The moment Bret Easton Ellis narrated two Placebo clips

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Placebo remains one of the most important acts of the past 30 years. The androgynous hero frontman Brian Molko and the group have consistently denounced and subverted the worst social mores of modern Britain. The group for all of those who are different, who don’t fit the heteronormative society we live in, Placebo puts the fluidity and core of what they do, and has always carried the message that it’s okay to be. different.

Sexuality, death, violence, drug use, and the modern fascination with money are just a few of the topics Placebo has discussed in his long and distinguished career. Molko has always had his finger on the pulse, and the band’s latest single, “Surrounded by Spies,” deals with the pervasive surveillance culture of contemporary society, as well as the catastrophic environmental collapse which is fast approaching but which world leaders ignore.

Like Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Iggy Pop, Molko isn’t afraid to tackle taboo topics and discuss the darker side of the human condition. He’s ultra-realistic, and his music is filled with a weight that gave the band a longevity that many of their ’90s contemporaries could only dream of having. There’s a reason Britpop died, but Placebo has remained relevant.

Molko’s lyrical style is a bit like Gonzo journalism. He delves into the subject he is talking about, not being afraid to tell the truth. He teaches us about how we can improve ourselves by highlighting our flaws, and his lyrics are often like a mix of Hunter S. Thompson and JG Ballard. Her music is sexual, naughty and seductive.

Showing just how provocative the group is, in 2013 Placebo teamed up with fellow contemporary subversion master, literary hero and societal commentator, Bret Easton Ellis, to deliver the two incredibly relevant videos for the singles “Loud Like Love And ‘Too Many Friends’. A take on the secrets of the suburbs, the video for “Loud Like Love” is perhaps the better of the two.

Featuring the plot of Desperate housewives merged with the surrealism of a Pynchon novel, it really is something. It’s a suburban mystery, and Ellis walks us around like he’s a teacher, the supreme social commentator, showing young detectives what they’ve been missing.

It comes with the suggestive type of muzak we associate with 1950s America and is presented as “Unhappy Details with Bret Easton Ellis.” At the start he said, “Welcome viewers, in today’s lesson we are going to watch another unfortunate event.” We then see a woman spit on her boyfriend before he is quickly tackled in rugby in the pool.

Ellis discusses the event in detail, explaining that there are “main details” to it, and that we missed 71 clues in a single frame. Then the band plays in black and white on an old-fashioned 1950s TV. The music kicks in and we see the other clues.

With intriguing scripts, both are brilliant interpretations of the concept of a music video. We hope to see Easton Ellis and Placebo one day again.

Watch the two videos below.


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