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  • Sleeping With Ghosts [VINYL]
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Sleeping With Ghosts [VINYL]

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Image of album by Placebo


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Welcome to a happy accident: When Brian Molko - singer songwriter with bleak-hearted rock three piece, Placebo - began writing his band's seventh studio album, his intention was to sketch out enough tracks to make the B3 EP. What followed was a splurge of creativity and grand ambition that resulted in Loud Like Love, a release that marks Placebo as a band big on heart-scarred intimacy as ... Read more in Amazon's Placebo Store

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Product details

  • Vinyl (24 Mar. 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elevator
  • ASIN: B00008AWON
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 884,597 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description


The basic tenets of the rock & roll manifesto--sex and drugs, dangerously excessive lashings of both--have always figured prominently in Placebo's glitterered-up, androgynous rock oeuvre. Sleeping with Ghosts is a little more coy (but just as sordid), dealing more with the torturous psychoanalysis of love and longstanding relationships than with the instantly-gratifying exchange of bodily fluids.

Not that there isn't any room for fetishism and coital undernourishment. "This Picture", for example, apparently dwells on the doomy side of sado-masochism and comes over as just the sort of trash-glam pop stomp Suede once excelled at--that is until Brett Anderson knocked the funny stuff on the head and started gazing at rainbows. If press reports are to be believed these days--and the jury's out--Placebo are just as likely to turn their noses up at plates of narcotics as to plunge their nostrils in with glee. Not that they've cheered up. "The Bitter End" ("since we're feeling so anaesthetised") is one big bruising rock-out waving the flag of philosophical fatalism; rather like men rushing head-long into a brick wall at high speed, Placebo can't wait to get to their final date with destiny quick enough. At times it's hard to tell whether Brian Molko is repulsed or perversely gratified by his chosen subject matter, although he's definitely bored with the weather (the cheerless "English Summer Rain" is a subdued, sighing pop tune, driven by rhythmic jolts of electronica) and the waltztime, Doors-influenced "Protect Me from What I Want" finds him praying to be delivered from his own personal temptations (or demons).

Sleeping with Ghosts, however, is every bit as much an album for slam-dancing nights out at Goth-favouring haunts as it is for the psychiatrists' couch. --Kevin Maidment

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mrs Taylor on 10 May 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After three years, London-based rock trio Placebo has finally arrived with long-awaited fourth album, Sleeping with Ghosts. With their previous three records all hitting top 10 in the UK, the expectations for the new album are, to say the least, elevated. Then it is with no small amount of pleasure that many fans, after having heard the new tracks, pronounced Sleeping with Ghosts Placebo’s best album to date. I, for one, am inclined to agree.
Taking their cues from the likes of DJ Shadow this time around, Placebo cleverly sidestep the pitfalls that dance/electronica influences often represent, and manage to fuse these influences effortlessly with their unique style. The arrangement chosen to showcase the music has a lot to do with this – in general, odd-numbered tracks on the album lean toward their old, guitar-driven approach with trademark ‘insect buzz’ distortion and simple punky rhythms; whereas even-numbered tracks showcase their new direction, with a couple of quiet, piano-led tracks to close off.
The album opens with a sinister, frenzied instrumental reminiscent of the hidden track 'Evil Dildo' from second album Without You I’m Nothing, but as the record wears on, this quickly proves itself to be a red herring as to an indication of where the album is heading. Track 2, 'English Summer Rain', features vocalist Brian Molko on drums, providing a bouncy vibe and melodies you can’t help but sing along to. 'Special Needs' is another highlight in a similar style, with lines like ‘remember me / when every nose starts to bleed’ exemplifying Placebo’s usual lyrical perversity. How *very* Brian Molko.
'The Bitter End', the first single off the album, is typical Placebo, perhaps with a little more melody than previous material.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By alexliamw VINE VOICE on 21 Mar. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Placebo have never been a band for major changes of direction, but Sleeping With Ghosts sees them consolidating strengths across the board and venturing into new, electronica-influenced territory. First single 'The Bitter End' is classic Placebo, recalling the punky immediacy of their first album, yet simultaneously mixing in some spooky piano and swirling harmonies that deepen the sound a bit. Opening instrumental 'Bulletproof Cupid' and 'Second Sight' both also follow the same tack, blistering along and ripping everything in their path to shreds.
Meanwhile, there's something new afoot on 'English Summer Rain', which schizophrenically leaps between a chorus that showcases a lush, rhythmic keyboard effect, a sleazy verse with almost funk-style bass and Molko dirtily beckoning 'I'm in the basement baby - drop on by', before entering an ending section that is scarily resemblent of Linkin Park, with its chant of 'Hold your breath and count to ten/Fall apart then start again' and a synth that sounds right out of 'In The End' or 'Crawling'. It should be horrific, but somehow they pull it off.
They've still got the power to be emotionally devastating, too. The acoustic-led title track is as beautiful and heartbreaking as anything they've ever done, right up there with 'Without You I'm Nothing' and 'Peeping Tom', yet its building sound and electronica drums and synths make it ever more wonderful that those two tracks, as Molko calls 'soulmate dry your eyes' in a moment where his vocals leave behind their sneer and just float over the canvas that his bandmates weave.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Vicky Stephens (19) on 2 April 2003
Format: Audio CD
I've been an obsessional Placebo fan since the age of 14, and after hearing 'Sleeping With Ghosts', I am incredibly relieved to find that it stirs up the same melancholy and angst that I felt from their debut. SWG is definately a more mature album than the previous three, and I am not in the least surprised that many 'Without You I'm Nothing' devotees have been dissapointed by the move away from tortured lyrics and aching guitar sounds. There is an emphasis on melodic guitars which takes a lot of influence from bands like Joy Division and Nick Cave, and the use of electronic sound overlaying the persistant guitars is quite beautiful, if very different from the urgency of the past albums. Brian Molko's distinctive and haunting voice adds a very individual element to their sound, whether he is chanting over complex melodies, or singing urgently through the walls of melancholy sound.
'Sleeping With Ghosts' is not an album for people who are looking for a return to the spunk and glitter days of 'Placebo' or the heartbreak and desolation of 'Without You I'm Nothing'. Nor is it as cynical and morbid as Black Market Music. It is an intelligent, inspired album which would not be out of place alongside Joy Division's 'Substance' or Sonic Youth's 'Daydream Nation'. In years to come, I feel sure that this will be looked back upon as a classic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Oct. 2003
Format: Audio CD
One thing about living in a small town with only one wee record shop is that you'll occasionally buy something you might never have dreamt of buying in another situation - which is how I finished up with a copy of Ghosts and which is also why I immediately bought all the other Placebo stuff in the shop too. I was attracted mainly by the covers disc and it really is a wonderful mix - keen and crashing versions of thrilling songs - listen to Chilton's Holocaust - spinetingling. Only Big Mouth doesn't work vocally - the ghostly tone of Moz is just too strong. And the Placedo songs are excellent too - some of the best post-Smiths guitar smacking you'll ever hear - while that distinctive voice, half irritable sheep, half underfed Persian cat, really grows on you. The lyrics are inevitably the doomy decadent teenagey drug & disease stuff which old Brian is famous for & should be about to grow out of but there's wit as well and all in all this cd was an immensely pleasant surprise.
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