Blue Velvet Smooth
Reliable, enjoyable, and always just a hint sexy, Garbage never fails to amaze when they release an album. For twenty three years, the band has thrilled us with their own style of rock that matches the music of the era, but never conforms to “Hey, Ho” choruses or similarly weak compositional styles that are deemed trendy. The ever loved Grunge Girl Shirley Manson has described the album as more romantic, or vulnerable, with each song representing romantic periods on her life and the interactions therein. That being said, she and drummer Butch Vig have also proclaimed that there are no shiny, happy feelings in any of the lyrics.
Aforementioned lyrics throughout bring us much needed perspectives that are heavy, dark, and uncertain, wonderfully opposing the current trends of indie call-backs and sort of “I gave it a college-try” lyrics. From go, the first track, “Sometimes,” with its minimalist synthesizer and Manson softly singing about small emotional and thought moments, does not mess around. “Night Drive Loneliness” has Manson crooning, “Of all the stupid I’ve said/ There’s one thing I regret/ In the moment that I said it/ I wanted to kill it/ I still feel sick about it,” setting a scene of gray and blue solitude and melancholy to light piano accenture, steady drum work, and a dark-melodic guitar. Its a perfect visual with no room for error. This remains true for every track on the album. There’s nothing half-way about Garbage. Even the song “Teaching Little Fingers To Play,” which is a bit different from the rest of the album and slightly more upbeat and poppy in melody, is tight and dark in spite of its empowering piano chorus.
With first time listeners, the album is a great one to pick up to get into the band’s sound. Manson related Strange Little Birds to their first album, and after all, she knows best. It maintains a fantastic, pitch-black vibe and a beautiful groove that you just cannot help but fall in love with. For fans, just curl up with this album, a drink of your choice, and a couple of really bad records to smash while you feel the aggression and get your groove on. Garbage, you never fail to impress.