Saturday, August 11, 2007

Collectibles #16: Absolute Garbage (2007)

I've always been a big fan of Garbage, and I was happy to learn that they were going to release a Greatest Hits album with one new song. Man, any new song is good.

The songs are listed in chornological order, and it's not surprising that the bulk of the album is comprised of hits from their first 2 albums. As so often is the case for Greatest Hits albums arranged chronologically, there is the sense that there is an overall dip in quality towards the end.

While this phenomenon presents itself here as well, the amazing thing is that even the "weaker" tracks are above average than most other compilations of the same nature.

The album starts off with Vow, the first single off their debut, self-titled album. This was way back in 1995, when no one had ever heard of Garbage before. The album was released soon after, and a slew of hits followed. And what hits they were.

Queer, Only Happy When It Rains and Stupid Girl remain Garbage's finest moments. Even Milk, a slow and hanuting tune, made it quite big on radio.

A B-side track on the Vow single, or more famously known as the song from Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, #1 Crush also gets an airing here. Like Queer, #1 Crush showcases Shirley Manson's sultry vocals and her most seductive side, and it's irresistible.

Enter 1998 and Garbage release their second album, aptly titled Version 2.0 because of the heavy use of computers and electronic devices to craft the album. The singles lifted off this album are also pure gems - Push It, I Think I'm Paranoid, When I Grow Up, Special and You Look So Fine.

Version 2.0 is one of my favourite rock albums of all time, if you can call it a rock album. It's such an all-rounded album and every track is good. In some ways it's better than their debut album because it's uniformly good.

Garbage even got themselves the honour of recording the Bond theme song in 1999, for the 19th Bond flick, The World Is Not Enough. While the film was quite a flop, Garbage did much better, though I personally feel it's not one of the best Bond tunes ever.

beautifulgarbage was released in 2001 and it seen as a less successful record coming on the heels of Version 2.0. That album had earned them 2 Grammy Award nominations, including the biggie Album of the Year, which they lost out to Lauryn Hill's debut solo album.

First single Androgyny didn't generate much waves an dis omitted from this collection as a result. Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go) is a fun, a-go-go tune while Shut Your Mouth is more typical Garbage. Only 2 songs from beautifulgarbage are represented here, but it isn't really fair to say it's not good because overall, it is a good album, just not as good as Version 2.0. There were other songs in there that I really liked as well, like Drive You Home.

Their fourth album was released in 2005 and it marked a return to a more rock and raw sound, closer to the style of their debut album. 3 songs are featured here - Why Do You Love Me, Bleed Like Me and a remix of It's All Over But The Crying. I haven't listened to the 4th album much, but I do like Why Do You Love Me quite a lot.

Then of course there's the new track, Tell Me Where It Hurts, which I like a lot as well. It's among their best works and I wonder: if they can come up with such a good song after they have gone on a hiatus, I'm sure they still have a lot of good songs yet to come out of them. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will reunite and record again.

This limited edition contains a bonus disc of remixes, including songs that never made it to the first disc. But I'm not a big fan of remixes so I don't care much about this CD.

Overall, it's a very good package and it is one of the better Greatest Hits compilations around. It really showcases Garbage's calibre and the uniqueness of their sound. They might have reinvented their sound a few times, but there's always something about them that makes them unique. I think it's Shirley Manson.


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