Monday, 14 May 2012

New Music Monday #7

Not Your Kind of People (Album)
by Garbage (2012)

You may have noticed that I'm 100% in love with Garbage and the four albums they have released since 1995. So you probably already know before reading this review that I'm 100% in love with their fifth studio album, Not Your Kind of People. There was never any doubt I was going to be anything but impressed, amazed, in awe etc. Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker have never let their fans down before, so why should this be any different? 'Automatic Systematic Habit' opens the album with just the right amount of infectious energy to draw you right into Garbage's world. The track establishes right off the bat that this isn't going to be a collection of 90s throwback songs; the sound is modern, exciting and when the guitars let loose after the intro segment I found myself literally wanting to jump for joy. And then dance. And then incorporate jumping into my dancing. Shirley Manson has developed to the point that she can truly be named as one of the greatest front-women of all time. Scratch that, one of the greatest fronts for a band, female or male, of all time. Vig, Erikson and Marker match their leading lady every step of the way. They're not focused on creating the pop sound of BeautifulGarbage, they're not focused on making a statement like Bleed Like Me... they're just three great rock musicians that are focused on making an incredible album. Combine that with Manson's return to a lyrical style that leaves a lot of interpretation to the listener and you've got a winning LP on your hands. 

'Big Bright World' stands out with its upbeat feel. Well, it's upbeat for a Garbage song. It's also another demonstration of the band's maturing sound. When I read reviews that just mention, "here's Garbage with another 90s sounding album," I'll just chuckle and listen to the chorus in 'Big Bright World.' Imagine it alongside tracks like 'Queer' and 'Milk' on Garbage or 'You Look So Fine' and 'Temptation Waits' from Version 2.0. Garbage's new sound is that of a band that's refused to stay stagnant, a band that's grown over time and a band that continues to push themselves into new territory. 'Blood For Poppies' continues to grow on me with every listen. By the time that Shirley reflects with the final line, "I feel like I'm miles away," I'm already waiting to hit repeat. Out of the eleven tracks on the album's standard edition, this is the most 90s, classic Garbage sounding track, but it still has that modern edge to it that makes you want to hear it again and again. One track that will definitely appeal to new and older fans is 'Control.' Driving to work on Friday and listening to 'Control,' I can't even explain how happy I was. No, not because it's a happy song... because I knew I was listening to something special, a song that screamed Garbage and a song on an album that was everything I hoped it would be and more. "I can feel I lost control, I let my guard down, I let the truth out." Stop that Shirley... you're just too good with those lyrical wonders.

When it comes to debating what songs on Not Your Kind of People can be declared 'future classics,' 'I Hate Love' will always be a contender. "Love promises nothing, and then your love dies." Driven as much by the lyrics as the delicious music, 'I Hate Love' finely balances angst, loss, hurt and bitterness. A song like this is exactly why I love Garbage so much. They're counter-culture. They go against everything we're told pop music is meant to be. Not to single out one song, but this is the exact opposite of Rihanna's 'We Found Love.' Garbage haven't made a successful career out of escapism anthems, they're a success because they create an honest connection with the listener and open up a realistic dialogue. I don't know how many people can say they've found love in a hopeless place, but I can name a dozen that can relate to this; "Love makes you desperate and feeling a fool, love makes you ruthless and love makes you cruel." Some might say this is depressing. I say it's perfect and real. You've got your guitars-a-blazing money single in 'Battle In Me.' We gave it 5/5 last month and it's without a doubt one of the best songs you're going to hear all year. By the time you get to 'Beloved Freak,' the standard edition's closing number, I can understand why you'd be a little exhausted. Garbage limited their usual ballad count for Not Your Kind of People, a risky move when pacing an album, but it works. Oh does it work. 'Beloved Freak' makes you wish the album was never going to end, but knowing that it's going to, at least it ends on such an up note. Again, not the standard for a Garbage album. "You're not certain when you feel, hurt, get violent when you deal, with how the world drags you along, you're not alone." If you've been a fan of Garbage, you'll understand this lyric completely. 

Shirley, Butch, Duke and Steve have given their fans an opportunity to be part of something special... again. I can only say thank you. Album of the Year contender for sure. If you're a fan of Garbage's previous work, you're going to fall so far in love with Not Your Kind of People, you won't be listening to anything else for the foreseeable future. If you're not a fan of Garbage's previous work, what is wrong with you I strongly encourage you to still give the album a try. You'll find it mighty hard to find a better alternative release this year.


Matt Bond gives Not Your Kind of People five Bjork's out of five...

by Guy Sebastian
Album: Armageddon (2012)

Well, someone's got a bad case of James Brown envy, don't they? 

Jo Michelmore gives 'Gold' two Veronica's out of five...


Addicted To You
by Shakira
Album: Sale el Sol (2010)

Sex, I mean... Shakira, I mean... hi. Absolutely nothing happens in this song and I have no idea what she's singing, but it's nice to have our yearly reminder that Shakira is super attractive. 

Matt Bond gives the 'Addicted To You' video two Ke$ha's out of five...   

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