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Black Market Music

4.5 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 8, 2001
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Editorial Reviews


The London-based trio Placebo carries on the modern-rock banner with this third collection of glam-influenced guitar pop. Black Market Music may not contain anything as immediately catchy as Without You I'm Nothing's "Pure Morning," but the dark hooks of "Taste in Men," "Special K," and "Slave to the Wage," with its Pavement sample, sink in deep after just a few listens. "Spite and Malice," featuring a guest turn from One Inch Punch rapper Justin Warfield, is a surprisingly successful marriage of Britpop and hip-hop, while the moody drone of "Passive Aggressive" showcases the band's more reflective side. And while songs about tumors and hemoglobin threaten to close the album on a lyrically bleak note, two bonus cuts change the mood: a reprise of Without You I'm Nothing's title track with Brian Molko's hero David Bowie joining in on vocals, and a cover of Depeche Mode's "I Feel You." Black Market Music isn't exactly the feel-good album of 2001, but it gives hope to those who still have faith in the future of Britpop. --Bill Forman

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Taste In Men
  2. Days Before You Came
  3. Special K
  4. Spite & Malice
  5. Passive Aggressive
  6. Black-Eyed
  7. Blue American
  8. Slave To The Wage
  9. Commercial For Levi
  10. Haemoglobin
  11. Narcoleptic
  12. Peeping Tom
  13. Without You I'm Nothing (Bonus Track)
  14. I Feel You (Bonus Track)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 8, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin Records Us
  • ASIN: B00005BC2Z
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,547 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 6, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Placebo's Black Market Music is an album that you can listen to from start to finish and never have to skip a song. The flow of the album always keeps the listener interested, each song having its own unique message and sound. If you are a fan of unique distortion, this is an album for you.
Brian Molko's voice is unlike anyone I've heard before. He entrances his audience with his jaded lyrics and melodic voice. His songs are about drugs, depression, and distorted love. The song "Commercial for Levi" is my personal favorite on the album, it is a excellent demonstration of Molko's soothing voice and eccentric lyrics: "You're the one who's always choking Trojan, you're the one who's always bruised and broken, drunk on immorality, valium and cherry wine, coke and ecstasy, you're gonna blow your mind."
"Spite & Malice" is a rap/rock song, Placebo brings in Justin Warfield a rapper from One Inch Punch to experiment with different sounds. "Spite & Malice" is a song which uses a card game as a metaphor for life. "You look well suited like you came to win. Lust, spite and malice, your degrees of sin."
"I was never faithful and I was never one to trust. Borderlining schizo and guaranteed to cause a fuss." This line from "Black-eyed" is my favorite Placebo lyric. Molko shows his peculiar personality in this song. In the song "Blue American," you hear the dark side of Molko's voice. A slightly annoying, yet intense song, "Haemoglobin" is an important addition to the album. "Special K" is a fusion of sex and drugs, the distortion in this song is brilliant. The album opens with "Taste in Men," where Molko serenades to a lost love: "Come back to me a while, change your taste in men." The guitar riffs on "Days Before You Came" are awesome.
Overall, Black Market Music is Placebo at their best and I recommend this album to anyone who loves a mixture of grunge and emo rock.
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Format: Audio CD
After Placebo's second album, 1998's Without You I'm Nothing, exceeded their 1996 self-titled debut in maturity and song craftsmanship, fans of the band expected this highly-anticipated album to take another giant leap in the band's repertoire. Opinions will inevitably vary, but how much you enjoy this album (and how much of it you enjoy) all depends on what kind of sound you'd like to hear from Placebo.
Those who enjoy the faster, higher-pitched, guitar-driven music (think of a young Smashing Pumpkins), as was mostly found on their self-titled debut and maaaybe occasionally on Without You I'm Nothing, will take a liking to "Days Before You Came" and "Spite & Malice".
The most commonly heard style on this album is the somewhat-energetic, often fast-paced glam-rock that was introduced (and used frequently) on Without You I'm Nothing. Key examples are "Special K", "Slave To The Wage", and "Commercial For Levi." These songs are upbeat, but don't expect them to get cheery. Nosiree.
Fans of Placebo's darkly mature, downtempo gloom ballads (kudos to Radiohead), that were quite frequent on Without You I'm Nothing, will find something to sway and shed a tear to in "Passive Agressive", "Blue American", and "Narcoleptic".
Lastly, on this album, the band introduces a listen of heavier, harder alt-glam with a sprinkle of industrial and techno on top, as is heard on "Taste In Men" (the album's first single), and "Haemoglobin".
Overall, Placebo fans will thoroughly enjoy Black Market Music, regardless of what style of the band's previous work they enjoy.
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Format: Audio CD
Placebo have forever been trapped between britpop and punk: no-one was ever quite sure which way they leaned. On third album 'Black Market Music' the take a step towards the heavier side.
'Taste In Men' was perhaps not the best choice for first single, with its groove-based chilling rock, but its a good song, the softer 'Slave To The Wage' sounds quite a bit like a standard Placebo single whilst 'Special K' is an infectious, heavy, storming punk number with an unbelievably fast chorus and some nifty guitar work.
Elsewhere 'Spite + Malice' is an excellent injection of rap into Placebo's Britpunk, 'Days Before You Came' is a less infectious version of Special K, 'Passive Agressive' finds them in a some introspective mood and 'Blue American' and 'Commercial For Levi' are scarily assured in their quiet music while the lyrics strike deep into the heart. Drugs is a them Placebo continuously hit, and the two songs which are entirely about them on the album are 'Special K' and 'Commercial For Levi'. Whilst Special K is a standard 'this is how it feels' song, Commercial For Levi finds them for the first time questioning drugs, and pleading for the user to stop (I understand the fascination/I've ever been there once or twice or more/But if you don't change your situation/Then you'll die, you'll die, you'll die, don't die/Please don't die).
Haemoglobin is another good alt-rock number with the album's trademark guitars, an finally Peeping Tom is heartbreaking and doubtless the album's best lyrics, finishing with the empty chorus I'm weightless/I'm bare/I'm faithless/I'm scared. As an album closer, it sets the album's tone as thoroughly bleak.
Black Market Music may not be your party album (although Taste In Men has a groove you could dance to and Special K is postively euphoric) but it certainly serves as excellent material for your misunderstood teen, with some great tunes along the way.
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