Outburn #28 "Once More With Feeling", late winter-spring'05

Once More With Feeling: Singles 1996-2004
10 out of 10
by Liz Ohanesian

CAREER SPANNING COMPILATION: While Placebo still retained underground status in the US, their albums have gone on to sell millions worldwide. Clearly, the band's androgynous presence mixed with blistering guitar sounds akin to the Pixies' heaviest work have made a global impact. For those who have never heard Placebo before, this is the best place to start. Spanning an eight-year career, Once More With Feeling is an excellent introduction to this stylish and articulate band. Here we find songs that play with sexuality ("Nancy Boy"), drug imagery ("Pure Morning", "Special K"), youth ("Teenage Angst") and love gone awry ("Without You I'm Nothing") in a clever fashion. The voice of Brian Molko is always on the edge of a breakdown against the furious drums, a guitar flurry, and keyboards--a sound that preceded the current crop of new wave influenced rock bands by years. For those already converted to the cult of Placebo, there are two new tracks. With "I Do", the band goes against its own catalog by writing a happy song --this is a pure, simple love song that still has the Placebo stamp upon it. In contrast, "Twenty Years" is a somber guitar piece that's more typical Placebo, a bit reminiscent of the work on Without You I'm Nothing, and a nice way to round out this collection.