If their previous album, 2000s Black Market Music, was disappointing, then this album...
Dan Tallis 2003-03-25
Sleeping with Ghosts is Placebo's fourth album. If their previous album, 2000s Black Market Music, was disappointing, then this album must be described as pitiful.
Admittedly, "The Bitter End", the recent single, is a good pop tune. It has just the right amount of dark, gothic atmosphere to please their fans and enough radio friendly guitars to please the new generation of indie kids.
But, their continuing attempts to be glamorous and 'different' just don't cut it in 2003, especially considering they're seven years into their career. At least the Manic Street Preachers have realised this; "We don't feel the need to dress up like tarts anymore" they wisely noted recently.
However, an album should ultimately be judged on the sum of its parts. And in this case the 12 songs here don't amount to a hill of beans.The tunes wander aimlessly and the album fails to get out of first gear. Gone is the passion and excitement that was so evident in past singles such as "Nancy Boy" and "Pure Morning". Track 2, "English Summer Rain", deals with Molko's fascination in our, err, varied climate. The song is about as exciting as a grey, rainy day in Slough.
More dour songs follow with "Protect Me From What I Want" and "Centrefolds". Here Molko's lyrics discuss subjects such as death and broken relationships. They provide enough material to fill at least one psychiatrist's notebook. The lyrics vary from the bizarre to the meaningless; Molko deals with serious issues, but doesn't provide any insight or answers.
Just because Placebo wrote a couple of good tunes a few years ago doesn't mean that this album is any more worthy of recognition than the equally poor records hundreds of unsigned bands churn out every week. There is plenty of good music out there far more worthy of your time and money. See the links below for just a few options.