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Battle For The Sun

4.1 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 9, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

2009 release, the sixth studio album from the British Alt-Rock trio. With a 13 year history that takes in five studio albums, 10 million album sales, breakdowns, clean ups and the dizzy swell of global success, Placebo return with their first album since the release of Meds in 2006. Battle For The Sun was recorded over three months by producer Dave Bottrill (chosen by the band largely because of his work with Tool) in his Toronto studio and mixed in London by Alan Moulder. Battle For The Sun is a startling, alive, vital and boundary-vaulting record that marks a whole new era for a band that were in need of a change.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 9, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vagrant
  • ASIN: B0026UV77C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,895 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Elizabeth M. Vine on June 17, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I have been a fan of Placebo since 2003 when I went into a record store and on a whim bought Sleeping with Ghosts. I have never looked back. Sleeping with Ghosts is a truly genius album, and to this day 6 years later, one of my favourites. In 2006, Placebo released Meds. It was a decent album, with some great highlights (Space Money in particular) and now in 2009, here is Battle for the Sun. I will admit that at first i was bias, because this is the first time in 10 years an album has been done without ex-drummer Steve Hewitt. This suddenly turned to excitement when i first heard the title track 'Battle for the Sun'. It was the perfect song, a truly well rounded Placebo sounding effort that had me anticipating the new album.
When the special edition arrived on my doorstep (in two beautiful colour books no less) and I listened to it the first time one thought came to mind: this doesn't sound like Placebo. Where's the mega ballad? Where's the alternative and grunge type sounds? Then you have to remember that they've grown up. How many times can Brian write songs about androgony and drugs? You have to remember he's 36 and has a young son now. Things have changed and I think that's why Placebo have lasted as long as they have. Every album is different. Without You I'm Nothing (their second effort) was very slow and soft, Black Market Music (their third album) was very electronic and Sleeping with Ghosts was...perfect.
After a few more listens, some songs started to stand out, Ashtray Heart, Bright Lights and Breathe Underwater, just to name a few. Still, Battle for the Sun would have to be my favourite song on the album because it is the only song that sounds truly like a Placebo song.
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Format: Audio CD
I loved Placebo's 2006 release "Meds" and was looking forward to this. For those who liked that album, this is more of the same but with horns featured subtly.

The lyrics might be repetitive in places, but they fit in with the feel of the song. Title track "Battle of the sun" is a perfect example, a slow burning rocker progressing to a grand crescendo with Brian Molko's strangled vocals absolutely soaring towards the end.

"Ashtray heart" is a sunny sing-along, while "For what it's worth" with its choppy riff wouldn't be out of place on an REM album (especially "Monster") and features a nice horn section. Taking down the tempo somewhat is "Devil in the details" with a blistering riff in the chorus. "Bright lights' is a pulsing number with chiming guitars, Molko singing in lower register, and affecting lyrics; "A heart that hurts, is a heart that works". True! Nice and sunny is "The never-ending why".

"Julien" features a low droning bassline and hushed vocals set to a stomping almost Disco beat, leading to a rocking orchestral second half. Definitely one of the finer moments of this disc.

Other standouts include the bouncy "Breathe underwater" and the trio of ballads "Happy you're gone" (with an almost lullaby-like first verse and bittersweet lyrics - "See me in the eyes of another's child/turn away when you see me walking by"), "Come undone", and the "Kings of medicine" (with a nice plucked guitar intro, gentle claps, and triumphant sounding horns at the end).

Every bit as good as "Meds"
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Battle for the Sun has some real standout songs and that's good, but it also plays up the inconsistencies. Somehow, with no really bad tracks on it, the album almost/sorta/doesn't cohere. (I give it five stars anyway, because anything I love gets five.) I couldn't put my finger on where it fails to knock me off my feet, the way Meds, their previous album, did. I think it has to do with the first two tracks. Kitty Litter and Ashtray Heart are fun, fast, snarky and quirky, but they can't live up to the rest of this soaring, scathing, heartbroken and hopeful effort from Placebo. For me, the album really starts with track 4, For What It's Worth. If you're having a hard time loving this Placebo release, try listening to it from track 4 onward, and then backtracking to tracks 1 through 3. They really should have ended the album with the title song anyway. That's my read. And don't get me wrong. I mostly kinda really love this album. Like their best work, or life's best experiences, it's fun, it's funny, and it hurts a little. Or a lot. In a good way, though.
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Format: Audio CD
First off, I really liked the direction Placebo went with their last album "Meds", where the band incorporated more electronic influences into their music, as opposed to their usual live sounding style. Well, with the addition of a new, young and energetic drummer, Placebo has gone back to their more live rock sound as heard on previous three albums before Meds. With "Battle for the Sun" Placebo keeps their old sound, but at the same time spices things up by this time adding orchestral elements (i.e. violins and trumpets) to their music here and there to create a moodier atmosphere. Also, on BFTS the general sound of the music and lyrics have a more uplifting feel to them, with redemption being the major theme of this album. To be honest, I was hoping the band would continue in the direction Meds was going... but then again they did add the song "Bright Lights", which is a great Meds sounding song.

Overall, BFTS is a good album that on its own terms does not disappoint, and it is safe to say it is definitely on par with the rest of the bands consistently strong discography. My current favorite song on the record is "Speak in Tongues" uuuhhhh.... so good!
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