Beat me with your lyric stick

Garbage is beautiful; we all know that. While I completely missed their 2001 release Beautiful Garbage I am sure that it lived up to the title, especially if there was a picture of Shirley Manson anywhere in the booklet. I never tire of either their eponymous 1995 debut album, nor the 1998 sophomore dynamo Version 2.0. So I was thrilled to happen across their newest effort at the public library a few weeks ago.

Bleed Like Me is a distillation of everything that makes Garbage, well, Garbage. This is slick, driven rock, each track carefully polished within an inch of its life to be as glossy and hypnotic as a lingerie supermodel’s improbable breasts. Fair enough; this is what we have come to expect from this particular supergroup. But this time around Shirley and the boys have either run short of words, or they really wanted to make sure that we could sing along on the choruses.

For example, the chorus to the fantastically-catchy “Why Do You Love Me”:

Why do you love me?
Why do you love me?
Why do you love me?
It’s driving me crazy
Why do you love me?
Why do you love me?
Why do you love me?
It’s driving me crazy
Why do you love me?
Why do you love me?
Why do you love me?
It’s driving me crazy
Why do you love me?
Why do you love me?

Why indeed? Or the chorus to “Why Don’t You Come Over”:

So why don’t you come over
Oh why don’t you come over
So why don’t you come over
Oh why don’t you come over
So why don’t you come over
Oh why don’t you come over
So why don’t you come over
Oh why don’t you come over
And walk in my shoes

And by the end of the album even this economy of words evidently grows excessive; the chorus of “Happy Home” is a near-ecstatic couplet of melodic vocalisation:

ah-ah-ah-uh
ah-ah-ah-uh
ah-ah-ah-uh-ah
ah-ah-ah-uh
ah-ah-ah-uh
ah-ah-ah-uh-ah

I have been listening very carefully to their first two albums and I do not find any example of this lyrical bludgeoning. Their previous output is always sleek, polished, and usually catchy as hell, but there are always plenty of lyrics to go around. This is not a complaint; Bleed Like Me is a fine album with a lot of catchy tunes. I just have to loosen up my neck muscles and get ready to sing along.

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