Placebo's anniversary album looks back on the very best of their career, leaving the listener with a bittersweet combination of longing and anticipation for what is to come next.
“Soulmate dry your eye / ‘Cause soulmates never die,” a lyric taken from the title track of Sleeping With Ghosts, one of Placebo’s most powerful songs, gives an insight into their darkish but enthralling music: a beautifully woven net of love, hope, and suffering conveyed through the vibrant, high-pitched voice of Brian Molko and the immersive guitar of Stefan Olsdal. The 20th anniversary of the British alternative-rock band brings along A Place For Us To Dream, a retrospective compilation of their most significant 36 songs, reinvigorating their fans’ love for the distinctive music with which they created a name that has passed the difficult test of time.
A Place For Us To Dream brings together unforgettable singles from their seven albums, songs from EPs, covers like their hauntingly beautiful rendition of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ that I couldn’t possibly have left out, as well as ‘Jesus’ Son,’ their newest single. The unchronological order of the record mixes the old with the new, the exciting peak of their career and style with the stability of their latest albums, giving the listener the experience of their sound, a mixture of alternative rock with accents of indie, punk, and pop.
Placebo’s music explores the spectre of the human emotions with the intensity that alternative rock generally brings to the table. In Molko’s unique voice, a complex world is contoured by pain, anxiety, hate, fear, hope, love, loneliness, lust, and violence, presenting the reality of life with its beauties, struggles, and horrors.
As anyone would expect, this anniversary record contains all the Placebo gems that fans love to come back to: the aforementioned ‘Sleeping With Ghosts,’ the symbolic ‘Pure Morning,’ the energetic ‘Every You, Every Me,’ the powerful ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ in a single version that features David Bowie, the crazy ‘Special K’ and ‘Infra-Red,’ the passionate ‘Song To Say Goodbye,’ and the poignant ‘Meds.’ The newest single has a familiar sound akin to their 2014 album Loud Like Love and intriguing lyrics – a combination which leaves me wanting more. The remaining 35 tracks on the album are a sufficient consolation for the lack of new music, though.
A great selection, A Place For Us To Dream gives the fans the opportunity to re-experience the (musical) Placebo effect by summarising in two-and-a-bit hours who Placebo are, what they’ve been up to these past 20 years, and how their journey might continue.
A Place For Us To Dream is out now via Rise Records