Garbage shared the title track from their upcoming seventh studio album No Gods No Masters, which is due in full on June 11 via Stunvolume/Infectious Music. It’s the second single released off the record, following “The Men Who Rule the World.”
The song was released alongside a video directed by Scott Stuckey and edited by Andy DeLuca. In the video, Garbage performs the song in a small room with blue stage lights moving over them and a red neon sign reading “No Gods No Masters” above them. There is also footage of frontwoman Shirley Manson nailed up on a cross in an elaborate red costume. The quick video editing, colored lighting, fashion and setting all make for a unique style.
“No Gods No Masters” is an arena-ready rock jam, but not without an immersive atmosphere. Alternative rock guitars and a post-punk bass & drums rhythm raise the energy to a high level, made lush by keys fills and various guitar effects. Manson’s melodic vocals are center-stage over all of this, especially the chorus, “The future is mine just the same/No master or Gods to obey/I make all the same mistakes/Over and over again.”
Manson stated that the song was inspired by the time she visited Santiago, Chile amidst the city’s protests against corruption and inequality. She says, “We were driving down the street, and the whole city was covered in graffiti. The beautiful people that I was with said, ‘But why are you so shocked? We’re protesting human lives and you’re more shocked that property and buildings and monuments have been hurt here. Human beings are being hurt, and this is what you must focus on.’ That was like a slap in the face.”
She recalled these feelings during the toppling of confederate figure’s statues last year in the United States. “All these people, they have more value than a monument to slave traders, but they don’t have more value in the consciousness of society, and I think it’s devilish and obscene, and I want power to be dismantled, and a society re-imagined. So, this song is about re-imagining our society for the future, for our children and not making the same mistakes over and over again and allowing greed to corrupt our thinking.”
The rest of No Gods No Masters is said to be packed full of protest songs in support of Black Lives Matter, the Me Too movement and measures taken against climate change. “The Men Who Rule the World” also touches on these themes by criticizing politics and men in power. Sonically, it’s a more danceable song with Prince-inspired guitar playing and a climactic build-up towards the end.
Garbage has kept the same lineup since they formed in 1993. Manson is seen as the key member due to her position as vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist, but her bandmates all contribute to the songwriting as well. She’s joined by bassist Duke Erikson, guitarist Steve Marker and drummer Butch Vig.
Photo credit: Sharon Alagna