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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Placebo Stays True To Itself., September 3, 2009
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This review is from: Battle for the Sun (Audio CD)
Placebo's last album, Battle For The Sun, surprisingly, has been under a lot of criticism. It is true, that in their last album, the band has stepped outside the "Placebo box" and allowed their creative efforts to manifest themselves in an album that is not a typical Placebo production; however, the fact that the new album is different doesn't diminish the quality of the album: it is different, nevertheless great! In one of the interviews on the Placebo website, Brian Molko, has mentioned that Placebo tried to make the new album more "positive" and "universal" as opposed to their last album Meds that was very "dark" and saturated with personal pain; pain that was explored, poked at and examined, as if "under the microscope." Meds is my favorite album, and many would agree, that the "dark place" that Brian mentions, which inspired Meds, is the place where Placebo is at their best; there, in the "dark," Placebo is in their element, and has no equals. The band's ability to expose the darkest and most agonizing nuances of their personal experiences makes those who listen to their music appreciative of band's openness and makes it easier to connect to the emotions that infuse Placebo's music, because there is no questioning that those emotions are displayed in their most real form, no matter how horrific, embarrassing or painful.
However, one can also appreciate Placebo's attempt to shift their music into a more positive direction. Not every single experience in our life is a negative one, and it is interesting to see Placebo attempt to communicate those positive experiences through their music. Even though in the Battle For The Sun, Placebo has dropped their typical electronic sound, got rid of all the slow ballads, incorporated more positive and hopeful lyrics and infused every single song with an extreme level of energy, the band still managed to maintain the unique style which sets them apart from the rest of the rock bands. Brian's unique voice is as intoxicating as ever; it adds emotional and painful undertone to every song. Brian's high-pitch voice plays a role of a shadow against which the happier tonality of the album becomes not only more distinct, but also more dear. The lyrics of the songs are still engaging, they do not tell the story, but rather describe experiences and communicate emotional reactions associated with those experiences.
Even though the album is solid throughout, there are some extreme highlights: Kings Of Medicine, Breathe Under Water, Happy You Are Gone, Devil In The Details. Those songs not only possess the intensity so typical to Placebo, but also are so full of energy, borderline addictive energy, that after the last note is played one wants to replay the song over again. I think that with this album Placebo has proven that change is not a bad thing; it would have been much worse if the band ignored the fact that they are changing, as people and as a band, and tried to pretend to be who they no longer are. Staying true to themselves, is what allowed this band to be so successful, and to keep such a broad range of followers, since the beginning of their extensive career.
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