It has been almost a decade since we last heard from Garbage. If you can’t remember this band, then you missed out during the 90s with gritty songs like “I think I’m paranoid” and “Stupid Girl” that graced the ears of moody teenagers throughout the d
ecade. Personally, I was very excited at the idea of a new Garbage album. I find it hard to find female fronted bands that I really like, and Shirley Manson is just the right mix of heavy and soft. One minute she’s sneering, and the next she sounds like she’s singing a lullaby. Perfect.
After trashing a solo project, Manson returns to Garbage with “Not your kind of People,” and I couldn’t agree more with the title. This album was not my thing. While Garbage has always played with an electronic sound, some of these songs seemed better suited to be sung by Britney Spears or Kelly Clarkson.
A prime example of one is “I Hate Love.” For being such an angry, anti-love song, Manson coos her way throughout the whole thing. What disappoints me more about the song (more than the content itself) is that if I’m going to listen to an angry love song by Garbage, I want that deep husky voice that Manson is best known for. But in another sense, she sounds flawless. Her new soft and angelic voice sounds beautiful, but even that isn’t enough to save the song.
Did you ever see Wizard of Oz? Great! Then you’ll get this reference. “Not Your Kind of People” is so heavy on the effects that while Manson is singing the chorus to the song, she sounds like a munchkin. “We are not your kind of people, don’t want to be like you ever in our lives.” It’s hard to take an angst filled line like that serious when all you can see and hear in your head is a munchkin singing about the lollipop guild.
Their single “Blood for Poppies” was what drew me into the album in the first place. It sounds like classic Garbage with Manson’s deep, booming and menacing voice-over, yet upbeat at the same time. The heavy guitars on the track give it an almost sinister sound, and as it leads into the chorus, the song suddenly becomes light. An odd mix, but for this track, it seemed to work.
What really turned me off on this album, more than the bad song choices and the change of Manson’s singing voice, was a track that was featured on the deluxe version of the album. Starting off with guitars reminiscent of the James Bond theme, “What Girls Are Made Of” promises to be a female empowerment anthem as she sings with some snark, “Tell me please what little girls are made of, sugar and spice and all things nice,” and then she starts singing about her period. “We can bleed for a whole week straight every month and the pain doesn’t phase us.” Ladies, if you find that liberating, then more power to you, but frankly, I wasn’t impressed.
I was really looking forward to the new Garbage album and found myself pretty disappointed by it. It’s not horrible, but it’s definitely not one that I plan on listening to again anytime soon. There are bits and pieces of classic Garbage, but not really enough to satisfy this old school fan.