Few people are as eternally indebted to Shirley Manson, Scotch-crimson-haired lead songstress of the synthetic rock, and producer-helmed, band Garbage, as I am. She cooed me in my youth with her extraordinary persona and inimitable vocal box; she entranced me with her fiery air of fiercely-defended youth culture; and made me feel comfortable in a world that demonstrably possessed endless melodic strings of maximal beauty and deifying proportions.
I am who I am, a stable, well-rounded adult, because of her. Nobody has given wings to more lyrical ballads and pop-amalgamations than Shirley in her effortless breaths of tenor-emulating effeminate and female-empowering “Androgyny” (not to make a lame pun out of a great song) -bent vocals. She set fire to the rock radio waves in the mid-to-late nineties, and successfully penned some of the most heavenly and gratitude-inducing lyrics to some of the most intricately crafted pop rock renditions ever to hit light speed (via your radio antenna).
“Push It”, “I Think I’m Paranoid”, “Stupid Girl”, all twist and turn with goddess-like ease from the most ineffable of high places, to the grand position of lifting the spirit out of the lowest of gutter-like depressions.
And the best part of Garbage: they won’t go away.
They’re still here, after some odd twenty years, long after they temporarily disbanded, long after the critics proclaimed them an already-passed nineties fad, long after the familiar James Bond film theme-song curse seemed to haunt their career as it has for virtually every other act that has attempted a soundtrack-byte for the franchise.
Take the new “Girls Talk”, featuring the irreverent and unapologetic Distillers lead singer Brody Dalle. It has all the modern appeal of anything on the airwaves, with a simultaneous eternal satisfaction to the ear of the listener who craved everything Garbage ever was twenty years ago.
The only comparable act in the modern repertoire, which transcends death, and retains identity, is Weezer, but they were always much more of a niche market. Garbage has always had its eyes set on the Valhalla of pop rock-dom, and has never failed to ensnare the wreathe of the pedestal of such a position.
Rock on Shirley, hail Satan – you make me “as far from God – as heaven is wide”. What a guilty little pleasure. 😉