Placebo Black Market Music

Placebo are tortured souls. Pain, anguish and blah, blah, blah. When they released their eponymous debut album in 1996, their androgynous, sexual and narcotic torment was interesting subject matter and the tunes were fast, poppy and catchy. Without You I’m Nothing, their second album, was basically just the same album, with different titles, but it still had some quality moments. Black Market Music is the downward spiral, with some of the worst songwriting ever witnessed. Brian Molko has become a parody of himself: a nasty sex-dwarf that decks himself out in women’s clothes and make-up to help him understand the world around him. His ability to pen a good tune has become the ability to write a good joke, plaster it with some dark sounding bass and guitars and sell it as a hit single. Case in point would be “Special K,” a song that either compares someone’s ruthless hold like the drug or the cereal, who would know with Placebo. However, the grandest moment on this record is “Spite & Malice,” which will always be known as the song that ruined Placebo’s career. A balls-out hip-hop song led by the chant of “dope, guns, fucking in the streets,” this song includes one of the worst attempts at a genre crossover since Vanilla Ice became Korn. Three skinny white guys dressed in tight black PVC suits accompanying Bomb The Bass’s Justin Warfield is definitely not one of hip-hop’s shining moments. And what may be the saddest thing of all with Black Market Music is that the best tune samples Pavement’s “Texas Never Whispers.” There is no mercy in this world and Placebo has shown that with this atrocity of an album. (Virgin)