Placebo drop first new song in five years to ‘irritate the squares and uptight’

Placebo drop first new song in five years to ‘irritate the squares and uptight’


Placebo are today announcing their first new single in five years, 'Beautiful James' to "celebrate non-heteronormative relationships".

In 1996, as the UK was saturated with Britpop, Placebo were a psycho-sexual freakshow of ambiguous sexuality (and, to the casual observer, gender).

They were only two years on from their debut gig (the Rock Garden, January 1995) and 12 months after their first single (Bruise Pristine), when Placebo released the career defining Nancy Boy and achieved platinum status with their critically acclaimed eponymous debut album. The band have since celebrated 20 years.

What you need to know

  • Placebo are back with their first track in five years
  • ‘Beautiful James’ is a celebration of non-heteronormative love
  • It flipped the band’s usual recording process, recorded throughout insomnia

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

Over the course of more than 25 years, and over 13 million album sales, Placebo generally took aim at the human condition, so it’s perhaps less surprising to see them return in a time of global crisis in 2021.

The band describe ‘Beautiful James’ as “a message of defiance that seeks to normalise and celebrate non-heteronormative relationships in song.”

“If the song serves to irritate the squares and the uptight, so gleefully be it,” he said.

“But it remains imperative for me that each listener discovers their own personal story within it – I really don’t want to tell you how to feel.”

Placebo want ‘Beautiful James’ to continue their tradition of challenging mainstream trappings of traditional sexuality, while examining the inherent flaws in society’s norms of health and beauty.

The band revealed that ‘Beautiful James’ was created throughout a period of insomnia, where the band substantially altered their usual creative processes. They started off producing visual mediums, photography and other imagery, which went on to inform the recording process.

Listen to Beautiful James here.