Nightlife (Pet Shop Boys album)

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Nightlife
Studio album by Pet Shop Boys
Released 8 October 1999 (1999-10-08)
Recorded 1998–1999, Swanyard, Sarm West, Metropolis, London; Quad, NYC
Genre Synthpop, EDM, trance, house
Length 52:02
Label Parlophone
Producer Craig Armstrong, David Morales, Pet Shop Boys, Rollo
Pet Shop Boys chronology
Bilingual
(1996)
Nightlife
(1999)
Release
(2002)
Singles from Nightlife
  1. "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More"
    Released: 19 July 1999 (1999-07-19)
  2. "New York City Boy"
    Released: 27 September 1999 (1999-09-27)
  3. "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk"
    Released: 3 January 2000 (2000-01-03)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Exclaim! positive[2]
Pitchfork Media 3.2/10[3]
Release Magazine 8/10[4]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[5]
Salon.com positive[6]
The Village Voice A−[7]

Nightlife is the seventh studio album (eleventh overall) by English synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys. It was released on 8 October 1999 by Parlophone, going on to sell 1.2 million copies globally.

After the release and promotion of their previous album, Bilingual, Pet Shop Boys started work with playwright Jonathan Harvey on the stage musical that eventually became Closer to Heaven (at one stage during the writing process, the musical was given the name of Nightlife). Pet Shop Boys soon had an album's worth of tracks and decided to release the album Nightlife as a concept album and in order to showcase some of the songs that would eventually make it into the musical.

There is a considerable variety of musical influences present: hard trance in the Rollo-produced "For Your Own Good" and "Radiophonic"; dance-pop in "Closer to Heaven" and "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More"; disco pastiche in "New York City Boy"; and even country music in "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk". The track "Happiness is an Option" borrows melody from Sergei Rachmaninoff's classical piece, Vocalise Op.34, No.14.

Incidentally, there is also a track called "Nightlife" which was recorded with the musical in mind. As things transpired it wasn't included in the musical or the Nightlife album, but was eventually released as one of the "Home and Dry" B-sides in 2002. This song and "Pandemonium" are the only Pet Shop Boys tracks to share the name of an album (although Pandemonium is a live album).

"In Denial" with Kylie Minogue[edit]

"In Denial" is a duet featuring Kylie Minogue. It was seen as a risk by critics because this project came at a time when Minogue was experiencing low record sales and did not have her own record contract. Pet Shop Boys had previously written a song titled "Falling" for Minogue's 1994 album Kylie Minogue. The year after Nightlife's release, Minogue also signed to Parlophone and released her hugely successful Light Years album in 2000. Minogue would later sing "In Denial" on her Showgirl: The Greatest Hits Tour, with Tennant's pre-recorded vocals being played as part of the duet while Minogue sang live.

Visuals[edit]

For the promotion of the album, the band adopted a stark new appearance, designed in consultation with theatre designer Ian McNeil.[8] Now, the duo ubiquitously appeared wearing thick, dark eyebrows, inspired by Kabuki theatre;[9] yellow or orange wigs in a variety of hairstyles, inspired by the punk subculture (especially several spiked wigs); and black sunglasses. This was supported by a series of outfits in dark, muted colours, the most deviant of which incorporated culottes,[10] inspired by the attire of samurai,[9] instead of trousers. Photographs involving the costumes were often set in urban environments; the Midland Grand Hotel in Kings Cross, London was used as the setting to debut the look.[10] The costumes were used for promotional photographs, the album cover and liner notes, all the single covers, as well as the Nightlife Tour.

The music video for "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Anymore" showed Tennant and Lowe being transformed into their new appearances, though in a fantastical manner: they are operated on by medical laboratory machines, then covered in talcum powder and dressed by monks in a ritual-like manner. Finally, they are given dogs on leashes and released into a "different world", where everyone else is also dressed in exactly the same way.[11] Conceptualised among the band members, McNeil, and director Pedro Romhanyi, the video was created to showcase the costumes. It was visually influenced by the films THX 1138 in the initial transformation sequence (copying many of its shots and props precisely), Ridicule, in the ritualistic dressing-up scene; 2001: A Space Odyssey, in the decor of the living room with an illuminated floor; and A Clockwork Orange, in the outdoor urban setting.[12]

According to Tennant, the costumes helped him to distance himself from the songs, adding to the impersonal nature of Nightlife.[8] In other interviews, he explained that they played into his belief in the need for pop stars to have "bigger than life" public images,[13] and were a reaction against the "naturalistic" look of the 1990s.[13][14]

Effort was also spent on designing the tour's visuals, with sets designed by famed deconstructivist architect Zaha Hadid.[15] The stage was modular, and could fit in differently-sized venues[14] and be rearranged by the backing singers throughout each concert.[11]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "For Your Own Good"     Pet Shop Boys, Rollo 5:13
2. "Closer to Heaven"     Pet Shop Boys, Craig Armstrong 4:06
3. "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More"     Pet Shop Boys, David Morales 5:09
4. "Happiness Is an Option"   Tennant, Lowe, George Clinton Pet Shop Boys 3:48
5. "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk"     Pet Shop Boys, Armstrong 3:11
6. "Vampires"     Pet Shop Boys, Armstrong 4:43
7. "Radiophonic"     Pet Shop Boys, Rollo 3:31
8. "The Only One"     Pet Shop Boys, Armstrong 4:21
9. "Boy Strange"     Pet Shop Boys, Rollo 5:09
10. "In Denial" (with Kylie Minogue)   Pet Shop Boys, Armstrong 3:20
11. "New York City Boy"   Tennant, Lowe, Morales Pet Shop Boys, Morales 5:15
12. "Footsteps"     Pet Shop Boys, Armstrong 4:16

US limited edition bonus CD[edit]

A limited edition two-CD set of Nightlife was released in the United States. The bonus disc, titled Nightlife Extra, contained all the B-sides from the UK releases of the "I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More" and "New York City Boy" singles, as well as remixes of these singles, some of which were only available in the US on promotional releases.

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Nightlife adapted from album liner notes.[16]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification
Germany[37] Gold
United Kingdom[38] Gold

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Edition
Germany[39] 8 October 1999 EMI Standard
Japan[40]
United Kingdom[41] 11 October 1999 Parlophone
United States[42] 2 November 1999 Sire Records
16 November 1999 Limited

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Nightlife – Pet Shop Boys". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 21 December 2005. 
  2. ^ Bolton, Rob (October 1999). "Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife". Exclaim!. Retrieved 16 June 2006. 
  3. ^ Cooper, Paul (2 November 1999). "Pet Shop Boys: Nightlife". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 16 June 2006. 
  4. ^ Forsberg, Niklas (22 October 1999). "Pet Shop Boys: Nightlife". Release Magazine. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Sheffield, Rob (11 November 2009). "Pet Shop Boys: Nightlife". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on 24 February 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2005. 
  6. ^ Taylor, Charles (17 November 1999). "The last days of disco". Salon.com. Retrieved 16 June 2006. 
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (9 November 1999). "African Connection II". The Village Voice. Village Voice Media. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Forsberg, Niklas. "From West End Girls to New York City Boys". Release Magazine. Retrieved 15 February 2007. 
  9. ^ a b Gdula, Steve (9 November 1999). "Happy together". The Advocate. FindArticles. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 15 February 2007. 
  10. ^ a b Hoare, Philip (8 October 2006). "About the boys". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 15 February 2007. 
  11. ^ a b Clerk, Carol (31 July 1999). "Straight Down the Line: Pet Shop Boys: Tennant's Super". Melody Maker (IPC Media) 76 (30): 7. 
  12. ^ "A Pedigree of Panache". Sleazenation. chrislowe.co.uk. August 1999. Retrieved 16 February 2007. 
  13. ^ a b Silcott, Mireille (1999). "The Pet Shop Boys, obsessively". Montreal Mirror. Quebecor. Retrieved 15 February 2007. 
  14. ^ a b Stevenson, Jane (14 November 1999). "Pet Shop Boys dance with architecture". Jam!. CANOE. Retrieved 16 February 2007. 
  15. ^ "The Pet Shop Boys interview". VOXOnline. Retrieved 15 February 2007. 
  16. ^ Nightlife (CD liner notes). Pet Shop Boys. Parlophone. 1999. P3043912. 
  17. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  19. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  20. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife" (in French). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  21. ^ "Top 100 Albums". RPM 70 (1). 25 October 1999. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  22. ^ "Pet Shop Boys / Nightlife". TOP20.dk. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  23. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  24. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard 111 (45): 57. 6 November 1999. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  25. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife". finnishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  26. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife" (in French). lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  27. ^ "Pet Shop Boys: Nightlife" (in German). Musicline.de. PHONONET GmbH. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  28. ^ "Top 40 album- és válogatáslemez-lista – 1999. 43. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  29. ^ ペット・ショップ・ボーイズのアルバム売り上げランキング [Pet Shop Boys album sales ranking] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  30. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  31. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard 111 (46): 51. 13 November 1999. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  32. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  33. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  34. ^ "The Official Charts Company - Nightlife by Pet Shop Boys Search". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013. 
  35. ^ "Pet Shop Boys Album & Song Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  36. ^ "Chart of the Year 1999". TOP20.dk. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  37. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Pet Shop Boys; 'Nightlife')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  38. ^ "British album certifications – Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife". British Phonographic Industry. 18 February 2000. Retrieved 18 September 2011.  Enter Nightlife in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  39. ^ "PET SHOP BOYS // Nightlife" (in German). EMI Music Germany. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  40. ^ ナイトライフ [Nightlife] (in Japanese). EMI Music Japan. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  41. ^ "Pet Shop Boys: Nightlife". HMV. Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  42. ^