Without You I'm Nothing
For its second album, Placebo created a song cycle of intricate beauty and naked commercial-alternative ambition. It was refreshing to hear an alternative singer like Brian Molko not back down; he found a way to remain true to his decadent spirit yet write songs that could be understood by anyone who wished to listen. There's no deliberate obscurity here that can't be overcome by a great, lingering hook and a vocal melody that demands a stadium of fans rally along. "Pure Morning" (the album's first single), "Brick Sh*thouse," and especially the deliciously urgent "Every You Every Me" are like songs David Bowie once willed upon the people, daring in their ambitions but never too far from radio's shore. "Ask for Answers" glances at self-pity and takes all the sympathy it can get. Along with "Without You I'm Nothing" and "The Crawl," it captures the vague poetry of romantic teen angst. Guitars recalling Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine burst forth for "Allergic (To Thoughts of Mother Earth)" and the clanging "Evil Dildo," which was once a hidden track that appeared after minutes of agonizing silence.