Released - 1996
Chart peak - UK #4, US #39

Visitors' rating (plurality): ★★★★☆
Visitors' rating (rounded average): ★★★☆☆
Wayne's rating: ★★★★★

These star-ratings reflect how PSB albums compare to each other—not how they compare to albums by other artists.

Much of the music of Bilingual was inspired by the Pet Shop Boys' visit to South America during their 1995 tour (during which their Rio de Janiero concert was filmed for the DiscoVery video). Neil and Chris gained greater exposure to Latin American music than ever before and were greatly impressed by it, so much so that roughly half of the tracks on their next album would bear pronounced Latin American influences. On the other hand, Neil also told interviewer Alan Frutkin of The Advocate that the album's "Latin rhythms" were also inspired in part by his having been in a relationship at the time with a Spanish man from the Canary Islands.

The album title stems not only from its music in general (for if music is something of a "language" then the Boys were establishing themselves as "bilingual" by so strongly embracing Latin music in addition to their more typical "synth/dance pop") but also from one of its songs in particular, "Single," which was retitled "Single-Bilingual" for release as a—you guessed it—single. More than one critic has also suggested a pun of sorts in the title, with Bilingual being a "code word" for "bisexual." Chris himself suggested as much when, in the Nightlife tour booklet he says of "Single-Bilingual": "A play on words. It obviously means bisexual." Of course, one can never be too sure when the Boys are or aren't being facetious.

Top Picks by Voter Ratings

  1. A Red Letter Day
  2. To Step Aside
  3. It Always Comes as a Surprise

Wayne's Top Picks

  1. To Step Aside
  2. It Always Comes as a Surprise
  3. Discoteca

Bilingual Remixed

Several months after the album's original release, a two-disc "special edition" was put out that featured extended remixes of the singles plus two additional tracks from the same period. This bonus disc was titled Bilingual Remixed.

2001 Reissue Further Listening

In 2001, Bilingual was one of several PSB albums reissued with a bonus Further Listening disc that included several alternate mixes of some of the original album's songs, other tracks recorded around the same time, and the associated single b-sides. These b-side songs were subsequently released on their Format compilation; the links below to those b-sides take you to my pages for those songs in my Format section. Other links take you to other appropriate sections of my website.

Further Listening 1995–1997