In honor of the titular band Garbage’s pending sixth studio release “Strange Little Birds” here is a career summarizing list of the top 12 songs from their outstanding discography.
12. Drive You Home – Beautiful Garbage -2001
When you think of Garbage’s music stylings, moving ballads are not the first thing that leaps to mind. However this evocative song about the aftermath of a fight is Shirley Manson at her most vulnerable. Also check out another ballad gem “The Trick is To Keep Breathing”.
11. It’s All Over But The Crying - Bleed Like Me -2005
This song is a stellar ballad from a group that is not always known for their romantic sensitivity. It is a song about the end of a relationship, which was inspired by the end of Shirley Manson’s first marriage. The song is heartbroken eulogy to a splintered love.
10. You Look So Fine – Version 2.0 - 1998
A song that perfectly encapsulates yearning for a boy, sung from a different perspective as the tables are turned on the classic boy likes girl and wants to take her home. The song again was a departure from the classically alternative power driven songs found throughout the release but was a spectacular ending to an influential disc.
9. Queer – Debut - 1996
This song had enough sexual energy to power a small country. The come hither of Shirley’s vocals made this a hit. The group piled up the bat squeak sensuality as they took the listener on a guided walk through the red light district of any modern metropolis. Place this one under the heading of,” You’ll go to hell for the dirty thoughts in your mind!”
8. Androgyny – Beautiful Garbage - 2001
Never one to run from controversy this song was a romp through the title topic and sexual politics. It played off the girl power vibe Shirley Manson has always emanated. The glichy techno nicely complimented the lyrics as they beg for tolerance. The song now seems eerily prescient. Once again the song displaying a band that always seems ahead of the times.
7. Only Happy When It Rains – Debut - 1996
Another outstanding track off of the debut, this song’s title became a catch phrase for fans and personified the contrarian ethos of the end of the Millennium ennui. This gem was totally in keeping with the overarching aura of the album. It is a perfect marriage of at the time edgy sonics and dark lyrics.
6. Right Between The Eyes – Bleed Like Me -2005
Displayed that even years after its incarnation, Garbage had lost none of its spunk and catchiness. After the somewhat somber “Beautiful Garbage” release this was classic Garbage roaring back with an energy laden shout.
5. Felt - Not Your Kind of People -2012
Another song that defined what makes Garbage so special. Butch Vig and Co. were able to ingest the latest in what was happening in the studio and marrying it to Shirley’s indomitable persona and lyrical stylings resulting in a stunner of a track. This song explodes out of the speakers and testifies to every member of the group’s outstanding skills.
4. Bleed Like Me – Bleed Like Me -2005
The title track from their fourth album, is a song that captures all the despair of the outsider; be that person a girl starving herself to death, a sexually confused individual or a high functioning drunk. The song makes the point we are all flawed and imperfect and we should all be a lot more tolerant. “Bleed Like Me” is an album has been sorely unvalued, do yourself a favor and if you haven’t avail yourself remedy the situation asap.
3. Push It – Version 2.0 -1998
This song has to be included in any Garbage songs list if only for the spectacular video it spawned. This song is everything that late Nineties Alternative was about. It contains a fantastic dance club feel with that addictive Brian Wilson sample of “Don’t Worry Baby” giving it that little something extra that made it so tantalizing and sensual.
2. Special – Version 2.0 -1998
This song was Shirley Manson channeling her inner Chrissie Hynde as she incorporated elements of lyrics from The Pretenders’ songs “Brass In Pocket” and “Talk Of the Town” and made them her own. She sends her love interest packing because he is boring her to death and needs to go. It is girl power to the nth degree and the song is a fresh today as it was when it was first released.
1. Stupid Girl – Debut - 1996
With that Clash “Train in Vain” sample how could anyone resist? This was the song that announced the arrival of the band. It has just the right amount of ennui and pout to slay the most jaded listener. A magnificently structured song performed so masterfully. You could not get away from this song back in 1996 and that hooky chorus suggested all the promised greater things to follow.