22, 1999

Iíve been a big fan of the Boys since their debut, "Please" from 1986. Ten years later, 1996, saw the release of "Bilingual" and the end of my Pet Shop Boys album purchases. To be frank, I didnít think weíd be seeing more of the English duo, until rumours started floating around last year. At least I didnít expect it to be this good even if they did decide to release further material. The fresh "Nightlife" is everything "Bilingual" wasnít. For starters, the new album is much more traditional Pet Shop Boys sounding, more dance and pop music. And thatís really where they achieve their best compositions.
The first third of "Nightlife" is magnificent. "For Your Own Good", "Closer to Heaven" and the single track "I Donít Know What You Want but I Canít Give it Any More" have to be some of the best tracks of their career. So far. These tracks are also, together with dancy "Radiophonic", the fast ones on the album and at the same time those who catch your attention the first you hear it.
The ballads and midtempo songs have a tendency to grow on you though, each time you find something new in the multifolded music.
"You Only Tell Me You Love Me When Youíre Drunk" is not only a very long song title, itís also one of the highlights of "Nightlife", where the voice of Neil Tennant is the most dominant feature. Neilís voice is without question one of the most charismatic and personal in the business today, nasal or not. It fits the music, skillfully executed by Chris Lowe and the many guest producers, perfectly.
Thereís also a duet with Kylie Minogue called "In Denial", and itís actually very good, possibly an upcoming single. The only track that strikes me as being a bit boring is "Boy Strange", a guitar dominated thing with silly lyrics and strange rhythms.
I found myself smiling almost the whole album through, and thatís always a sign of satisfaction, at least when it comes down to me. Maybe itís because I was as overwhelmed by "Nightlife" as I was disappointed with "Bilingual".
But thereís no getting around that this new twelve track Pet Shop Boys piece is almost as good as "Very". And thatís damn good, folks.


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