Wow, I really love Garbage.
My first encounter with this band came in 1996, when Leonardo Di Caprio was just a wee baby Romeo looking for a very good time with Clare Danes, if you know what I mean, and looking surprised at the inevitable, catastrophic end result. (Which reminds me, I also really love Shakespeare. And Baz Lurhman films. Except Australia. Clare Danes I can take or leave.) Um, what? Oh, Garbage. The song was #1 Crush, and here’s the video:
Vocal chops! Fronthuman Shirley Manson’s smoky voice is utterly nummy. She has attitude, purity, power, and she enunciates clearly. Seriously, all bands from now to the end of time, here’s a PSA from me to you: if you’re gonna write crap lyrics, go ahead and mumble. But if your songs are good, I appreciate your vocalist making it possible for me to comprehend every word without my having to look them up on the intrawebs. Also, Shirley vamps like a champ. According to Pandora, I really go for vamping.
I love their lyrics: They’re dark, sexy, and have a veneer of mordant self-awareness. Catch this bit in “Only Happy when it Rains,” which could be a marching song for anyone dating a Marvin the Paranoid Android/Eeyore archetype: You wanna hear about my new obsession? I’m riding high upon a deep depression. These are the kind of words that were meant to be set to boingy pop rhythms that set your toes a-tappin’.
By which I mean, Garbage is funny: Take “Can’t Cry these Tears.” It’s the sort of thing Connie Francis might have recorded if she’d been a gun-toting bounty huntress out for revenge instead of a prom queen.
They are so very soundtrackable: If you, like me, consider Veronica Mars to be your favorite Nancy Drew homage ever, you might remember that Garbage provided the Logan Echolls national anthem, “Bad Boyfriend,” from their album Bleed Like Me.
You can dance to it: Try “Boys Wanna Fight,” “Shut Your Mouth,” and “Why Do You Love Me” for sweaty, hard-driving boogie beats. Or, if you want it slow, sexy, and just a bit sad, go for “The Trick is to Keep Breathing.”
Of Garbage’s albums, I’m hard-pressed to pick a favorite, but I’m gonna go with Beautiful Garbage. That’s for now–there’s one that’s supposed to be coming out supposedly any minute, in time for their 2011 tour.