Many Pet Shop Boys
albums have been released in the fall, and several of them have arrived in September, including Actually
and the duo's upcoming LP Elysium
. Today actually marks the 16-year anniversary of their sixth studio album Bilingual
, which was released in the UK on September 2, 1996 (and in the US a day later).
was an album I personally struggled to enjoy when it came out, though I did try for a good year or so. Very
— which I've talked about at length before
— arrived when I was still an impressionable teenager, a year away from going off to university. It was bright and exciting. Bilingual
was darker and, in typical fashion, the PSBs had veered off in a completely different direction, musically. I was now starting my final year of college and, I think, feeling a bit divided over where I belonged — I felt exhausted after 17 years of education and eager to see it end; but I was also unsure of what the "real world" would be like.
Anyway, there was a record store on my university's campus called Vibes, and I stood in line at midnight to buy Bilingual
. I stayed up till about 2 a.m. playing it in my room — a single
, as it were — in my residence hall. Overall, I think I was hoping the album was going to be Very 2
. Which, of course, it wasn't.
Oh, well — "A Red Letter Day" and "Up Against It" were, at least, instant classics to my ears, and I later grew to really enjoy tracks like "The Survivors", "It Always Comes As A Surprise" and "To Step Aside." And now, 16 years later, I think I've even found some appreciation — some
— for lead single "Before."