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Album Review: Placebo – MTV Unplugged

2 min read

With their 20 year anniversary fast approaching it was inevitable that alt-rock sensations Placebo would set out to mark the occasion with something creative and extraordinary. With seven studio albums, over 12 million album sales behind them and several chart topping singles including Every You Every Me, Pure Morning and The Bitter End, the iconic band have marked this milestone through reinvention not only of themselves but the iconic MTV Unplugged performance platform too.

Placebo-UnpluggedBeginning the session with classic ballad Jackie, the unmistakable voice of Brian Molko breaks out clear, ringing and captivating, soon to be accompanied with a piano melody that resonates with a haunting echo with each touch of the keys. The commentary offered by Molko is short, humorous and at times reminiscent; introducing 36 Degrees sentiment is as evident in his speech as it is in song and reflected by a string ensemble whose parts are heavy with emotion. The recorded live response of the watching audience reflect the brilliance of this arrangement. Fans will be pleasantly surprised in the choice of Placebo’s guest artists on this release and the impressive take they bring to the bands lyricism; offering a beautiful and rich spin on the classic Every You Every Me, Danish singer Majke Voss Romme joins Molko in performing this classic hit and the bewitching and sexy lyrics are given new meaning in this duet. Placebo’s cover of The Pixies hit Where Is My Mind is made original by the group and is so well performed with pounding on the piano, crisp drums and such powerful vocals that the result almost doesn’t sound acoustic. Closing their session with the eternal The Bitter End, the energy doesn’t waiver in the performance nor is the emotion and theme lost in its reinvention.

Unlike most MTV Unplugged releases where bands are merely playing songs on guitars and pianos, Placebo’s ingenuity as musicians has been proven and they’ve pushed boundaries with their experimentation with instruments and setup; this release is exemplary of Placebo’s renowned live performances, unwavering showmanship and musical creativity and as one the best albums and best live performances ever to come from the group, it’s certainly a fantastic release to mark the occasion of 20 years of Placebo brilliance.