“Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome” by Parliament (1977)
Release Date: November 28, 1977
Produced by George Clinton
Genre: Funk, funk-rock, psychedelic soul
Chart Positions: #13 (US), #36 (New Zealand)
Certifications: Platinum (US)
Singles: “Bop Gun” #102 (US), #14 (US R&B), “Flashlight” #16 (US), #3 (New Zealand), #1 (US R&B), “Funkentelechy” #27 (US R&B)
Singles Certifications: Gold: “Flashlight” (US)
Other Charting Tracks: N/A
Best Tracks: “Flashlight,” “Bop Gun”
“Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome” is the sixth studio album by Parliament, released in 1977. The album is considered to be one of the best in Parliament's catalog. It is a loose concept album warning the listener of falling into the 'Placebo Syndrome', which according to George Clinton is consumerism, and listening to disco music, which he saw as a simplification of funk music in attempt to gain commercial success. “Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome” is the third installment in the album trilogy which began with 1976's "Mothership Connection" and continued with "The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein." "Mothership Connection" was the beginning of their science fiction era in which Parliament restructured their sound, style and look to fit their electric attitude of the future.
The album spawned the R&B number #1 single in "Flash Light", which features a funky synthesizer bass line played in a Minimoog by keyboardist Bernie Worrell. The legendary Bootsy Collins provided some no frills simply energetic drumming while Catfish Collins (Bootsy's younger brother Phelps) gave the song it's electrifyingly amazing guitar performance. The line; "Everybody's got a little light under the sun," neatly describes the song's meaning of freedom and victory against the oppressors. "Flash Light" encapsulates the overall theme of the album of the ideal "us" struggling for freedom in a world run by an oppressive "them."
“Bop Gun,” the album's first single, starts with a brisk guitar figure and beat then turns into an instant party on all fronts, with great lead vocals and an addictive chorus, the Horny Horns and company hit the grooves and blast them hard with their earthy horns while Bernie Worrel's synthesizer fills electrify the song. Though "Flashlight" was the bigger hit, it seems critics favor "Bop Gun" as being the more innovative of the two.
Singer and guitarist Glen Goins provided the funkalicious lead vocal for "Bop Gun." Goins was prominently featured on three Parliament albums before his untimely passing at the young age of 24 in 1978 due to Hodgkins Lymphoma. Goins also played on Funkadelic albums from the same time period.
The third single "Funkentelechy" was not such the success as "Bop Gun" or "Flash Light" but still is a masterpiece of music that received a fair amount of airplay.
“Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome” became Parliament's fourth consecutive gold album and second platinum album. It tied as being their highest charting album with 1975's "Mothership Connection," both albums made it to #13 in the US.