Garbage: Bleed Like Me (2005)

W. C.'s Review

I had heard some good rumblings about the new Garbage. But there was all kinds of praise draped over the last (not so) "Beautiful" Garbage, too. I was just happy to have something else to look forward to. And remember; it took days, but I deduced 5 good songs from Beautiful Garbage--I would be happy enough with 5 more good Garbage songs.

First song heard: I was in CDWorld (the greatest music store that's not in Athens, GA) when I first heard "Bad Boyfriend". All I knew for sure was that it was new Garbage, and it was enjoyable. It was obvious that one of the college-aged girls there had played the song. Good for her. It was certainly good enough music to hold attention and sing the back of my mind I was thinking that 'Garbage might be back now'...

First song played at home: I bought the new CD for my girlfriend; I do crazy shit like that sometimes. I was excited; supposedly the CD has a playable video for "Why Do You Love Me?". So we throw it in the DVD player...a song starts with no video. We wait for the video while we listen to the song. Wait a sec; there's no video here, and this is that song "Bad Boyfriend"--that I've already heard and approved. Yeah; this is the first song on the CD. So we figure the video is messed up; so what? We (Static Girlfriend and I) are just happy to have new Garbage.

After girlfriend gets a couple of listens in, it's my turn to hear it in my room. She's been playing it on her big stereo; I am going to play it on my computer, through the small computer speakers...And I get to make the discovery! The video plays on your computer--even if you don't have a DVD on your computer. The video does NOT play on the DVD player; awesome! We have an X-Files new Garbage CD. This is great! So; after I calm down a little, I realize that I am now finally hearing the song "Why Do You Love Me?" This video is dark and yummy, too. And speaking of "dark and yummy"; 2 words: Shirley Manson. This is so cool; let's get to the review:

Bleed Like Me Garbage; Track by Track

#1 Bad Boyfriend: After you learn that Dave Grohl is playing the drums here, you'll go back and listen to the drums in this song a couple of times. The lyrics? Oh yes; all girls want a bad boyfriend. Have you seen the "Tag" body spray commercials? This should be their new theme. And those drums! This song gets better each time you hear it; the same way my girlfriend gets more beautiful each time you look at her. Back to Dave Grohl; you don't realize how busy these drums are until you go back and listen FOR them. And this Bad Boyfriend is a good song. It has horns, and stops--this is tight; this is an entire musical composition in 3:46. Shit. I'm impressed.
#2 Run Baby Run: I'm already a sucker going in; I believe Garbage is back. I'm just going to sit back with my arms crossed and let it 'run'. Hmmm. This certainly has the over-produced tinge that IS Garbage. No complaints; I've actually missed this. Here comes the first chorus; and THAT is a full Garbage chorus--thank you very much! No shortcuts, and nothing too fancy. Beauty in simplicity; welcome to MY world. This will/would be an automatic pop-40 radio song--if they want it. And you'll be humming this chorus for days--even if you hum the wrong words (like I did). Chorus #2; we have a winner! Bridge time; be critical! Okay; it might be a little safe, but this is good. No complaints. "Safe" can still be enjoyable.
#3 Right Between the Eyes: I know a tiny bit about sequencing on an album. The video is the next song; so this song could well be the weakest link on the whole CD. Yeah, but wait a second. Do you hear that uppity soft guitar run--not loud enough to be whiney? Oh that is CLASSIC Butch Vig, baby! Bridge time; short bridge, and back to the action. What if...speed limit...could THIS song be the band on cruise control? Is this the average sound of Garbage in 2005? If so; then they might just take over the world.
#4 Why Do You Love Me?: Okay; I've already heard this. Butch has been listening to some Collective Soul. This song is probably going to be the fastest Garbage song here; like 1995's "As Heaven is Wide" and 1998's "When I Grow Up". It's really good; this is thrash-dance material. Scream that chorus, girl. The cut-transitions right at the 3-minute mark seem a little forced--very tough to do live, but the song is still really good. And that' ending is going to remind everybody of Collective Soul--not just me. Rock on.
#5 Bleed Like Me: Title track, huh? It starts slow. Sure. Wait...this song is going to have some kind of "Fix Me Now" guitar fling--I know how they do this. Yes. But this song is not centered on the guitar fling; nice. More horns! Kick ass. Slow became medium, then dropped back down. Repeatable lines almost make for a double chorus, and the lyrics...oh fuck, we're walking a tightrope now. It's deep, and I don't think that's playable. And hit myself in the head as I remind myself that the name of the song is "Bleed Like Me". Did you think it was going to be a nursery rhyme? Ladies and gentlemen; this is (literally) cutting edge technology; trying to make a sickness look sane. Yes. Now I see it; I would have named this CD Bleed Like Me, as well. Ain't it funny how you learn shit sometimes? We're not worthy.
#6 Metal Heart: Oh I already love the name. This song can suck ass and I still won't trash it. It's medium speed, with the threat of explosion at any second. This is good; it has a little conspiracy theory in the lyrics--lots of lyrics. I like the anticipation; and the build-up is good, too. At 1:20, we are jamming! I like this chorus music as much as any other--there's another Vig signature guitar fling. Listen to this jam! And just about the time you start bobbing your head, hello cold ending! Gone. Done. Did. Next!
#7 Sex is Not the Enemy: What a title; sex is always the subject--not always the enemy. Vocal filter. The lyrical statement is good; some of these other lyrics get choppy--not these. The song tune is more of this new good average cruise Garbage. Album filler should be this good.
#8 It's All Over But the Crying: Break-up songs are tough; this one gets it done. The soap opera piano in the front is refreshing. At 2:35, check that guitar "crying"--these are professionals here. More excellent production; gee, imagine. Everything sounds great. "Baby; we're done."
#9 Boys Wanna Fight: Right. After a slowed song, you want to come back with some muscle. Here's another vocal filter--it works. This song winds up being a statement, because this one and Metal Heart have the most lyrics in them. Boys fight; girls dance all night. The continuing cycle; let's get drunk and do it again. I can relate.
#10 Why Don't You Come Over: Faster, coarser, more like a quality rough draft here. 'Come over and walk in my shoes'. This song is sung to a girl, which is a tad confusing to hear Shirley sing it. But as an overall statement, I like the idea of 'shut up and try on my shoes'. This song is very 90's Garbage; it could have been on either of the first 2 CD's. You go numb while listening to music like this because it's done so well. That's not an insult.
#11 Happy Home: Very slow, effective beginning. Wow; all kicked back and nice here. Subtle. Soft. A very good chorus; strong, but not overpowering. Here's your bridge; nothing too fancy--it works. And this song will stick in your mind; I can already see that. 6 minutes? What; will they ride off into the sunset with this semi-jam synthesized ending? Maybe they will--they don't have to prove anything else to me.

So let's comment on this new "Bleed Like Me" Garbage; favorites? Static Girl has already played it so much that she's going to take a break for awhile. Currently Static Girl's least-annoying favorite is the last one "Happy Home". I have trouble picking one; a Grohl-drumming kickoff with horns (and ladies love the lyrics) "Bad Boyfriend", hummable and super-catchy "Run Baby Run", a new guitar run in "Right Between the Eyes", everything fast all at once "Why Do You Love Me", brilliant and ballsy shock value (Static Girl will have to re-visit) "Bleed Like Me", I already drooled over political "Metal Heart", (catchier than it looks) everybody has a comment/reaction to "Sex is not the Enemy", best break-up song in years "It's All Over But the Crying", close enough to punk "Boys Wanna Fight"...this is tough here. Can't be critical of an "A" grade when I'm so proud. Look at me--trying to change the guys are going to be so disappointed, but I described it correctly above; 'everything fast all at once' "Why Do You Love Me". Yeah; but you should also know that I hate picking the radio single, or the ONLY one with the (X-Files) video. Picking the favorite is going to cost me 3 more; "Run Baby Run" and "Sex is not the Enemy" have stuck in my mind more than the others (some detail will follow), and as a faulted dreamer myself, I'M going to go with titled "Bleed Like Me" as my #4. It would be easier to start from the back and move to the front, wouldn't it?

Man this CD is some great work. Static Girl and I have already smiled with lyrical changes like "Why Do You Like Me?", and then my brain twisted "Sex is Not the Enemy" into "Chocolate's a Necessity" on a grocery run (hey, worry about your own mind). Outside of Caviar + Crystal Method, I haven't hummed so many good songs since that Everclear run in 2003. Let me say this now; I want Garbage to play with Trent's tour band for Nine Inch Nails--make it my final show ever. I have to review the new NIN next week.

A-grade Garbage here, folks; you could do so much worse. First week of 6-05.

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