Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

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jamie1978
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Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#1 Post by jamie1978 » Thu 16 May 2019, 6:16 pm

And it still disappoints. Part of the frustration is how insanely good the first two tracks are.

I remember listening to Leaving and Invisible at the time, and thinking 'oh yes, here comes a worthy follow up to Behaviour'. And then it all goes a bit odd, with showtunes and lounge pop. And I still cringe at parts of it.

Even now, I don't get Elysium as an album concept. It's all over the place. Neil has stated he wanted a beautiful album with a lot of sub-bass, and a few tracks do fit that bill, but the rest... just make no artistic sense.

The teaser tracks from Elysium are a lie. They suggest 'Behaviour II' when the reality is that it's more like a flash of Behaviour's sexy ankles followed by disappointment and cringe in equal measure.

Any yes I know some of you love Elysium. Good for you. But while taste may be subjective, here is a fact - it's their worst selling studio album by far.

Shortly after listening, I had to recline on my sofa and enjoy Behaviour from start to end (skipping 'How can you expect...' of course). 29 years later, we are still waiting for a worthy follow-on to that masterpiece. Perhaps the album after the Price trilogy will be what we have all been waiting for. Let us pray.

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Bulldog
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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#2 Post by Bulldog » Thu 16 May 2019, 8:38 pm

Replace "Breathing space" and "'Give it a go" with "In slow motion" and "Woods" and it gets 110℅ better.
"It was a dark and stormy night."
"You know what's wrong with your stories? They lack subtlety."
"It was a sort of dark and kind of stormy night."

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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#3 Post by NotInvisible » Thu 16 May 2019, 9:01 pm

jamie1978 wrote:
Thu 16 May 2019, 6:16 pm
But while taste may be subjective, here is a fact - it's their worst selling studio album by far.
And New York City Boy charted higher than Being Boring.

I feel sorry for the fans who can't depart from the formula. If Behaviour came out tomorrow you'd be moaning about the lack of obvious hits and complaining about songs like Only the Wind.

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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#4 Post by telys » Thu 16 May 2019, 9:20 pm

No we wouldn't complain if Behaviour came out tomorrow. The fact is that Ego Music and Your early stuff are not album material - the sounds and the lyrics are b-side-material, no arguement about that.

Elysium starts and ends with two of PSBs best songs ever and there are a few superb tunes in between but WInner, Ego Music and YES drag the album down, deep down below. The instrumental versions of Ego Music and Early stuff are much better.

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Pod
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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#5 Post by Pod » Thu 16 May 2019, 10:25 pm

Bulldog wrote:
Thu 16 May 2019, 8:38 pm
Replace "Breathing space" and "'Give it a go" with "In slow motion" and "Woods" and it gets 110℅ better.
Yep - throw in ‘in his imagination’ and it gets even better.
Just for the sake of it, make sure you're always frowning. :|
It shows the world that you've got substance and depth.

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ype
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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#6 Post by ype » Thu 16 May 2019, 11:57 pm

I love Your early stuff to bits. It's one of my favourite songs and the middle eight gives me goosebumps. Elysium is certainly flawed but there's a lot to enjoy. Don't forget A face like that. And I like Give it a go too, btw. Even Winner has grown on me over the years.

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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#7 Post by glennjridge » Fri 17 May 2019, 4:05 am

its just another album. some songs shine some dont. standard PSB album. its not some aberration. in any case....I wonder...if we are going to get another surprise PSB release. is it too much to hope for after the surprise of Agenda? I hope not. with more bands getting into the surprise release business, it removes that tiring long slog run up and desperate peer to peer site scouring for the new tunes or the loss of dignity where you find out who your petshopboys-forum friends are when people get the album ahead of time. it also immediately disrupts stealing. a surprise releases solves all of that! who "samples" it when you wake up one morning and SURPRISE its there waiting for you on I-tunes like an early Christmas present.

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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#8 Post by Gabby » Fri 17 May 2019, 4:21 am

Elysium is an odd one. I actually really rate it, and like several of the songs that many seem to dislike - Ego Music, Your Early Stuff, Hold On, Give It A Go, even dare I say it, Winner - it's pretty good stuff. But I kind of "get" why people don't like it at the same time.

I don't think it's fair to compare it to Behaviour which to my mind is an entirely different album and concept. I don't recall PSB's actually suggesting it was in any way comparable to it, so why should we?

I felt that at the time of release it would be more highly regarded as time passed, and I feel vindicated having seen some others comment on how it's grown on them.

I recall a music blogger around the time of New Order releasing "Waiting For The Sirens Call" musing about how some albums needed to percolate in your brain for a while - you had to bounce it around your head, until it fit into place. I didn't immediately engage with "...Sirens Call" and I did exactly as this guy suggested, and it totally worked - I love this New Order album now, because I figured out where it fits musically for me within the bands repertoire (somewhere between Technique and Get Ready if you want my opinion - which doesn't strictly mean Republic :lol: ). To this point, I had to do a similar exercise with Elysium - first listen wasn't the most compelling, but knowing I had to give it time to let the songs do their work in my mind, quickly got me to a comfortable place with them. If anything I'd say it's more Release than Behaviour, with a splash of Fundamental and Yes.

I've gone a bit Zen there I know :roll: , but I'd encourage anyone struggling with any song they don't immediately like to try this technique - give the song several full and proper listens, and really let it burrow into your brain for a while - if you still don't like it then, that's OK too. :kiss:

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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#9 Post by onzio » Fri 17 May 2019, 9:12 am

To my memory, Behaviour was shit when it came out, the teaser track, "So Hard", was a big lie too.
It grows through the years thanks to its commercial failure.

Having said that, Hold On and Ego Music are really awful.
Expressing passion, explaining pain
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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#10 Post by Bulldog » Fri 17 May 2019, 9:30 am

"Hold on" has very clunky lyrics. "The rain is falling from the sky, planes taking off to fly". Oh, really?
"It was a dark and stormy night."
"You know what's wrong with your stories? They lack subtlety."
"It was a sort of dark and kind of stormy night."

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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#11 Post by York Minster » Fri 17 May 2019, 12:30 pm

People will disagree, but one of the biggest disappointments of Elysium is Memory of the Future. It's just a bore. Just sits there. One of those singles that is supposed to be big but just lays there.

The other big issue for me is the lack of tracking on his Vocals, where his singing on some tracks starts to distract instead of mesh in. Sorry, but Neil isn't a great singer and needs a bit of studio magic on delicate songs.

Leaving - Great
Invisible - Great
Winner - Never again
Your Early Stuff - Feels slight, like a b-side. A bit too meta for an album anyway. The spEE version is better than the PSB version by a decent amount
Face Like That - It's ok, but it's too "cheap" overall to really hark back to the early era like it tries to do
Breathing Space - can be nice if you're in the mood, and can also be really sappy
Ego Music - Eh
Hold On - Musically it's quite enjoyable. I think I like it maybe.
Give It Ago. Same as hold on, but it's not the kind of thing I'd play for anyone.
Memory Of The Future - A bore
Everything Means Something - Points for darkness and progginess, but this doesn't leave much residue in the brain does it?
Requiem - Of any track I come back to, it's this one. Something about the boys doing elegiac works for me.
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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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#12 Post by Bulldog » Fri 17 May 2019, 12:46 pm

York Minster wrote:
Fri 17 May 2019, 12:30 pm

The other big issue for me is the lack of tracking on his Vocals, where his singing on some tracks starts to distract instead of mesh in. Sorry, but Neil isn't a great singer and needs a bit of studio magic on delicate songs.
Yeah I remember it being discussed. I think they tried to achieve with backing vocalists the same smoothness that's usually provided by double tracking. Kudos for trying something different, but without double tracking some Neil vocals sound strangely rough,sometimes almost "first take". This is particularly clear if you compare for instance the different mixes of "Woods" (which I think they either remade or polished a lot for the longer mix).
"It was a dark and stormy night."
"You know what's wrong with your stories? They lack subtlety."
"It was a sort of dark and kind of stormy night."

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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#13 Post by Old Soak » Fri 17 May 2019, 2:10 pm

Breathing space is one of their best ever. At the time of release I was going through some difficult times/major life crossroads decisions and it really resonated with me as a result and helped a lot. Beautiful, evocative song.
And at the end/ Your funny Uncle staring / At all your friends / With military bearing

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Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

#14 Post by goughsjd » Fri 17 May 2019, 3:22 pm

I've said it all before and I'll say it again, Elysium is pretty gash but INVISIBLE & REQUIEM are fantastic tunes In my opinion amongst some of the best stuff they've ever do e. The album just doesn't flow properly either... Songs like Hold On just don't work when put with songs like Ego Music or Face like that... However the b sides were pretty strong & Winner Instrumental is actually really good too.
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    Re: Today I listened to Elysium for the first time since 2012...

    #15 Post by NotInvisible » Fri 17 May 2019, 5:18 pm

    telys wrote:
    Thu 16 May 2019, 9:20 pm
    The fact is that Ego Music and Your early stuff are not album material - the sounds and the lyrics are b-side-material, no arguement about that.
    Your Early Stuff is sublime and the perfect example of an album track. Ego Music is unlistenable and should have been swapped out for In His Imagination. I think the album suffers from fan expectation more than anything, because many of the songs are great and the production is superb.

    Another problem is that there are some solid tracks that would work better with other singers. We all hate Winner but it's actually a superb pop song - I mean at the end of the day you can picture Take That singing it at Wembley as their latest Top 10 hit. Gary Barlow would kill to have written in. And yes that's damning based on what we expect from Neil and Chris, I dislike it as a PSB track too.

    Similar thoughts about Hold On and Give It a Go, especially the latter, which is one of my favorite PSB tracks that someone else should have sung. Put this in the hands of Kate Nash and it works, great songwriting but of course the kind of person who just wants electronic stompers is going to disregard it. Hold On would have had better reception as a B side I think.

    The one-two punch of Your Early Stuff and A Face Like That is a terrific pun moment, but I suspect a lot of fans subconsciously take it as a criticism. And I've never understood how the same fans who rate Footsteps or The Only One can have an issue with Breathing Space, which is a better track.

    The bigger issues IMO (aside from Ego Music derailing the album) is that Memory of the Future and Everything Means Something are huge misfires. The former is an album track gussied up as a single and it just doesn't work. You can hear the ABBA influence and that's fine, but somehow the song never really gets off the ground. Everything Means Something lacks melody, which is the biggest crime here.

    But overall I think fan reaction has been ridiculous. Leaving, Invisible and Requiem in Denim and Leopardskin are absolute classics. They've certainly recorded worse albums.

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