Music

Placebo: Loud Like Love

Placebo are back after a four-year hiatus with a record that is unsurprisingly similar to their last bunch of albums.


Placebo

Loud Like Love

Label: Universal
US Release Date: 2013-09-17
UK Release Date: 2013-09-16
Amazon
iTunes

Placebo is the type of band you enjoy more for their consistency than their adaptability. The problem being, Placebo themselves don't seem to realize the sameness they exude from one record to the next. There are few variations from album to album, but that slight variation seemed to plateau in and around 2003's Sleeping With Ghosts. Every album since then--2006's Meds, 2009's Battle for the Sun, and most recently 2012's fairly good EP B3--has had no stylistic change whatsoever besides content. This brings us to their latest effort, Loud Like Love, whose biggest change in musical variation involves the introduction of a piano into Placebo’s “been-there-done-that” mix. They’re not daring enough to have it permeate through every track, but rather sprinkle it in strategic places so that you know this is actually a different album than the previous one.

Loud Like Love begins with, well, “Loud Like Love”, and it sounds like Placebo has taken a dramatically positive turn. On the track lead singer and guitarist Brian Molko sings “Love on an atom, Love on a cloud / To see the birth of all that isn't now / Can you imagine a love that is so proud? / It never has to question why or how”. It would seem our teenage angsty, drug abusing, bisexual promiscuous rockers are turning over a new leaf. It is somewhat nice to see a progressive contextual shift from artists who started on the narrow and bleak path, especially if they make more optimistic (or even cautiously optimistic) turns. However, with Placebo, Molko's delivery always sounds like that of a nasally tortured soul. Tracks like “Loud Like Love” or “Scene of the Crime”, while generally upbeat in nature, feel like downers.

“Too Many Friend”, besides being the lead single and accompanied by a bizarre video narrated by Bret Easton Ellis, contains the most awkwardly sung and written opening phrases to ever begin a Placebo song. To hear Molko sing “My computer thinks I’m gay / I threw that piece of junk away” is jarring and rather embarrassing. Even if it was meant to be humorous, Molko has a deadpan yell-sing approach that makes everything he sings sound very, very serious. The track continues “This is my last communique / Down the super highway / All that I have left to say in a single tome / I got too many friends / Too many people that I'll never meet / And I'll never be there for I'll never be there for / 'Cause I'll never be there.” Way to jump on that cultural concern of technological anti-social behavior there, guys.

By the time “Too Many Friends” rears its awkwardly phrased head, the crux of what Placebo is going for with this record has become all too apparent: they want to pull a Metric and investigate the nuances and conundrums of technology vs. physicality, all the while speaking to as young an audience as possible. The result is an inert record that will only truly satisfy the most loyal of fans who stuck through Battle for the Sun, their most boring record. Loud Like Love doesn’t have any of the punch of their midway records (Sleeping with Ghosts or Meds) nor does it have any of the insight of their early work (Placebo, Without You I’m Nothing or Black Market Music). It’s a disappointing yet completely listenable effort that suffers for being nothing more than a new Placebo record. At this point in the game, with so many albums under their belt, the band needs to pull out more stops in order to keep the masses engaged.

4


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

Great Peacock Stares Down Mortality With "High Wind" (premiere + interview)

Southern rock's Great Peacock offer up a tune that vocalist Andrew Nelson says encompasses their upcoming LP's themes. "You are going to die one day. You can't stop the negative things life throws at you from happening. But, you can make the most of it."

Music

The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.

Film

Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.

Books

The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.

Music

Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.

Music

King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.

Music

Jim O'Rourke's Experimental 'Shutting Down Here' Is Big on Technique

Jim O'Rourke's Shutting Down Here is a fine piece of experimental music with a sure hand leading the way. But it's not pushing this music forward with the same propensity as Luc Ferrari or Derek Bailey.

Music

Laraaji Returns to His First Instrument for 'Sun Piano'

The ability to help the listener achieve a certain elevation is something Laraaji can do, at least to some degree, no matter the instrument.

Music

Kristin Hersh Discusses Her Gutsy New Throwing Muses Album

Kristin Hersh thinks influences are a crutch, and chops are a barrier between artists and their truest expressions. We talk about life, music, the pandemic, dissociation, and the energy that courses not from her but through her when she's at her best.

Music

The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Solo Albums

Fleetwood Mac are the rare group that feature both a fine discography and a successful series of solo LPs from their many members. Here are ten examples of the latter.

Music

Jamila Woods' "SULA (Paperback)" and Creative Ancestry and Self-Love in the Age of "List" Activism

In Jamila Woods' latest single "SULA (Paperback)", Toni Morrison and her 1973 novel of the same name are not static literary phenomena. They are an artist and artwork as galvanizing and alive as Woods herself.

Film

The Erotic Disruption of the Self in Paul Schrader's 'The Comfort of Strangers'

Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers presents the discomfiting encounter with another —someone like you—and yet entirely unlike you, mysterious to you, unknown and unknowable.

Music

'Can You Spell Urusei Yatsura' Is a Much Needed Burst of Hopefulness in a Desultory Summer

A new compilation online pulls together a generous helping of B-side action from a band deserving of remembrance, Scotland's Urusei Yatsura.

Music

Jess Cornelius Creates Tautly Constructed Snapshots of Life

Former Teeth & Tongue singer-songwriter Jess Cornelius' Distance is an enrapturing collection of punchy garage-rock, delicate folk, and arty synthpop anthems which examine liminal spaces between us.

Books

Sikoryak's 'Constitution Illustrated' Pays Homage to Comics and the Constitution

R. Sikoryak's satirical pairings of comics characters with famous and infamous American historical figures breathes new and sometimes uncomfortable life into the United States' most living document.

Music

South African Folk Master Vusi Mahlasela Honors Home on 'Shebeen Queen'

South African folk master Vusi Mahlasela pays tribute to his home and family with township music on live album, Shebeen Queen.

Music

Planningtorock Is Queering Sound, Challenging Binaries, and Making Infectious Dance Music

Planningtorock emphasizes "queering sound and vision". The music industry has its hierarchies of style, of equipment, of identities. For Jam Rostron, queering music means taking those conventions and deliberately manipulating and subverting them.

Music

'History Gets Ahead of the Story' for Jazz's Cosgrove, Medeski, and Lederer

Jazz drummer Jeff Cosgrove leads brilliant organ player John Medeski and multi-reed master Jeff Lederer through a revelatory recording of songs by William Parker and some just-as-good originals.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.