Special Needs is typical Placebo - melodic, distorted guitars, pulsating bass and Brian Molko's unique vocals. All of these factors seem to be taken for granted by the majority of people so that their songs sound similar to the uneducated ear. Regardless of whether this is good or bad, it works. Placebo please their fan base without ever really threatening to "sell out" (i.e. become massively successful).
Special Needs is a tale of past youth and growing up, although the meaning of the lyrics are unclear. Is it written about someone else, or is it written to someone else, akin to Robbie Williams' Hello Sir. Or is the song just written for the sake of it? It's this deliberate ambiguity that highlights the intelligence that this rock band possesses in abundance.
However, Special Needs is too short. At three and a half minutes long, it ends abruptly without really reaching a conclusion - some of us just need closure.