by porkchop182 USER (4 Reviews)
June 15th, 2007 | 48 replies

Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Once Upon A Time Placebo were just a bunch of kids playing music. To me this is their best album, it contains something fresh and exciting that they havent offered in years.

This is my first review so go easy on me guys = )

Placebo is (at this stage):
Brain Molko- lead vocals, guitar, keyboard, harmonica and saxophone
Stefan Oldsdal- Vocals, bass guitar, keyboard and second guitar
and Robert Schultzberg- drums, percussion

Placebo was formed when, in 1994, former schoolmates Brain Molko and Stefan Oldsdal ran into each other at South Kensington station and decided to form a band. For a short time the band were known as ashtray heart, Brain and Stefan accompanied by Steve Hewitt a friend of Molko who played the drums began playing small gigs around London.

After about 5 of these gigs the band began attracting the attention of various record companies but due to Hewitts commitments with another band he withdrew his position and was replaced by Robert Schultzberg. In the January of 1996 the band, now known as Placebo signed with Hut records and from there recorded their self-titled release.

Come Home:
Begins with a simple drum beat which is then backed by a palm muted guitar riff finally joined by some simple bass. The verses are cut up with singing and the opening riff of the song. A strong opener that is both attention catching and appealing, but not the best song on the album. 4/5

Teenage Angst:
This is the song that introduced me to Placebo and one of their best as well. The song hooks you from the first note to the last desperate lyric. Although the song is about teenage problems and depression “since I was born I started to decay, now nothing ever, ever goes my way” it is reasonably uplifting and the main guitar riff is recognizable immediately. The song doesn’t display any insane solos or great lyrics but the simplicity and theme of the song is genius. 5/5

The next song takes a step down. It begins with bass solo which is soon joined by Molko and Schultzberg. From the amazing simplicity of Teenage Angst comes a song that it is over used in, only 7 words in a 5 minute song becomes slightly tedious but Molko’s solos score some brownie points. 3/5

36 Degrees:
Where to start? The very first Placebo single, this song wasn’t accepted by the music community at all, but my favorite Placebo song of all time. The first time I heard this song I was inspired and couldn’t stop listening. It hit me from the hi-hat hammering drumming and meaningful lyrics by Molko in the into. To the cleverly placed guitar solos by Oldsdal (it’s my understanding he plays baritone guitar in this song). Lyrics such as “I was more than blind, lost without a clue, thought I was getting caret gold but what I got was you” dragged me into the song. The chorus breaks down slightly and places emphasis on the lyrics. It also provides a needed short break from the fast pace of the rest of the song. I can not find a fault in this entire song. The lyrics, instruments, every part of this song is brilliant. Buy this album for this song, or just download it or whatever. 5/5

Hang Onto Your IQ:
When a song is placed after the albums best it always suffers. In this case it affects my listening of this song. Musically the band isn’t offering much, it lacks layers which the song before used so well. The lyrics of the song are slightly jumbled in my opinion, one moment Molko is discussing the value of your identity the next he is telling us he’s lonely. All in all a decent song but its position on the album does make it suffer. 3.5/5

Nancy Boy:
The song that made Placebo who they are on the charts, it was one of the peaks of their commercial success hitting #4 on the UK charts. The song opens with some Molko guitar strumming which is then joined by the bass and drums. The verse of the song is instantly catching, the slightly out of time singing adds to the effect. With a powerful chorus that stands tall in the song it is obvious to see why the song appealed to the charts. I am still trying to work out whether the song is about a male or female, maybe both (Molko been bisexual) but whatever goes I guess. 4.5/5

I Know:
This song is a welcomed change from the electric guitar, electric bass and drums. The song opens with acoustic guitar and possibly a didgeridoo. The verse consists of an acoustic guitar and percussion. The lyrics of the song are sung very heartfelt and are easy to relate to “I know you’ve got me rapped around your finger”. The chorus picks up slightly and fits in well with the song. This song provides a well needed breathe of fresh air and is the most relatable song on the album. 4.5/5

Bruise Pristine:
Every time I listen to this song I feel so uneasy for some reason, to me this song creates a great mood and seems much darker than the rest of the album, the clever guitar riff that is used in the verses and deep lyrics helps establish this darker mood. This song is standout on the album, the only criticism I can say is the instrumental section in the middle of the song does stretch out for to long. 5/5

Lady of the Flowers:
This song has a very different beginning than the other songs on the album and slows down the album from the anxious Bruise Pristine. The verses don’t contain much emphasis on instruments and is all spoken. It then enters a singing segment by Molko. The chorus of the song is really powerful and striking to me, with meaningful lyrics sung in a slightly regrettable tone. “Confused and wrecked with self doubt. She stole the keys to my house and then she locked herself out”. Again the band explore something new and different on the album, this song has so much meaning to me. 5/5

Hmm. This song is entirely spoken-word and creates a similar mood to Bruise Pristine. There really isn't much to this song, it lacks the diversity and dimension to be regarded highly on this album. The song repeats over and over for almost 5 minutes. It's a real strain listening to the entire song start to finish. The song does score points though for been something new and different from the band, the reflective tone does make it a suitable album finisher.

All in all a fantastic album, Placebo have created a work of art in some of the songs but the fillers (bionic and swallow) do drag down my rating of the album. The diversity of the record makes it one of a kind. I suggest buying this album first out and gving it a few listens if you are interested in Placebo.

Favourite Songs (in order):
36 Degrees
Teenage Angst
Lady of the flowers
Bruise Pristine
Nancy Boy
I Know

user ratings (458)
other reviews of this album
mytherlie (4.5)

nomiddlename (5)
An understated indie rock classic....

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 15th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Well thats about it. It took a while but its all done

Please offer any advice or criticism for my future reviews

Thanks guys!

Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2007


Hey, welcome to the site. Great review and format.
I have to disagree with you when you say that this is their best album, but it's not a bad album by any means.

June 15th 2007


Good review for a track by tracker, definitly not their best album.

Nancy boy is a ripping track though.

June 15th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. I like the album and can't believe they don't play any of this material live anymore. Nancy Boy is still an awesome single, great lyrics.

June 15th 2007


thanks for this review cuz ive been trying to remember the song nancy boy and who sang it cuz i remember the video for it. i used to watch it all the time when the song came out but i couldnt think of who it was til know. loved that video. i think ill check this album out

June 16th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

It's a tossup between this, without you I'm nothing and Meds for their best album but i think this album just does it for me because as a whole it is very powerful. Both meds and without you I'm nothing have brilliant songs but then it is dragged down by much poorer songs.

Thanks for the positive feedback guys!! And it is a shame they dont play much of this live anymore Nancy Boy is amazing live.

June 22nd 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Great 'effing album.

May 6th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

I've only heard a couple tracks from this cd, not as good as their newer stuff but still has that originality to it.

November 16th 2009


still think this is pretty awesome.

July 21st 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

I have no idea why it took me so long to get around to their first album, but I regret not doing it sooner. Every song on this is great. Really, really great.

Digging: Jackson C. Frank - Jackson C. Frank

September 29th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0


April 18th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

Album version of Nancy Boy smokes the single version in every single way.

February 26th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0

the past will always catch you up as you run faster

August 22nd 2016


Album Rating: 3.0

I adore the album art. Nancy Boy is timeless

August 22nd 2016


Yeah, the album art works really well for the album I think. I remember first hearing Nancy Boy, it was something totally alien to my 5 or 6 year old self - still love it now.

August 22nd 2016


Album Rating: 3.0

I knowww you want the sin without the sinner

August 22nd 2016


These were so 'grunge-lite' back in '96. They'd missed the boat by four years but were going for some androgynous, nirvana, rock nonsense that appealed to girls. The whole thing was tired before they even strummed a note.
Nancy Boy is a classic though.

August 22nd 2016


you relate to that one eh zak

August 22nd 2016


Album Rating: 4.5

Without You I'm Nothing is a better album

August 22nd 2016


Album Rating: 3.0

"These were so 'grunge-lite' back in '96. They'd missed the boat by four years but were going for some androgynous, nirvana, rock nonsense that appealed to girls. The whole thing was tired before they even strummed a note. Nancy Boy is a classic though. "


Nancy Boy sucks, there's like 4 other songs here that are miles better than it and their next two albums btfo out of this

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