label: almo / interscope
our score: 2.0 out of 5.0
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.