Pet Shop Boys

Bilingual

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As a title, Bilingual is a double-edged sword. Disregard its sexual connotations and concentrate on its musical implications -- Bilingual is a rich, diverse album that delves deeply into Latin rhythms. It's not a crass, simplistic fusion, where the polyphonic rhythms are simply grafted over synthesizers and a disco pulse. Instead, Bilingual is an enormously subtle album, with shifting rhythms and graceful, understated melodies. The music isn't the only thing subtle about the album -- Neil Tennant's voice and lyrics are nuanced, suggesting more than they actually say. Furthermore, Bilingual consists of the most optimistic, happy set of songs the Pet Shop Boys have ever recorded. Whether it's the smooth disco of "Before" or the insistent rhythms of "Se a Vida E," Bilingual is filled with joyous, if subdued, sounds. If anything, it's further proof that even if the Pet Shop Boys aren't gracing the top of the charts as frequently as they did during the late '80s, they are crafting albums that are more adventurous and successful than they did when they were one of the top singles acts in pop music. [The Further Listening 1995-1997 expansion of the album adds fiteen tracks that are a mix of B-sides. mixes and new versions of old songs. New takes on "Paninaro" and "In the Night" kick the disc off with a bang, then highlights like the goofy Oasis-inspired "The Truck Driver and His Mate" and the jungle-influenced "Betrayed" follow. Add some fun tracks like the Danny Tenaglia-produced "The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On" and the Big Beat pastiche "Disco Potential" and it shows just how wide the PSBs could range on their B-sides. Along with the previously released songs, there are unheard mixes of "Discoteca" and A Red Letter Day."]

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