After ten years together, eight of those spent on the U.K. charts, Placebo exhume their past with Once More With Feeling: Singles 1996-2004. This 19-song collection includes all of their biggest hits, most notably "Nancy Boy" and "Pure Morning." It's also a look back on Placebo's conscious effort to maintain a campy, glam rock-influenced rock sound. Placebo achieved great success in their native U.K. (and at a college radio level in the U.S.) at the height of both grunge in the mid-'90s and the teen pop/emo excursions just as the new millennium got underway. As much as frontman Brian Molko's sexuality was called into question and the band's exterior appearance was a topic of conversation among the U.K. music press, Molko's androgynous appeal was equally intriguing as his gender-bending presence as a singer, so style and substance worked in favor of Placebo's place in music. Was he the pop generation's new David Bowie? No, but he yearned to attract fans much like Bowie did during the 1970s. Molko's pixie-like peculiarity only added to Placebo's star power, so naturally the timing of Once More With Feeling is a nice fit in the Placebo discography. It's arrangement is out of order; however, all the singles released from their 1996 self-titled debut to the fierce neo-glam statement that is 2003's Sleeping With Ghosts sound as great as they ever did. What's nice is how the select tracks from Black Market Music -- "Taste in Men," "Special K," "Slave to the Wage" -- age better simply because Placebo has aged well. The direction of Sleeping With Ghosts does the same, holding promise for what's yet to come from Placebo; just check out "The Bitter End." For a fan who has already bought every Placebo single, Once More With Feeling is only necessary for collecting purposes. For those who haven't, this singles collection is a great place to start.
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson
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