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Garbage Are Back,
This review is from: Bleed Like Me (Audio CD)Garbage return with their long-awaited fourth studio album, "Bleed Like Me", the follow up to 2001's "Beautiful Garbage", which, despite earning a wealth of critical acclaim, left a lot of fans cold, and hoping for more of what "Garbage" and "Version 2.0" had to offer. This new offering is something different (as ever with a Garbage album). "Bleed Like Me" focuses on crunching guitars and heavy basslines, with the superb "Metal Heart" and "Boys Wanna Fight" being the only tracks that feature the twisted, textured electronics that enhanced 1998's "Version 2.0".
"Bad Boyfriend" is the menacing opener and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Grinding guitars set around "one of the simplest tunes they've ever done"; as Duke puts it, work well with Shirley's direct lyrics and dirty vocals, reminiscent of the band's 1995 debut. The manic drumming in the middle of the song comes courtesy of Dave Grohl, as everybody knows. A fantastic song and a brilliant, refreshing opener.
"Run Baby Run" starts as a sweet pop song, but turns in to a jilty rocker on the chorus, and takes an unexpected twist at the end, where the track becomes quite jittery. I love the lyrics in the chorus, and this is a possible contender for a single.
"Right Between The Eyes" is apparently about Courtney Love. I love the lyrics in this track especially. Shirley has never cared what anybody thinks, and it shows in the fantastic lyrical content. There is not much of a chorus to the song, but my favourite part is where Shirley sings "there's nothing grander than the big surprise", which, as many have pointed out, is reminiscent of Hole's "Malibu".
"Why Do You Love Me" is by far the rockiest track on the album, closely followed by the grimacing "Bad Boyfriend". It's probably one of the most commercial tracks on the album, along with next single "Sex Is Not The Enemy". The metal-guitar riff still sounds great, and the song is probably the most infectious on the album.
"Bleed Like Me" is the beautiful title track, and is about empathy as Shirley says. Each character has their own scenario, and Shirley's vocals towards the end ("you should see my scars") are some of the best I have ever heard. This is most definitely a highlight. It's mid-tempo, but is one of the most amazing tracks Garbage have ever produced.
"Metal Heart" is currently my favourite on the album. It's quite reminiscent of 1998's "Version 2.0" as the swirling electronics help introduce the song. Just when the song sounds like the poppiest thing here, the razor-sharp, industrial guitars kick in for a blistering guitar ride. I love the cold lyrics. This is Garbage at their best, and could possibly make a single at some point.
"Sex Is Not The Enemy" is already an anthem amongst the Garbage community, with a simple chorus of "a revolution... is the solution". Instrumentally fun, lyrically about Shirley's "sexual politics". This is set to be the second single from the album, and there are also rumours of it being used as the official iPod theme. A great track.
"It's All Over But The Crying" strongly reminds me of "You Look So Fine". The piano riff sounds very similar. I'm not usually in to ballads, but this is a highlight, and could also become a single. Shirley sounds so passionate, yet fed up with everything on the chorus. A lovely piece of drama to help break up the album.
"Boys Wanna Fight" - I really wasn't sure about this song at first, but like the whole album, it's a grower. The combination of the electronics and powerful guitars are similar to that formula that worked so well on "Version 2.0". The band say this is the most political song on the album. Not one of the best, but still a good song.
"Why Don't You Come Over" is generally the track that nobody has taken too. Possibly because of the slightly throwaway chorus of merely "why don't you come over?". I also wasn't sure at first, but this is one of my favourites now. Includes Garbage's trademark angry undertone, complete with bitter lyrics. The chorus is very infectious, and very up-tempo.
"Happy Home" is the perfect closer - cinematic Garbage. The song is about "acceptance" to some degree. The lyrics are wonderful and the song has great meaning. The instrumental chorus accompanied by Shirley's faint backing vocals work perfectly. The song twists at the end with a stunning guitar rising, and hypnotising strings that could only be used to end such a great album.
All in all, a fantastic album from a band who continues to produce quality, distinctive records after 10 years together. Give this album time, it's not Garbage's most accessible work, but it gets better with each listen - a real grower. Personally, I feel this is a vast improvement on "Beautiful Garbage". There is a handful of potential singles including "Run Baby Run" and "It's All Over But The Crying". The band's twisted, individual lyrics remain, and Shirley's vocals are better than ever. They've cranked up the guitars for album number four, but Garbage can still make it work. The best album of 2005.