Thursday, 27 May 2010

Countdown: Women Who Rock - #3, Shirley Manson

#3 - Shirley Manson

Nothing that I write here can truly express how much love and respect I have for Garbage's enigmatic and amazing front woman, Shirley Manson. As the chief songwriter during the decade Garbage was releasing albums, Shirley was producing lyrics that were out of this world, yet insanely honest and somewhat relatable. The self-titled album Garbage came out of nowhere in 1996 with the lead single 'Vow' opening with the unforgettable line, "I can't use what I can't abuse; and I can't stop when it comes to you." In one line, the world was hooked.

Her unique voice can contain more emotion than any other woman on this list. It's in no way the strongest and she doesn't have an incredibly high range, but when it comes to emotion Manson wins hands down. Shirley's vocals can make you feel the highest of highs or the lowest of lows. And then there's the sex factor. No one can sound oh so sexy as Shirley Manson. "This is the noise that keeps me awake, my head explodes and my body aches. PUSH IT!" The woman SCREAMS sex appeal. Although she has her own opinion on why she's considered a sex symbol. "I am not a sexy woman, I'm not beautiful, I'm not a sex kitten, I don't flirt with people, yet I've been tagged more of a sex symbol than women who truly are, and that's solely because I don't reveal too much; people are curious."

Manson hasn't courted the same levels of controversy like some of her contemporaries over the years and is more prone to defend other female music stars like Courtney Love, Lady Gaga and, more recently, Taylor Swift after T-Sweezy's MTV VMA scandal with Kanye West. She's kept most of her private life away from the prying eyes of the media and we love her for it. We know her for her music, nothing else should matter. What we do know, is that she's a staunch campaigner for cancer, AIDS and animal protection charities. Manson's pretty much amazing.

She's established one of the most diverse catalogues in alternative rock music with the albums Garbage (1995), Version 2.0 (1998), Beautiful Garbage (2001) and Bleed Like Me (2005). Version 2.0 would become Garbage's most critically acclaimed album, with it notably being nominated for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album at the 1999 Grammys. Just in case you care (I don't see why you would), Version 2.0 is my favourite album of all time. Manson's 'cool' factor would win Garbage a slot on the outstanding soundtrack for Romeo + Juliet, with '#1 Crush.' The band also recorded the title theme for the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, one of the best Bond themes of all time.

Lately she's tried out the whole actor slash rock star thing, with her first big role as a part of now cancelled TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. For those that are curious, yes, she played a terminator. Rumours of a solo album where going around for a couple of years, with studio execs apparently none too impressed with the dark nature of her demos. Shirley would do the right thing by refusing to release the album any way other than originally intended. What we can look forward to is the possibility of a new Garbage album sometime this year. Any year that a new Garbage album is dropped is a winning year for me. Bring it on.

Key Tracks: 'Vow,' 'Supervixen,' 'Queer,' 'Only Happy When It Rains,' 'As Heaven Is Wide,' 'A Stroke of Luck,' 'Milk,' 'Stupid Girl' and 'Dog New Tricks' (Garbage), 'Push It,' 'I Think I'm Paranoid,' 'Special,' 'Temptation Waits,' 'You Look So Fine,' 'The Trick Is To Keep Breathing,' 'When I Grow Up,' 'Medication' and 'Dumb' (Version 2.0), 'Shut Your Mouth,' 'Androgyny,' 'Breaking Up the Girl,' 'Cherry Lips' and 'Silence is Golden' (Beautiful Garbage), 'Bad Boyfriend,' 'Why Do You Love Me,' 'Metal Heart,' 'It's All Over But the Crying,' 'Boys Wanna Fight,' 'Right Between the Eyes' and 'Sex Is Not The Enemy' (Bleed Like Me), '#1 Crush,' 'The World Is Not Enough.'

...seriously, there are way too many awesome songs to find all the YouTube links for. Enjoy finding them yourselves!


  1. Garbage are working on a new album. By the way, Shirley is gorgeous!

  2. I like your style anonymous poster! Shirley is indeed gorgeous and I can't wait to hear some new Garbage!


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