Written by Rahoul Naik
With its sledgehammer beat and Molko’s keening vocal, Life’s What You Make It, the lead track from last year’s EP of the same name, instantly reminds you of all the reasons you fell in love with Placebo.
There is a great deal in common with the work of Talk Talk (who sang the original in 1986) and Placebo: both remained true to their artistic vision, even if that has sometimes meant not taking the easy route. The song’s message of making the best of circumstances strikes a particular chord in the challenging era in which we live.
“We covered Talk Talk’s Life’s What You Make It because it is a song from the 80s that we still liked, and wondered if we could replicate Gwen Stefani’s global smash hit with her band’s cover of ‘It’s My Life’. That remains to be seen…” Brian Molko says.
Rainbow’s accompanying film for Life’s What You Make It was shot in Agbogbloshie, a former wetland in the heart of Accra, in Ghana, which is home to one of the world’s largest electronic waste dumps. It sets an apocalyptic backdrop of first-world waste against the daily lives of those who inhabit this thoroughly otherworldly space.
“I told her that she had balls of steel for actually daring to go film on location in Ghana and that, no, we would not be coming, since we were timid little souls,” Molko says.
One of songwriter Mark Hollis’ key phrases in Life’s What You Make It, “yesterday’s favourite”, is sung so powerfully by Molko, and underlines the e-waste message strongly in the film; yet it is far from being downbeat – the boys are seen dancing and laughing, making the most of their circumstances.
The track continues Placebo’s remarkable run of singles, and its accompanying short film will provide one of the most thought-provoking moments you’ll have all year.
Check out the video below.