Black Market Music (album)

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Black Market Music
Black market music.jpg
Studio album by
Released9 October 2000
RecordedLate 1999 – mid 2000
StudioOlympic Studios, Townhouse Studios and Moody Studios in London, England
GenreAlternative rock[1]
ProducerPaul Corkett
Placebo chronology
Without You I'm Nothing
Black Market Music
Sleeping with Ghosts
Singles from Black Market Music
  1. "Taste in Men"
    Released: 17 July 2000
  2. "Slave to the Wage"
    Released: 25 September 2000
  3. "Special K"
    Released: 19 March 2001
  4. "Black-Eyed"
    Released: 8 October 2001

Black Market Music is the third studio album by English alternative rock band Placebo. The album took nine months to record, from between late 1999 to mid 2000; the longest that the band have ever spent recording an album to date. It was released on 9 October 2000 by record label Hut.

Four singles were released from the album: "Taste in Men", "Slave to the Wage", "Special K" and "Black-Eyed". The album reached number 6 in the UK Albums Chart, and received a generally favourable reaction from music critics.

Background and content[edit]

Speaking to Kerrang! in June 2009, Brian Molko remembered:

We had a real swagger and bravado when we went into the studio for this one. We had just come off a really successful tour and felt we'd really exploded. We felt like cowboys of rock! We were also really heavily medicated and beginning to get quite deep into drugs. That's probably why it took nine months to make an album. The drugs also contributed to a certain amount of arrogance. At least that's what I remember from the time. I think we had a desire to write about the world we saw around us. We thought it was cool that, though other people were a little afraid to get deep down and dirty, we could take it on ourselves to write about those things. I think that album was the start of us trying to mix genres. We had so much hatred for rap-rock bands like Limp Bizkit and all they represented – misogyny, homophobia and commercialism – that we wanted to do our own version of it.[2]

The album is dedicated to music publicist Scott Piering, who died of cancer in early 2000.[3] The song "Commercial for Levi" is a reference to the sound technician Levi Tecofski, who on one occasion saved frontman Brian Molko's life: Molko, drunk and about to cross the road, was quickly pulled back by Tecofski from the path of an approaching vehicle.[4]


Black Market Music was released on 9 October 2000. It reached number 6 in the UK Albums Chart.[5]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Alternative Press4/5 stars[7]
Christgau's Consumer Guideambiguous[8]
Drowned in Sound8/10[9]
Rolling Stone2.5/5 stars[6]
Q3/5 stars[6]
Trouser Pressneutral[13]

Black Market Music received a generally favourable critical response, though a less enthusiastic reception than previous records. Dean Carlson of AllMusic wrote that "Black Market Music finds Molko in such moody lust that his strangled, androgynous wailing rivals anything the band has previously flashed to the world [...] Placebo seem to have finally found that sweet wet spot between beauty and perversion."[1] Dale Price of Drowned in Sound called it "a heavily revised upgrade of their back catalogue. And then some."[9] Nicholas Taylor of PopMatters called it "highly listenable dark guitar rock".[12]

Among its detractors were NME, who called it "a case of ambition eclipsing talent, of hubris, of a band losing the plot. Placebo's frame of reference has always been narrow, but they've now been reduced to empty gestures without any visionary tunes to tip the balance."[10]

Brian Molko ranked this as his least favourite Placebo album.[14]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Placebo, except where noted.

1."Taste in Men" 4:15
2."Days Before You Came" 2:33
3."Special K" 3:52
4."Spite & Malice" (featuring Justin Warfield)
  • Placebo
  • Justin Warfield
5."Passive Aggressive" 5:24
6."Black-Eyed" 3:48
7."Blue American" 3:31
8."Slave to the Wage"
  • Kannberg
  • Malkmus
  • Placebo
9."Commercial for Levi" 2:20
10."Haemoglobin" 3:46
11."Narcoleptic" 4:22
12."Peeping Tom" (all versions except the vinyl edition contain the hidden track "Black Market Blood", starting at 10:14) 14:10



Additional personnel

  • Rob Ellis – string arrangements
  • Bill Lloyd – bass on "Peeping Tom"
  • Severe Loren – backing vocals on "Taste in Men" and "Special K"
  • Dimitri Tikovoï – string programming
  • Justin Warfield – rapping vocals on "Spite & Malice"


Charts and certifications[edit]


Chart Position
Australian Albums Chart 18[15]
Austrian Albums Chart 7[16]
Belgian Flanders Albums Chart 10[17]
Belgian Wallonia Albums Chart 3[18]
Dutch Albums Chart 28[19]
Finnish Albums Chart 24[20]
French Albums Chart 1[21]
Irish Albums Chart 12[22]
Italian Albums Chart 9[23]
New Zealand Albums Chart 22[24]
Norwegian Albums Chart 9[25]
Swedish Albums Chart 17[26]
Swiss Albums Chart 15[27]
UK Albums Chart 6[5]


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[28] Gold 35,000^
Italy (FIMI)[29] Gold 50,000*
Germany (BVMI)[30] Gold 150,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[31] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c Carlson, Dean. "Black Market Music – Placebo | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  2. ^ Bryant, Tony. Kerrang! #1267, June 27, 2009. Treasure Chest. An Intimate Portrait Of Life In Rock. Brian Molko, p.60
  3. ^ Album liner notes.
  4. ^ "I'm the Anti-Eminem". Melody Maker. 20 October 2000. Archived from the original on 20 February 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Placebo | Artist | Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Critic Reviews for Black Market Music – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  7. ^ "[Black Market Music review]". Alternative Press (155): 80.
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Placebo". Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  9. ^ a b Price, Dale (9 October 2000). "Album Reviews: Placebo – Black Market Music / Releases / Releases // Drowned in Sound". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  10. ^ a b "NME Reviews – Black Market Music |". NME. 12 September 2005. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  11. ^ Cooper, Paul (8 May 2000). "Placebo: Black Market Music | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  12. ^ a b Taylor, Nicholas (7 May 2001). "Placebo: Black Market Music | PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  13. ^ Neugebauer, Delvin. " :: Placebo". Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  14. ^ Lindsay, Cam. "Rank Your Records: Brian Molko Skeptically Rates Placebo's Eight LPs". Noisey. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  15. ^ " – Placebo – Black Market Music". Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  16. ^ "Placebo – Black Market Music –". Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  17. ^ " – Placebo – Black Market Music". Ultratop. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  18. ^ " – Placebo – Black Market Music". Ultratop. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  19. ^ " – Placebo – Black Market Music". Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  20. ^ " – Placebo – Black Market Music". Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  21. ^ " – Placebo – Black Market Music". Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  22. ^ "GFK Chart-Track". Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  23. ^ "Placebo - Black Market Music". Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  24. ^ "Placebo - Black Market Music". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  25. ^ "Placebo - Black Market Music". Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  26. ^ " – Placebo – Black Market Music". Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  27. ^ "Placebo – Black Market Music –". (in German). Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  28. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2001 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  29. ^ "Placebo: Sleeping with Ghosts" (in Italian). MTV Italy. 27 January 2003. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  30. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Placebo; 'Black Market Music')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  31. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Placebo; 'Black Market Music')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  32. ^ "British album certifications – Placebo – Black Market Music". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Black Market Music in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]