Garbage – [Album]

Friday, 25 May 2012

I received this CD eagerly, but also nervously. I have loved Garbage ever since their first, groundbreaking CD, and I’ve been disappointed by them ever since their second one. That first album set the bar so high they haven’t been able to completely clear it since.

In fact, it could be said that their first album invented the bar. Garbage had created something new then – studio electronics crossed with hard rock, pop songwriting married to a punk sneer. It was fantastic but the problem is that ever since they have merely been refining that sound, not expanding it or building on it.

Not Your Kind of People is more of the same. Even though it has been seven years since their last album (2005’s Bleed Like Me), not much has changed. The same hard crunch, catchy tunes and snarky lyrics characterize this record which makes for a very pleasant ride, if you’re a fan like me. That the basic elements which have always thrilled fans about Garbage are in place on Not Your Kind Of People is heartening, but I’m also always looking for something new – something which illustrates growth or development or something which illustrates that this new music might not simply exist in a time warp – and I don’t find it here.

The album did grow on me with repeated listens. “Subtlely catchy” may be a total oxymoron, but it still describes these songs. At first they all sound of a piece – the “Garbage sound” I just described. Nothing really stood out, and certainly nothing grabbed me. Then the songs started to distinguish themselves, reveal their charms and attractions. Eventually songs like “Control,” “Sugar,” and the title song had glued themselves to my ears.

This is not a problem unique to this album; Garbage has had it before. Only the first album had the right mix of songs, like “Only Happy When It Rains” and “Stupid Girl,” which grabbed you immediately, and others which revealed their charms more slowly, such as “Milk” and “As Heaven Is Wide.” Both Version 2.0 and Bleed Like Me required time to grow, whereas Beautiful had a couple of instant stand outs – “Silence is Golden” and “Cup of Coffee” for example – while the rest of the album never impressed me.

Hmmm… Just looking at that summation of the Garbage catalogue, and I noticed something. “Cup of Coffee?” “Milk?” “Sugar?” Has there actually been a theme all along?

With all of the songs of Not Your Kind Of People absorbed and taking them all into consideration, this is probably their strongest album since the first. Once you get into it, it has more memorable songs and less filler than any of the others. So if you’re already a Garbage fan and want another dose of their drug, you will enjoy this. If you’re not a Garbage fan, you probably won’t enjoy this either. If you’re not familiar with their work, you should check out their first album, and then give this a spin.



Not Your Kind Of People
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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