Placebo - Placebo (10th Anniversary Edition)

Cam 06/10/2006

Rating: 4/5

Do we really need more and more reissues? Do we need to be reminded how old we are? Sometimes we don't, but with marvellous records such as Everything Must Go, Different Class and this one being re-released this year, we really need to break the piggy bank.

More than 10 years ago, amongst Lad Culture and Britpop, appeared a trio of sexually ambiguous youngsters; they called themselves Placebo and treated topics such as despair, alienation and self-hate with an extra touch of glamour and androgyny. Their debut album was a treasure for outsiders everywhere (and I do mean everywhere), disaffected youth seemed to relate with Brian Molko's self-deprecating lyrics and the bands musical mixture of grunge and glam.
The album starts off with spot-on opener "Come Home" a call-to-arms for the unhappy ones that really sets the mood for what's to come.The first track is quickly followed by a Placebo classic: "Teenage Angst", two words which pretty much define the album itself; you can get the whole picture just by listening to Brian Molko singing:

"Since I was born I started to decay
Now nothing ever ever goes my way"

One can't help but wonder if he was cleverly trying to make this a concept album on the topic.
What follows are more catchy songs about weakness ("Bionic"), separation ("36 degrees") and loneliness ("Hang On To Your IQ"), soon after we find the centrepiece and classic anthem about sexual ambiguity: "Nancy Boy", which still is Placebo's biggest UK hit to date.

"I Know" lets us know that at least Molko is aware of his situation, "Bruise Pristine" is yet another attractive song that deals with defeatism, "Lady Of The Flowers" is the mandatory slow tune and "Swallow" is an experimental track accompanied by a load of gibberish for lyrics.
The B-Sides and Demos included as a bonus on the first disc show us that Placebo had enough material to make this a slightly longer album, "Paycheck" and "Slackerbitch" are the best out of the lot of shenanigans.

Let's face it; ten years ago it looked as if this was going to be the future of rock music - cold, soul-less, almost bionic. But still, who would've thought that a decade from that gloomy debut, Placebo would become arguably the most important British band outside Britain, certainly in continental Europe. At the end of the day, even though the band members themselves fail to recognize it, the album has aged well.

The DVD is filled with juicy extras including essential videos directed by Trevor Robinson, Howard Greenhalgh and the mighty Chris Cunningham; a bizarre yet ironic presentation of Teenage Angst on The Big Breakfast plus "that" ravishing Top of the Pops performance of Nancy Boy.

A real treat for fans and peeping toms alike.