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Absolute Garbage (Special Edition)

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Album Review

Looking back, there is no band that sums up all the myriad '90s trends better than Garbage. They were led by alt-rock superproducer Butch Vig, the man responsible for the production on Nirvana's Nevermind, but he also helmed classics of the era for Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, and L7. They were a rock band that indulged in noise and rode a hard backbeat but they were about fluid textures — a move they learned from shoegazers like My Bloody Valentine and Curve — so they could ease into trip-hop when rockers started flirting with electronica. They were fronted by Shirley Manson, giving them an entryway not only to the countless Women in Rock pieces, but her Scottish heritage also gave Garbage a tenuous U.K. connection in the days of Brit-pop. They brushed against so many touchstones that they couldn't help but seem a little bit prefabricated, but their music was done with the sharp, crass calculation of a bunch of old studio pros and a singer who had been kicking around since the mid-'80s, when she was in British indie also-rans Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie. Garbage knew how to make records that sounded good and sounded like the times, so when they had their big break they knew how to stay on the charts. And they did, riding the post-grunge wave into the 2000s with albums that charted progressively higher, but not longer, than each previous record, while each new single showed up on many different charts without staying around on the radio as long as those first few hits from their eponymous 1995 debut. In other words, like lots of post-grunge alt-rock bands. they wound up being a one-album wonder with a couple of almost-hits to their credit after the first blockbuster, as the 2007 compilation Absolute Garbage makes clear. Spanning an overly generous 18 tracks — supplemented on the Deluxe Edition in true '90s fashion with a 13-track bonus remix disc — Absolute Garbage runs through all the U.S. radio hits and a good selection of international singles, skipping such latter-day singles as "Androgyny," "Breaking Up the Girl," "Run Baby Run," and "Sex Is Not the Enemy." By the time the compilation draws to its close nit-picking over such omissions seems pointless, since it already seems that the comp has lingered far longer than necessary on the last stage of Garbage's career, erasing the memories of sexy, hooky singles "Vow," "Queer," "Only Happy When It Rains," and "Stupid Girl," all arriving on the debut and all still sounding sleek and alluring. Which, of course, is kind of the story of their career: they made a big impact at first, but then their studio professionalism overtook their pop instincts. They were still often gripping at a sheer sonic level — Shirley Manson was a compelling, dynamic performer and Vig and his cohorts surely could construct a fantastic-sounding record. A few more of those moments could have been captured here. [A Deluxe Edition of the CD was also released.]

Customer Reviews

Is today Christmas?

I've been waiting TWO YEARS for this album to come out and now it is finally here. The wait is over and fans and non fans rejoice as one of the greatest alternative bands of the 90s releases their greatest hits album! I can't tell you how long those two years have been. Ever since Bleed Like Me came out everyone was highly anticipating the release of Absolute Garbage. Then came word Shirley was going on break to work on solo work, while Duke, Steve, and Butch were going to part ways while she did so. However Shirley wanted to release a greatest hits compilation before moving onto her solo album. This was delayed SO MANY times that you have no idea how hard it felt on serious Garbage fans that were dying to listen to this. And to the reviewer that asked, 'where's Androgyny?' the remix is on here. Shirley said herself that she couldn't put every song on here because then they'd need every song from all four of their albums because they're all so great! Luckily the remix of Androgyny made it on ehre. I was going to literally die if Stupid Girl never made it. That's their biggest hit and not including it would make this greatest hit seem not complete. If you're into the whole downloading only a few songs vs. downloading a full album. I beg of you to PLEASE download the entire full album. The original Greatest Hits (released today as well) is somewhere on iTunes for just $9.99. This one here has the remixes on it. I'm buying this version because I'm a huge fan of remixes, and being a serious Garbage fan I need them more! But still if you can't download every song (aka: buying the album) or even the other version, at least download: -Queer -Stupid Girl -#1 Crush -Shut Your Mouth -Bleed Like Me -Tell Me Where It Hurts I was really worried this wasn't even going to come out today. After all these release date changes I was about ready to give up. But FINALLY its here! You have no idea how much seeing this album on iTunes is like you being six years old and seeing the toy you always wanted on your favorite holiday or birthday! No I beg of Shirley to please release her solo album and then get working on the fifth album! Ps. I so want Shirley's duet of 'Wonderful Life' with Gwen Stefani released as a digital download!


Garbage is my favorite band....With that said after waiting so many years to see a "best of" collection that did justice to their decade long career I'm scratching my head wondering why this particular offering feels rushed. What's worse is that several of the songs have been "remastered" which remake them subtley and hollow out their sound from the original versions. Most notable of these changes are the songs on the album that are taken from their smash sophmore album Version 2.0. The songs " I think I'm Paranoid" and "Push it" have been watered down from their original forms. The worst is on "Push it" which is one of my favorite Garbage tracks. The new "remastered" version found here is missing a lot of the background instruments and samples found in the original recording. The song feels hollow and less of a sonic landscape (why did they do that?!) For those of you with a savvy ear or are musicians yourselves you'll know what I'm talking about. Listen to the track from the original Version 2.0 and then listen to this version and you'll hear the difference. Lastly, when you think "best of" you're thinking a collection of "all" the singles they've ever released. I wonder why they left off the few that they did? Where's "Androgyny" and "Sex Is Not The Enemy"? If you're a hardcore Garbage fan only pick up this album to complete your collection. For you new listeners do yourselves a favor and buy all the albums in their original formats because that's a better way to experience them. This is a watered down representation of Garbage and anything less is simply a crime!

An Absolute Collection

This greatest hits collection would be complete with "Androgyny." Of course, it's not, and also instead of remixes they should include some of their b-side work such as: "Subhuman," "Soldier Through This" "Deadwood," and "Space Can Come Through Anyone" just to name a few. Other than that, it's a great collection that pretty much defines Garbage's 10 year career. This is only chapter 1 as Butch Vig indicates, let's hope their next greatest hits collection would include more memorable songs like this and better unreleased tracks.


Formed: 1993 in Madison, WI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Garbage built on the sonic landscapes of My Bloody Valentine, Curve, and Sonic Youth, adding a distinct sense of accessible pop songcraft. The band was the brainchild of producers Butch Vig, Duke Erikson, and Steve Marker, who initially held an informal jam session in Marker's basement, but they eventually recruited vocalist Shirley Manson, who had previously sung with Angelfish and Goodbye Mr. MacKenzie. Vig is a native of Viroqua, Wisconsin, who learned to play piano as a child and drums as a...
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