May 23, 2022

‘Never Let Me Go’ by Placebo- An Experimentation of Stellar Sound

Nine years after their last album ‘Loud Like Love’, Placebo have released their 8th studio album ‘Never Let Me Go’ which demonstrates a diversion from the sound they are originally known for though not swaying too far away it. ‘Never Let Me Go’ experiments with their rock ways and interlaces an electronic sound through the tracks. The band that formed way back in 1994 are still going strong and producing new music for their fans to listen to though as their sound has developed, it has enabled them to not confine themselves to the fans they originally attracted over two decades ago and instead attract even more. 

The sound they have produced on their most recent album combines itself with the sound Placebo fans are most familiar with. The album is opened with the track ‘Forever Chemicals’ which introduces the listener to an electronic, futuristic sounding band. However it still incorporates the heavy rock sound the band have always portrayed and coupled with Brian Molko’s vocals, it doesn’t distance itself too far from their previous works. The song instead works as a refreshing take on where Placebo have been able to musically explore and how they present themselves to the world. The following track ‘Beautiful James’ works in a similar way as it continues with the modern theme with the electronic backing to Molko’s vocals however this newfound sound from the band slowly transitions throughout the album and combines itself with the rock sound Placebo are known for. The track ‘Fix Yourself’ is a perfect example of this as the band use the high-pitched sound similar in the previously mentioned songs to create an eerie piece, though still maintaining their rock roots. 

There are some brilliant songs on the album that produce a fantastic upbeat rock sound which seem like they were made to be played on tour. The track ‘Twin Demons’ continues with the eerie theme of the more modern sounding tracks of the album but has more of a force behind it. The instrumental power of the song enables Placebo to show they are still very much up there with the rock artists of today and haven’t fallen behind the times and this is again shown with the following track ‘Chemtrails’ which acts as another power rock anthem. ‘Never Let Me Go’ is an album that is able to be appreciated by every current fan of Placebo as well as accumulating many more listeners with the experimentation in the album. This fearlessness to sway from what they are known for as a band has served them well as it has allowed them to create such a unique piece of work that embodies so many layers of Placebo and how they are able to reintroduce themselves to their listeners even after being on the music scene for so long.

The lyricism of the album is something that also allows ‘Never Let me Go’ to be such a successful album. The storytelling throughout is supported from one song to the next as the band try to convey meaning which has often been the case in many pieces of their work. The album seems to explore the idea of not being able to live life as your own which is particularly familiar of present day with the way of life as a result of social media. Many people feel they do not have their own life separate from people knowing about it which would no doubt be particularly pertinent for a band as well known as Placebo as many famous figures are constantly followed by the media. The song ‘Surrounded by Spies’ seems to reiterate this notion as Molko sings ‘I am surrounded by spies’, potentially a metaphorical way of conveying the scrutiny of the world nowadays wanting to know what is happening all the time. The song ‘Went Missing’ also reflects this idea through the line ‘I went missing for a living’ suggesting that it is easier to live life when it is not portrayed for everyone to know everything about it. Yet again the idea of anonymity is explored in ‘Hugz’ as Molko sings ‘I just wanna conceal myself’. This exploration of the lack of privacy and social media is not new to the band as they have conveyed it in previous works such as the track ‘Too Many Friends’ from their last album ‘Loud Like Love.’ This shows the band are unafraid to use their work to demonstrate how they feel which in turn creates a raw and unique album to set them apart from many artists today.