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Elysium

4.1 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 11, 2012
$12.68 $2.97

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Editorial Reviews

Recorded in Los Angeles (the first time the duo have recorded an album in the US), the record was co-produced by Andrew Dawson, who has won three Grammy awards for his work with Kanye West.


Elysium features twelve new songs which display a warm, deep electronic sound, and includes orchestral arrangements by Joachim Horsley, Andrew Dawson and Ben Leathers. Backing vocals are provided on many of the tracks by veteran singers Oren, Maxine and Julie Waters (whose long career spans sessions with The Jackson Five to Adele), and singer/songwriter James Fauntleroy.


One of the most iconic, celebrated pop groups in the world, Pet Shop Boys have created some of the most beloved hits ever ('West End Girls', 'It's a Sin', 'What have I Done To Deserve This', 'New York City Boy', etc.), selling over 30 million records and playing shows all over the world. Their last album Yes spawned two #1 Billboard dance hits "Love Etc.' and 'Did You See Me Coming'. In a career spanning over 2 decades, the duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have worked with artists like Dusty Springfield, David Bowie, Liza Minnelli, Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue, Electronic and Madonna.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 11, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Astralwerks
  • ASIN: B008B0QH5S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,654 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It's hard not to believe that this album would face immediate scrutiny like a firing squad. While Elysium does not have the pumping beats that were present on its predecessor, Yes, Neil and Chris (along with perennial programmer/engineer Pete Gleadall and producer/musician Andrew Dawson) escaped to Los Angeles to make their first US recording. It seems as though the location has infused the whole project with a sense of hope and reflection. These ideologies are not always listed at the top of Pet Shop fan agendas (think 'dancing' and 'despair' with a bit of sex & money thrown in with humor), and while it may be shorter on the hedonistic approach, there is plenty of humor to go around.

Please keep in mind Elysium can be hard to love on the first listen. It is an album that reveals its treasures upon repeated listens in beautiful ways. Opener "Leaving" and the following "Invisible" are perfect examples of a less-is-more approach, winding wistful melodies around aquatic synths and subtle beats. It shows you don't always need everything and the kitchen sink to make a great record.

Many complaints have been levelled against lead single "Winner", but rarely have PSB recorded a song so pure and direct in positive sentiment. One could also interpret this song as being about love overcoming political obstacles, a topic close to their hearts, and a way of transforming the song into something greater than it reads on a page. Other songs here like "Breathing Space", "Hold On" (a recessionary stage number--remember these are the guys who wrote a West End musical a few years back), and "Give It A Go" also have an uplifting and spacious charm--and the vocal tracks are amazingly warm sounding.
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As most of the other reviewers of this item, I am a "Very" long-time fan of the PSBs. They are without a doubt my all-time favorite group, without a close 2nd. I have every album they have made, and most singles (and B sides). After recently buying the "Winner" single (which I like "ok" but not crazy about), I found one of the B sides to be an amazingly fun, dancy, classic PSB track ("A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi"). Wow, if that is a B-side, I couldn't wait to hear the album songs!

Well, the wait is over, and after giving it is couple of listens, the jury is still out. The first listen was borderline terrible, to be perfectly honest. However, as many of you know how it goes, the 2nd and 3rd listens started showing a couple of promising tracks. But continued listens have left the majority of the tracks in the "skip" category ... I will be giving the steering wheel radio controls and thumbs a workout with this album (yes, us "old school" listeners who still prefer CDs to MP3s, ha!).

Anyway, the good:
Track 1 - Leaving - a nice introductory track with a catchy but not overwhelming beat. The only part I didn't like was the sampled "dog / keyboard voice" section, which definitely has the 80s sound but not really in a good way (I do get a smile at that part since it reminds me of Ferris Bueller playing his sampled keyboard with throwup sounds, but now I'm really digressing and showing my age!).
Track 2 - Invisible - this is your classic slower / complex / introspective style PSB track. Very "Behavior" reminiscent; it would have fit right in, and wouldn't surprise me if they had an old shelved demo that they brushed off and polished for the album.
Track 3 - Winner - an acceptable track that I have listened to enough to "learn" to like it.
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Format: Audio CD
Die-hard fans will undoubetedly either love or dislike this 11th album released by one of music's greatest pop duos of all time - The Pet Shop Boys.

If you are hoping for a repeat of the catchy, uplifting and club ready tracks from their 2009 release "Yes", then listening to "Elysium" for the first time could leave you disappointed or perplexed as one reviewer noted. For those fans, however, who loved "Behaviour" with its moody mid-tempo tracks that all seemed to blend into a coherent concept album, then you are in for a treat as this is very much the direction "Elysium" takes. It is a slow burn that requires repeated listens to understand both the underlying themes / lyrics sung as well as to appreciate the minimalist approach to the instrumentation that at times strongly reminds youself of Kanye West cd "808s and Heartbreak." This is acredited to Neil and Chris having picked Kanye's producer Andrew Dawson for this project.

I was disappointed with the choice of "Winner" as the lead single (of couse the connection and timing to the Summer Olympics in London made sense) but it is one of the weaker tracks on this cd. "Leaving" which will be released in October as the second single is vintage Boys and deserves radio play and a Top 10 position. "Invisible," "A Face Like That" and "Requiem in Denim and the Leopardskin" demonstrate that even after 26 years they still have the ability to re-invent themselves and create timeless classics.

How many of today's musical artists can boast 11 studio albums, 3 greatest hits packages and 2 alternate b-side and remix albums! For this they deserve our continued love and support!

UPDATE: The Pet Shop Boys performed an exclusive live concert in Germany last week to promote the album. Watch it on youtube and then decide if this album is worth it! [...] These songs do rank among the best they've ever made.
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