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On The 20th Anniversary Of 'Version 2.0,' Garbage Is Still Here With The Noise That Keeps You Awake

By Brian Richards | Music | June 19, 2018 |

By Brian Richards | Music | June 19, 2018 |


This past April, it was announced by alternative rock group Garbage that they would be going on a nationwide tour to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of their breakout album Version 2.0, which was released on May 4, 1998.

From Rolling Stone:

Version 2.0 is, in my opinion, the quintessential Garbage record,” Shirley Manson said in a statement. “We are all very grateful to the millions of people who took it to their hearts at the time it was released and to those who continue to love on it still”.

Version 2.0 is the sound of a band growing up, evolving, and more than anything, gaining confidence,” drummer Butch Vig added. “When we started recording, we made a conscious decision to not re-invent ourselves, but rather take everything we learned from our debut album and filter it through the new digital technology we were grappling with. Sonically, the album has moments of razor sharp clarity and soft beauty. Indeed, it’s possibly our best album.”

Back in 1993, Butch Vig (who had produced albums such as Nirvana’s Nevermind), Duke Erikson (who had played with the bands, Spooner and Fire Town), and Steve Marker (who produced a couple of albums for Killdozer and also was a co-founder with Vig of Smart Studios, a recording studio in Madison, Wisconsin) decided to join forces and form a band together. And thus, Garbage was born. After a year of playing together, Garbage saw Shirley Manson on MTV performing with her then-band, Angelfish, in the video for “Suffocate Me…”

…and decided to request that she audition for them to join the band.

The audition process resulted in the four of them pretty much coming together and bonding over their mutual agreement that said audition process was not going smoothly and was definitely not to their liking. Around this time, Angelfish was on the verge of breaking up, and when Shirley, Butch, Duke, and Steve saw each other and played together again, the results were much better and it became even clearer that this was the beginning of a beautiful, if sometimes turbulent, friendship. And thus, Garbage was complete.

Garbage’s self-titled debut album was released in August of 1995 and brought the band plenty of success and recognition, especially with such hit singles as “Stupid Girl”…

…”Only Happy When It Rains”…

…and “Queer.”

But it was their second album Version 2.0 that made them household names and also transformed Shirley Manson into a Nineties rock goddess with an ever-growing and fiercely devoted fan base, right alongside fellow Nineties rock goddesses PJ Harvey, Courtney Love, Liz Phair, Alanis Morissette, and Gwen Stefani.

The first single off Version 2.0, “I Think I’m Paranoid,” is exactly the kind of song from Garbage that makes it impossible for you to sit still and not bop your head or bust a move. The pulse-pounding drums and guitars backing Shirley Manson’s I-don’t-give-anything-resembling-a-fuck vocals in which she makes it abundantly clear that she can and will take anything that is dished out at her as long as she gets the satisfaction that she craves.

“When I Grow Up” features Shirley striking back against anyone and everyone who would dare try to silence her and keep her from expressing herself.

“Special” is Garbage’s version of Manson throwing up both middle fingers and saying ” Boy, bye!” to whoever made it necessary for this friendship or relationship to come to an end.

“Push It” is a song that Shirley once described as “the schizophrenia that exists when you try to reconcile your desires and demons with the need to fit in.” It’s a song about releasing your anger and all of your other emotions, and that mindset is conveyed quite well with each moment that the song builds to its chorus.

As fantastic and captivating to listen to and watch onstage as Shirley Manson is, she certainly isn’t alone in making Garbage the long-lasting powerhouse that it has been and continues to be. Butch Vig on drums, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker on guitars all do amazing work on every song, from making you want to bang your head while driving your vehicle at full speed, or making you want to give a slow and seductive lap dance to your partner that will leave you wanting to—

(signal drops)

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Since the release of Version 2.0, Garbage has continued to stay busy and continue impressing their fans with their work, including Beautiful Garbage, which features the singles “Androgyny” and “Breaking Up The Girl…”

Bleed Like Me, which not only featured the singles “Bleed Like Me,” and “Sex Is Not The Enemy,” but was recorded after Shirley underwent successful corrective surgery for a vocal fold cyst that caused her voice to give out while on tour for Beautiful Garbage…

Not Your Kind Of People, which featured the singles “Blood For Poppies” and “Battle Me…”

And Strange Little Birds, which featured the single “Empty.”

Garbage also recorded two of their best-known hits, which appeared on movie soundtracks, the first being “#1 Crush” for William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet

…And “The World Is Not Enough” for the 1999 James Bond film of the same name…

Shirley also made her acting debut on the short-lived-but-much-beloved television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as Catherine Weaver, CEO of a technology company as well as a T-1001 Terminator…

(I’m quite certain that I would’ve been a lot happier in spending time and money to see Terminator: Salvation back in 2009 if she had played the main Terminator in the film instead of Sam “Who?!” Worthington)

As wonderful as it is to listen to Garbage perform every song on Version 2.0, it will be even more wonderful for the millions of other Garbage fans to see and hear them being performed live and in person as they celebrate the momentous occasion of performing songs that are still loved as much now as they were twenty years earlier. And here’s to looking forward to when that day arrives, for it will be the noise that keeps them all awake.

On the 20th anniversary of ‘Version 2.0,’ Garbage is currently touring. Click here to find out when they’re coming to your area.

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Brian Richards is a Staff Contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.