"Black Market Music"

Alternative Press, Jun'01

Black Market Music

4 out of 5

by Jason Pettigrew

An unforgettable soundtrack to your heaviest bipolar episodes. British treble-rock trio Placebo have perfected a template for combining earshearing rock and manic somberness. The band's exploits of druggin' and fuggin' across the globe manifested themselves musically on 1998's Without You I'm Nothing. Black Market Music, however, depicts the dismal end of the party, when the room's littered with broken vodka bottles, unclean syringes and unopened boxes of condoms. And while it's easy to pay someone to tidy up the joint, cleaning up your personal headspace is a far more daunting task.

The block-rockin' bass line of "Taste In Men" frames singer Brian Molko's psychotic plea to an uninterested lover. The brisk, scraping guitar of "Days Before You Came" and "Special K" utilizes drug references to convey psychotic states of love and lust. On the decidedly non-rock end, the sullen "Blue American" relays bittersweet loathing, while "Peeping Tom" apologizes for disappointing others. Bassist Stefan Olsdal's piano is a perfect foil for Molko's fragile delivery, through which the singer searches for some kind of redemption.

Charging rock songs and austere balladry make this album resonate more than the morass of bad music currently plaguing us. This Placebo won't cure; it will only enable. Get dosed.