The triumphant return of Garbage

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 11:04 PM | comments: 0

There was a live Garbage show from NYC tonight, broadcast on the Internets, and it was awesome. They even did their James Bond theme, and I got chills. I saw them last about seven years ago, just before they bailed on the industry that they got tired of operating in. That story has been well documented in the press as of late. When Shirley Manson posted on Facebook that she had been hanging out with the other band members in February 2010, I hoped beyond hope that it meant we'd see them again.

Today, Not Your Kind Of People became generally available (read: not just on iTunes), more than seven years after Bleed Like Me. After waiting that long, you'd think that expectations were impossibly high, but I'm happy to report that after three trips through the album, I'm thrilled. I'm not prepared to review it or anything, but several songs grabbed me immediately, and I can't wait to listen to it again.

I remember the first time I saw Garbage, at Peabody's Down Under in the Cleveland flats, late in 1995. Tiny little club, and while a few people knew the song "Queer," they were still largely unknown. I didn't even realize at the time that the dummer was the dude who produced Nirvana's Nevermind a few years before (I didn't know what a big deal that album would be in the long term, either). Shirley Manson seemed almost uncomfortable on stage, and later I'd see quotes from the band indicating they never expected to be anything more than a studio project.

In the next year or so, they opened up for Smashing Pumpkins on an arena tour, and quite frankly, showed them up. The powerful Shirley Manson that we know and love today started to emerge around that time. While not a perfect singer live, her confidence and stage presence makes it impossible to look away. She doesn't really fit the conventional definition of attractive, but you can't help but be into her just for being who she is.

They're an interesting band that has always been hard to categorize, not particularly radio friendly, and yet they still millions of albums and generally get kind attention from critics. During their first ten years, I think they were symbolic of everything I liked about "alternative" music. They made pop music for people who didn't care for pop music, which is something you could probably say about most bands during that time period. The only difference is that they've managed to endure (seven year break aside).

As the music industry continues to implode, or at least, only produces blockbuster but forgettable music, and terrestrial radio continues to suck, it feels like we're having a resurgence of the nineties early oughts scene. There's great pop music for people who don't like pop music again. It's silly to call it alternative, but whatever, I'm glad it's there.

Long live Garbage.


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