Garbage: Version 2.0
Version 2.0, the second album from Garbage, was released May 11, 1998. It expanded on the sound of their first album, with lead singer Shirley Manson pushed her vocal performances to new places.
The album spawned four singles and eventually achieved platinum status in the United States, and was even nominated for album of the year at the Grammys.
“I Think I’m Paranoid” is one of those tracks which show off Shirley Manson’s vocal performance. The song is written from such a viewpoint that it is unclear whether it’s about a person who is interested in her or whether it’s about drug use. Personally, I think it’s about trying to cope with the demands of stardom.
“When I Grow Up” is track 3 on the album, but the last of 4 singles to be released. Lyrically, the song seems to be about sexual experimentation, but thematically, it is probably more closely aligned with being mature enough to tell people what you want and not being afraid to voice that opinion…”damn the consequences”. Again, not just about sexuality, but being a person who can make decisions for themselves.
“Special” was, to me, the most boring single from the album, but listening to it again gives me a new appreciation. The song is rather straightforward, about the end of a relationship where the protagonist no longer has patience for somebody who cannot form an opinion of their own. Plus the blatant allusion to Pretenders’ “Talk of the Town”…and getting the phrasing right on “couldn’t care less”…
The lead single from Version 2.0 was titled “Push It” and cleverly came in a single sleeve that looked like the “play” button of a computer. It shows Shirley Manson coping with her new found levels of fame and feeling the need to push back against being overworked. Sometimes that push back leads others to be hurt, and sometimes it takes you to new places.
Garbage has remained a fixture in alternative rock radio, but their popularity has waned since the days of Version 2.0. Three years in a row, they released 10 inch singles on Record Store Day. I picked up the excellent “Girls Talk” (f. Brody Dalle of The Distillers) and “Because the Night” (f. Screaming Females), a cover of a Patti Smith song.
Garbage are about to release a 20th anniversary expanded edition of Version 2.0, available here.