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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