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Release (Pet Shop Boys album)

Release is the eighth studio album by English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys. It was released on 1 April 2002 by Parlophone.

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Background

After the release of their previous studio album, Nightlife, it was originally planned that they would release a greatest hits collection in the autumn of 2000 with the two new tracks "Positive Role Model" and "Somebody Else's Business". While recording the new songs for the hits collection it was decided to produce a full studio album instead.

The album reached number seven in the United Kingdom and number three in Germany. On its first release, a limited run of metallic effect embossed sleeves were available in a choice of four colours: grey, blue, pink or red. In the US, this limited run also came with a bonus CD including remixes and new tracks. The artwork was designed by Greg Foley of the New York design group and magazine publishers Visionaire and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package.

The album marked a significant departure from previous work, being guitar- and piano-driven. However, the album was made like their previous albums with most tracks mainly programmed on computers; however the sampled or synthesised guitars and drum sounds chosen often sound "real" and the synthesisers always present are sometimes used to sound like guitars (the solo in "Birthday Boy", for instance, or the opening figure of "Home and Dry"). Ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr was brought in later on in the sessions to play real electric and acoustic guitars on seven of the album's ten tracks in London, with "Home and Dry" being completed in Dublin, Ireland. Apart from the track "London", recorded in Berlin with producer Chris Zippel, Pet Shop Boys produced the album themselves and then commissioned Michael Brauer (who mixed the first two albums by fellow Parlophone artists Coldplay) to mix it.

The original version of the album had eleven tracks but "I Didn't Get Where I Am Today" was removed from the album before release and later became a bonus track on the 2004 single "Flamboyant". Other tracks recorded during the sessions for the album which ended up as B-sides are "Between Two Islands", "Searching for the Face of Jesus", "Sexy Northerner" and "Always". Another track, "Time on My Hands", appeared on the 2003 release, Disco 3.

The directors for all three music videos for the album's singles are photographers by trade: Wolfgang Tillmans directed "Home and Dry", Bruce Weber directed "I Get Along" (following his previous work on the "Being Boring" and "Se a vida é" videos), and Martin Parr directed "London". The Tillmans video, consisting almost entirely of footage of mice filmed at Tottenham Court Road tube station in the London Underground, is considered by some to have significantly undermined the commercial potential of the lead single, due to being deemed nearly unplayable by MTV and other music video channels.

Perhaps partly because of the modest commercial success of this album, and perhaps partly because of the habit of distancing themselves musically from their most recent work, Tennant and Lowe have since returned to their dance roots. One year after the release of Release, Pet Shop Boys released Disco 3 which included remixes of some of the songs from Release along with new material that they were working on at the time of writing/producing material for Release.

The album re-entered the UK Album Chart at number thirty in 2017 following the album's Further Listening 2001-2004 reissue.

Track listing

#"Home and Dry" – 4:21 #"I Get Along" – 5:49 #"Birthday Boy" – 6:26 #"London" – 3:46 #"E-Mail" – 3:55 #"The Samurai in Autumn" – 4:17 #"Love Is a Catastrophe" – 4:50 #"Here" – 3:15 #"The Night I Fell in Love" – 5:04 #"You Choose" – 3:10

US bonus disc

#"Home and Dry" (Ambient mix) – 5:29 #"Sexy Northerner" – 3:40 #"Always" – 5:06 #"Closer to Heaven" (Slow version) – 6:30 #"Nightlife" – 3:56 #"Friendly Fire" (Studio version) – 3:26 #"Break 4 Love" (UK radio mix) (with Peter Rauhofer) – 3:29 #"Home and Dry" (Blank & Jones mix) – 6:38

CD-ROM content: "Home and Dry" (video)

Further Listening 2001–2004

Personnel

  • Neil Tennant – vocals, guitar, keyboards
  • Chris Lowe – keyboards, drum programming, additional vocals on track 1

    ;Guest musicians
  • Pete Gleadall – programming and engineering on all tracks except 4
  • Johnny Marr – guitar on tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10
  • Jody Linscott – percussion on tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10
  • Steve Walters – bass guitar on tracks 2, 3 and 9
  • Chris Zippel – keyboards on track 4
  • "Little Mike" – guitar and bass on track 4

    Charts

    Weekly charts

    Year-end charts

    Certifications and sales