Thursday, May 24, 2012

Music: Garbage - Not Your Kind Of People

 While I am still kicking myself and seething over the fact that I totally missed the fact that Garbage were playing Webster Hall this week, and therefore didn't got to see them, I should at least write about the new album that I've been playing over and over again for the past week. It's funny because when I heard the first single, Blood For Poppies, from the album Not Your Kind Of People a while ago I felt a little let down. I don't know what I was exactly expecting, but I didn't immediately like it for some reason. Now that I have been listening to the whole album multiple times, I actually REALLY like it. Funny how that happens sometimes - maybe I just needed to hear it in conjunction with the rest of the album. In my opinion this album is pure, classic Garbage, the same Garbage I fell in love with back in 1995 when they released their first, eponymous album. In that I don't mean that this new album sounds like the first album, just that it contains the same atmosphere and energy. It sounds like Garbage, but Garbage with a renewed sense of existence and vigour.

We are not your kind of people.
You seem kind of phoney.
Everything's a lie.
We are not your kind of people.
Something in your makeup.
Don't see eye to eye.
Garbage - Not Your Kind of People

When Garbage came out in 1995 it seemed like perfect timing: an album that would work in both a pop and rock setting, catering to pretty much anyone who appreciated good music, especially to those unhappy, uncomfortable and angry teenagers like myself who were already huge Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails and Hole fans.I saved up for that CD with the pretty pink feather artwork and spent many a day and night listening to it with my sister, dancing and singing along to it. What girl hasn't dedicated Stupid Girl to another girl(s) in her life at some point in time? It's one of those eternal anthems that everyone can relate to. And whoever I dedicated it to (I still remember) totally deserved it. For some reason I didn't love the second album, Version 2.0, as much. It's a good album, and I still own it, along with all of the singles (purchased at the little corner shop/cafe on the Main Road in Oakham with money earnt from my shifts at the pub). The release of Beautiful Garbage in 2001 pretty much coincided with me finally seeing them on stage - with The Distillers and No Doubt at what used to be Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA. Garbage definitely stole the show - Shirley is both fragile and powerful on stage, and her voice sounded amazing. For some reason I had always thought that Gwen Stefani's voice would be better live than Shirley Manson's, but it was exactly the opposite. My sister and I managed to get right near the front for Garbage and had a blast. I think I listened to that album over and over again all summer, but then never really went back to it. Fast forward a few years and Bleed Like Me came out, while I was living in London, just before I moved to New York. It became one of those albums, just like the first one, that naturally fit in with a big change in my life, and whenever I listen to it today it reminds me of both leaving behind a city I had never felt at home in and discovering this new city I had already fallen in love with. I had the song Bleed Like Me as my ringtone on my first American cell phone, and kept it for months. The album seemed both dark and light, in equal measures, and it felt like the band had gained a new maturity, especially after the more bubbly pop sound of the previous album. I still like to walk around the city in the rain, listening to this album on my ipod and thinking about the past, the present and the future...

Anyway, as always, I get caught up in nostalgia and dwell on the past more than the actual object of this post, being the present release of Garbage's new album. I really didn't think the band would get back together again, even if they had never actually said they had split up. In my opinion a hiatus is pretty much usually a split so I was super excited to hear that they were working on new material. There are the dancey songs, the slower songs, the heartbreak songs, the empowerment songs, the darker songs, the poppy songs and the rock songs. All of that mixed together; sometimes one song can be dark, empowering, and dancey at the same time, or slow, dark and dancey, if you get my drift. Like when Shirley sings "I hate love" in a pretty, ephemeral voice against a dance beat in the background. I'm sure I will be listening to this album all summer and in a few years will be telling everyone how it reminds me of walking around in the spring rain in Brooklyn, working three different jobs and being generally in love with life as it was at the time. If, when, you buy the album (unless you already have it), make sure you get the deluxe version because the 4 extra songs are worth the couple of extra dollars you need to pay for it. So yes, Garbage still rule my world. And I'm still completely pissed off with myself for not seeing them live this time round. Maybe I will get lucky and they will do another show here at some point this year. One can always hope ;-).

I was like a volcano
Just waiting to explode
But I have been resurrected, reborn
And I have been transformed
I was a green eyed monster
Could you tell I was afraid?
I sat myself down and shot my fear in the face 
Garbage, Man on a Wire

Not as good as the real thing, but nearly:

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