My first review so go easy on me guys.
Placebo is a 90's alternative band currently consisting of Brian Molko (vocals, guitar), Stefan Olsdal (bass guitar) and Steve Forrest. Through its existence, the band's style changed from punky alternative with raw guitar sounds (Placebo) and pure alternative (Without You I'm Nothing) to more experimental rock (Black Market Music, Sleeping With Ghosts, Meds) featuring some electronic sounds and even rap. However, their latest release (Battle for the Sun) is something I cannot define after several spins and is generally an above average record.
The reason of this sudden Sleeping With Ghosts review is that I recently bought the record and gave it a chance, even though I'm more of a Without You I'm Nothing kind of guy.
01. Bulletproof Cupid
A weird way for Placebo to open an album. This is new to them since they've never produced an instrumental. However, this track contains a pretty nice guitar work led by a simple, but effective chord progression that is very promising and acts as a nice opener. 4/5
02. English Summer Rain
Track 2 shows the more experimental side of Placebo. It starts with drums and some weird noise produced by an instrument unfamiliar to me which are later joined by Brian's voice. During the chorus there's a beautiful sound produced possibly by a sampler (not sure about this) which is present for the rest of the song. However, the lyrics are pretty repetitive which adds little boredom to the song. 3.75/5
03. This Picture
"This Picture" is one of the album highlights, even though it's a bit poppy and radio frequent. In the intro Brian doesn't use his high-pitched vocals which is very unlikely for him. The verse is nice and smooth, before entering the chorus when all the bend members blast their instruments. On other side, the lyrics are one of the most meaningful on the album. 4.5/5
04. Sleeping With Ghosts
Another album highlight showing that Placebo can make a great track using electronic elements. This song is fully electronic and has nothing to do with early Placebo blasting overpowered guitars, but is a beautiful mellow song with very strong, meaningful and beautiful lyrics. One of the best Placebo songs ever written. 5/5
05. The Bitter End
The first single off the album. The track is a mixture of Placebo's Without You I'm Nothing sound and some electronic parts which can be heard during the chorus. The verses contain well written and touching lyrics, which mixed up with the simple guitar riff together create a beautiful harmony. 4.5/5
06. Something Rotten
Here the album takes quite a shot. It's not that this track is awful or something, the thing is that it's highly experimental and just too weird to be produced by the band. It almost sounds like a trip-hop track, containing repetitive and weird sounds. Another thing, I have nothing against trip-hop, I actually love it, but this track gets boring and is too long to keep the listener's attention for 5 and a half minutes. 2.5/5
I know many people who find this song amusing, but for me is an averege rock song and I often find myself skipping it. Nothing outstanding, nothing special, nothing exiting. 2/5
08. Special Needs
In my opinion the best track on the album. Start with a mellow guitar sound, proceeding with Brian's amaizing vocals and deep lyrics. The melachonic sound of the verse morphs into a "bright" melody which opens the chorus. Very laid back and relaxing, yet strong and meaningful. 5/5
09. I'll Be Yours
Just an above averege track. The lyrics are good, but since that is not surprising for Placebo this song doesn't have anything unique. And there is the repetitive melody which is far from being boring, but certainly it's not satisfying. 2.75/5
10. Second Sight
One of the album's catchiest songs. Kicks off with catchy guitar and drums which are later joined by Brian's voice. It bears resemblance to some songs off the band's first release because of being fast-paced and slight more rocky than the majority of the songs on here. 3.75/5
11. Protect Me From What I Want
Many people prefer the french version (Protage Moi), but I like this better. This song (lyricly and musicly) is one of the darkst tracks on the album if not the darkest. It begins with a keyboard playing, followed by the drums and ultimately by Brian singing. The whole song is very good formulated and fits in perfectly in this album. Great stuff. 4.25/5
"Centrefolds" is practicly a perfect album closer. It's a beutiful and mellow ballad which contains some haunting parts that create contrast. The lyrics are also beautiful and enjoyable to sing along to. An ideal way to close an excellent album. 4.25/5
Overall rating: 3.9
With "Sleeping With Ghosts" Placebo succeeded to fuse together all the styles they've been through, making this record sort of an "guide" for listeners interested in alternative and unfamiliar with Placebo. Obviously, the strongest side of "Sleeping With Ghosts" are the lyrics. Don't get me wrong, these guys know hot to handle their instruments very well, but long time ago, when I listened to the cd for the first time, first thing I noticed were the outstanding and meaningful lyrics. Give this record a spin or two. If you are into alternative you will probably like it. Also, if you are new to Placebo and you like this album, then proceed with "Without You I'm Nothing" to reveal the band's full potential.
Sleeping With Ghosts
The Bitter End