Today ‘90s icons Placebo announced their eighth studio album Never Let Me Go will be released on the 25th March 2022. The first original full-length offering from the band since 2013’s Loud Like Love, comes accompanied by the new single Surrounded By Spies. Our second taste of the album, following September’s Beautiful James, Surrounded By Spies is an instant Placebo classic. A magnetic slow-burn draws you into an examination of the erosion of civil liberties with music and lyrics coming together to create a claustrophobic atmosphere that threatens to overwhelm as the walls come crashing in.
Watch the visualiser for Surrounded By Spies below.
After listening to Surrounded By Spies and Beautiful James, we went on a voluntary deep-dive through the deep Placebo back catalogue, immersing ourselves in the world of one of the most unique and enduring alternative acts of all time in search of the perfect Placebo playlist. The result is this list featuring one song from every Placebo album to date (including Never Let Me Go). These eight Placebo songs are the musical medicine that we need right now, now open up those ears and take what’s good for you.
These Eight Placebo Songs Are The Musical Medicine That We Need Right Now
Beautiful James (Never Let Me Go, 2022)
Nancy Boy (Placebo, 1996)
Sex, drugs, excess and androgyny. This song is as awesome as it was controversial at the time of the release. A standout tracking on stellar debut (seriously, the whole thing still holds the fuck up) this is Placebo’s core D.N.A.
Every You Every Me (Without You I’m Nothing, 1998)
This was a megahit for reasons far greater than its inclusion in Cruel Intentions, but there’s no disputing that this work of counter-cultural pop-genius is forever linked to Ryan Philippe driving a 1956 Jaguar for a number of people. Not the best song on Without You I’m Nothing, we’re giving that nod to either Pure Morning, My Sweet Prince or the David Bowie featuring titular track, but this is iconic for a reason. Let nostalgia enfold you.
Special K (Black Market Music, 2000)
NME might have infamously hated it, but this song is a total bop. Who hasn’t felt like Brian does here when he sings “you’re my new Achilles heel”? Love is a hell of a drug and this is a song about the rush of falling head over heels. You know the crash back to earth is coming, but the high is still worth chasing, no hesitation, no delay, press play on Special K.
Special Needs (Sleeping With Ghosts, 2003)
A hauntingly beautiful coming of age song from Placebo that celebrates the finite nature of happiness. This was almost usurped from its spot by The Bitter End, a very different but so great jam on an underrated Placebo album. This gets the nod for the video which is excellent.
Meds feat. Alison Mosshart (Meds, 2006)
Meds is a mid-career gem from Placebo and the Alison Mosshart featuring titular track is one of their masterworks. This song is an example of their mastering of dynamics as the tension builds throughout leading to a hypnotic chorus, some violent riffs and some killer guest vocals from Mosshart. The primary hook “BAAAAAABY did you forget to take your meds?” is such an earworm. The sex, the drugs, the complications, it is all so Placebo. Take your meds.
For What Its Worth (Battle For The Sun, 2009)
David Bottrill produced Battle For The Sun was pushed as a rejuvenation of the Placebo sound and that rejuvenation divided fans and critics alike, to some this is the best Placebo album, to others, it is the worst, the truth lies somewhere in-between, and this track probably embodies that war between worlds better than any other.
Loud Like Love (Loud Like Love, 2013)
A jangly, bright, jangly, anthemic song that carries an upbeat and playful optimism that ends this list in a positive light. It has some wonderful guitar and atmospherics. Placebo took a sensible break after this uneven album, but we’re thankful for this song, Exit Wounds and Bosco.
Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush Cover)
A genuine work of genius from Placebo.
Listen to Placebo now.