Bilingual (album)

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Bilingual
Pet Shop Boys - Bilingual.png
Studio album by
Released2 September 1996 (1996-09-02)
Recorded1995–1997
Studio
  • Bunk Junk & Genius, Sarm West and Sarm Hook End (London)
  • Axis and Bass Hit (New York City)
  • The State House of Broadcasting and Sound Recording (Moscow)
Genre
Length53:56
LabelParlophone
Producer
Pet Shop Boys chronology
Alternative
(1995)
Bilingual
(1996)
Nightlife
(1999)
Singles from Bilingual
  1. "Before"
    Released: 22 April 1996
  2. "Se a vida é (That's the Way Life Is)"
    Released: 12 August 1996
  3. "Single-Bilingual"
    Released: 11 November 1996
  4. "A Red Letter Day"
    Released: 17 March 1997
  5. "Somewhere"
    Released: 23 June 1997
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]
Robert ChristgauA−[2]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[3]
Pitchfork Media5.9/10[4]

Bilingual is the sixth studio album by English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys. It was released on 2 September 1996 by Parlophone. The album reached number four on the UK Albums Chart, lower than their previous five studio albums which had all reached the top three. It yielded five singles which all reached the UK top 20—all but one of which charted inside the top 10.

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 United States via both radio airplay and club play.[5]

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)" gained a great deal of radio airplay and peaked at number eight on the UK chart in late August 1996. Like the lead single "Before" a promotional video was used instead of a live performance on 'Top of the Pops. The video shot by Bruce Weber set mainly in a water park located in south Florida featured youthful models and evoked memories of the 1990 single "Being Boring". "Se a vida é" would spend six weeks in the UK top 40 before dropping out in early October. It was eventually released in the US in April 1997 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. 12 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 in London, at Axis and Bass Hit in New York City, and at the State House of Broadcasting and Sound Recording in Moscow.[6]

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 reissued their first six studio albums; Bilingual was re-released as Bilingual/Further Listening 1995–1997. The reissue was not only digitally remastered, but included 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.[7] With the 2009 re-release, the 2001 double-disc re-release was discontinued.

Singles[edit]

"Before" was released on 22 April 1996 as the lead single from Bilingual. 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", "The Truck Driver and His Mate" and the 1995 version of "In the Night".

In the United States, Atlantic's gay marketing division promoted "Before" 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.[5]

The album's second single, "Se a vida é (That's the Way Life Is)", was co-produced with Chris Porter and featured drums by Glasgow group SheBoom. 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". The single was released as a double A-side in the US, featuring exclusive remixes of "To Step Aside" that were unreleased in the United Kingdom. "To Step Aside" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 1998.

The third single to be released was "Single", which 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 SheBoom. 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".

A new version of "A Red Letter Day", featuring additional production by Steve Rodway, 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". It was also the only Top of the Pops studio performance of any single released from Bilingual. The previous singles had been promoted on the hit music show by the official videos. The performance of "A Red Letter Day" in March 1997 was the first studio performance by Neil and Chris as a duo since "Paninaro 95" in July 1995, and since appearing alongside David Bowie for "Hallo Space boy" in February 1996.

During this era, an additional single not part of the original Bilingual package , "Somewhere", was released to promote the duo's residency at the Savoy Theatre in London and to promote a repackage of Bilingual. A Special performance of "Somewhere" was recorded at the Savoy Theatre For Top of the Pops in the UK. In the US 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".

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe; except "Se a vida é (That's the Way Life Is)" lyrics by Tennant and music by Ademario, Wellington Epiderme Negra, Nego Do Barballio, Tennant and Lowe.

No.TitleProducer(s)Length
1."Discoteca"Pet Shop Boys4:37
2."Single"Pet Shop Boys3:48
3."Metamorphosis" (performed by Pet Shop Boys and Sylvia Mason-James)4:03
4."Electricity"Pet Shop Boys4:58
5."Se a vida é (That's the Way Life Is)"
4:00
6."It Always Comes as a Surprise"
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Porter
6:05
7."A Red Letter Day"Pet Shop Boys5:10
8."Up Against It"
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Porter
4:16
9."The Survivors"
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Porter
4:30
10."Before"
4:32
11."To Step Aside"
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Porter
3:48
12."Saturday Night Forever"
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Tenaglia
3:59

Notes

Special edition (1997)[edit]

Disc two: Bilingual Remixed
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Somewhere" (extended mix)Pet Shop Boys10:53
2."A Red Letter Day" (Trouser Enthusiasts Autoerotic Decapitation mix)
  • Tennant
  • Lowe
Trouser Enthusiasts9:59
3."To Step Aside" (Brutal Bill mix)
  • Tennant
  • Lowe
Bill Marquez7:30
4."Before" (classic paradise mix)
  • Tennant
  • Lowe
Love to Infinity7:56
5."The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On" (international club mix)
  • Tennant
  • Lowe
Danny Tenaglia6:06
6."Se a vida é" (Pink Noise mix)
  • Tennant
  • Lowe
Richard Morel5:37
7."Discoteca" (Trouser Enthusiasts Adventure Beyond the Stellar Empire mix)
  • Tennant
  • Lowe
Trouser Enthusiasts9:30

2001 reissue bonus disc: 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" (Danny Tenaglia international club mix) – 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[8]
  • (*) Previously unreleased.
  • (**) The same version featured on the limited edition of Bilingual.

Personnel[edit]

Credits for adapted from the liner notes of Bilingual.[6]

Pet Shop Boys

Additional musicians

  • Pete Gleadall – programming (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7–9, 11, 12)
  • SheBoom – drums, percussion (tracks 1, 2); additional drums, percussion (track 5)
  • Robin Jones – additional percussion (track 1); percussion (track 6)
  • Davide Giovanni – additional vocals (track 1)
  • Joseph De Jesus – additional vocals (track 1)
  • Weston Foster – additional vocals (track 1)
  • Lino Rocha – additional vocals (track 1)
  • Sylvia Mason-James – vocals (track 3)
  • Simon Cotsworth – programming (track 3)
  • Ritchie Birkett – keyboards (track 3)
  • Trevor Henry/Ignorants – scratching, additional keyboards (track 3)
  • Kevin Robinson – brass (track 3)
  • Bud Beadle – brass (track 3)
  • Fayyaz Virji – brass (track 3)
  • Mike Innes – brass (track 5)
  • Noel Langley – brass (track 5)
  • Richard Sidell – brass (track 5)
  • Andy Hamilton – brass (tracks 5, 6); saxophone (track 9)
  • J.J. Belle – guitar (track 5)
  • Chris Cameron – additional keyboards (tracks 6, 9); string arrangement, string conducting (track 9)
  • Hugh Burns – guitar (track 6)
  • Katie Kissoon – additional vocals (tracks 6, 9)
  • The Choral Academy of Moscow – choir (track 7)
  • Victor Popov – choir direction (track 7)
  • Graeme Perkins – choir coordination (track 7)
  • Alyosha Zolotukhin – choir arrangement (track 7)
  • Barbara Tucker – additional vocals (tracks 7, 10)
  • Karen Bernod – additional vocals (tracks 7, 10)
  • Carole Sylvan – additional vocals (tracks 7, 10)
  • Johnny Marr – guitar, additional vocals (track 8)
  • Greg Bone – guitar (track 9)
  • Andy Duncan – drums, percussion (track 9)
  • Danny Tenaglia – drum programming (track 10)
  • Louie "Balo" Guzman – drum programming (track 10)
  • Peter Daou – keyboards (track 10)
  • Phil Pagano – programming (track 10)
  • Eddie Montilla – additional keyboards (track 12)

Technical

  • Pet Shop Boys – production
  • Bob Kraushaar – engineering (tracks 1, 2, 4, 7); mixing (tracks 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 11)
  • Paul Roberts – production (track 3)
  • Andy Williams – production (track 3)
  • Simon Cotsworth – engineering (track 3)
  • Chris Porter – production, recording (tracks 5, 6, 8, 9, 11); mixing (tracks 5, 6, 9)
  • Tatyana Vinnitskaya – choir recording (track 7)
  • Danny Tenaglia – production (tracks 10, 12)
  • Dana Vlcek – recording, mix engineering (track 10)
  • Rob Rives – engineering assistance (tracks 10, 12)
  • Rich Lowe – engineering (track 12)
  • Doug DeAngelis – mix engineering (track 12)
  • Claire Tonkinson – recording assistance
  • Andrew Green – recording assistance
  • Tom Elmhirst – recording assistance

Artwork

  • Mark Farrow Design – sleeve
  • Pet Shop Boys – sleeve
  • Chris Heath – photography
  • José Cea – photography

Further Listening 1995–1997[edit]

Credits for adapted from the liner notes of Bilingual/Further Listening 1995–1997.[9]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Japan (RIAJ)[33] Gold 100,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[34] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[36] Gold 108,054[35]
United States (RIAA)[38] N/A 149,000[37]
Summaries
Worldwide N/A 1,500,000[39]


^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United Kingdom 2 September 1996 Standard Parlophone
United States 3 September 1996 Atlantic
United Kingdom 7 July 1997 Limited Parlophone

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. ^ Schreiber, Ryan (2 September 1996). "Pet Shop Boys: Bilingual". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 1 July 2001. Retrieved 31 July 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ a b Mirkin, Steven (10 August 1996). "Pet Shop Boys Reopen On Atlantic With 'Bilingual'". Billboard. Vol. 108 no. 32. pp. 14–15. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 14 January 2017 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b Bilingual (liner notes). Pet Shop Boys. Parlophone. 1996. CDPCSD170.
  7. ^ "Bilingual: Remastered". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 8 February 2009.
  8. ^ "Pet Shop Boys discography". psb-discography.com. Retrieved 1 October 2007.
  9. ^ Bilingual/Further Listening 1995–1997 (liner notes). Pet Shop Boys. Parlophone. 2001. 530 5122.
  10. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
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  13. ^ "Ultratop.be – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  14. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 9927". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Listen – Danmarks Officielle Hitliste – Udarbejdet af AIM Nielsen for IFPI Danmark – Uge 37". Ekstra Bladet (in Danish). Copenhagen. 15 June 1996.
  16. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
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  20. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
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  23. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 11 January 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  25. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  26. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  27. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 42. 19 October 1996. p. 18. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved 2 February 2019 – via American Radio History.
  28. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  29. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  30. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  31. ^ "Pet Shop Boys Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  32. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts – 1996" (in German). Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  33. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 1 May 2018. Select 1997年4月 on the drop-down menu
  34. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (PDF) (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. p. 944. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  35. ^ Homewood, Ben (2 February 2017). "Pet Shop Boys to be honoured with NME's Godlike Genius Award". Music Week. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  36. ^ "British album certifications – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". British Phonographic Industry. 1 September 1996. Retrieved 14 January 2017. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Bilingual in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  37. ^ Caulfield, Keith (23 May 2006). "Ask Billboard: Pet Shop Shopping". Billboard. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  38. ^ "American album certifications – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  39. ^ "Who's Selling Where". Billboard. Vol. 109 no. 8. 22 February 1997. p. 50. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2 February 2019 – via Google Books.