Placebo’s “Special Needs” Lyrics Meaning

It seems as if the title of this track (“Special Needs”) is supposed to allude to the idea of the singer being emotionally-dependent, if you will, on his ex. So now that they have separated, he perceives her as someone who will outperform him, even apparently achieving celebrity status. And what he is telling her is to “remember” him when she does blow up, since after all he does have the aforementioned “special needs”.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Placebo's Special Needs at

Meaning of “Special Needs”

Under normal circumstances, the term “special needs” is applied to individuals who have mental or physical impairments. In fact during the second verse, Placebo lead singer/frontman Brian Molko uses symbolism pointing to the idea of him being physically-disabled and thus deserving the sympathy of his ex. However, this is all metaphorical. And what it actually alludes to is his trying to evoke her pity based on a general feeling of wanting her to remember him, which is actually the foundation of this song.

And even outside of these central feelings, there is a lot going on in the background of “Special Needs”. For instance, their relationship apparently began in their youth. And the singer expresses a sentiment tantamount to self-deception in regards to his initial former belief that things would work out favorably between them. Moreover he implies that perhaps the romance ended due to his own “bad behavior”. So it can be argued that one of the primary reasons he is so preoccupied with his ex is due to a persisting feeling of guilt he is experiencing as a result of messing the relationship up. And accordingly, perhaps he feels that karma will make her more successful in the future than he will be.

But either way, it is pretty clear that he perceives her as an outstanding individual. And he is fundamentally entreating her, as her life progresses, to not forget the love they once shared.

Lyrics of "Special Needs"

Release Date of “Special Needs”

Hut Records in collaboration with Virgins Records released “Special Needs” on 15 September 2003. It served as the third single from the band’s fourth studio album titled Sleeping with Ghosts.

Performance on the Charts

The song charted in Placebo’s native country, the United Kingdom. Here, it peaked at number 27 on the UK Singles Chart.

Who wrote “Special Needs”?

Brian Molko along with his bandmates Stefan Olsdal and Steve Hewitt wrote this song.

And the track was produced by their regular collaborator, British musician Jim Abbiss.

5 Responses

  1. Weightlessandbare says:

    Your totally wrong about the Physically disabled part. It just means in the future He will be old and possibly require a wheel chair, so don’t forget me even far into the future .

  2. Anonymous says:

    A wheel chair my friends does not have four wheels. So no. I don’t think so

    • SMF says:

      FYI: A wheelchair typically has four wheels. Two of these wheels (which are small and have the ability to swivel) are located in the front. The other two (which are large) are located at the wheelchair’s rear.

      • Anonymous says:

        And still most people typically think oh wheelchair as having 2 wheels. It seems more likely to me that rhe chair that has 4 wheels is an office chair- the singer laments he’ll go on to have an ordinary life with a boring job, while the person he loves will go to bigger and better things.

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