Sunday, November 10, 2013

Not My People's Kind of Music

Well, luckily for all of us, Shirley Manson didn't entirely quit her day-job when she ran off to play terminatrix, so there's been a relatively new Garbage album out there and I finally got around to giving it a listen.

Unfortunately, it's weak stuff, and worse still even its good points are downgrades from older Garbage songs. The band was in a constant if slow decline after the first, self-titled album. The edge they'd lent to pop music has gradually dulled away leaving something unappealingly generic in overall tone, instrumentation, lyrics, whathaveyou. This was slightly true of the previous album Bleed Like Me, with Sex is not the Enemy being a pale imitation of Androginy and Right Between the Eyes having the same relation to Cherry Lips. However, the song Bleed Like Me was itself powerful enough to counteract the others, and the ratio of quality to banality in the remaining songs was still heavily in favor of giving everything a listen.

That ratio has unfortunately been reversed with Not Your Kind Of People. The title song is a weaker, generic version of Shut Your Mouth. Only two, maybe three songs of the fifteen stand out as nearing Garbage quality.

Blood For Poppies - again begs a Shut Your Mouth comparison, but it has its own syncopated charm.

Beloved Freak - good, but So Like A Rose, Bleed Like Me or Nobody Can Win did this better without pulling any punches. If you're gonna go emo, you're usually better off with an all-out slit-your-wrists approach. The weak finish hurts it more than anything.

Automatic Systematic Habit - catchy, but also somewhat like a J-Pop remix of Sleep Together. Very strong opening, but goes nowhere after that. Doesn't come close to Garbage's old masterpiece As Heaven Is Wide.

Aside from these, there's not much there. Pity. I went into this wanting to like it. I was hoping one of my favorite old bands would make a comeback and reverse its downward trend. It is, I'm sorry to say, the first bad album Garbage has put out.
Then again, how many bands actually make a comeback? And still, two good songs is two more than I'll ever create.

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