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Black Market Music (album)

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Title: Black Market Music (album)  
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Subject: Black-Eyed, Slave to the Wage, Special K (song), Taste in Men, Placebo (band)
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Black Market Music (album)

Black Market Music
Studio album by Placebo
Released 9 October 2000
Recorded Late 1999 – mid 2000
Studio Olympic Studios, Townhouse Studios and Moody Studios in London, England
Genre Alternative rock[1]
Length 45:44
Label Hut
Producer Paul Corkett
Placebo chronology
Without You I'm Nothing
Black Market Music
Sleeping with Ghosts
Singles from Black Market Music
  1. "Taste in Men"
    Released: 17 July 2000
  2. "Slave to the Wage"
    Released: September 2000
  3. "Special K"
    Released: 19 March 2001
  4. "Black-Eyed"
    Released: September 2001
  5. "Blue American"
    Released: May 2002

Black Market Music is the third studio album by English alternative rock band Placebo. The album took nine months to record, from between late 1999 to mid 2000; the longest that the band have ever spent recording an album to date. It was released on 9 October 2000 by record label Hut.

It has sold over one million copies to date.


  • Background 1
  • Release 2
  • Reception 3
  • Track listing 4
  • Personnel 5
  • Charts and certifications 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Speaking to Kerrang! in June 2009, Brian Molko remembered:

We had a real swagger and bravado when we went into the studio for this one. We had just come off a really successful tour and felt we'd really exploded. We felt like cowboys of rock! We were also really heavily medicated and beginning to get quite deep into drugs. That's probably why it took nine months to make an album. The drugs also contributed to a certain amount of arrogance. At least that's what I remember from the time. I think we had a desire to write about the world we saw around us. We thought it was cool that, though other people were a little afraid to get deep down and dirty, we could take it on ourselves to write about those things. I think that album was the start of us trying to mix genres. We had so much hatred for rap-rock bands like Limp Bizkit and all they represented – misogyny, homophobia and commercialism – that we wanted to do our own version of it.[2]

The album is dedicated to music publicist Scott Piering, who died of cancer in early 2000.[3] The song "Commercial for Levi" is a reference to the sound technician Levi Tecofski, who on one occasion saved frontman Brian Molko's life: Molko, drunk and about to cross the road, was quickly pulled back by Tecofski from the path of an approaching vehicle.[4]


Black Market Music was released on 9 October 2000.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 65[5]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [1]
Alternative Press [6]
Robert Christgau ambiguous[7]
Drowned in Sound 8/10[8]
NME unfavorable[9]
Pitchfork 2.4/10[10]
PopMatters neutral[11]
Rolling Stone [5]
Q [5]

Black Market Music received a generally favourable critical response, though a less enthusiastic reception than previous records. Dean Carlson of AllMusic wrote that "Black Market Music finds Molko in such moody lust that his strangled, androgynous wailing rivals anything the band has previously flashed to the world [...] Placebo seem to have finally found that sweet wet spot between beauty and perversion."[1] Dale Price of Drowned in Sound called it "a heavily revised upgrade of their back catalogue. And then some."[8] Nicholas Taylor of PopMatters called it "highly listenable dark guitar rock".[11]

Among its detractors were NME, who called it "a case of ambition eclipsing talent, of hubris, of a band losing the plot. Placebo's frame of reference has always been narrow, but they've now been reduced to empty gestures without any visionary tunes to tip the balance."[9]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Placebo, except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Taste in Men"     4:15
2. "Days Before You Came"     2:33
3. "Special K"     3:52
4. "Spite & Malice" (feat. Justin Warfield) Placebo, Justin Warfield 3:37
5. "Passive Aggressive"     5:24
6. "Black-Eyed"     3:48
7. "Blue American"     3:31
8. "Slave to the Wage"   Kannberg, Malkmus, Placebo 4:06
9. "Commercial for Levi"     2:20
10. "Haemoglobin"     3:46
11. "Narcoleptic"     4:22
12. "Peeping Tom" (all versions except the vinyl edition contain the hidden track "Black Market Blood", starting at 10:14)   14:10


Additional personnel
  • Rob Ellis – string arrangements
  • Bill Lloyd – bass on "Peeping Tom"
  • Severe Loren – backing vocals on "Taste in Men" and "Special K"
  • Dimitri Tikovoï – string programming
  • Justin Warfield – rapping vocals on "Spite & Malice"
Technical personnel

Charts and certifications

Chart Position
Australian Albums Chart[12] 18
Austrian Albums Chart[13] 7
Belgian Flanders Albums Chart[14] 10
Belgian Wallonia Albums Chart[15] 3
Dutch Albums Chart[16] 28
Finnish Albums Chart[17] 24
French Albums Chart[18] 1
Irish Albums Chart[19] 12
Italian Albums Chart[20] 9
New Zealand Albums Chart[21] 22
Norwegian Albums Chart[22] 9
Swedish Albums Chart[23] 17
Swiss Albums Chart[24] 15
UK Albums Chart[25] 6
Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[26] Gold 35,000^
Italy (FIMI)[27] Gold 50,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[28] Gold 25,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c Carlson, Dean. – Placebo | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic"Black Market Music".  
  2. ^ Bryant, Tony. Kerrang! #1267, June 27, 2009. Treasure Chest. An Intimate Portrait Of Life In Rock. Brian Molko, p.60
  3. ^ Album liner notes.
  4. ^ "I'm the Anti-Eminem".  
  5. ^ a b c – Metacritic"Black Market Music"Critic Reviews for .  
  6. ^  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ a b Price, Dale (9 October 2000). / Releases / Releases // Drowned in Sound"Black Market Music"Album Reviews: Placebo – .  
  9. ^ a b |"Black Market Music Reviews – NME".  
  10. ^ Cooper, Paul (8 May 2000). | Album Reviews | Pitchfork"Black Market Music"Placebo: .  
  11. ^ a b Taylor, Nicholas (7 May 2001). | PopMatters"Black Market Music"Placebo: .  
  12. ^ "Black Market Music" – Placebo – . Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  13. ^ –"Black Market Music"Placebo – . Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Black Market Music" – Placebo – . Ultratop. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "Black Market Music" – Placebo – . Ultratop. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "Black Market Music" – Placebo – . Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Black Market Music" – Placebo – . Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Black Market Music" – Placebo – . Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "GFK Chart-Track". Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Black Market Music"Placebo - . Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "Placebo - Black Market Music". 
  22. ^ "Black Market Music"Placebo - . Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  23. ^ "Black Market Music" – Placebo – . Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  24. ^ –"Black Market Music"Placebo – . (in German). Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "Placebo | Artist | Official Charts".  
  26. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2001 Albums".  
  27. ^ "Placebo: Sleeping with Ghosts" (in Italian).  
  28. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Placebo; 'Black Market Music')". Hung Medien. 
  29. ^ "British album certifications – Placebo – Black Market Music".   Enter Black Market Music in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search

External links

  • Black Market Music at Discogs (list of releases)
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