Between Very and Bilingual

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Radiophonic
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#46 Post by Radiophonic »

I don't buy the 'gay issue' (whatever that is) particularly in the UK. Did a lot of Pet Shop Boys fans think that they were anything other than gay? I don't think them being gay or coming out was a big deal or affected their popularity greatly. It would be like Morrisey coming out.

I do think it was the time for Pet Shop Boys (and bands like them) to have a dip in popularity. Oasis and the Britpop thing having it's time in the spotlight.
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#47 Post by Radiophonic »

And yes, Before was a weak lead single.
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stoo
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#48 Post by stoo »

Could it have been something to do with the generation of fans changing, everyone who got into them in the mid 80's would have been well into their 20's at this time, the next generation would have into more mainstream music that just wasn't around before ie Oasis Blur (britpop) along with the commercial shit that was hitting the shops ie spice girls Take That,
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Radiophonic
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#49 Post by Radiophonic »

I think that's true, stoo (he said poetically).

It's the casual record buyer than give pop artists their huge initial sales and when they become passé and are replaced by other newer pop stars or music trends they're left with their core fans, who are often enthusiastic enough to still take them in the charts but not as high.

In the Pet Shop Boys case that used to be around no. 8-13 in the singles chart. Today I think it might be a lot lower.
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#50 Post by tottenhammattspurs »

A mixture of Neil coming out about the same time Brit-Pop exploded and lads mag culture, all within 18 months. Intelligent pop would take 15 years to recover.....
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#51 Post by joeythecat »

A lot of things changed from 1993 to 1996, including their attitude.
1993 Very was a pop album, but by the end of it's run we had the embarrassing dry hump of "Ab Fab" + "Disco 2" and the somewhat lifeless re-do of Paninaro '95.
It seemed that with "Yesterday When I Was Mad" being the last single off of Very, they were quite prepared to give up everything. Alternative sealed the deal at the time releasing the esoteric b-sides may fans had scoured for over the years. It seemed to me in 1995 that PSB could be or even worse, were over.
In 1996 They returned but different, looking a bit older, like they had been to therapy and had released something inside that had powered their art. They were suddenly comfortable and released Before which seemed like an aim at MOR pop. We were in the mid 90's and it seemed that their raver friendly days were over, like they had been to rehab and were not only drinking coffee and tea, or had partied so hard that they had lost that edge.... It seemed they just weren't hungry for it anymore. The even had vacation shots in Bilingual. A friend of mine at the time said simply, they were better before they came out. It is as if the nuance had left, as if they had made the mistake of making a drunken pass at a friend. Sure they could have done something different and it would have been the time to make a real underground electro album, but they didn't. Se A Via e could have easily been a #1 hit single by Phil Collins had they handed it over to him but they didn't. I guess the point is, things change, people get older, etc... it happens to everyone, sooner or later. I'll never be 21 again either. On the upside they have continued to make interesting music that I've enjoyed since then, It doesn't matter if it is #1 or not their music still reaches more people and sells more than any band in their right mind (new or old) could ever reasonably expect to do, so kudos to them.

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York Minster
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#52 Post by York Minster »

joeythecat wrote:A lot of things changed from 1993 to 1996, including their attitude.
1993 Very was a pop album, but by the end of it's run we had the embarrassing dry hump of "Ab Fab" + "Disco 2" and the somewhat lifeless re-do of Paninaro '95.
It seemed that with "Yesterday When I Was Mad" being the last single off of Very, they were quite prepared to give up everything. Alternative sealed the deal at the time releasing the esoteric b-sides may fans had scoured for over the years. It seemed to me in 1995 that PSB could be or even worse, were over.
In 1996 They returned but different, looking a bit older, like they had been to therapy and had released something inside that had powered their art. They were suddenly comfortable and released Before which seemed like an aim at MOR pop. We were in the mid 90's and it seemed that their raver friendly days were over, like they had been to rehab and were not only drinking coffee and tea, or had partied so hard that they had lost that edge.... It seemed they just weren't hungry for it anymore. The even had vacation shots in Bilingual. A friend of mine at the time said simply, they were better before they came out. It is as if the nuance had left, as if they had made the mistake of making a drunken pass at a friend. Sure they could have done something different and it would have been the time to make a real underground electro album, but they didn't. Se A Via e could have easily been a #1 hit single by Phil Collins had they handed it over to him but they didn't. I guess the point is, things change, people get older, etc... it happens to everyone, sooner or later. I'll never be 21 again either. On the upside they have continued to make interesting music that I've enjoyed since then, It doesn't matter if it is #1 or not their music still reaches more people and sells more than any band in their right mind (new or old) could ever reasonably expect to do, so kudos to them.
Interesting post, and I think there is some truth here. Yet, Discoteca/Single are two very biting, caustic tracks with every bit of the old "edge". Up Against It and To Step Aside also contain some of their old darker selves. While I actually do like tracks like Saturday Night Forever, it's something quite different then would have had 10 years before. Overall, while I think Bilingual CAN be seen as a sea change, and perhaps the era of 93-96 is when a big change occured, I think Bilingual mainly just suffers from patchy production and songwriting. It has it's moments, but it's not the perfection we had come to expect.
And tryin' to figure out what happened to 'Germaine Propaine'
"He couldn't have fell off that hard" Ain't no way
"What happened to the way you was rappin' when you was scandalous
That Canibus turned into a television evangelist"
Plus he raps with his regular voice [BOOSH! BOOSH!]
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#53 Post by markus »

joeythecat wrote:A lot of things changed from 1993 to 1996, including their attitude.
1993 Very was a pop album, but by the end of it's run we had the embarrassing dry hump of "Ab Fab" + "Disco 2" and the somewhat lifeless re-do of Paninaro '95.
It seemed that with "Yesterday When I Was Mad" being the last single off of Very, they were quite prepared to give up everything. Alternative sealed the deal at the time releasing the esoteric b-sides may fans had scoured for over the years. It seemed to me in 1995 that PSB could be or even worse, were over.
In 1996 They returned but different, looking a bit older, like they had been to therapy and had released something inside that had powered their art. They were suddenly comfortable and released Before which seemed like an aim at MOR pop. We were in the mid 90's and it seemed that their raver friendly days were over, like they had been to rehab and were not only drinking coffee and tea, or had partied so hard that they had lost that edge.... It seemed they just weren't hungry for it anymore. The even had vacation shots in Bilingual. A friend of mine at the time said simply, they were better before they came out. It is as if the nuance had left, as if they had made the mistake of making a drunken pass at a friend. Sure they could have done something different and it would have been the time to make a real underground electro album, but they didn't. Se A Via e could have easily been a #1 hit single by Phil Collins had they handed it over to him but they didn't. I guess the point is, things change, people get older, etc... it happens to everyone, sooner or later. I'll never be 21 again either. On the upside they have continued to make interesting music that I've enjoyed since then, It doesn't matter if it is #1 or not their music still reaches more people and sells more than any band in their right mind (new or old) could ever reasonably expect to do, so kudos to them.
Never thougth of that before...but indeed their attitude with Bilingual was a bit: "we've been caught, the fun's over"

Well said. You should write more often.

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Danimal
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#54 Post by Danimal »

Everything PopArt said plus the fact that Bilingual was really unfocused.

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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#55 Post by Danimal »

Everything PopArt said plus the fact that Bilingual was very unfocused. During this period they had started working on CTH and as I recall there really wasn't any seperation between projects with songs and ideas freely moving back and forth which was a huge mistake.
There didn't seem to be any cohesion with this record and I'm not speaking of theme, which PSB admittedly puts too much stock in. When it comes to an album quality is the watchword. It seems that working on the musical simutaneous with Bilingual, Nightlife, and Release had a negative effect on all four projects. It wasn't until the PopArt singles that their focus seemed to return. The sad part is there were so many AWESOME b-sides on Bilingual that I started to wonder who was calling the shots. Truck Driver was perfectly aligned with the zeitgeist and was a minor indie hit with zero promotion; why wasn't this a single? Hit or Miss and How I Learnt to Hate Rock and Roll would have been great of the moment album tracks as would've Delusions of Granduer and Betrayed which were reportedly all recorded at the same time. If the Boys love themes, these tracks could've easily been worked into a theme with the best Bilingual tracks.
At this point the quality wasn't lacking overall, but the guys had been doing it so long and were so distracted that they really lost perspective.
All the varied producers at this point in their career didn't helo either.

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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#56 Post by Radiophonic »

I'm sure I read somewhere that Chris disliked Truck Driver which is why it was never an album track and certainly not a single.
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Patrick Bateman
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#57 Post by Patrick Bateman »

I think you're right about the vacation aspect of Bilingual, joeythecat, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. After the febrile kaleidoscopic rush of Very it is understandable that they wished to divest themselves Rape of the Lock style of the accroutements of that era; a process which would not be completed until Release. Don't forget that Chris was in mourning, Neil was metamorphosising into Showbiz Neil, and the UK itself was moving from the Manichean society that they had been formed within which offered clear binal choices to a blander, ersatz meritocracy as evidenced by the Spice Girls. For Opportunities read Single; Neil's hapless antihero has now relocated to a world of airport terminals and hotel rooms. That's possibly why Bilingual is itself shiftless; ostensibly located in the Spanish Quarter it detours via St. Petersburg and Manhattan. It's this meandering which makes the album flawed but it's still a rather affecting set of songs, post-climactic traces of trauma glimpsed in the azure sky under the fierce intensity of the refulgent midday sun.

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York Minster
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#58 Post by York Minster »

Patrick Bateman wrote:songs, post-climactic traces of trauma glimpsed in the azure sky under the fierce intensity of the refulgent midday sun.

Reading a lot of poetry recently? :P Not a bad discription though.
And tryin' to figure out what happened to 'Germaine Propaine'
"He couldn't have fell off that hard" Ain't no way
"What happened to the way you was rappin' when you was scandalous
That Canibus turned into a television evangelist"
Plus he raps with his regular voice [BOOSH! BOOSH!]
[BOOSH! BOOSH!] (What was that?) Pet Shop Boys

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jasonjohn
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#59 Post by jasonjohn »

Gay can't be the issue, since Alternative sold well.

Could it be that too many people payed too much for the Alternative double album, but were unimpressed overall?

We all like B-Sides, but maybe Joe Public bought that one expecting something different (after Very)

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Patrick Bateman
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Re: Between Very and Bilingual

#60 Post by Patrick Bateman »

I doubt that too many casuals bought Alternative.

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