Battle for the Sun

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Battle for the Sun
Studio album by Placebo
Released 8 June 2009 (see release history)
Recorded August–September 2008
Studio Metalworks Studios, Canada
Genre Alternative rock[1]
Length 52:15
Label PIAS
Producer David Bottrill
Placebo chronology
Battle for the Sun
B-Sides: 1996–2006
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

Battle for the Sun is the sixth studio album by English alternative rock band Placebo. It was recorded in Canada in 2008 and released on 8 June 2009 by record label PIAS. It is their first album with new drummer Steve Forrest, following the departure of Steve Hewitt in 2007.

Four singles were released from the album: "For What It's Worth", "The Never-Ending Why", "Ashtray Heart" and "Bright Lights".

Production and content[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]

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.


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.[10]

Battle for the Sun was released on 9 June 2009 as a download, CD, limited edition CD and DVD, LP, and a limited edition box set. It reached number 8 in the UK Albums Chart.[11]

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.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 62/100[13]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Alternative Press 4.5/5 stars[14]
Drowned in Sound 4/10 stars[15]
IGN 8.9/10[16]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars[17]
NME 6/10 stars[18]
Pitchfork 3.4/10[19]
Rock Sound 8/10 stars[20]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[13]
The Times 3/5 stars[21]

Battle for the Sun received a generally favourite response from critics. 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]

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.".[18] 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".[13]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Placebo (Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Forrest), except as 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:
Deluxe Edition bonus DVD 1
Live at Angkor Wat
  • "Meds" – 5:23
  • "Because I Want You" – 4:23
  • "Follow the Cops Back Home" – 4:52
  • "Black-Eyed" – 3:14
  • "Post Blue" – 3:55
  • "Blind" – 4:15
  • "Drag" – 3:39
  • "Teenage Angst" – 3:19
  • "Twenty Years" – 4:55
  • Detour documentary
Deluxe Edition bonus DVD 2
  • In the Studio: The Making of Battle for the Sun documentary


  • Brian Molko – vocals, guitar, Springtime guitar, keyboards, piano
  • Stefan Olsdal – bass guitar, guitar, keyboards, piano, organ, backing vocals
  • Steve Forrest – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Additional personnel
  • 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


Chart (2009) Peak
Australian Albums Chart (ARIA) 8[citation needed]
Austrian Albums Chart 1[citation needed]
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders) 1[24] Gold
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia) 1[25] Gold[26]
Dutch Albums Chart 5[27]
European Albums Chart 1[citation needed]
Finnish Album Chart 2[28]
French Albums Chart 1[29]
German Albums Chart 1[citation needed] Gold[30]
Irish Albums Chart (IRMA) 22[citation needed]
Italian Albums Chart 5[31] Gold
New Zealand Albums Chart 14[citation needed]
Polish Albums Chart 14[32]
Portuguese Albums Chart 4[33]
Spanish Albums Chart 5[34]
Swedish Albums Chart 9[35]
Swiss Albums Chart 1[citation needed]
Taiwan Albums Chart 1[citation needed]
UK Albums Chart 8[11] Silver[36]
US Billboard 200 51[citation needed]
US Billboard Independent Albums 8[citation needed]
Year-end charts
Chart (2009) Rank
German Albums Chart 45[37]
Swiss Albums Chart 47[38]

Release history[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Battle for the Sun at AllMusic. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  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. ^ Archived from the original on 4 August 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Materville Studios - Host of Windy City Times. "Windy City Times - Pop Making Sense". 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". 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. ^ "Battle For The Sun". Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  11. ^ a b "Placebo | Full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 4, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Placebo". Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  13. ^ a b c "Critic Reviews for Battle For The Sun at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  14. ^ "Critic Reviews for Battle For The Sun at Metacritic". Alternative Press: 130. July 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Clare Joslin (8 June 2009). "Placebo - Battle For The Sun". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Finn White (10 June 2009). "Placebo- Battle For The Sun Review". IGN. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  17. ^ Kerrang!: 52.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  18. ^ a b John Doran (3 June 2009). "Album review: Placebo - 'Battle For The Sun'". NME. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  19. ^ Ian Cohen (10 June 2009). "Album Reviews: Placebo: Battle For The Sun". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  20. ^ Faye Lewis (8 June 2009). "Placebo - 'Battle For The Sun'". Rock Sound. 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". Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  24. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". Retrieved 5 September 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  25. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". Retrieved 5 September 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  26. ^ "Les disques d'or/de platine - Singles - 2009". Retrieved 5 September 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  27. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". Retrieved 5 September 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  28. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". Retrieved 5 September 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  29. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". Retrieved 5 September 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  30. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Battle for the Sun')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  31. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". Retrieved 5 September 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  32. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLIS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLIS. 14 June 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  33. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". Retrieved 5 September 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  34. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". Retrieved 5 September 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  35. ^ "Placebo - Battle for the Sun (Album)". Retrieved 5 September 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  36. ^ "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  37. ^ Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  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.

External links[edit]