A friend who bleeds is better :: VOTD

Pure Morning :: Placebo
from the album, Without You I’m Nothing

About the song

Pure Morning is the first single from Placebo’s second album Without You I’m Nothing, in 1998. The single was very successful in the U.S., going at # 19 in the Billboard, and it also went at # 4 in the UK Singles Chart.

The song has been featured often in British television advertisements, including an advert for the Lexus IS 200. Pure Morning was also included as track 12 on Big Shiny Tunes 3. It has also been featured in various television shows and movies, and has been covered by multiple artists/bands.

The song was initially recorded as a B-side for the album in May, the lyrics were written “off the top of” Molko’s head and is about “coming down” in the morning when everyone is happy, it is also a celebration of friendship hence the mention of the word friend in the beginning of most of the lines in the song (“A friend in needs a friend indeed/A friend with weed is better“).

The song is a very simple song and started out as a guitar loop but developed into the song it is today.

The song was the last to be recorded and the band switched producers from Steve Osborne to Phil Vinall at the last minute to put it on the album.

The music video (see above), directed by Nick Gordon and shot in slow-motion at the junction of Savoy Street and Savoy Hill in London, focuses on the character of a suicidal man played by Brian Molko. P

olice and authorities attempt to stop him from jumping from a building to end his life. Shots of the rest of the band consist of them being arrested for unseen crimes. News crews report on the scene and a single police officer runs through the building to attempt to convince the suicidal man from jumping.

Molko eventually leans forward, causing many characters to react in sadness and anguish as if he has jumped; but instead of falling, he impossibly walks vertically down the side of the building and steps onto the ground safely, to the astonishment of all.

Stylistically, Molko wears a black polar neck shirt with holes at the shoulders, and black nail polish on his fingers and toes. He also wears tight black leggings and has his makeup done in his usual androgynous style.

The song was a staple of the band’s setlist from 1998 through to 2005. Since then, apart from a number of shows during the band’s stint on the 2007 Projekt Revolution tour, it has not been performed. Brian Molko has stated his disdain towards the song, particularly towards the lyrics, in a number of interviews.

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My thoughts:

The video changed the feel of the song for me, adding a darker tint to it, and a bit of the supernatural, which is why I chose it for inclusion in Spooky October. Something about the song, played as soundtrack to the video, and then listened later on its own, brings to mind isolation and a sense of a desperate need to connect, and control.

Why is a friend who bleeds better? Does this mean a friend who feels? Who opens up and “bleeds” their selves to you? Or is there something slightly more sinister, or tied to addiction, in the line?

Brian Molko has always reminded me of the Glam Rock scene of the Seventies, the likes of Bowie and T-Rex and early Iggy Pop.

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