Well, I have to say I stand corrected… After complaining that Placebo have a well-defined singles M.O., I’m pleased to see that the recently EMA Best Alternative winners have decided to take a slightly new direction by choosing Bright Lights as their new single from Battle for the Sun.
It’s one of Placebo’s more (if not the most) upbeat and bright-sounding tracks and they haven’t got too many of those, at least, not in such a mainstream sense of the word. Besides being a different sounding Placebo, Bright Lights is also an interesting lyrical work for Brian Molko. Thematically, this is for him what Ashes to Ashes was to Bowie — a cynical and ironic look at his “crazy livin”’. It feels as if, for the first time, he doesn’t hide behind a character anymore and acknowledges his real life persona, expressing regret over the choices he has made (speaking a lot about his life in the early days, thus distracting the attention from the music).
The Heroes for Zeroes-directed video is also in tune with the song, as it starts with a dark setting only to end with Placebo playing on a background of blue skies — the journey from darkness to light that Battle for the Sun supposedly embodies. The single version of the song is slightly different than the album, as it features backing vocals by Val Etienne & Hazel Fernandes (Kylie Minogue, Jamiroquai).
Placebo have encountered the climax of technical problems during a live concert, as they declared in an official statement on their site: “In our 15 year career we have never experienced such a technical difficulty on stage”. It all occurred during their set at the MTV Murcia Night show, in Cartagena, Spain. The problems started even from opener Kitty Litter and persisted all troughout the following songs, forcing the band to take the dramatic decision of cutting the gig short, six tracks in. They left the stage while the snags were being worked on, but never come back, as it was impossible to put on an at least a standard Placebo show. Useless to say that the decision was met with little understanding by the crowd. It was a free concert, so there wasn’t any question of refunds. Just a big disappointment for everyone. Despite Placebo promising that “We will try our hardest to make this up to you!”, we all know that once a gig goes awry, there is little to do about it.
With the album Korova Milky Bar, Polish alternative band Myslovitz had a rather brief moment in the spotlight, which means the lead single, The Sound of Solitude received considerable airplay on European MTV stations, which made it a bit of a hit. Unfortunately, the promotion kept getting smaller afterwards, which is a shame, because Myslovitz are by no means a one-hit-wonder. In their native land, they are quite big.
The Sound of Solitude, today’s ignored-gold, is the kind of song which really captures feelings and releases them at every listen. The soft background jangle guitars provide a rather uplifting setting for the sad melody and the almost whispered introspective lyrics about solitude and taking a path by yourself. Listening to this song, you get that strange feeling of missing the very wonderful moment you are experiencing because you know it will not last forever. Beware, it will make you wanna hug your friends and family.