Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Placebo

500 words on

After whipping and eating up some Spaghetti Carbonara, edible but far from perfect – the first time I tried – for Björn, Ansgar and me, we engaged in consumption of some White Russian and telly. Rockpalast was on, a music show on public telly that is said to be discontinued soon, sadly. They featured broadcasts of the live concerts at the Rock am Ring festival, the biggest festival in Germany, probably. Their lineup is impressive, although not entirely my cup of tea, including among many others The Cardigans, Iron Maiden, The Dandy Warhols, The Hives, Apocalyptica, Badly Drawn Boy, Turin Breaks, Virginia Jetzt!, Metallica, Marylin Manson, The Deftones, Moby, The Libertines, and Placebo.

Ambivalent is the right word to describe my attitude towards Placebo thus far. I don't think they're brilliant, considering them more of an average pop band, yet they do have a number truely compelling songs like Special K, Slave to the Wage, 36 Degrees, Nancy Boy, Every you and every me or Protect me from what I want from their current album Sleeping with Ghosts. I think it's the only good song on that album although I really like the cover art depicting the ghost theme as a transparent person. Furthermore, while aiming to be a pop band, they have a number of songs that are bound to make people dance at a disco and while most of their fans seem to be hysterical teenage girls, they still receive respect from many 'serious' music fans, they present self-loathing lyrics in a glamorous way, they sing about interesting topics in the style of nonsense pop music, they may be freaks but their music can be great. Maintaining that kind of ambiguity is an art.

And they did step in to replace Linkin Park at the Rock am Ring festival. Definitely a change for the better – and available to witness in our living room. Adding to their ambiguity factor vis-à-vis innocuous pop songs, Brian Molko replaced the line Sick and tired of Maggie's farm in Slave to the Wage by Sick and tired of Tony's farm; he's George Bush's bitch..., definitely hitting a sweet spot, cheaply. And adding to my own ambivalence towards the band: When I'm in up-my-own-indie-arse-mode, I'll be embarrassed by enjoying their music due to its pop-appeal, on the other hand it can be good for dancing, it can have good lyrics, they try to be critical and so on. So there's not much to complain about. Ambiguity. Ambivalence. Where is my Mind?

It's the disease of the age
It's the disease that we crave
Alone at the end of the rave
We catch the last bus home
Corporate America waits
Coffee republic and cakes
We open the latch on the gate
Of the hole that we call a home.
Protect me from what I want.

Placebo, Protect Me From What I Want

June 8, 2003, 2:42

Tagged as music.

Comments

Comment by Brendan Delaney: User icon

I want Brian Molko’s children.

August 29, 2005, 8:44

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