Release Date: 10.02.01
Record label: almo / interscope
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
by: bill aicher
Since their inception, Garbage has always been a pop band playing pop music. Their debut self-titled album was a reflection of popular music and culture in its time, with its dour sound and angsty lyrics; a radio-friendly soulmate for the grunge rock dominating the charts at the time.
With Version 2.0 the band pulled a Madonna. As the queen of pop dabbled in the world of electronica, the studio-created geek-cool heroes followed. And they did an excellent job of it.
Following pop music trends and building upon them in their own style has always been the formula behind Garbage. And it's no surprise really, since the men behind the group (Butch Vig especially) were behind several early 90's phenoms. Nirvana anyone? How about Smashing Pumpkins? Exactly - there's no denying the musical genius. Well, marketing genius at least.
So what does a band fronted by a sexy sultress and backed by some of the most powerful men in music history do to keep up in the new millenium? Follow their formula.
Only the rock world has (hopefully) gotten smarter than formula.
Opting for a less complex sound than on previous albums, to allow for easier translation to live shows, Beautifulgarbage is a release of nothing more than forumalaic pop songs. Verse, chorus, verse. A knob here, some reverb there. Double up the vocals. Harmonize here Shirley. Throw in a drum break there Butch.
And by following this formula, the band has released one of the year's most forgettable albums. Perhaps this is what happens when untested creative control is given to a pretty face.
With lyrics like "You make the whole world wanna dance / You bought yourself a second chance" (Cherry Lips) and "Believing in nothing / Makes life so boring / So let's pray for something / To feel good in the morning" (Parade), it's obvious the band may have cheered its last hurrah. Maybe the lyric writing should have stayed out of Manson's hands (this is the first Garbage album in which she wrote all the lyrics).
But one must remain fair, and spread the blame throughout the band, for there's always more to music than words. Unfortunately the band fails on this level as well - creating something of a hard-edged Sugar Ray vs. Jennifer Lopez album. Leslie Gore ripoffs, and ultra-kitsche 70's riffs on top of Timbaland beats may show off your influences, or retro-hip attitude, but that's about it. One Puff Daddy is more than enough.
Maybe it's time Garbage stop emulating others and build something there own. After all, Shirley's sure to wake up from her Chrissy Hynde does Britney Spears dream someday. 02-Oct-2001 9:17 PM