Sunday, November 15, 2015

Placebo - Meds

I missed the boat on this one. Meds was in my collection for sometime but not by my intentions directly. I'd given it a half-attempted spin or two and not found the band to my liking - at the time - and that was that. And of course, the reason why I generally do not get rid of CDs is that A LOT of music is very time-and-place insofar as how you take to it. Murphy's Law dictates that if you do get rid of an album you have a pretty good chance of getting into it shortly thereafter. And that's just what happened here. My friend Katie's pick for the Joup Friday Album this past week was Meds and in reading her write-up and throwing the album on my headphones while at work on Friday I literally fell in love with it. First two songs gave me chills. Still do, two days and about six listens later. And yeah, Meds is no longer in my collection so I will have to be re-buying it. #don'tsellyourmusicbuildalifelibrary

I absolutely understand why previously I did not like this band. It's somewhat ineffable, however after really thinking about Placebo's sound in the context of the time this record hit I think I've come to some fairly weighty conclusions. There's no denying my initial prejudice has to do with the fact that Meds specifically and the band's sound in general has a lot of the trappings that bigger-market rock bands trafficked in during the early oughts. The voice and the way it sits in the mix, the guitar tone, the slightly narcissistic point of view and the underlying programming that gives the songs a sort of slick, Marilyn Manson Mechanical Animals three times removed feel is, to me, indicative of this era of rock music, where many of the bands that blew up to varying degrees just generally leave me cold and suspicious of contrivance. That said, I think a lot of what I just described is actually the product of one particular metric that I can't really prove as anything other than a hunch - the fact that beginning with the late 90s and traveling on into the early 00s a lot of the bands who rose to prominence were helmed by the first generation of artists to do so having been raised on meds for most of their lives. The sound I describe above has a slightly overly-polished veneer - hence the suspected contrivance - because that's what the filter of meds does, it polishing reality. That's what a lot of that era's music is about, coping with that, and it makes sense that would leave its sonic fingerprint on the music. Again, I can't prove it, but Meds specifically would definitely appear to add credence to my thinking.

What say you (the Universal You, that is?)

No comments: