Bilingual (album)

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Not to be confused with the album Bilingua by Eithne Ní Uallacháin.
Bilingual
Pet Shop Boys - Bilingual.png
Studio album by Pet Shop Boys
Released 2 September 1996 (1996-09-02)
Recorded 1995–96
Studio
Genre
Length 53:56
Label Parlophone
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
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau A−[2]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[3]

Bilingual is the sixth studio album by English synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys, 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.[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 on the UK chart 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 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. The album was certified Platinum in Spain.[6]

In 2001, Pet Shop Boys reissued 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.[7] With the 2009 re-release, the 2001 2CD re-released 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.[4]

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 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". 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 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".

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".

The album's fifth and final single, "Somewhere", was released to promote the duo's residency at the Savoy Theatre in London and to promote a repackage of Bilingual. 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]

  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

Limited 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

2001 reissue bonus CD: 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[8]
  • (*) Previously unreleased.
  • (**) The same version featured on the limited edition of Bilingual.

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 1995–1997
  • 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

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[29] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[30] Gold 100,000^

^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. ^ a b Mirkin, Steven (10 August 1996). "Pet Shop Boys Reopen On Atlantic With 'Bilingual'". Billboard. 108 (32): 14–15. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  5. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1996–1999". Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano. 
  7. ^ "Bilingual: Remastered". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  8. ^ "Pet Shop Boys discography". psb-discography.com. Retrieved 1 October 2007. 
  9. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  10. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 9927." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Hits of the World". Billboard. 108 (41): 62–63. 12 October 1996. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  16. ^ "Pet Shop Boys: Bilingual" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Lescharts.com – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  18. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  19. ^ "Top 40 album DVD és válogatáslemez-lista – 1996. 39. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  20. ^ 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 23 November 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  21. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  22. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  23. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  25. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  26. ^ "Pet Shop Boys | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  27. ^ "Pet Shop Boys – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Pet Shop Boys. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  28. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts – 1996" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  29. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (PDF) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. p. 944. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  30. ^ "British album certifications – Pet Shop Boys – Bilingual". British Phonographic Industry. 1 September 1996. Retrieved 14 January 2017.  Enter Bilingual in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search