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The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

This review was first published on CLUAS in 2001
Other albums reviewed in 2001


A review of their album 'Beautiful garbage' (the die-cut rose version!)

A rose is a rose, but is Garbage garbage? I accidentally knocked something from my table while trying to fix a hole in the ceiling. I looked down to see that my new Beautiful Garbage CD had fallen into the trash bin. With its six die-cut cardboard 'petals' folded up like a rose it certainly looked beautiful, but what about the contents? Did the music on the CD deserve its spot in the trash (garbage) bin?

Garbage - BeautifulgarbageWell, this CD is definitely pure Garbage. The production is pure Garbage - painstakingly top-notch down to the finest detail. The music is also pure Garbage in the fact that we've basically heard this from them before. They do manage to cross a few new boundaries and in the process the true beauty of this CD is revealed. Ignore the song 'So Like a Rose'; the real rose of this bunch is 'Cup of Coffee'. Like those roses bought at 3 am when leaving the pub that slowly lose their petals as you walk home, this song is a fragile beauty with the singer lyrically falling to pieces as the song unfolds. By looking into her past, Shirley has outdone herself with a very personal version of open-heart surgery. Her vocals will rip at your heart, and only someone as unmovable as the Rock of Gibraltar would not be touched by this song.

'Drive You Home' finds Shirley at her most fragile: "But they see me so large / that they think I'm immune to the pain." Ignoring all the pains of Garbage's perfectionist production, the real pain of this CD stems from Shirley's own lyrical memories. Like a rose, the beauty on top has actually grown from something containing a lot of thorns.

Also of note on Beautiful Garbage is the exquisite 'Can't Cry These Tears' where the band plays Phil Spector to Shirley's little girl Ronnette vocals. It would have been a hit in the 60s - it should be a hit now. The remainder of the songs tend to blur and you might not be sure which Garbage CD you were listening to.

Though, there's nothing really on this CD that would make me get up and play it at 4 am, it more than deserves salvaging from the bin for the occasional spin. However, that die-cut sleeve deserves the bin. A rose might be a rose, but this thing just looks like a rose and it's as bothersome as thorns to try to get the CD and booklet in and out of it. With some shops charging up to £2 more for this die-cut version, I highly recommend purchasing the
traditional jewel box.

Barbara Lindberg

(bullet) Check out another review of this Garbage album right here