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Placebo

Without You I'm Nothing

(Virgin)

I must admit I never thought much of Placebo in the past. The camp outrageousness has been done to death to far better effect by Bowie and the rest of the glam rock crowd. Furthermore, their first album Placebo didn’t go far in convincing me there was much remotely interesting in their music. Well, I have now changed my mind about them based on their new album. Thankfully, Placebo have grown up and grown out of mere glam posturing. The two years leading up to Without You I’m Nothing saw Placebo touring incessantly, refining their sound and developing a new found lyric depth. Where lead singer Brian Molko describes Placebo as being “packed full of youthful vigor and lust,” he conceives of the new album as the more introverted comedown, dealing with personal issues of heartbreak and loneliness. By way of example, the pure pop hooks of “Pure Morning” have made this track a big hit in the U.K., but the thoughtful examination of friendship with women is refreshing and adult. Many of the songs on this album are fully realized ponderings on various types of interpersonal relationships, such as the musings on male promiscuity on “Scared Of Girls” and the tendency to live in one’s own head and resolutely refuse to communicate with a mate on “You Don’t Care About Us.”

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Sarah Zupko founded PopMatters, one of the largest independent cultural criticism magazines on the web, back in the Internet's early days of 1999. Zupko is a former Executive Producer for Tribune Media Services, the media syndication arm of the Tribune Company, and a 10-year veteran of Tribune. Her other pursuits involve writing historical fiction and research in the fields of Slavic and German history, as well as general European cultural and intellectual history. Zupko studied musicology, film, and drama at the University of Chicago and media theory at the University of Texas, where she received her M.A.


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