Placebo
Black Market Music


4.0
excellent

Review

by Parallels/sonicspeed500/sonic2/wes/leslie/Reverse Perpendicu USER (28 Reviews)
August 20th, 2011 | 23 replies | 3,994 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: But I don't care for myself

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Following a mass influx of hype drawn from their previous album ‘Without You I’m Nothing,’ the British alt-rock band Placebo entered the studio to record their expected follow-up; a dark and powerful record that would be entitled Black Market Music. It turned out to be their most complex, requiring nine months to record a dark emulation of previous two albums. With androgynous singer Brian Molko and his unique tuning style, the band is often pictured as a gay/bisexual icon. Their music often covers subjects such as fetishes and the sexual themes of transgenderism, including their first major hit ‘Nancy Boy,’ and the strangely beguiling lyrics of ‘Pure Morning:’ “A friend in need is a friend indeed, a friend with weed is better, A friend with breasts and all the rest, a friend who's dressed in leather.” Black Market Music doesn't change from that aspect, starting off with the pounding machine-like Taste in Men, another piece of mood rock that attempts to rival their past hits with twisted gusto. Passive Aggressive plays its subtle role on the record, however shortly fulfilling, and Days Before You Came is arguably similar to another Placebo song, Brick Shithouse. Placebo allows themselves to have fun on Black Market Music, including Brian's wiry vocals alongside hip-hop artist Justin Warfield for the standout angst of Spite and Malace. Placebo also experiments amid double choruses on Special K, a song that includes unique lyrics that stand out from the rest, about Ketamine.“I'll describe the way I feel; you're my new Achilles' Heel. Can the savior be for real? Or are you just my seventh seal?”

Placebo's sound is unlike the flood of other alternative rock bands; their introverted sound separates the band from others in the genre. One can't help but believe they have earned their fan's idolization because of their originality. Instead retreading ‘carpe diem’ and living life to the fullest, they simply act and explain the experiences along the way, as well as the events that have led their life to where it is now. They allow their dark amenities to be judged by everyone. Black-Eyed holds the story of a troubled childhood; another one fitting of Placebo's style, with a signature drum fill it holds the acceptability and composure to the album. It easily flows into a somber sequel to the aforementioned song, entitled Blue American, a tribute to the mother, "for all the times she showed me wrong, for all the times she sang God's song". The sincerity is there even when it's rough, and the bitter taste tells a tale of problems never solved. Placebo retains the wondrous self-deprecating vocals without bringing the dreadful ‘emo’ slang into play. Placebo have had unfortunate events of course, and at least they present them with honesty and capability. Slave to the Wage is a sense apart from the rest, acting as a “song with a message” to those dreading the 9-to-5 job, and the working class that works itself into an early grave.

Musicians will often state that the best thing to do for your album is to place the better tracks towards the front of your album (or at least the ones you want them to hear first). This way, people will hear the better material first and crave more, rather than never committing to listening to the rest because the opener was too dull. Placebo certainly took that to heart, placing their two weaker songs – either unfinished or unpolished - to the back of the album. Here is where Black Market Music tends to grow out of place. Haemoglobin repeats its own title a number too many, and with an apathetic vocal line, the song is too tender to have been at the record's front. The remaining melodies and parts in the song are still solid, and the backup vocals are impressive at least. Narcoleptic trades repetitive vocals for a lukewarm aura, and it is comfortable being too low to the ground to where the result is worth little effort for it to sink in. For those who enjoyed every song up to this point, Narcoleptic will no doubt be a dream song. Often, Black Market Music is taken a bit too brash by those who critiqued it as a clash of sounds attempting to make an above average album. It's important to note that Black Market isn't immature. Placebo have maturely created impenetrable set of music with subtle hooks and carefully placed signature moves. It never stands out as ‘holier than thou’ and it maintains a special place in the scene for those who have truly had a troubled past and do not demand attention. If Without You I'm Nothing isn't their magnum opus, then this is easily their strongest accomplishment and their most harrowing set of songs.

Rating: 3.9/5.0



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Parallels
August 20th 2011



6640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Screw it, I'm going summary-less.
I know theres at least 5 of you Placebo fans lurkin' about regularly.

Dreamflight
August 20th 2011



1760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That was a nice read for sure.

This is Placebo's finest album imo.

Goatlord
August 20th 2011



405 Comments


My ex-girlfriend used to listen to these guys A LOT.

DeadStarShine
August 20th 2011



773 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pos'd for acclaiming the album. It's awesome.

You should correct this though:

[b]Passive Aggressive[/i]


Parallels
August 20th 2011



6640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Was just re-proofreading it and I didn't even notice. Thanks

iFghtffyrdmns
August 20th 2011



7047 Comments


good review sonic, i'm not all that much into alt rock though so I doubt i'll be checking this. One thing worth fixing, you got a little repetitive near the end of the review"
"...tends to grow out of place. Haemoglobin tends to repeat its own title a number too many, and with an apathetic vocal line, the song is too tender to have been at the record's front. The remaining melodies and parts in the song are still solid, and the backup vocals are impressive at least. Narcoleptic tends to suffer from similar tendencies. The song trades repetitive vocals for a lukewarm aura, and it [b]tends to[b] enjoy being..."

I would just fix that and change some of the word choice around, cause it does read a little dull in that part with all the repetition. Either way, nicely done with the write up.

Parallels
August 20th 2011



6640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fixed it, thanks for the heads up IFghtffyrdmns.

bloc
August 20th 2011



34499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Used to listen to this band a lot

Digging: He Is Legend - I Am Hollywood

bakkermaarten007
August 20th 2011



3151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You nailed it. Good review. Now If only you could review 'Without You I'm Nothing' and give it the attention it deserves by giving it a 5

bakkermaarten007
August 20th 2011



3151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

iFghtffyrdmns, Placebo leans towards emo rock, especially their first three albums could be categorized in the Punk section.

foreverendeared
August 20th 2011



14678 Comments


"emo rock"

lol okay never listening to this guy again

bakkermaarten007
August 20th 2011



3151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Get a grip, Brian Molko's lyrics are very dark and the instrumentals are very 'punk' (lol, don't know
how to explain it). But Placebo is an obsession of mine, they have made my expectations in music that
much higher, I'm very critical towards bands thanks to them.

btw: "Placebo retains the wondrous self-deprecating vocals without bringing the dreadful ‘emo’ slang
into play."
I would like to state that it is due to Brian Molko's wonderful songwriting, other lyricists can't
express themselves that way without using that 'dreadful emo slang'. The guy is pretty smart, you
should listen to some interviews.

foreverendeared
August 20th 2011



14678 Comments


Did you just tell me to get a grip after you called this "emo rock?"

bakkermaarten007
August 20th 2011



3151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh dear, 'leans towards'... Placebo is my top played artist, I should know.

foreverendeared
August 20th 2011



14678 Comments


Exactly, you should know.

Acanthus
August 20th 2011



9510 Comments


"Running Up That Hill" is the only track I have by these guys, it's a straight 5.

Digging: Symphony X - Paradise Lost

bakkermaarten007
August 20th 2011



3151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Whatever, I'm gonna stop it here. I can see where this is going.
Acanthus, Running Up That Hill is nice, but what you should try is 1. Without You I'm Nothing (WITHOUT
David Bowie) 2.My Sweet Prince 3. Leni 4.Blind 5. The Bitter End
You're welcome =)

foreverendeared
August 20th 2011



14678 Comments


Lets just go with this: you read this was "emo rock" by Rolling Stone 3 years ago and decided that they must be right. There is NOTHING emo about Placebo.

bakkermaarten007
August 20th 2011



3151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Foreverendeared, please stop it already. I never read Rolling Stone in my entire life. I look for music via my own methods, I tend to neglect music that's been praised by numerous media.

foreverendeared
August 20th 2011



14678 Comments


It was just a general example. Just don't call this emo rock m'kay?



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