I remember hearing the first track to Placebo’s Without You I’m nothing almost 20 years ago. Back then I was listening to Black Sabbath, Metallica, some Van Halen, White Zombie. Lots of classic rock, because that was around the time that The Rock 103.5 gave up the ghost. The rock was a good radio station, they would play a good combination of old rock and newer stuff. But once it left the airwaves I was left adrift. Of course I ended up listening to alternative rock on q101 was a thing, so Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, and Soundgarden. So I probably heard Pure Morning and was all like “Weak” as I scrounged around thrift store cassette sections looking for loud rock music. I was just on rim of falling headfirst into harder, heavier metal, before rejecting my beloved Van Halen, before I picked up a single Motorhead album, before shaving most of my head and getting a mohawk, before I grew my hair out until it reached halfway down my back, when my heart was still unblackend with nary a crack in it, when there was hope for me.
Luckily the rest of the album really pulls it off. I like the slower stuff better than the seemingly more rock and roll stuff. But even the faster stuff is good, check out that opening riff in Brick Shithouse! That’s a high quality song too. But it’s weird how the next track, You Don’t Care About Us, suddenly smooths out. There’s a good amount of repetitive almost drone riffs, which I like. I dig the sonic wall of guitars in this. Very shoe gaze, but it’s not as deep sounding as that stuff. Placebo probably has a sensible amount of FX pedals at foot and sane 9 volt battery budget. A lot of songs remind me of this weird sunny sorrow. It’s not fun in the way I can’t imagine anyone doing Without You I’m Nothing at karaoke without breaking down and weeping, but it’s good stuff to listen to while you consider how much everything sucks. I’m shocked that these guys aren’t bigger over in the States. Maybe if the album had come out a few years earlier you’d see people wearing fake vintage Placebo t shirts alongside Nirvana and Pearl Jam ones. I liked how much of a bummer it is.
It would go good with: Some cheap red wine while you sit at a picnic in the park, but you’re still sad. For the angsty, almost goth, inner kid in you.
Favorite songs: Without You I’m Nothing, Allergic To (thoughts of mother earth), My Sweet Prince, Evil Dildo
I asked a few people for what albums I should listen to and quite a few responded. So I got a few to go to, which is great. I decided that instead of trying to decide between one or the other I’m going to listen to them as they were suggested to me in chronological order. Next up is Sex Prisoner’s Tannhauser Gate. It would be madness not to listen to that just based on the band and album names alone.