Review: Jack Foley
IT'S been a tough four years since the release of Garbage's last
album, Beautiful Garbage, yet while the band claim to
be stronger than ever, the scars of the past are plain for all
For anyone who doesn't know, the band lost its spark and temporarily
split up, while lead singer, Shirley Manson, also left her husband.
It comes as no surprise, therefore, to find song titles such
as Bad Boyfriend, Run Baby Run and It's All Over
But The Crying populating the album, Bleed Like Me.
This could just as easily be a musical form of therapy, a journey
through the torment, self-doubt and pain of the past four years,
that ends with an upbeat energy born out by the contented final
track, Happy Home.
As such, it occasionally feels as mixed up as those times must
have been before emerging triumphantly as a major return to form
for a band that is widely considered as one of the leaders of
modern American electro-rock.
Much of this is due to the renewed energy the band has found
in itself, while the presence of no less than three producers,
including Butch Vig (of Nirvana's Nevermind fame) undoubtedly
The Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl even crops up on the drums for the
opening track, Bad Boyfriend, which finds Manson's distinctive
vocals at their most menacing and the lyrics at their most hate-filled
('I wanna see you burn up in flames').
Indeed, broken relationships play a big part in the album, providing
the fire for several power rock tracks, including the lead single,
Why Do You Love Me, with its grunge-like chords and embittered
But while Manson and co clearly relish the harder sound of Bleed
Like Me, the album actually works best during the quieter
moments, such as the title track and Happy Home.
Bleed Like Me, especially, is an impressive effort -
a tortured form of confession that takes in therapy, self-harm
and suicidal tendencies. The lyrics are full of the hurt and pain
of the past, while offering some hope for the future.
It's All Over But The Crying, in comparison, is all
about the heartbreak, a poignant reminder about the fragility
of relationships that finds Manson at her most vulnerable ('do
you really think I'm made of stone? C'mon, that we only love the
things we own, baby you're wrong').
It makes the upbeat energy of final track, Happy Home
all the more invigorating, as Manson kicks things off with the
lyrics 'in my happy home I barely breathe, in my lover's arms
I find relief'.
Elsewhere, there are some more commercially-minded tracks, when
the band resort to a more pop-driven and shamelessly entertaining
formula, as in the catchy Run Baby Run, or the riotous
fun of The Boys Wanna Fight.
Similarly, the hard-rocking Sex Is Not The Enemy hints
at the glory days of the band's past, while simultaneously providing
fans with a new anthem to carry into the mosh-pit.
So while Bleed Like Me won't win any awards for innovation
and doesn't really mark too much of a progression for Garbage,
it's an entertaining listen that certainly won't disappoint the
It's an achievement made all the more impressive when considering
the internal struggles that threatened to rip them apart.
1. Bad Boyfriend
2. Run Baby Run
3. Right Between the Eyes
4. Why Do You Love Me
5. Bleed Like Me
6. Metal Heart
7. Sex is Not the Enemy
8. Its All Over But The Crying
9. Boys Wanna Fight
10. Why Don’t You Come Over
11. Happy Home