Garbage is an unusual band. They are basically three top-notch producers, one of whom produced Nirvana?s memorable ?Nevermind.? They play with the melodies backing a spunky rock ?n? roll chic damsel named Shirley Manson. The idea might sound peculiar at first. However, it has been successful.

Shirley Manson is one unstoppable chick. Her pizzazz gives the music a flavor that is very unique to the Garbage sound. Her lipstick-and-beer Brit-rock style made her an urban poster girl that many aspire to be ? bitchy and strong.

Although their songs vary from the floating ?Milk? to ?The World Is Not Enough?s? theme, they still manage to make catchy tunes, yet stay wandering within the circles of rock.

Their songs also carry political statements and a great deal of teenage rebellion. ?Only Happy When It Rains? is by far one of the best rock anthems of the ?90s.

?Beautifulgarbage? carries the same sentiment while exploring neo-rock sounds. The album opens with the perfect comeback announcement ?Shut Your Mouth,? which shows that although their artistry has matured, they still won?t delve into sophisticated oblivion that many artist tend to wander into in search of a creative vision.

The real masterpiece is their first single, which sounds like the follow up to their gender-bending songs, which they started with the heavy ?Queer? on their debut album. ?Androgyny? is definitely a standout track reminiscent of an angrier Suzanne Vega. However, the melodic arrangement is very similar to their hit ?I Think I?m Paranoid.?

The record is high on heavy numbers like ?Silence Is Gold? and ?Breaking Up The Girl.?

Yet, the poppier tunes do have a place. ?Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)? has a swiveling retro sound.

?Drive You Home? is a ballad that does not belong in this record because of its unintentional sappiness, but for fans of the slower moods, ?So Like A Rose? is a filling treat. Later on, ?Beautifulgarbage? hides a fast-paced tune that is bound to surface as a single called ?Parade? which starts out sounding slow, then just bursts into positive energy.

Thinking about the music scene over the span of two decades, it is hard to draw any similarities between Garbage and another act. They have the directness of the Pretenders and the edge of Blur, with a pinch of anger perfectly depicted in ?Version 2.0.?

?Nobody Loves You? is a lullaby that will give you the shivers. But, the band shines again with ?Untouchable,? which almost sounds staccato.

The album lacks a ?Stupid Girl? or a ?Special,? which is its only disappointment. However the taste of it is more than satisfactory.

Al-Qatami can be reached at

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