The Bitter End (song)

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"The Bitter End"
Single by Placebo
from the album Sleeping with Ghosts
Released 10 March 2003
Format CD, 7"
Genre Alternative rock, Nu metal
Length 3:10
Label Virgin Records
Songwriter(s) Steve Hewitt, Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal
Producer(s) Jim Abbiss
Placebo singles chronology
"Black Eyed"
"The Bitter End"
"This Picture"
"Black Eyed"
"The Bitter End"
"This Picture"

"The Bitter End" is a single by British alternative rock band Placebo from their fourth studio album, Sleeping with Ghosts, released in 2003.

The song is based on the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. There are several references to it throughout the song, one of the most noticeable being the reference to 2 May - the date on which the two main characters, Winston and Julia, first spend the night together.

It was featured on the soundtrack of "Radio Big" in the 2003 video game SSX 3. It was also released as downloadable content for Guitar Hero World Tour.

In 2010, Utada covered the song on her first US Tour, Utada: In the Flesh 2010.

"The Bitter End" and "Every You Every Me" are the two most often played songs in the Placebo's live shows.

Critical response[edit]

Critics generally praised the single upon its release. Reviewing Sleeping with Ghosts,'s rock/indie reviewer Dan Tallis described "The Bitter End" as "a good pop tune",[1] having "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."[1] The Times thought the song "ramped up the energy level to devastating effect."[2]

Rock Sound reasoned that the track's "kick ass romp"[3] reinforces "their status as purveyors of pure indie pop in the vein of The Smiths."[3] However, NME saw differing influences woven in the track, reporting that "The Bitter End" "sees Placebo powering along with a relentless U2- chasing-after-The Cure melody that's as infectious as 24."[4]

Summarising Placebo's 2004 singles collection, Once More with Feeling,'s Nottingham music reviewer Jaime Gill stated that "each song stems from a songwriter so instinctive and precise that when he writes a song called "The Bitter End", that's exactly what it sounds like."[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video sees the band playing in the dish of the Lovell Telescope, one of the largest radio telescopes. Halfway through the video, it displays an infrared image of a couple chasing after each other. They eventually catch each other up and kiss against a wall. Near the end of the video, the band is rained upon. It was filmed close to Stockport in Cheshire, England.

Track listing[edit]

CD 1[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "The Bitter End"  
2. "Daddy Cool"  
3. "Teenage Angst (Piano Version)"  
4. "The Bitter End" (video)  

CD 2[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "The Bitter End"  
2. "Evalia"  
3. "Drink You Pretty"  

7" vinyl[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "The Bitter End"  
2. "Daddy Cool"  


"The Bitter End" was released on 10 March 2003 via Elevator Music/Hut Records,[6] the first single to be culled from Sleeping with Ghosts. Two CD singles offering differing B-sides were issued, as well as a single in 7" vinyl format.[6] Later, "The Bitter End" saw inclusion on the November 2004 compilation Once More with Feeling: The Singles.

Format Track number
1 2 3 4
The Bitter End
CD1 single (UK, Elevator Music) B D T BV
CD2 single (UK, Elevator Music) B E DP
7" single (UK, Elevator Music) B D


  • B - "The Bitter End"
  • D - "Daddy Cool"
  • T - "Teenage Angst (piano version)"
  • BV - "The Bitter End video"
  • E - "Evalia"
  • DP - "Drink You Pretty"


  1. ^ a b Tallis, Dan. "Placebo, Sleeping with Ghosts", album review, March 2003, at; last accessed 8 January 2007.
  2. ^ Sinclair, David. "Keep Taking the Placebos", album review, 21 March 2003, The Times.
  3. ^ a b Perrone, Pierre. "Sleeping with Ghosts", album review, March 2003, Rock Sound magazine.
  4. ^ Watson, Ian. "Placebo : The Bitter End", single review, March 2003, at; last accessed 8 January 2007.
  5. ^ Gill, Jaime. "Placebo - Once More With Feeling (The Singles)", album review, 2 November 2004, at; last accessed 8 January 2007.
  6. ^ a b Singles from 'Sleeping with Ghosts'. "The Bitter End", at; last accessed 16 January 2016.