||This article may require copy editing for spelling, punctuation. (July 2013)|
|Studio album by Placebo|
|Released||16 July 1996|
|Recorded||1996 at Westland Studios, Dublin, Ireland|
|Singles from Placebo|
Placebo is the eponymous debut studio album by alternative rock band Placebo, released on July 16th, 1996, through Hut Records. It is the only album recorded with drummer Robert Schultzberg before his departure from the group.
The album was a commercial success in the UK, reaching number 5 in UK Albums Chart. Placebo has been critically well received, with Q magazine readers voting it at number 87 in its "All Time Top 100 Albums" list. and Virgin placing the album 154th in its "All-Time Top 1000 Albums" list. The album also spawned five singles including "Nancy Boy" and "36 Degrees". The album was remastered and reissued in 2006 for its tenth anniversary along with demos and a DVD featuring live performances and music videos from the album.
Background and recording
Placebo was formed in 1994 with the partnering of Brian Molko (vocals, guitar) and Stefan Olsdal(guitar, bass). At the time, Olsdal was taking guitar lessons and was on his way home when he met Molko at the South Kensington tube station. Molko, observing that Olsdal had a guitar strapped to his back, invited Olsdal to watch him perform at a local bar. On the strength of Molko's performance, Olsdal decided that they should start a band. The two formed Ashtray Heart, a lo-fi duo, playing mostly on children's toy instruments.
The duo needed a drummer, and although Steve Hewitt, who would play later with Placebo, was their first choice, he was then working with London-based band, Breed. This led Robert Schultzberg to assume the position of drummer. Schultzberg had known Olsdal from boarding school in Sigtuna, Sweden where they'd played together in a band. They released the single "Come Home" on Deceptive records in 1995, this led to signing a contract with Hut Records and the band began to work on their debut album. Placebo was recorded over the course of two months in 1996 in Dublin and London and was produced by Brad Wood. The band debated whether to put "Slackerbitch" on the record, eventually deciding against it they put it on the single for "Nancy Boy" and was also featured on the 2006 reissue.
After an argument in August 1996, right before doing their first TV show, Molko decided that it would be best for the band if Schultzberg left. But Schultzberg suggested playing together until they finished the promotion of their first album, Placebo, and the band accepted. Eventually, Schultzberg left the band in September 1996. Before going on stage for their first show in the state of New York, Olsdal informed Schultzberg that he wouldn't perform on the tour in Germany that was following the US tour. Schultzberg played two more shows with the band in Paris after the US tour, the last of which was a performance at "Nulle Part Aillleurs". Molko has said that he was "tired of being the focus of Robert's rages against the world." Hewitt rejoined Placebo as their full-time drummer the same year in 1996.
Lyrics and themes
Many of the songs on Placebo were written in 1995. The album's opening track "Come Home", Molko simply said, is, “punk pop for postponed suicides”. "Teenage Angst" is about the emotions you feel as a teenager and want to have everything kept to yourself and create tour own world, while Molko confusingly says "Bionic" is “about a robot fuck.”
The meaning of the album's fourth song "36 Degrees" has caused debate among fans, either sexual preference or death. Molko has stated the titled is a play on words regarding the expression "cold blooded", as the average human body temperature is 37 °C (99 °F).  Molko has stated the song's inspiration came from his fascination with skin texture and the warmth of other human bodies, and moreover, that he originally intended to call the album Body Politic.
"Hang On to Your IQ" is about self-deprication regarding intelligence. Molko has stated it is the most "story-like" song on the album, “The person [in the song] is having a breakdown about every physical and emotional thing they could feel.”
"Nancy Boy" differs from previous songs' themes about drugs, sex, gender confusion and bisexuality. Molko states the album's hidden track "HK Farewell" was inspired by an acid trip Molko and Olsdal had, saying it was never written in a state of reality.
On 23 June 2012, it emerged that the boy photographed in the iconic album cover, David Fox shown pulling his face with a red jumper on, is threatening to sue the band for 'ruining' his life. His cousin Saul Fletcher took the photo and a month later he simply told Fox he was going to be on a CD cover without asking him it was OK. He claimed he was quite popular at the time but when the album came out everyone used to bully him.
The inserts for the album only have another picture of the boy on the cover, and a very small picture of the band. The rest of it is green or blue paper, with no lyrics. The reason for this is that Molko did not want people to focus on the liner, but rather the music itself.
Placebo was released 16 June 1996 in the UK on Elevator music/Hut Records and 9 July in the US on Caroline Records on CD, Cassette and Vinyl, like many of their albums it is relatively expensive to get the album on vinyl and doesn't include the hidden track "Hong Kong Farewell", other pressing of the vinyl record had it on Grey marble. The album went at number 5 in the UK Albums Chart staying there for 13 weeks and at number 50 in France. The album went gold in the UK on 1 May 1997. and platinum in France.
Prior to the release of Placebo several single were released to promote the album, "Bruise Pristine", "Come Home" and "36 Degrees" and after the release of the album they released two more singles, "Teenage Angst" and "Nancy Boy" which was a massive hit and went at number 4 in the UK Singles Chart all of which received music videos.
Placebo has been generally well received by critics. Allmusic said "The key to Placebo's sound is singer/guitarist Brian Molko, whose impersonation of a woman goes far beyond his appearance and into his singing voice. His trio brings together various influences -- the epic, noisy "Chicago sound," late-'70s prog rock, and late-'80s "college rock"—but boils them down into fairly conventional, guitar-heavy melodrama, with the sort of opaque and angst-ridden lyrics usually found in that genre", adding that it's "not to say that Placebo's sound is boring; churning guitars and direct, heavy basslines give the album a good deal of strength, and Molko is able to write moving, gritty melodies and fairly clever lyrics". In 1998, Q magazine readers voted it at number 87 in its "All Time Top 100 Albums" list. Virgin placed the album 154th in its "All-Time Top 1000 Albums" list.
All songs written and composed by Placebo.
|5.||"Hang On to Your IQ"||5:13|
|9.||"Lady of the Flowers"||4:47|
|2006 reissue bonus tracks|
|12.||"Flesh Mechanic (Demo)"||4:28|
|13.||"Drowning by Numbers"||2:57|
|15.||"H K Farewell"||7:30|
Initial pressings of the CD included "H.K. Farewell" as a hidden track, playing approximately 10 minutes after "Swallow". Certain versions of the album replace the album version of "Nancy Boy" with the single version known as "Nancy Boy (Sex Mix)".
- 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD
- "Come Home (Alexandra Palace - 11.04.06)" – 5:00
- "Teenage Angst (The Big Breakfast - 29.08.96)" – 2:39
- "Nancy Boy (Top of the Pops - 31.01.97)" – 3:09
- "Lady of the Flowers (Glastonbury Festival - 27.06.98)" – 5:41
- "Teenage Angst (The White Room - 23.08.96)" – 2:29
- "Bruise Pristine (Top of the Pops - 23.05.97)" – 2:33
- "36 Degrees (Wembley Arena - 05.11.04)" – 5:02
- "36 Degrees" (video) – 3:15
- "Teenage Angst" (video) – 2:40
- "Nancy Boy" (video) – 3:20
- "Bruise Pristine" (video) – 2:59
- "Soulmates Never Die Live in Paris Trailer" – 2:03
|Country||Highest Chart Position||Certifications|
- Brian Molko – acoustic guitar, bass guitar, guitar, keytar, vocals
- Stefan Olsdal – acoustic guitar, bass guitar, electric piano, guitar, Moog synthesizer, piano
- Robert Schultzberg – drums, percussion, digeridoo on "I Know"
- Ed Kenehan – engineering (tracks 1–5, 7–10)
- Saul Fletcher – sleeve photography
- Teo Miller – engineering (track 6)
- Mary Scanlon – sleeve band photo photography
- Phil Vinall – production and mixing (track 6)
- Brad Wood – production (tracks 1–5, 7–10)
- "Q Magazine Lists". rocklist.co.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
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- Moore (2006), p.274
- "Exclusive: interview of Robert Schultzberg!". placebocity.com/forum. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- Betts (2005), 216
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- "PLACEBO -- Nancy Boy -- Acoustic Version -- Simon Mayo Session, 29 April 1997".
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- "Discogs Placebo Vinyl LP". Discogs. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Discogs Placebo Grey Marble Vinyl LP". Discogs. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "BPI Certifications". BPI. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
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