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We’ve got to be honest; in our opinion, there isn’t a single mediocre album in Placebo‘s back catalogue, but that doesn’t mean that their third record Black Market Music isn’t something truly special. Today they’re celebrating 20 years since this epic collection of songs was released on Hut Records, including some of our favourite tracks of all time.

Placebo – Black Market Music

After the Platinum success of their 1996 self-titled debut album and its 1998 follow-up Without You I’m Nothing, critics and fans alike expected a lot from Black Market Music. Few were disappointed. It reached number six in the UK charts and featured the hit singles Taste in Men, Slave to the Wage, Special K and Black-Eyed; all of which would go on to appear on their legendary compilation album Once More with Feeling. It also included a rare rap venture with Justin Warfield on Spite & Malice, which rather came out of leftfield given the band’s distaste with the rap-rock hype at the time. 

They enlisted a new producer, Paul Corkett (Adorable, The Cure, Biffy Clyro), who’d previously worked as an engineer on Without You I’m Nothing, and the album took an unexpectedly long time to be released. With nine months in London’s Olympic Studios, Townhouse Studios and Moody Studios, it remains the longest time Placebo have taken to record an album. 

Frontman Brian Molko later reflected that the band’s heavy drug usage was likely to have contributed to the length of time it took to record, and admitted that they had gone into the studio with rather a lot of confidence and bravado having had a successful tour and developed a newfound friendship with David Bowie, who ended up re-recording their Without You I’m Nothing single as a duet (which would later feature as a bonus track on the re-sequenced US version of Black Market Music, alongside a cover of Depeche Mode’s I Feel You). 

Black Market Music features themes of love and desperation, drugs and addiction, religion and societal expectations as well as mental health. It was dedicated to their music publicist friend Scott Piering, who had died of cancer earlier in the year. They also reference their sound technician Levi Tecofski in the song Commercial for Levi; a man who once saved a drunk Brian Molko from being knocked down by a vehicle. We certainly have a LOT to thank him for.

A lot of musical influences can be heard on the record as well. Taste in Men was majorly inspired by Nine Inch Nails’ song Wish, with a bass riff almost identical to Pink Floyd’s Let There Be More Light. Meanwhile, Slave to the Wage samples Texas Never Whispers by Pavement, and makes reference to the Bob Dylan song Maggie’s Farm.

While the critical reception may not have been as avid as the previous two albums, attitudes towards Black Market Music were still largely positive. It saw them at their most listenable, and the dark sound was a hit with most people, even if the media were resistant to a song named after a drug (Special K). Molko’s own feelings on the record changed over the years. At first he described it as a perfect blend of the “rough, punk pop” of their debut album and the “melancholy” vibes on Without You I’m Nothing, but later he expressed regret at not having had enough involvement on the production side and even ranked it as his least favourite album. 

That’s nothing unusual though; he’d later express apathy towards Without You I’m Nothing too, an album which we featured in a previous Album of the Week.



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Harry Styles | Harry Styles invests in new live music venue

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Harry Styles feels like he is “coming home” after investing in a new live music arena.

The 26-year-old singer is “proud and excited” to also be helping with the design and development of Co-op Live, a £350 million venue, which will have a capacity of 23,500 when it opens within Manchester City Football Club’s Etihad Campus in 2023.

Harry – who is from nearby Cheshire – said: “Manchester is an incredible city, filled with incredible people, and I couldn’t be happier being involved in this project.

“It very much feels like coming home.

“I was drawn to this project on every level, from the opportunities it brings, to the contribution it will make to the city, and, most importantly, that it will allow even more live music to thrive in Manchester. It’s just another sign that this amazing city continues to grow.”

American entertainment company Oak View Group (OVG), who are building the arena, promised the ‘Golden’ singer will be “actively involved in the development of the project”, and that his “advice and consultation is going to be invaluable”.

Harry told the Financial Times of his involvement: “Obviously I’m not an expert architecturally, in terms of building an arena.

“I guess the weight of my involvement falls into the idea of what you want backstage as an artist. People operate in different ways after a show. Some people like a quiet space, some people like a place where you can invite all your friends.”

The former One Direction star – who shot to fame on ‘The X Factor’ and had his first audition for the show in Manchester in 2010 – joked he has “come full circle” with the development because of his first job as a teenager.

He said: “It feels like full circle for me to be doing this. My first job was with the Co-op, it was delivering papers for them.”



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ASOS launches new womenswear label As You

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ASOS has launched new womenswear label As You.

The online fashion retailer’s latest addition to the ASOS exclusive brand portfolio – which also includes COLLUSION and Reclaimed Vintage – launched on Monday (26.10.20) with an initial line-up of over 100 pieces.

Nikki Tattersall, Womenswear Buying Director at ASOS, said: “We are excited to launch this new brand that responds to our younger customers and gives them a new way of showing their confident style. Our focus has been to create a versatile collection that encapsulates both on and off duty glam, reflecting the reality of how our customers are living their lives right now.”

As You features mesh separates, dare-to-bare bodycons and tonal mix-and-match sweats. One of the stand-out pieces of the collection is an attention-grabbing, slinky thong-back dress, similar in style to the racy outfit worn by Kim Kardashian West on Instagram last week.

A message on the collection’s website states: “Emerging brand AsYou is a big mood. Serving up new-new trends, get into your vibes with pieces designed to represent every side of you, whether you’re off-duty or going out-out. Make a statement in entrance-worthy slinky bodycon dresses, underboob crop tops and plunging bodysuits, or turn down in legging shorts, slouchy tees and oversized sweatshirts. Shop the AsYou at ASOS edit to explore the full collection. You do you.”

The collection will be available in sizes 4-18, with prices starting at £8.00.



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The Weeknd | The Weeknd and Roddy Ricch lead AMAs nominations

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The Weeknd and Roddy Ricch lead the American Music Awards 2020 nominations with eight each.

The pair will compete for the prestigious Artist of the Year award, alongside Justin Bieber, Post Malone and Taylor Swift, while The Weeknd has also scored nods for Favourite Music Video, Favourite Male Artist (pop/rock), Favourite Song (pop/rock), Favourite Album (pop/rock), Favourite Male Artist (soul/R&B), Favourite Album (soul/R&B) and Favourite Song (soul/R&B).

Ricch, meanwhile, is up for New Artist of the Year, Collaboration of the Year, Favourite Song (pop/rock), Favourite Male Artist (rap/hip-hop), Favourite Album (rap/hip-hop) and twice for Favourite Song (rap/hip-hop) including his ‘Rockstar’ collaboration with DaBaby.

First-time nominee Megan Thee Stallion has a whopping five nominations, making her the most nominated female artist this year. She is up for New Artist of the Year and has received two nods for Collaboration of the Year for her work with Beyonce on the ‘Savage Remix’ and Cardi B on ‘WAP’. She is also nominated for Favourite Song (rap/hip-hop) and Favourite Female Artist (rap/hip-hop).

Bad Bunny, Bieber, Lady Gaga, Swift and first-time nominees DaBaby and Doja Cat round out the nominations with four nods each.

Swift is already the most decorated star at the awards over the course of her career with 29 wins and will be hoping to add to her trophies with nominations in the Artist of the Year, Favourite Music Video, Favourite Album (pop/rock) and Favourite Female Arist (pop/rock) catergories.

Several nominees were announced by Dua Lipa on ‘Good Morning America’ on Monday (26.10.20), while the rest were revealed on the AMAs Twitter account.

This year’s ceremony will be held at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater and will air live on ABC on November 22.

Voting for all AMA categories is open now on the show’s website.

2020 AMA Nominations

Artist of the Year

Justin Bieber

Post Malone

Roddy Ricch

Taylor Swift

The Weeknd

New Artist of the Year

Lewis Capaldi

Doja Cat

DaBaby

Lil Baby

Roddy Ricch

Megan Thee Stallion

Collaboration of the Year

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion, ‘WAP’

DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch, ‘Rockstar’

Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber, ‘10,000 Hours’

Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande, ‘Rain On Me’

Megan Thee Stallion ft. Beyoncé, ‘Savage Remix’

Favourite Social Artist

BTS

Billie Eilish

EXO

Ariana Grande

NCT 127

Favourite Music Video

Doja Cat, ‘Say So’

Future ft. Drake, ‘Life Is Good’

Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande, ‘Rain On Me’

Taylor Swift, ‘cardigan’

The Weeknd, ‘Blinding Lights’

Favourite Male Artist (pop/rock)

Justin Bieber

Post Malone

The Weeknd

Favourite Female Artist (pop/rock)

Dua Lipa

Lady Gaga

Taylor Swift

Favourite Duo or Group (pop/rock)

BTS

Jonas Brothers

Maroon 5

Favourite Album (pop/rock)

Harry Styles, ‘Fine Line’

Taylor Swift, ‘folklore’

The Weeknd, ‘After Hours’

Favourite Song (pop/rock)

Lewis Capaldi, ‘Someone You Loved’

Dua Lipa, ‘Don’t Start Now’

Post Malone, ‘Circles’

Roddy Ricch, ‘The Box’

The Weeknd, ‘Blinding Lights’

Favourite Male Artist (country)

Kane Brown

Luke Combs

Morgan Wallen

Favourite Female Artist (country)

Gabby Barrett

Miranda Lambert

Maren Morris

Favourite Duo or Group (country)

Dan + Shay

Florida Georgia Line

Old Dominion

Favourite Album (country)

Luke Combs, ‘What You See Is What You Get’

Blake Shelton, ‘Fully Loaded: God’s Country’

Morgan Wallen,’If I Know Me’

Favourite Song (country)

Dan + Shay with Justin Bieber, ‘10,000 Hours’

Maren Morris, ‘The Bones’

Blake Shelton (Duet with Gwen Stefani), ‘Nobody But You’

Favourite Male Artist (rap/hip-hop)

DaBaby

Juice WRLD

Roddy Ricch

Favourite Female Artist (rap/hip-hop)

Cardi B

Nicki Minaj

Megan Thee Stallion

Favourite Album (rap/hip-hop)

Lil Baby, ‘My Turn’

Lil Uzi Vert, ‘Eternal Atake’

Roddy Ricch, ‘Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial’

Favourite Song (rap/hip-hop)

Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion, ‘WAP’

DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch, ‘Rockstar’

Roddy Ricch, ‘The Box’

Favourite Male Artist (soul/R&B)

Chris Brown

John Legend

The Weeknd

Favourite Female Artist (soul/R&B)

Jhene Aiko

Doja Cat

Summer Walker

Favourite Album (soul/R&B)

Doja Cat, ‘Hot Pink’

Summer Walker, ‘Over It’

The Weeknd, ‘After Hours’

Favourite Song (soul/R&B)

Chris Brown ft. Drake, ‘No Guidance’

Summer Walker, ‘Playing Games’

The Weeknd, ‘Heartless’

Favourite Male Artist (Latin)

Bad Bunny

J Balvin

Ozuna

Favourite Female Artist (Latin)

Becky G

KAROL G

Rosalía

Favourite Album (Latin)

Anuel AA, ‘Emmanuel’

Bad Bunny, ‘Las Que No Iban a Salir’

Bad Bunny, ‘YHLQMDLG’

Favourite Song (Latin)

Bad Bunny, ‘Vete’

Black Eyed Peas X J Balvin, ‘RITMO (Bad Boys For Life)’

KAROL G & Nicki Minaj, ‘Tusa’

Favourite Artist (alternative rock)

Billie Eilish

Tame Impala

twenty one pilots

Favourite Artist (adult contemporary)

Lewis Capaldi

Jonas Brothers

Maroon 5

Favourite Artist (contemporary inspirational)

Lauren Daigle

for KING & COUNTRY

Kanye West

Favourite Artist (EDM)

Kygo

Lady Gaga

Marshmello

Favourite Soundtrack

‘Birds of Prey: The Album’

‘Frozen II’

‘Trolls: World Tour’



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