Placebo - A Song To Say Goodbye

Bill Cummings 08/05/2006

Rating: 2/5

Opening up with a stuttering mixture of piano notes and percussion, Brian Molko's indignant voice suddenly enters the scene, distorted, menacing guitar lines bubble underneath the rhythm before the chorus explodes over ground. Placebo-by-numbers lyrics are enlivened by a rather clumsy Neil Young quote: “Your needle and your damage done,” chiming into the main themes of the song. Dealing with the fragility of human behaviour and nature, according to Brian it's a song about “your friends who are making extremely bad lifestyle choices.” When once it was Molko making those bad choices, now he's coolly observing others, slightly detached above this serenely atmospheric rock music.

The problem with “A Song To Say Goodbye” is not that it's a bad track, but that it's hardly divisible from many of the album tracks on Placebo's last studio album, “Sleeping With Ghosts”. There isn't any discernable progression in Placebo's sound - the building alt. rock, the slightly clunky lyrics (that always have to rhyme!) and Brian's usual waspish, slightly grating, voice. Placebo were, when they first emerged in the mid-nineties, a vibrant band veering down an angsty post grunge/glam rock highway, but if they can't do anything but repeat themselves maybe it's time Placebo themselves said goodbye.