Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Placebo Offer a Glimpse Of The Future On New Single ‘Try Better Next Time’

Try Better Next Time’ is arguably typical fare from Placebo. The London band is comprised of multi-instrumentalists Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal, who are preparing to release their eighth studio album, ‘Never Let Me Go’, in March 2022

On ‘Try Better Next Time’, crisp guitars and bass rumbles accompany Molko's distinctive nasal tones and thunderous drums for a rock masterclass where attitude meets a smidgeon of pop glamour. There is, however, a serious and more gothic element to the group’s music - think The Cure with added glitter - and ‘Try Better Next Time’ is no exception.

What begins as a somewhat whimsical number soon establishes itself as something very different, a genuine commentary on the state of the world and Molko’s apparent disillusionment with it. This is conveyed with extreme imagery - burning, claustrophobia, and perhaps the idea that our present Earth is one we desperately need to change in favour of a better one. “At the core of the Earth / It’s too hot to breathe / There’s nothing much to eat / And everybody leaves”. Occasionally, the listener gets glimpses of that utopia, but at first it only appears to create contrasts with that harsher imagery, maybe as a reminder of what humanity risks losing (“So they laugh and they dance around mahogany trees / Completely unawares they’re gonna end up as meat”).

This is never made any clearer than in the chorus, with its repeated refrain of “Wake up, wake up / Try better next time / Wake up, wake up / Cry better next time”. Of course, it’s the lyrical repetition that really hammers the message home, but the instrumentation plays its own part. There’s another contrast in how Placebo juxtapose heavier subject matter with a lighter, jauntier tune, and it undoubtedly works well, from its opening to its singalong choruses. The bridge into the last of these is particularly noteworthy, because it provides the listener with a glimmer of hope among the gloom; “There’s a spot in the ocean / And that’s where we’ll meet / Somewhere far away / Where fish can nibble at our feet.”

All of the elements of ‘Try Better Next Time’ come together to create a tantalising preview of the forthcoming album. If this and Placebo’s other recent singles ‘Beautiful James’ and ‘Surrounded by Spies’ are clear indicators of what else is to come, ‘Never Let Me Go’ is sure to be ranked among their very best work.


Mason Hawker


Image: ‘Try Better Next Time’ Official Single Cover (PRESS)


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