There are musicians who, even though you’ve never met them and may never meet them, sometimes feel like the closest person to you. You feel close to them because they tell your story better than you could. You’ve tried many times to unravel every feeling and everything that goes on in your head. For the most part, it is pointless. Things don’t always need a meaning but things need truth. Voices do need to be heard, and when our own isn’t loud enough there is always someone else who has the guts to be our voice. To be louder and be as brave as we wish we were.
I’ve always had a small yet solid number of musicians that have been my voice and that ounce of hope I needed to get through most things. They are the musicians I wish I was as tough as, but I’ll never be tough. I may look as if I am pissed off most of the time but I’m not. Although I dislike the current state of the world, it’s never anything that personal. I’m grumpy but only because I’m getting older. I dislike a lot of things, and it is easier to vocalise them. If you talk about the things you love, it is easier for people to mock your interests. But you know what? Fuck them. No, not literally. No thanks. Grubby bastards. Courage crept up on me late in life. It smacked me in the face a few years ago. I’ll stand up for anyone but myself. I was once hit in the face for standing up to some racist prick. It wasn’t a hit that was painful. Maybe because I was proud of myself for speaking up. I do have a point, but I know no one is reading much further. Which means I can write what I want. Be free with your words.
When Not Your Kind Of People came out last year, I went directly to the last track on the record; Beloved Freak. I somehow had a gut feeling that this song would be one of those Garbage songs that fellow Garbage lovers would turn to when everything was ugly. I knew immediately it would have the same meaning to me that The Trick Is To Keep Breathing would have to me. The Trick Is To Keep Breathing dragged me through my teenage years, and partly through adulthood. I’m nearly 27; I don’t have it right and I know I never will. I don’t think any adult ever truly has it sussed out. You just make do and carry on, because the alternative is..well, I’m not sure.
I played Beloved Freak and cried. What a surprise!
For as long as I’ve been a fan of Garbage (since the start) their songs have meant more to me than I can put into words, songs like Beloved Freak just sum up exactly why I love them and why they saved this lost soul. I’ve watched various live clips of Beloved Freak and I’ve seen Shirley choke up towards the end as she sings. The power she has with her words is just beautiful. She doesn’t need to write lyrics that are made up of ridiculous metaphors to make her point. She goes right to the core of the emotion and executes it in such an honest way that most wish to shy away from. Everyone has their own struggle to overcome on a daily basis, and I firmly believe that music is one of the very few things that make life a little bit easier.
“You’re not certain when you feel.
Hurt get violent when you deal
With how the world drags you along
You’re not alone.”
Maybe I’d have been braver if this song existed when I was a teenager, but as an adult listening to this, it makes every emotion feel less ugly and less of a chore to carry around.
The thing about Shirley’s words is that you KNOW she means every single one of them. When she sings songs about despair and self-hate, you know she has felt that way herself. That is what makes her words more powerful than I can get my head around at times. Beloved Freak feels like, to me, her way of telling the person who is listening to the song that in the end, you’ll get to a point where everything is alright. It may never make sense, but you’ll get there. It’s like she’s placed her hand in yours as you drag yourself through each day. There will come a time where you won’t be dragging yourself no more; instead you’ll be walking with your head high.
There are many parts in this song that have come to mean the world to me, for reasons I don’t think need explaining. Shirley’s lyrics have always been obvious for me. Much like Morrissey. You know exactly what they mean and you connect straight away. When a singer/band isn’t afraid to be so open with their music, you know you’ve found something you will have a connection with for the rest of time. The other day I thought about what it would be like if I never was a fan of Garbage. Would I harbor certain feelings forever with no clue as to how I face them? I have no idea, but for the better, Garbage helped me grow up and adjust. I’ll always feel slightly awkward in the skin I’m in. I’ll never fully like myself, but I don’t let that define everything I do and the person I am. If I was happy with myself, I wouldn’t work hard towards anything. Carrying some self-doubt helps.
Beloved Freak isn’t just a song to me. It’s something I turn to when that sinking feeling kicks in. It isn’t as frequent as it once was. I always mention that I love bands/singers that are really open with their words, and I guess that is why I write like this. Maybe it makes me a total prick, I have no idea. But music is my life, and with songs like Beloved Freak- I couldn’t and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“People lie and people steal.
They misinterpret how you feel.
And so we doubt and we conceal.
You’re not alone.”
People will always make you feel as if what bothers you is insignificant or that you’re dumb for having such feelings. Let them waste their time on being foolish, you just carry on. They’re not worth the thought. We learn to hide how we feel in order to keep a sense of normality around us, but let it be known that nothing is normal. Morrissey taught me that. And he’s utterly right.
Bands like Garbage are there for you to no longer hide anymore. Everyone is different, and how you cope with life is how YOU cope with it. People will judge, but you have to go with what you feel is right in your heart. These are just a small fraction of what Shirley Manson’s words have taught me.
“This little light of mine,
I’m going to let it shine.”
Music is my light. Be a beloved freak. Don’t let the fuckers push you around and don’t let anyone ever tell you how you should be x