Sleeping With Ghosts
's newest cd, and quite truthfully my favorite of theirs. Much like how Black Market Music
felt like the black cover picture and the black cd artwork, this whole album feels like the evocative grey ghost-like world contained on the cover and artwork. When I bought this record it was a very cold grey and foggy Halloween
day, and if I may say so it was the perfect day to hear this record for the first time. It is full of the cold winter air, and the emotional bleakness of experience.
It begins with a instrumental song titled "Bulletproof Cupid", which is fast heavy and catchy at the same time. It is a very good opener and leads us directly to the second song "English Summer Rain", which finds Brian Molko getting sick of the grey and wet days in England. "Always stays the same, nothing ever changes, English Summer Rain seems to last for ages" is the main refrain sung throughout. The main thing I think any Placebo fan who has heard earlier material will notice is the lack of guitars. Placebo has always been a guitar driven band, and this distinct lack of them is both startling and very interesting. This is a perfect song to begin a record with, as it defies all previous thoughts we may have had of them.
Then with "This Picture" the guitars come back, and this peculiar demented song, which was perfect for a single, starts. The video seems to say that this song is about some sort of fashion queen, or at least the heroin chic kind of model. It's another good song on a record of good songs.
Next comes "Sleeping with Ghosts", a dark song combining love with world destruction. I wonder what exactly this is supposed to mean, which dampens it a bit for me, but it's not bad. I like the chorus; "Dry your eyes, soulmate dry your eyes, cause soulmates never die." I guess the song is about love in a dark world, not a bad subject. Musically Placebo again moves from their previous world, as this is almost a traditional ballad. Well almost.
After the quiet sounds of the title track the power is amped up with "The Bitter End" which finds Placebo creating sounds closer to their previous records. Yet there is something different here, a digital edge, a kind of down stroke played darkness. It's definatly a great song, with great lyrics and a very intense sound.
"Something Rotten" moves into a electronic realm, slightly similar to Radiohead on Kid A but still very much Placebo. I like the song, but many feel it is the worst on here, I really have to disagree, it's simply the furthest from their previous work, and there's nothing wrong with that.
"Plasticine" is kind of a stupid song, and yet it's very catchy, however it is really my least favorite on here. There's too much preaching, and one doesn't listen to Placebo for preaching.
"Special Needs", is probably my favorite Placebo song. Something about it is so haunting, so evocative of a relationship gone wrong, where both sides still long for each other, but there's a block between them. It's a beautiful and moving song, and the video is one of the best I've ever seen, however I don't think you'd be seeing it on MTV much.
"I'll Be Yours" reminds me a bit of a band like Clinic, as it is a droning song, going along on a kind of galoping riff. It has no chorus and is kind of a giant cresendo, where none of the tensions are ever assuaged. A very good interesting song.
"Second Sight" reminds me of alot of their older songs, it's just presented with a harder feeling. As odd as it sounds it's almost harder than many of their older songs, even ones off of Black Market Music. It's very catchy and yet dark and agressive at the same time.
"Protect me From what I want" is probably my second favorite song on the record. I can't really place why, but something about the dark and resigned feeling of the song attracts me. It's almost the story of a person who lived hard and now has nothing. It's such a dark song, and even with the chorus it still relieves no tensions, it simply is, and then ends. One of the best songs on this record for sure.
"Centrefolds" ends the record on a sentimental note, like most Placebo enders. However, there is no secret track to speed things up again, it is the ending, and a dark one it is. Conceptually it's a continuation of the last song, as if the two who were left "all alone" now long for each other, but there's no escape from the pain, as one looses life. The narrator pleades the other to "Be Mine", but there's something resigned as he says "It's wrong, I've been waiting far too long, for you to be mine" after he pleades "I refuse to let you die, come on fallen star, I refuse to let you die." It's at once angry and resigned, and the band plays the song masterfully, making this into the perfect ending.
To me there seems a kind of concept going throughout the record, love can conquer, but sometimes not soon enough. It's a wonderful record, and is perhaps Placebo's best so far, however that is arguable as all their records are classics. This I feel, is a new beginning for Placebo, a new world, and we'll see where they go from here.