Sound — 9
Placebo are a particularly peculiar band. Although there are now only two members, Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal, they can still create such monumental and epic sounds. Their ability to mix soft, casual riffs with ground stomping, sleazy sections is an amazing feet. Their use of radical producing in the studio means that they have established themselves a position of pure oddness. But of course in a wonderful way. This is their third album, succeeding Without You I'm Nothing. Their are many classics on this album like Special K and Taste In Men but what I love about this album is its diversity. The song Spite and Malice, which contains the artist Justin Warfield, who provides a perfect backdrop of poetic rapping, is a true masterpiece. While Black-Eyed is a rhythmical mind bender hiding hints of techno, but still maintaining their Alternative/Indie vibe. There are of course many more techniques and styles hidden within this album. Listen to the song at the end of Peeping Tom and then listen to Slave to the Wage and you will see how fundamentally different this small band is.
Lyrics — 8
The line, "Cruising for pity and looking pretty as f--k" is one of the most powerful lines I have ever heard from this band, from any band in fact! It just begs you to sing along in full emotional sweat! While the powerfully honest Peeping Tom is a tear jerking, sweet song of sorrow. "'Cause you're the one, Who makes me feel much taller than you are, I'm just a peeping tom, On my own for far too long." That is just a taste of what these boys can do! In terms of actual singing, Brian's voice is almost beyond describable. It seems to vibrate every time he opens his mouth. A nasally kind of tremolo effect that instantly makes you feel very unnerved and unsettled. Yet you still feel a strong connection to it, as if he is singing about things that no one else dares to mention, but deep down, you know you have a desire or inclination to just, let out!
Overall Impression — 8
In my opinion I would compare this album to The Golden Age Of Grotesque by Marilyn Manson or And All That Could of Been by Nine Inch Nails. I would compare all of Placebo's music to something along those lines, not just this particular album. It is hard to describe the similarities, but it feels more raw than Meds. But yet it still has the odd use of effects on the guitars and on the keyboards, thus coinciding more with Nine Inch Nails. Hemoglobin is a truly characteristic and weird display of Placebo's sound. Its odd lyrics and Minor chord changes combine to create an epic in a small package. That's what I love about Placebo, they can imagine enormous scenarios and depict them in the most tiniest of ways. And visa versa. Taking minuscule, and seemingly pointless topics, and morphing them into something more believable and fervid. There is nothing that I can pick fault with that has any lasting grounds in this album. Although it doesn't match up to Meds, it still is probably my second favorite album of theirs. Followed by Sleeping With Ghosts. Slave to the Wage, Passive Aggressive, all great. There is not a dull song on the album. You can listen to this album over and over again, learning different ways in which to view the songs meanings. You can enjoy the subtle uses of overdubs in the vocals, especially with ear phones. Or you can just sit back and fall into the assumed world of Placebo. And ironically enough, that is exactly what the word means!