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Run Buy This Run!,
This review is from: Bleed Like Me (Audio CD)
"Bleed Like Me" embodies everything that Garbage does so incomparably well. The band have created an album which is fresh and strikingly different from its predecessors, yet have maintained the traditional elements which have made them so successful and unique. The electronic loops and effects have been sidelined in favour of powerful guitars and thundering drums.. and the result is an intelligent blend of all-out rockers, heart-felt melancholic ballads, and a minute dosage of ingenius techno moments to keep the listener on their toes.
The opening track, Bad Boyfriend is a relentless rollercoaster of merciless drum-pulverising (courtesy of Dave Grohl), and lusty lyrics. Shirley's vocals are as impressive as ever, and she makes the most of her ability to go from a barely-audible, menacing hiss ("I've got something special for my bad boyyyyfriend.."), to an urgent PJ Harvey-esque wail. This track successfully sets the tone for the rest of the album, and proves the band's versatility yet again.
Run Baby Run, is an emotive mix of light, thoughtful verses and a powerful guitar-laden chorus. The lyrics are heart-felt and memorable ("Too late for solutions to solve in the setting sun..") Shirley's cries of "Go on" at the end are a nice touch. A great choice of single.
Right Between The Eyes is a steely number, said to be inspired by Courtney Love. It is an upbeat song of encouragement showcasing Garbage's trademark buzzing guitars, and despite the occasional lyrical cliche ("Life's a bitch and then you die.."), Shirley's closing pleas for the subject to "Stay Alive, my love" are chilling, and the track is a definite grower.
Why Do You Love Me is a punchy, radio-friendly song with a distinctive guitar riff, and a punky chorus that is incredibly catchy. Shirley's lyrics are bitter and filled with confusion, ("I'm standing in the shadows with the words stuck in my throat..") and deliver a quirky twist towards the end of the song, when it transpires that the subject may not actually love her that much after all, ("I think you're sleeping with a friend of mine."). The "I Get Back Up And I Do It Again" mantra is instantly infectious.
The title-track, Bleed Like Me, deals with the theme of self-mutilation, which Shirley has personal experience of. She empathises with a number of troubled characters ("He's trying to figure out if he's a girl, or he's a boy.."), and as the chorus arrives, the quiet strumming of the guitars is replaced by an up-tempo musical outburst of bugles and drums. Shirley's haunting vocals on the line "You should see my scars" are breath-taking, and her pleas for the listener to "Try to comprehend that which you'll never comprehend" are equally beautiful.
Metal Heart.. what can I say? This is officially my favourite track on offer from Bleed Like Me. It balances past styles Garbage have experimented with, with the new raw one, by reviving the electro-rock sound of Version 2.0. Thematically, the song is a lyrically-powerful anti-war anthem. Tribal drums, heavy guitars and electric bagpipes, all contribute to the frenetic chorus. Shirley makes a credible stab at the effect the horrors of war have on an individual ("I wish I wasn't flesh and blood, I would not be scared. Bullets made with me in mind..").
Sex Is Not The Enemy is a ridiculously catchy pop-rock anthem and a perfect choice of second single. The chorus; "A revolution is the solution!!" is guaranteed to replay itself in your head for weeks! Shirley succeeds in conveying her views on sexual politics, in a fun way. A definite highlight.
It's All Over But The Crying is a melancholic break-up ballad with a soft piano intro. Shirley's sense of defeat is evident in both the lyrics and her vocals ("Fade to black, I'm sick of trying.."). The ending confirms and finalises the fact that the relationship is doomed beyond repair ("Oh baby, we're done.."). One of my favourites on the album.
Boys Wanna Fight takes a while to get into. Musically, it's a perfect blend of techno and rock, with a seriously catchy chorus hook. The only problem with the song is the lyrical content: "The boys wanna fight, but the girls are happy to dance all night." This one line prevents the track from being one of my favourites, because it just strikes me as being uncharacteristically weak. Shirley manages to salvage a lot, with her menacing suggestion that everyone should just stop caring. Her cries of "Sick, sick, SICK of doing nothing/saying nothing!" are memorable.
Why Don't You Come Over is the one track on the album that I could regard as a filler. At first I couldn't understand why any of the excellent b-sides, especially "Honey-Bee" or "Never Be Free" were ditched, while WDYCO made the album. However, the track actually proved itself to be a grower. What is at first slightly obnoxious, quickly becomes infectious. I can now see why the band fought to have the track included. Shirley sounds quite Karen O-like at the end, as the song becomes very jittery. The acidic verses throughout are traditional Garbage "You taste like toxic poison, I'll wash my hands of you.."
Happy Home is, as all of Garbage's album closers to-date have been, a really beautiful, poignant ballad. Shirley's lyrics are strikingly honest and emotional, and her vocals are quiet and husky. The verses are accompanied by a soft, strumming guitar, and light drumming. As with Bleed Like Me, the chorus is a sudden crescendo of sound, which eventually leads to a mesmerising closing riff that spans over 2 minutes, without the listener wanting it to end. A flawless closing, for what is overall, a simply fantastic album.