Garbage are an American Alternative Rock group from Madison, Wisconsin. They basically play alternative rock with heavy pop, electronic, and industrial influences.Garbage was formed in 1994 by famous Record Producer Butch Vig, known for his work on with famous alternative rock acts like Nirvana (Nevermind), Sonic Youth, The Smashing Pumpkins and L7. Vig took up the position of drummer and brought in some old bandmates and fellow producers, guitarist/keyboardist Steve Marker and bassist Duke Erikson. The lineup was completed with the recruitment of Scottish vocalist Shirley Manson, formerly of alt-rock bands Angelfish and Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie. Their bandname comes from somebody commenting that Vig's remix work sounded "like garbage", a quote frequently attributed to Trent Reznor for some reason.After gaining a bit of attention through demo tapes, the band signed to Mushroom Records and began to work on its debut, the self-produced Garbage. Released in 1995, its hybrid electronic-alternative-industrial-rock sound was favourably received and quickly gained a large audience, managing to come up with a few hits in the process such as the Stealth Parody (or open parody, really) of grunge angst "Only Happy When It Rains", "Vow" and the Clash-sampling "Stupid Girl" (not the P!nk song, though lyrically similar).For their follow-up, Version 2.0, Garbage continued with the same electro-rock sound but added a denser production, more techno and trip-hop influences and more Ear Worm melodies. 2.0 became another well-received success and gave them a few more hit singles as well, such as the technoey "Push It", the super-heavy Epic Riff-driven "I Think I'm Paranoid", and the ballad "You Look So Fine". Around this time, they were recruited to perform the theme to The World Is Not Enough, on which they worked alongside composer David Arnold.The band's gravy train slowed down somewhat after The Nineties ended, thanks to record label problems and a mixed reception towards beautifulgarbage that frequently included charges of both They Changed It, Now It Sucks and It's the Same, Now It Sucks, reception that translated into poor sales. During the Troubled Production of their next album, they nearly broke up due to intra-band tensions in 2003, but managed to regroup and finish Bleed Like Me in 2005, which once again suffered a mixed reception but did slightly better on the charts. They went on a hiatus for five years afterwards. Manson announced in October of 2010 that the group had reformed and was working on a fifth album, which was released in 2012 as Not Your Kind of People. The title track was used in the trailer for Metal Gear Solid V, so the group has at least one Japanese fan.Their discography as of 2012:
For "Queer", Butch was considering a drum sample from James Brown's "Funky Drummer". Then he discovered the drummer lived nearby and asked him to play on the song.
Concept Video: They had a few very well publicized concept videos in the Nineties; "Queer", "Push It", "Special" and "The World Is Not Enough". Later in their career they made "Bleed Like Me" and "Tell Me Where it Hurts"
They've also done the Velvet Underground's "Candy Says", The Seeds' "Can't Seem to Make You Mine", The Jam's "Butterfly Collector" and Vic Chesnutt's "Kick My Ass".
They also covered U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)" at a 2003 event to honour Bono's chairty work; and in studio form "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" for an Achtung Baby compilation in 2011.
They covered The Ramones' "I Just Wanna Have Something To Do" for the WE'RE A HAPPY FAMILY tribute album.
Near the end of their 2012 tour with opening act Screaming Females, Shirley Manson invited guitarist Marissa Paternoster onstage with her to duet on Patti Smith's "Because the Night." The two bands later recorded a studio version, released as a single in 2013. Shirley Manson had recorded a cover version of Patti Smith's "Kimberley" twenty years prior with her old band Angelfish.
Talking of live covers, the band has also performed The Beatles's "Don't Let Me Down", Vic Chesnutt's "Supernatural", Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces", Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" and the Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For the Man". Occasionally they would also break out into parts of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain", The Beatles "Day Tripper" and Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath".
Deliberately Monochrome: A large proportion of their videos are at least partially done in black and white. Such videos include "Queer", "Push It", "I Think I'm Paranoid", "Why Do You Love Me", "Blood for Poppies" and "Big Bright World". Part of the video for "Tell Me Where It Hurts" is done in black and green due to the usage of Night-Vision Goggles.
"Happy Home", the final song on Bleed Like Me, is especially depressing, as the lyrics seem to imply that the song is the narrator's suicide note. The strings don't help either.
Or the band breaking up, as the group were quite open about how, at the time, they didn't know if the band would continue.
Now we have "Beloved Freak" (which brings Tears of Joy, as despite the melody is a message for the listener to be themselves and not to give up) closing Not Your Kind of People. (except for the deluxe edition, where closer "Show Me" is far from depressing).
The Eeyore: Shirley admits that being Scottish, she likes dark themes. Gloriously celebrated in "Only Happy When It Rains".
Eye Scream: "Blood for Poppies" has Shirley's left eye being slit open in a shout out to the 1929 film Un Chien Andalou. "The World Is Not Enough" has a particularly notable eye-scream from Shirley Manson when she sees her robotic double enter her dressing room to kill her.
Fanservice: Played straight most of the time but is zig zagged on occasion. Videos such as "Vow", "Queer", "Run Baby Run" and "Blood for Poppies" downplays this by have Shirley in normal attire while other videos feature her in short dresses. "I'm Think I'm Paranoid" (see Panty Shot below), "Cherry Lips" (An invisible Shirley sees her clothes fall off and walks naked to the bathroom) and "Bleed Like Me" turn this Up to Eleven.
Also, the video for "Androgyny". Quoted from the Fetish Fuel Music page: "It has men who look like attractive women, women who look like attractive men, Shirley Manson wearing a rather sexy outfit that looks like a weird hybrid between suit and a dress, Shirley Manson wearing suspenders and the aforementioned androgynous people, in various states of undress, doing vaguely hinted at things with each other in a tightly-packed environment. Something for everyone, really."
Genre Blindness: "The World Is Not Enough" features the line, "No one ever died from wanting too much." No one apart from every James Bond villain ever!
Greatest Hits Album: Absolute Garbage, but it wasn't composed solely of their previous songs, as "Tell Me Where It Hurts" was released on it. Five year later, their Australian record company released a repackaged and resequenced version titled "The Absolute Collection" which omitted a few songs and added two of their singles from the Not Your Kind of People album, as well as "Supervixen" from their debut.
Important Haircut: Around the time beautifulgarbage was released, Shirley cut her long red hair short, spiked it and dyed it platinum blonde. Watch the videos for "Cherry Lips" and "Breaking Up the Girl" compared to their others, the difference is quite striking. However, nowadays it's back to the way it was before.
Intercourse with You: At least half of Version 2.0note "I Think I'm Paranoid", "Hammering in My Head", "Push It", and "Sleep Together" are pretty blatantly about sex. "Temptation Waits" and "You Look So Fine" are about sexual attraction, and "When I Grow Up" has references to unprotected sex and "golden showers". "Alien Sex Fiend", "Bad Boyfriend", "Sex Never Goes Out of Fashion".
Lighter and Softer: Subverted with beautifulgarbage. Although musically lighter and softer with the incorporation of hip hop and electronica influences into the songs, the lyrics are more melancholic, with Manson having just gone through a divorce
The Self-Titled Album is quite easily the band's darkest and angriest albumnote Since several of its songs were written before Shirley joined the band, she modified the lyrics and music (most notably "Vow") to sound more feminine, so the rest of their discography is essentially this in comparison.
Bleed Like Me's been roundly bashed by audiophiles the world over for its lifeless, dynamic-deficient and horribly clipping sound. A real bad moment considering three of the band members are producers and their previous albums had dynamics despite all the distortion and loudness. It should be noted that this is done in the mixing and mastering phase of production, not the recording phase. It's out of the producer's hands by that point.
''NYKOP" hasn't fared much better in the war either.
Lyrical Dissonance: Most of their songs are cheery, with gloomy lyrics about breakups ("Special", ), failed relationships ("Cherry Lips", "Breaking Up The Girl"), or "I'm a really screwed person" ("Bleed Like Me", "I Think I'm Paranoid").
Subverted with "Only Happy When It Rains" - It's a upbeat, catchy song about liking being depressed (both as Self-Deprecation and to parody the angsty rock of the 90s).
Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Usually ranges from 1 (such as "So Like a Rose" and "You Look so Fine") to 5 (such as "Why Do You Love Me" and "Subhuman"), with a couple songs being a 6 (such as "Vow" and "Battle in Me").
Real Song Theme Tune: "#1 Crush" was the Thematic Theme Tune for the UK TV show Hex. Given that it's a downright creepy song about a [[Stalker with a Crush]], it fitted the show's premise quite well. Bonus points to the show for using the original B-side, and not the remixed chart-bothering version.
"Control" is the theme for the video game adaptation of The Amazing Spider-Man. It was even used in the trailer.
Record Producer: The band is always credited for producing its own albums. (the only outside producers were David Arnold in "The World Is Not Enough", and John King in "Bad Boyfriend" and B-side "Space Can Come Through Anyone" - the other Bleed Like Me songs they worked on with him were re-recorded)
Refrain from Assuming: It's "#1 Crush", not "I Would Die For You". Similarly "Only Happy When It Rains" does not start with "I'm".
Religion Rant Song: "As Heaven is Wide" is a Type 1note Although it's really more about somebody who has been hurt by a (supposedly) religious man than about God or religion themselves, so shades of Type 3 are also present.
They used the beat from "Train in Vain" by The Clash for "Stupid Girl". "Don't Worry Baby" was originally sampled for "Push It", but the sample is not present in the final version of the track (although present in recent performances); Shirley sings the lyrics herself.
"Special" samples Pretenders' "Talk of the Town". Chrissie Hynde's lawyers denied the band permission to use the sample, but Shirley got Chrissie on the phone and got Chrissie to write a letter giving the band permission to sample "my music, my lyrics; indeed, my very ass".
Self-Deprecation: They admit "Only Happy When it Rains" is a dig at their own penchant for darker themes.
"Cherry Lips" and "Bleed Like Me" have shout-outs to Laura Albert's alias "JT Leroy"
"Bleed Like Me" also gives a shout-out to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive".
Call me a doctor. I cannot lose control. There must be someone. A robot, a terminator?
"Only Happy When It Rains", "Supervixen" and "Felt", amongst others, are homages to Shoegazing (The Jesus and Mary Chain for the former, who released a song called "Happy When It Rains" back in 1987, and My Bloody Valentine for the latter two, with "Supervixen" going so far as to imitate the opening drum roll and riff from "Only Shallow").
The line "beautiful garbage" was previously featured on Hole's "Celebrity Skin". Shirley was also inspired by Courtney to write "Right Between the Eyes".
Another shout out in "Supervixen" is the title itself, a nod to Russ Meyer's 70's Exploitation FilmSupervixens.
Ooh Me Accents Slippin: Except in "Stupid Girl", where she pronounces the word "stupid" as "stju-pid" as opposed to the American pronunciation as "stoo-pid"; "Run Baby Run", where the Title Drop sounds more like "rahn my baby rahn"; and "Not Your Kind of People", where she pronounces "cast" as "cahst" in line in British or Australian/New Zealand English.
Truck Driver's Gear Change: Played straight in "Breaking Up The Girl", "Can't Cry These Tears", "Cup of Coffee" and "Run Baby Run". Inverted, however, with "Not My Idea". The song changes key directly after the second chorus but then reverts to the original key after the final one.