Garbage – Garbage: #373 of best 1,000 albums ever!

So why is Garbage on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

It’s funny, thinking about Garbage as both band name and album title.

Garbage was released in 1995 and, looking back, I can’t help but think that the name is deeply steeped in Gen X irony and self-mockery.

I’ve mused before that bands these days seem to have “run out” of names to choose from, so we get things like Japanese Breakfast and Your Grandparents and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs and Puppy Angst and Sorry Mom*.

* I was going to make up a band name or two as part of that list for kicks, but turns out I really didn’t need to (yes, they are all real)!

I feel like as opposed to a name like Garbage, a new band these days might call themselves The Most Proficient Band In Its Genre or something but they’d do it non-ironically.

Anyway, Garbage and Garbage. Part of the irony here, of course, is that this is as slick and pleasurable and non-garbage-y a musical production as you’ll find, masterminded by producer Butch Vig – an expert at turning bands with raw talent and some edge into radio ready megastars (see: Nirvana’s Nevermind and The Smashing Pumpkin’s Siamese Dream as two prominent examples). And in the case of Garbage, Vig also assembled the band and served as the band’s drummer.

“Queer” is my favorite Garbage song. It’s a sublime blend of slowed down alternative rock and sheeny lounge music vibes, with Shirley Manson’s vocals elevating the song and the band as a whole to the next level. Also: kind of a weirdly compelling music video too, I must say.

“Only Happy When It Rains” and “Stupid Girl” (along with the terrific “I Think I’m Paranoid,” off of Version 2.0 from 1998), are the songs that people are most likely to recall from the band these days. Both work as mid-tempo alt rockers and hummable car stereo songs.  

Garbage is a strong listen end to end beyond the hits. “Not My Idea” has strands of Elastica and Veruca Salt influence, but leans just a hair more pop than those bands and Manson’s voice, as it is throughout, is just great.

Some stats & info about Garbage

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Alternative Rock, Dance Music, Shoegaze, Alternative Pop, Martini Lounge
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Garbage released? 1995
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #373 out of 1,000

Garbage on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Garbage that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

You wanna hear about my new obsession? I’m riding high upon a deep depression. I’m only happy when it rains.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.