PLACEBO – ” Beautiful James “

Posted: September 23, 2021 in MUSIC
May be an image of one or more people and text that says 'PLACEBO BEAUTIFUL JAMES OUT NOW'

This past June marked the 25th anniversary of Placebo’s blistering debut album, introducing the world to the seductive darkness and bruised androgyny of Brian Molko, and an arsenal of interpersonal glam-infused ultra-sexed alt-rock songs (“Nancy Boy,” “36 Degrees”) that didn’t exactly mesh with the glossy Cool Britannia sensation that was permeating their native England at the time. Placebo always stood out from the pack over what has unfolded as a remarkable and underrated career, The Band return with a glowing new track in “Beautiful James” that takes us back to their turn-of-the-century Black Market Music era. And that’s a pretty welcome turn, like seeing an old lover from afar as a wave of emotions come flooding back.

“Beautiful James,” Placebo’s first new music in five long years, is billed as a statement of defiance that “seeks to normalize and celebrate non-heteronormative relationships in song,” according to the press release, and shines inward like the band’s classic material. Though Molko is his usually elusive and detached self in pulling back the sonic scab any further.

“If the song serves to irritate the squares and the uptight, so gleefully be it,” Molko says. “But it remains imperative for me that each listener discovers their own personal story within it — I really don’t want to tell you how to feel.”

And yet Molko has still been giving us reasons to feel all these years later. Alongside co-founder and bassist Stefan Olsdal, there feels like a bit of a rebirth here, as “Beautiful James” exudes a brazen confidence and inner glow that suggests the start of an exciting new chapter. We all may be too old to be poking eye holes in a paper bag or dousing ourselves in cheap perfume, but a dazzling new Placebo tune is enough to make us feel a bit timeless, even if the eyeliner isn’t quite applied the way it used to be.

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