Album-Review: Placebo – Loud Like Love

Placebo having become so massively popular at some point, we almost forgot how much they were alternative. And even though they’ve been proving it for the past decade now, Placebo remains in most people mind a nice rock band with quite a feminine looking singer. Labels always stick strong, no matter how much talent they hide.

This album is yet another proof, if needed, of Placebo’s most delicate style, mixing up rock and electronic, teenage feeling and adult reflection, sticking to their style and their universe to the most absolute perfection. Yet something has changed. something has changed and we feel it, something on Loud like Love feels different than before and I have the feeling we won’t come back. For as much as Placebo have always told the stories of the most painful loves in a most lively way, it has always been about the intensity of life, of love and of the moment of passion. But Loud like love, is not loud.

We are far, far from “Every You and Every Me, from “For What It’s Worth”, closer to “A Song to Say Goodbye”, yet more down under. Loud like Love sounds like the songs of the day after, intensely painful because devoid of hope. These are songs about love that’s gone, not love that hurts because still alive. Loud like dead love.

As for that, Loud like Love could be the perfectly dramatic album. A perfect album then? Well, I wish… Unfortunately I am only talking here about half of the songs. The album is like divided in two distinct parts, and as you’re done listening to the whole album, at the end of this amazingly mournful second part of the album, thinking about the first half leaves puzzled and confused, especially once having heard the all album. Ok the separation is not quite as CLEAR as that, they kind of messed up the order so the change doesn’t sound that obvious I suppose. But let’s stick to this idea for an easy understanding. 

And yes I’m talking about change. Not evolution, not progression, but pure, blatant change. Because the first songs simply are… not that interesting. A bit empty, a bit flat. Just as if they would have tried to get into a normal writing process to begin with, writing a couple of songs in a made-up bubbly mood. But then at the end of the day, finally giving up to pain, they would have been back to being honest with themselves, back to writing insanely good songs again.

Listening to placebo is always a little bit like walking along a deserted street of London at night (if this was ever possible), listening to people’s stories, listening to one’s own stories being played over and over again in one’s defective mind. And every single one of the meaningful song feel like the most beautiful knives flung in one’s chest.
“A Million Little Pieces” feels like a million little diamonds, soft and piercing at the same time.
“No more glowing in the dark for my heart”. So simple. So plain simple. So right. A million littles confessions. For if things don’t feel like they used to, there is not much to do about it. We can’t just jump off of a bridge can we? So it’s either staying or leaving, but keeping going. Always. All the time. For we cannot stop. “So I’m leaving…” I guess the choice has been made.
Every song is a step further down on intensity road, giving more and more meaning to the words, telling the story of love, feelings, pain and hurting people. And logically, the most amazing moments of the album are right at the end. Ending the story, ending the course of two people in a crash, ending the album. “Begin the End”. “Begin the End” is about the collapse of the other, of the pain that we feel, even though it is not our pain anymore. And the ultimate song is naturally “Bosco”. The most pessimistic yet realistic end, when self destruction leads to the destruction of others, and the first to suffer are always the ones who actually care. One desperate message, begging for understanding, after the other.
Every song unfolds to be one more piece of a story that’s tragic and yet not heavy, because told with the right words.

Sometimes things have to be real to be beautiful. Half of Loud Like Love is so real.

So obviously, it seems to be somewhat tricky to review this album. Yet it isn’t, really. Simply because half of this album gets directly into the Pantheon of essential music. and the rest, well. Which rest?

Tracklist

Loud Like Love
Scene Of The Crime
Too Many Friends
Hold On To Me
Rob The Bank
A Million Little Pieces
Exit Wounds
Purify
Begin The End
Bosco

Review by Marie Lando.

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