Battle for the Sun

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Battle for the Sun
Studio album by Placebo
Released 8 June 2009
(see release history)
Recorded Metalworks Studios
Mississauga, Ontario, CAN
August - September 2008
Genre Alternative rock
Length 52:15
Label PIAS (Worldwide)
Vagrant (USA/Canada)[1]
Universal (Philippines)
Solitary Man (Japan)
Producer David Bottrill
Placebo chronology
Meds
(2006)
Battle for the Sun
(2009)
B-Sides: 1996–2006
(2011)
Singles from Battle for the Sun
  1. "For What It's Worth"
    Released: 1 June 2009
  2. "The Never-Ending Why"
    Released: 14 September 2009
  3. "Ashtray Heart"
    Released: 21 September 2009
  4. "Bright Lights"
    Released: 8 February 2010
Redux Edition
Cover of the 2010 Redux Edition.

Battle for the Sun is the sixth studio album by alternative rock band Placebo, released in 2009 on Solitary Man Records, Vagrant Records, Universal Records, and PIAS Recordings.

Production and recording[edit]

David Bottrill produced the record, after having previously worked with Tool, Muse, Silverchair, Remy Zero, and dEUS. James Brown, who worked on the band's 2006 album Meds, engineered.[2] It is also the first album with the new drummer, Steve Forrest. Recording took place at Metalworks Studios, Mississauga, Ontario.

On Battle for the Sun, the band utilize new instruments, such as trumpets and saxophones.[3] Molko even experimented with the Springtime (experimental electric guitar made by Yuri Landman).[4] The material has influences from such bands as PJ Harvey and My Bloody Valentine.[5] It is a heavier-sounding record compared to its predecessor. Frontman Brian Molko said on the concept of the album:

We've made a record about choosing life, about choosing to live, about stepping out of the darkness and into the light. Not necessarily turning your back on the darkness because it's there, it's essential; it's a part of who you are, but more about the choice of standing in the sunlight instead.[6]

Molko has also stated that Battle for the Sun is the band's first album with a discernible thematic unity.[7] Molko states that his favourite track from the album is "Speak in Tongues".[8]

Molko was inspired to write bonus track "Unisex" by the movie Cloverfield.[9]

The mastered album features a slight peculiarity on track 9 ("Julien"): the vocals are doubled for a short duration, with a phrase, sung in low volume, preceding itself. Such artifacts can stem from a variety of sources such as production errors, or from encoding within the .mp3 or .mp4 formats, both of which suffer from just such a flaw.

Release[edit]

The album was released as a download, CD, limited edition CD and DVD, LP, and a limited edition box set.

The box set features the full album plus two extra studio tracks, a CD to access exclusive live recorded tracks, a DVD of the December 2008 Angkor Wat performance, a DVD of exclusive studio footage and a 32 page photo book featuring exclusive artwork, photos and handwritten lyrics as well as the full album on 2 x Heavy Vinyl LP.[10]

The title track debuted on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show 17 March 2009. After the world première, it became available for free download on the band's official site.

At an exclusive secret gig held on 17 March 2009, in London, the band played a number of new songs from the album, including the tracks "Ashtray Heart", "Julien", "Kitty Litter", and "Devil in the Details". They also covered Nik Kershaw's "Wouldn't It Be Good".

The album was made available for streaming on the band's official website between 29 May and 31 May 2009.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[12]
Alternative Press 4.5/5 stars[13]
Drowned in Sound 4/10 stars[14]
IGN (8.9/10)[15]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars[16]
NME 6/10 stars[17]
Pitchfork Media (3.4/10)[18]
Rock Sound 8/10 stars[19]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[20]
The Times 3/5 stars[21]

Eddie Fleisher of Alternative Press gave the album 4 and a half out of 5 stars. He wrote that Battle for the Sun "takes the best elements of their sound and focuses it into a cohesive listening experience ... there's no filler to be found". The review also notes how Steve Forrest as drummer gives the band a much-needed kick and how Brian Molko's lyrics are given more clarity. Fleisher also says the album contains two of the best Placebo songs ever, "Happy You're Gone" and "Kings of Medicine".[22] Metacritic gave the album a score of 62/100 based on 17 professional reviews indicating "generally favorable reviews".[20] Others however, have been less than receptive. NME said that Battle for the Sun was "a desperately transparent copy of originality. For those who still believe in them, Placebo will, at least, remain an efficacious live band at festivals this summer, but only given that the real thing (Suede, Muse, David Bowie, Nirvana et al) isn't currently on offer.".[17] Rolling Stone added that "too many songs ("Devil in the Details") are full of bombast and bland angst, as if these smart guys know better but can't help themselves".[20]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Forrest, except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Kitty Litter"     3:47
2. "Ashtray Heart"   Molko, Steve Ludwin, Jordan Page 3:32
3. "Battle for the Sun"   Molko, Olsdal 5:33
4. "For What It's Worth"     2:47
5. "Devil in the Details"     4:28
6. "Bright Lights"     3:23
7. "Speak in Tongues"     4:06
8. "The Never-Ending Why"     3:23
9. "Julien"     4:43
10. "Happy You're Gone"     3:50
11. "Breathe Underwater"     3:44
12. "Come Undone"     4:36
13. "Kings of Medicine"     4:15
Total length:
52:15

Personnel[edit]

  • Brian Molko – vocals, guitar, Springtime guitar, keyboards, piano
  • Stefan Olsdal – bass guitar, guitar, keyboards, piano, organ, backing vocals
  • Steve Forrest – drums, percussion, backing vocals
  • Bill Lloyd – keyboards
  • Fiona Brice – string arrangements
  • Peter Cardinalli – brass arrangements
  • Alex Cooksey – keyboards, piano, backing vocals
  • Hazel Fernandes – backing vocals
  • Valerie Etienne – backing vocals
  • David Bottrill – production
  • James Brown – engineering
  • Wayne Cochrane – assistant engineer (tracking)
  • Kevin Dietz – 2nd engineer (record)
  • Alan Moulder – mixing
  • Darren Lawson – assistant mixing
  • John Davis – mastering
  • Tim Young - 'redux edition' remaster
  • Joseph Llanes – photography

Charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Peak
position
Certification
Australian Albums Chart (ARIA) 8
Austrian Albums Chart 1
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders) 1[24] Gold
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia) 1[25] Gold[26]
Dutch Albums Chart 5[27]
European Albums Chart 1
Finnish Album Chart 2[28]
French Albums Chart 1[29]
German Albums Chart 1 Gold[30]
Irish Albums Chart (IRMA) 22
Italian Albums Chart 5[31] Gold
New Zealand Albums Chart 14
Polish Albums Chart 14[32]
Portuguese Albums Chart 4[33]
Spanish Albums Chart 5[34]
Swedish Albums Chart 9[35]
Swiss Albums Chart 1
Taiwan Albums Chart 1
UK Albums Chart 8 Silver[36]
US Billboard 200 51
US Billboard Independent Albums 8

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Rank
German Albums Chart[37] 45
Swiss Albums Chart[38] 47

Release history[edit]

Country Date
Japan 3 June 2009
Australia 5 June 2009
Hong Kong
United States 8 June 2009
Canada
United Kingdom
Philippines 7 November 2009[39]
Worldwide (Redux Edition) 27 September 2010

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Metalworks Studios". Metalworks Studios. Archived from the original on 22 May 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  3. ^ "New! Brian Molko BBC Radio Lamacq Interview 11/24/08". YouTube. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  4. ^ http://www.hypercustom.com/placebo.html[dead link][dead link]
  5. ^ Materville Studios - Host of Windy City Times. "Windy City Times - Pop Making Sense". Windycitymediagroup.com. Archived from the original on 25 March 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  6. ^ "Placebo announce new album details | News". Nme.Com. Archived from the original on 20 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  7. ^ "Placebo announce album tracklisting | News". Nme.Com. 26 March 2009. Archived from the original on 29 March 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  8. ^ "Placebo Take On The Sun - News - Rock Sound". Rocksound.tv. Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  9. ^ "Brian Molko - Radio XFM - Part 3 - Takeover Show The Residency - 20.12.2009 + some Pictures". 21 December 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Placebo". Secure.xurbiaxendless.com. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  11. ^ "Battle For The Sun". Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  12. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Battle for the Sun at AllMusic. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Critic Reviews for Battle For The Sun at Metacritic". Alternative Press: 130. July 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  14. ^ Clare Joslin (8 June 2009). "Placebo - Battle For The Sun". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Finn White (10 June 2009). "Placebo- Battle For The Sun Review". IGN. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Kerrang!: 52. 
  17. ^ a b John Doran (3 June 2009). "Album review: Placebo - 'Battle For The Sun'". NME. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  18. ^ Ian Cohen (10 June 2009). "Album Reviews: Placebo: Battle For The Sun". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  19. ^ Faye Lewis (8 June 2009). "Placebo - 'Battle For The Sun'". Rock Sound. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  20. ^ a b c "Critic Reviews for Battle For The Sun at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  21. ^ Pete Pahides (6 June 2009). "Placebo: Battle For the Sun". The Times. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  22. ^ Alternative Press July 2009
  23. ^ "Placebo". Amazon.com. Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  24. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". ultratop.be/nl. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  25. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". ultratop.be/fr. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  26. ^ "Les disques d'or/de platine - Singles - 2009". ultratop.be/fr. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  27. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  28. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". finnishcharts.com. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  29. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". lescharts.com. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  30. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Battle for the Sun')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  31. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". italiancharts.com. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  32. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLIS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLIS. 14 June 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  33. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". portuguesecharts.com. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  34. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". spanishcharts.com. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  35. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  36. ^ "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  37. ^ http://www.mtv.de/charts/Album_Jahrescharts_2009[dead link][dead link]
  38. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 2009". Media Control. Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 February 2009. 
  39. ^ Placebo's new album Battle for the Sun out now! Universal Records (Philippines) blogsite.