Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Rave: And the winner is...JD Fotune

INXS rocked. JD was awesome. You know, when they said he won I was sure they had made a mistake. Not anymore. The guy is a consummate showman who can hold a crowd of 3000 people in small town New Zealand rapt for hours on end. And let's face it, with the older generation coming out in droves, and being very skeptical of this person who won a reality TV show, New Plymouth was a tough crowd.

JD, I apologise, I was wrong about you.

Rave: Meds

Meds is the album Placebo have been trying to write forever. Finally, all the creative juices are flowing in the same direction... and what an album it is. The worst song on the album is still far better than many of the things Placebo have written, and the best stuff is positively transcendental.

This is an album that has drumming on a bike, two guest appearances, and the full spectrum of emotion, from giddy love to spiteful hate. Meds itself, is lost, scary, scared, and in love... who else would remind you when you're losing it to take your pills? (it is also my personal anthem at the moment, but that is a whole other story). Song to Say Goodbye has some scathing words that can only be born out of hurt and abandonment set to music that that sounds like it was written for something else. Post Blue is strange, pretty, and exciting; Brian spits out the word "fuck" like it's a word he doesn't use, and somehow manages to make it sound like he's making love anyway. Follow the Cops Back Home is a bit of a political protest, a bit of a love song, and a bit of a lament. If it had been on an earlier album, I would have hated it, but somehow Placebo have managed to avoid whatever went wrong with My Sweet Prince and Narcoleptic. The two standout songs, though, are Infra-red, and Drag. Infra-red has a great hook, and bounces along apace, and yet it is an anthem to just how badly things can go wrong between two people. Drag, on the other hand is a more real love song than I do, I think. It's the kind of love that can't quite believe its own luck, and is self effacing because of it. It's the kind of love I would expect, somehow, of Placebo... These two songs, for me, really say it all about Placebo:

Contradictory, caught between love and hate, of others and of themselves; beautiful, even when enraged, and surprising, even though they are jaded.

Well done, team. Because, you know, despite the fact that without you I am not nothing, without you, my life would be less.

Rave: Brian Molko still has it (as do Steve and Stefan)

Recently, even though I am dirt-ass poor, I travelled 2000km, and $1000 NZD, and went to see Placebo live again. Yes, I am insane, and yes, I am that dedicated. It was kind of a special trip, some of my very close friends, and of course Mike (my best friend, my lover, the other half of my life) came along to see Placebo for the first time (there were some other good friends there too -- we had seen Placebo together before).

The music, was as always, blisteringly good, and I came out of the concert still with that wow feeling that Placebo are just an incredible live act, and much better in real life than they are on disc -- which is an impressive feat, for someone who has just put out my favourite album of all time. I was surprised however, that Brian was not as chatty as he usually is, and some discussion ensued after the gig. I felt Brian's closed mouth was so strange that I said it felt like he was protecting his voice; well, it turns out I was right -- less than a week later he spent two days in hospital with tonsilitis. Call Brian what you will, he is a consummate professional to sing for two hours with brewing tonsilitis.

Tonsilitis notwithstanding, and despite the fact that we were up for over 24 hours, when I asked Mike if he would do it all again, he replied "yes, just not tomorrow". Mike really must be my other half -- he's as mad as me.

The thing that makes me think Placebo still has it even more than that, though, is the vid for Meds, the new single. It's disturbing, interesting, occasionally beautiful, and still shocking without showing anything too graphic. And Brian, at 33, still looks good enough to run around in his undies.

In all seriousness, though, Meds is by far the best album Placebo have ever written, and I feel like there is more to come. I hope the passion never dies, for Placebo, and that literally in twenty years my kids are complaining about "that crap that mum listens to".