Beautiful Garbage

In 1995, Garbage shot to fame with a striking formula that included three studio veterans (guitarists/bassists Steve Marker, guitarists/bassists/keyboardists Duke Erikson, drummer Butch Vig) and a provocative front-woman from Scotland (Shirley Manson) whose red tresses are as fiery as her personality and stage presence.

Following their self-titled debut album and its chart-topping single “Stupid Girl,” the band returned in 1998 with Version 2.0 – another blazing collection of smart pop laced with percing guitar hooks and Manson’s sometimes intricate, sometimes in-your-face wordplay.

On their latest release, beautifulgarbage, the band has taken a more focused direction that is less abstract both lyrically and in terms of production. The sound is layered and more direct in most cases, but there are certain exceptions, such as “Can’t Cry These Tears,” which echoes the Phil Spector produced girl-groups of the 1960s.

Whether encompassed by punchy beats, searing guitar riffs or chimes, alternating from icy cool whispers to impassioned howls, Manson’s intelligent lyrics and muscular pipes consistently strike a chord, making Garbage one of the sharpest pop/rock outfits this side of U2.

  • Garbage will be opening for U2 Saturday at the Ice Palace in Tampa.

  • All selections by Wade Tatangelo. He can be contacted at