplay, and secured the band their first appearance on UK music show Top of the Pops in three years. The song soon became the summer party anthem of the year for those people who were not advocates of the UK's ever-growing club culture of the late 1980s and the 1990s, helped by its Portuguese/Brazilian feel, Latino influences and a popular video shot by Bruce Weber set mainly in a water park located in south Florida. "Se a vida é" would spend eight weeks in the Top 40 before dropping out in early November. Numerous dance remixes were also made which helped the track become one of the biggest club hits of the second half of the 1990s. It was eventually released in the US in April 1997 (1997-04) as a double A-side single with "To Step Aside". To promote the package, thirteen mixes of "To Step Aside" were commissioned, most of them released promotionally only.

Earlier in 1996, prior to the album's release, Tennant's vocals were featured on two live recordings by the British group Suede, which were released as B-sides to their single "Filmstar". One track was a cover of the Pet Shop Boys track "Rent" while the second was a duet with Suede singer Brett Anderson on the Suede song "Saturday Night". In addition, the Pet Shop Boys collaborated with David Bowie on the song "Hallo Spaceboy", which reached No. 15 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1996. In late 1996 The song "Up Against It" became a radio hit in Sweden and some other countries but never had a release as a CD single.

Bilingual was recorded at Bunk Junk & Genius, Sarm West and Sarm Hook End, Axis (New York), Bass Hit (New York) and the State House of Broadcasting and Sound Recording (Moscow).[5]

In 1997, Pet Shop Boys decided to perform a series of concerts at the Savoy Theatre in London. To promote the concerts they released a cover version of "Somewhere" from West Side Story and called the concerts "Pet Shop Boys Somewhere". The single reached the UK top 10 and Bilingual was re-released in a "Special Edition", including the new single and a bonus CD of remixes and B-sides.

In 2001, Pet Shop Boys re-issued their first six studio albums; Bilingual was re-released as Bilingual/Further Listening 1995–1997. The re-released version was not only digitally remastered but came with a second disc of B-sides and previously unreleased material from around the time of the album's original release.

Yet another re-release followed on 9 February 2009, under the title of Bilingual: Remastered. This version contains only the 12 tracks on the original.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Bilingual[edit]

  1. "Discoteca" – 4:37
  2. "Single" – 3:48
  3. "Metamorphosis" – 4:03
  4. "Electricity" – 4:58
  5. "Se a vida é (That's the Way Life Is)" – 4:00
  6. "It Always Comes as a Surprise" – 6:05
  7. "A Red Letter Day" – 5:10
  8. "Up Against It" – 4:16
  9. "The Survivors" – 4:30
  10. "Before" – 4:32
  11. "To Step Aside" – 3:48
  12. "Saturday Night Forever" – 3:59
  • Photographers: Chris Heath, José Cea and Andy Earl
  • Sleeve design: Mark Farrow Design and Pet Shop Boys

Bilingual Special Edition Bonus CD (1997)[edit]

  1. "Somewhere" (Extended mix) – 10:53
  2. "A Red Letter Day" (Trouser Enthusiasts Autoerotic Decapitation mix) – 9:59
  3. "To Step Aside" (Brutal Bill mix) – 7:30
  4. "Before" (Love to Infinity Classic Paradise mix) – 7:56
  5. "The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On" (Danny Tenaglia International Club mix) – 6:06
  6. "Se a vida é" (Pink Noise mix) – 5:37
  7. "Discoteca" (Trouser Enthusiasts Adventure Beyond the Stellar Empire mix) – 9:30
  • Photographer: Eric Watson
  • Sleeve design: Mark Farrow Design and Pet Shop Boys

Further Listening 1995–1997[edit]

  1. "Paninaro '95" – 4:11
  2. "In the Night" (1995) – 4:18
  3. "The Truck-driver and His Mate" – 3:33
  4. "Hit and Miss" – 4:07
  5. "How I Learned to Hate Rock 'n' Roll" – 4:38
  6. "Betrayed" – 5:20
  7. "Delusions of Grandeur" – 5:04
  8. "Discoteca" (single version) – 5:14
  9. "The Calm Before the Storm" – 2:48
  10. "Discoteca" (new version) – 3:47
  11. "The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On" – 6:09
  12. "A Red Letter Day" (expanded single version) – 5:36
  13. "The View from Your Balcony" – 3:44
  14. "Disco Potential" – 4:07
  15. "Somewhere" (extended mix) – 10:55[7]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[8] 3
Austrian Albums Chart[9] 15
Belgian Albums Chart (Vl)[10] 28
Belgian Albums Chart (Wa)[11] 10
Canadian Albums Chart[12] 18
Dutch Albums Chart[13] 59
Finland Albums Chart[14] 14
French Albums Chart[15] 45
German Albums Chart[16] 7
Italian Albums Chart 19
New Zealand Albums Chart[17] 25
Norwegian Albums Chart[18] 25
Swedish Albums Chart[19] 4
Swiss Albums Chart[20] 11
UK Albums Chart[21] 4
US Billboard 200[22] 39

Personnel[edit]

  • Neil Tennant
  • Chris Lowe
Guest musicians
  • Pete Gleadall – programming on tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12
  • SheBoom – drums and percussion on tracks 1 and 2. Additional drums and percussion on track 5
  • Robin Jones – percussion on track 6. Additional percussion on track 1
  • Davide Giovanni, Joseph De Jesus, Weston Foster and Lino Rocha – additional vocals on track 1
  • Sylvia Mason-James – vocals on track 3
  • Ritchie Birkett – keyboards on track 3
  • Simon Cotsworth – programming on track 3
  • Trevor Henry/The Ignorants – scratching and additional keyboards on track 3
  • Kevin Robinson, Bud Beadle and Fayyaz Virji – brass on track 3
  • J.J. Belle – guitar on track 5
  • Mike Innes, Noel Langley, Richard Sidell and Andy Hamilton – brass on track 5
  • Chris Cameron – additional keyboards on track 6 and 9. String arrangement and conduction on track 9
  • Hugh Burns – guitar on track 6
  • Aidan McGoran – additional guitar on track 6
  • Andy Hamilton – saxophone on tracks 6 and 9
  • Katie Kissoon – additional vocals on tracks 6 and 9
  • Alyosha Zolotukhin – choir arrangement on track 7
  • Graeme Perkins – choir co-ordinator on track 7
  • Victor Popov – choir director on track 7
  • The Choral Academy of Moscow – choir on track 7
  • Barbara Tucker, Karen Bernod and Carole Sylvan – additional vocals on tracks 7 and 10
  • Johnny Marr – guitar and additional vocals on track 8
  • Greg Bone – guitar on track 9
  • Andy Duncan – drums and percussion on track 9
  • Danny Tenaglia and Louie 'Balo' Guzman – drum programming on track 10
  • Pete Dao – keyboards on track 10
  • Phil Pagano – programming on track 10
  • Eddie Montilla – additional keyboards on track 12
Guests on Further Listening
  • Pete Gleadall – programming on tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 15
  • Oli Savill and Lilliana Chacian – percussion on track 1
  • Sylvia Mason-James – additional vocals on track 2 and 3
  • Sheboom – drums and percussion on track 8
  • Robin Jones – additional percussion on track 8
  • Katie, Kisson, Davide Giovanni, Joseph De Jesus, Weston Foster and Lino Rocha – additional vocals on track 8 and 10
  • Danny Tenaglia and Louie 'Balo' Guzman – drum programming on track 11
  • Pete Dao – keyboards on track 11
  • Vanessa Ichak – Banji girl vocals on track 11
  • Steva Rodway/Motiv8 – additional production on track 12
  • Alyosha Zolotukhin – choir arrangement on track 12
  • Graeme Perkins – choir co-ordinator on track 12
  • Victor Popov – choir director on track 12
  • The Choral Academy of Moscow – choir on track 13
  • Throusers Enthusiasts – additional production on track 15
  • Richard Niles – orchestra arrangement and conduction on track 15

Release history[edit]

Bilingual[edit]

Region Date
United Kingdom 2 September 1996 (1996-09-02)
United States 3 September 1996 (1996-09-03)

Bilingual Special Edition Bonus CD (1997)[edit]

Region Date
United Kingdom 7 July 1997 (1997-07-07)

Singles[edit]

"Before"[edit]

  • UK release: 22 April 1996, #7
  • US release: 28 June 1996, #1 (Dance)

The first single to be released from Bilingual was "Before" on 22 April 1996. It was co-produced with Danny Tenaglia and featured Barbara Tucker, Carole Sylvan and Karen Bernod on backing vocals. The B-sides were "Hit and Miss" and "The Truck Driver and His Mate".

In the US, Atlantic's gay marketing division launched the single with a series of parties at gay nightclubs in cities where the band had previous commercial success. Several hundred clubs received import promotional 12" singles and the subsequent domestic 12" and CD maxi-single releases were focused entirely on remixes. Promotion was also targeted at Top 40, alternative, and college radio formats.[4]

"Se a vida é (That's the Way Life Is)"[edit]

  • UK release: 12 August 1996, #8
  • US release: see below

The second single from Bilingual was "Se a Vida É (That's the Way Life Is)". It was co-produced with Chris Porter and featured drums by Glasgow group She-Boom. Remixes were done by Mark Picchiotti, Deep Dish and Pink Noise. The b-sides were "Betrayed" and "How I Learned to Hate Rock 'n' Roll".

"Single-Bilingual"[edit]

  • UK release: 11 November 1996, #14
  • US release: not released

The third single to be released was "Single" but was renamed "Single-Bilingual" because Everything but the Girl had released a different single also called "Single" around the same time. Produced by Pet Shop Boys with drums by She-Boom. The single included remixes of "Single-Bilingual" and a new mix of "Discoteca". The B-sides were "Confidential (Demo for Tina)" and "The Calm Before the Storm".

"To Step Aside"/"Se a Vida É (That's the Way Life Is)"[edit]

  • UK release: not released
  • US release: 28 February 1997, #1 (dance)

Released as a double A-side in the USA, this single featured exclusive remixes of "To Step Aside" that were unreleased in the UK. The single was also nominated for a Grammy award for best dance single.

"A Red Letter Day"[edit]

  • UK release: 18 March 1997, #9
  • US release: see below

A new version of "A Red Letter Day" with additional production by Motiv-8 was released as the fourth single from Bilingual. It features Barbara Tucker, Carole Sylvan and Karen Bernod on backing vocals along with the Choral Academy of Moscow. The B-sides were "The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On" and "Delusions of Grandeur".

"Somewhere"[edit]

  • UK release: 23 June 1997, #9
  • US release: 28 October 1997, #19 (dance)

"Somewhere" was released to promote their residency at the Savoy Theatre in London and to promote a repackage of Bilingual. In the USA it was released as a double A-side with "A Red Letter Day". For the UK release, the B-sides were "Disco Potential" and "The View from Your Balcony".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pet Shop Boys: Bilingual" at AllMusic. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Pet Shop Boys". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Hoskyns, Barney (2 February 1998). "Pet Shop Boys: Bilingual". Rolling Stone (RS 746). ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 11 May 2007. 
  4. ^ a b Mirkin, Steven (10 August 1996). "Pet Shop Boys reopen on Atlantic with 'Bilingual'". Billboard 108 (32). pp. 14–15{{inconsistent citations}} 
  5. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Bilingual: Remastered". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  7. ^ "Pet Shop Boys discography". psb-discography.com. Retrieved 1 October 2007. 
  8. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in German). austriancharts.at. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in Dutch). ultratop.be. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in French). ultratop.be. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "RPM 100 Albums". RPM (archived at Library and Archives Canada) (Volume 64, No. 7). 30 September 1996. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  13. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  14. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". finnishcharts.com. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  15. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in French). lescharts.com. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  16. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet" [All the music on the Internet] (in German). musicline.de. 
  17. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  19. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  20. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in German). hitparade.ch. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  21. ^ "Bilingual". ChartStats.com. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  22. ^ "Bilingual > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums" at AllMusic. Retrieved 30 September 2011.