Pet Shop Boys - Bilingual POLL

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Incredibly, this hasn't been polled yet! This album has seriously grown on me over the last couple of years or so - an underrated collection of songs, IMO.

Poll Results

To Step Aside 3
Discoteca 2
Before 2
A Red Letter Day 2
It Always Comes As A Surprise 2
Se A Vida E (That's The Way Life Is) 2
Up Against It 1
Single 1
Electricity 0
The Survivors 0
Metamorphosis 0
Saturday Night Forever 0

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Sunday, 13 March 2016 21:42 (three years ago) Permalink

Se A Vida E (That's The Way Life Is)
It Always Comes As A Surprise
A Red Letter Day
Up Against It

^^ good sequence

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 13 March 2016 21:53 (three years ago) Permalink

I agree, add 'The Survivors' and 'Before' to the list and that's easily the best back-to-back stretch of the record IMO. Really, I think the biggest flaw with the song order on this is having 'Metamorphosis' and particularly 'Electricity' so early on in the album after 'Discoteca/Single' has so nicely set things up!

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Sunday, 13 March 2016 21:58 (three years ago) Permalink

Put Metamorphosis at the end, kill "Saturday Night" and ""Surprise" and "Surviviors"', add "Hit and Miss" and "betrayed", give "Red" a remix, pretty good record.

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 14 March 2016 00:37 (three years ago) Permalink

It's very good as is though. I really enjoy Electricity! Nice beat. Saturday Night is really the only full dud

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 14 March 2016 00:40 (three years ago) Permalink

this B-side is aces. When I bought the "Before" cassingle I played this tune just as much:

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 14 March 2016 00:44 (three years ago) Permalink

btw "Before" is gorgeous.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 14 March 2016 00:45 (three years ago) Permalink

I thought we had polled this before and I had voted for "The Survivors" or "Discoteca". I've defended this album many times on this board. I agree "Metamorphosis" and "Electricity" should be later in the album and "Saturday Night Forever" could be replaced with any of the amazing B-Sides (except "Betrayed" which is nice but felt more like an exercise in d&b). "Before" is gorgeous, so are "A Red Letter Day", "It Always Comes as a Surprise" and "Up Against It".

LeRooLeRoo, Monday, 14 March 2016 01:34 (three years ago) Permalink

"Electricity" is a cool song but a momentum killer. It should have been on the back half. This is a really consistent album, and I think more than half the songs could be my favorite on any given day. Today, it's between "Up Against It" and "To Step Aside"

Vinnie, Monday, 14 March 2016 01:49 (three years ago) Permalink

Discoteca by a mile. could have fitted in with the Introspective era IMO. there was an increds single mix too but it isn't on YouTube amazingly.

piscesx, Monday, 14 March 2016 01:50 (three years ago) Permalink

christ Nightlife was *some* comeback after this album i shit thee nay.

piscesx, Monday, 14 March 2016 01:51 (three years ago) Permalink

Yes the PSB single mix of "Discoteca" is amazing!

LeRooLeRoo, Monday, 14 March 2016 01:55 (three years ago) Permalink

piscesx OTM. I long ago came to terms with Release but this one is still a bit of a struggle. Though that middle sequence, plus "Truckdriver", are indeed pretty great. "To Step Aside" too. I needed an reason to give the whole thing another listen, so shall do so...

Maximum big surprise! (Nag! Nag! Nag!), Monday, 14 March 2016 02:08 (three years ago) Permalink

The single version of 'Discoteca' is interesting to say the least, but I can completely understand why it was scrapped and relegated to B-side status: it doesn't really work. The single version destroys the atmosphere of the song and doesn't suit the lyric at all. The Stretch & Vern influenced rap part is mildly hilarious, though, I'll say that much.

Also, as I pretty much said in the Super thread, Nightlife doesn't do much for me bar a couple of tracks, even though there's some fine musical/production moments on it. For me, it represents their first big dip alongside Release and it's hard for me to think of it in any way as a "comeback" in any sense. It didn't have a hit on it anywhere near as huge as 'Se A Vida E', and it seemed like they were starting to struggle commercially. I think it was the beginning of a generally weak period of songwriting for them which they pulled themselves out of with Fundamental - although Release at least has 'Home and Dry' ...

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Monday, 14 March 2016 18:39 (three years ago) Permalink

As for Bilingual, the only ones I wouldn't consider voting for are 'Saturday Night Forever' and 'Electricity' - I'm having a tough time deciding between the rest.

I was thinking earlier about how utterly fucking bizarre 'Single-Bilingual' sounded alongside a lot of songs that were on radio/MTV at the time.

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Monday, 14 March 2016 18:44 (three years ago) Permalink

I managed to narrow it down to 'Discoteca', which in my humble opinion is one of their best ever opening tracks, 'A Red Letter Day', which is so classic it's not even funny, and 'Up Against It', which is sorely underrated. Going with 'Up Against It' ...

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Tuesday, 15 March 2016 17:48 (three years ago) Permalink

I've always thought The Truck Driver & His Mate is so much better than anything on this album. This was their first one I didn't completely love. Release and Elysium are the only PSB albums I'd rank lower than it.

Kitchen Person, Tuesday, 15 March 2016 18:56 (three years ago) Permalink

wild to the point of madness

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 15 March 2016 18:57 (three years ago) Permalink

my first pet shop boys album

discoteca has my vote

marcos, Tuesday, 15 March 2016 19:17 (three years ago) Permalink

can I vote for the Deep Dish remix of "Se A Vida E"?

i like to trump and i am crazy (DJP), Tuesday, 15 March 2016 21:11 (three years ago) Permalink

Hahaha! Okay, so I've just seen the sleeve to the vinyl promo copy of 'Before' ... Jesus Christ! Who the fuck thought of that!?

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Tuesday, 15 March 2016 21:29 (three years ago) Permalink

It's not unusual that a non-album track (but associated to the album in some way) ends up being better than anything on the album itself.

I'd say I prefer "Always" to anything from Release and "Fugitive" to anything from "Fundamental".

daavid, Tuesday, 15 March 2016 22:07 (three years ago) Permalink

"The Truck Driver And His Mate" doesn't do much for me, but I've always loved "Hit and Miss".

daavid, Tuesday, 15 March 2016 22:08 (three years ago) Permalink

xxp ha yeah, Mark Farrow's idea no doubt. they talk about it in the CATALOGUE book he did with psb.

piscesx, Tuesday, 15 March 2016 22:19 (three years ago) Permalink

I'm imagining an alternate universe where they used it as the sleeve for the single proper!

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Wednesday, 16 March 2016 19:17 (three years ago) Permalink

I'd forgotten how great Discoteca is

i like to trump and i am crazy (DJP), Wednesday, 16 March 2016 19:46 (three years ago) Permalink

It's amazing, one of my favourite PSB songs and I love everything about it: the opening sequencer line, the odd drum programming, the sad chords in the verses and the way the chord progression soars upwards on the chorus, the way it segues into 'Single', and of course the theme of the lyrics.

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Wednesday, 16 March 2016 20:13 (three years ago) Permalink


LeRooLeRoo, Wednesday, 16 March 2016 21:04 (three years ago) Permalink

I absolutely love the backing vocals towards the end of 'Up Against It', too... In fact I love the ending itself, that flattery drum fill before Neil sings the final lyrics.

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Thursday, 17 March 2016 20:27 (three years ago) Permalink

The Boys do too:

Neil: "Johnny Marr came up with the idea for the backing vocals at the end: 'coming up against it now, really coming up against it oooh whooo whooo'. He said, 'If you were being Quincy Jones you'd do something like this.' I said, 'Let's do that, then,' and we sang them together."

Chris: "We were still doing Sharon Redd breakdowns. No handclaps though."

Neil: "It's got a very good end."

Chris: "Well done, Chris Porter. That's the sort of thing only a proper producer would do."

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 17 March 2016 20:43 (three years ago) Permalink

On "Before":

Chris: "I love this. There's nothing extraneous on it. There's no unnecessary musical things happening."

Neil: "We set out to make it for America. This is the song described by Atlantic records, our American label at the time, as a 'straight out of the box smash'. It wasn't a hit there."

Chris: "I love Neil's vocal style on this."

Neil: "It's very smooth. I sing like a girl."

Chris: "Maybe you should sing like a girl more often."

Neil: "It sounds like no other record we've made. It's a very gorgeous, loving record. We wanted to work with Danny Tenaglia whom Tom Stephan had recommended to us. We didn't really know Danny's work. We were going to work with David Morales in New York, and David Morales's agent cancelled two days before we were going. The studio was booked. And Tom said, 'You should be working with Danny Tenaglia anyway', so we phoned him up and he, now to my astonishment, just dropped everything. Danny was a hip in-crowd thing at that point, but he wasn't the world's most famous DJ. Now, of course, it would be a big event."

Chris: "And we discovered that Danny, unlike most DJs, can bloody play the keyboards. Imagine our surprise. He did a great production job on this. When he put the bassline on I thought 'wow', because he didn't make the bassline follow the root note of the chords."

Neil: "We did it there in the studio."

Chris: "We deliberately didn't arrive with anything."

Neil: "It was based on two bits of songs Chris had written on his Ian Wright tape that he put together, very reluctantly."

Chris: "I'm always reluctant. It's two different songs being shoved into one. It's a waste."

Neil: "Danny had programmed some drums, and we put these bits in, and then in the studio I started singing the 'before' thing and Chris said, 'Go and sing that immediately', because it's good to sing immediately because you get the nuances. I forget nuances terribly easily. I went back to the hotel and wrote all the words, and I sang it the next day. The vocal sounded great and then the engineer wiped the third verse by mistake. I think the three girls' vocals on it are lovely. At first Danny didn't like it where they go 'before...before...before', but we realised it was the hook of the record. It's the same message as 'Love comes quickly', really, but from a slightly different point of view. When you're feeling down about love, when you're in a difficult situation, suddenly things can straighten out. Suddenly the right person comes into your life. The middle bits - 'there's a story of a man who loved too much' - are slightly different. I think they're about O. J. Simpson because that was on the telly the whole time then."

Chris: "This was just one of those things that sounded good from day one."

Neil: "I don't know why it wasn't a bigger hit. It was a hit in England but it did nothing in Europe. It's great when someone who you expect to do some big white record does some gorgeous smooth black record. I think it may be too linear. Quite quickly, you've heard everything. My ear expects, on the second verse, something else to happen. We tried to remix it in London but it didn't sound right - what we added sounded too different from what we'd recorded in New York - so we didn't use it."

Chris: "I have to say that people are wrong sometimes. The trouble is, we've set ourselves up as releasing big records, so if we do something different people are always going to be disappointed."

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 17 March 2016 20:45 (three years ago) Permalink


clattery, rather.

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Thursday, 17 March 2016 20:49 (three years ago) Permalink

Oh, right! I didn't realise it was Johnny Marr that came up with that bit... it's one of my favourite parts of the song! I think 'Up Against It' is catchy enough without that part, but that's the part I always find myself singing along with, and the hook in the song that always sticks with me afterwards.

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Thursday, 17 March 2016 20:52 (three years ago) Permalink

haaa amazing i had no idea danny tenaglia was involved w/ this record

marcos, Thursday, 17 March 2016 20:54 (three years ago) Permalink

'Before' was a hit here, yeah, and I love the production on it and the way it sounds overall. I seem to remember, though, that it wasn't well-received by some in comparison with previous Pet Shop Boys singles. As much as I like it, it does seem to be an odd choice for the first single. Having said that, I thought their single choices for Fundamental were total WTF.

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Thursday, 17 March 2016 20:56 (three years ago) Permalink

Fans on the internet did not like "Before" when it came out and I think it cast a shadow on the album as a whole. I remember them complaining it was too airy and barely there. Which I guess is what Chris is saying, people were expecting a big record.

LeRooLeRoo, Thursday, 17 March 2016 21:47 (three years ago) Permalink

Tht's one of the few post-peak singles I do have memories of hearing in a club.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 17 March 2016 21:55 (three years ago) Permalink

Yeah, 'Before' really isn't as anthemic or melodic as some of the Very singles had been, but I always liked the way it sounded "up" and "down" at the same time. I haven't seen the video for years, but I remember it being played a lot on MTV Europe/VH-1 at the time. It may have made more sense to lead the album campaign with 'Se A Vida E', which would have been a hell of a comeback single. I think 'Before' confounded people that were perhaps waiting for a 'Can You Forgive Her?' or something.

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Thursday, 17 March 2016 22:08 (three years ago) Permalink

"Can You Forgive Her?" is a confounding first single too! "Go West" makes better sense.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 17 March 2016 22:12 (three years ago) Permalink

'Can You Forgive Her?' has a really distinct shift from the verse to the chorus, though, whereas with 'Before' it's a little more difficult to pinpoint which part is meant to be the chorus, as the "you find your love before" part sounds as if it could be part of the verse, and the "before, before, before" part, while definitely a hook (as Neil explains above) doesn't really feel like a chorus either.

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Thursday, 17 March 2016 22:35 (three years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Sunday, 20 March 2016 00:01 (three years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Monday, 21 March 2016 00:01 (three years ago) Permalink


The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 21 March 2016 00:01 (three years ago) Permalink

Somehow my vote for "The Survivors" didn't work.

LeRooLeRoo, Monday, 21 March 2016 01:23 (three years ago) Permalink

'To Step Aside' is great, I think, but being buried right near the end of the album (which is pretty long) does it no favours.

// 166,000 W A N K E R S // LOVE (Turrican), Monday, 21 March 2016 18:12 (three years ago) Permalink

I'm really surprised by the 1st place. I had never paid any attention to that song. Had to go and play it to remember which one it was. And I have listened to Bilingual many, many times. Not a bad track though. It's not totally crazy that it won.

daavid, Tuesday, 22 March 2016 02:25 (three years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I think it's definitely in the wrong position on the album. If it had been in the first half, perhaps it wouldn't be as overlooked.

WHERE'S JIM!? (Turrican), Tuesday, 22 March 2016 19:43 (three years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Listening to this again, still a painfully underrated record.

The Anti-Climax Blues Band (Turrican), Sunday, 30 April 2017 01:10 (two years ago) Permalink

I've brought it up before, but the album plays much better with the alternative track order that Neil once suggested. Maybe in the Further Listening liners?

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 30 April 2017 18:42 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...


Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Saturday, 9 March 2019 07:30 (two months ago) Permalink

Coming up against it now
We're coming up against it ooh

LeRooLeRoo, Sunday, 10 March 2019 21:56 (two months ago) Permalink


Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Sunday, 10 March 2019 22:18 (two months ago) Permalink

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