Pierrot The Clown

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Songfacts®:

  • Placebo frontman Brian Molko steps into the role of a domestic-violence victim in this track from the band's fifth studio album. In his despair, he compares himself to Pierrot, the classic sad clown character of French pantomime that David Bowie also portrayed in "Ashes To Ashes."
  • Molko explained the song's meaning in a 2006 Rock Mag interview: "It's a song about destructive relationships, violent relationships. After having written it, I realized that it could well have been about family relations as well as between lovers. A lot of songs - mainly Country - talk about women being hit by their husbands. In 'Pierrot the Clown,' the target of the violence is a man. A vulnerable man, trapped in a violent and destructive relationship. The title of the track stems from my obsession with clowns and a passion for the circus. At college, I'd thought about signing up to a school for clowns and becoming one... But fortunately for everyone, I was accepted at university. When I was a kid, I'd go to the circus. It was a party, but one person, Pierrot, would always be sad. I always felt compassion for him. It's also the role that Bowie plays in his video for 'Ashes to Ashes.' It's a very strong image for me, and I wanted to communicate how you can feel alone in a relationship, to the point where you can let yourself be beaten physically and morally by someone. Joyful, isn't it?"
  • Placebo drummer Steve Hewitt shared his view of the song in 2007: "That track has been kicking around for a few years. It's basically about a broken love affair that drags for years. One person is reaching for the stars while the other is doing smack in a back alley. It is a beautiful song, so it lent itself to be more of a ballad with a subtle drum machine."
  • Meds was the English alt-rock band's first album to chart in the US, where it peaked at #180.

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