I haven’t missed out beautifulgarbage, I wrote about that a few months ago. I decided to go through all of Garbage’s album because they’re easily one of the most important bands to me. Probably THE most important band to me. For so many reasons. Reasons which I probably won’t ever be able to put into words, because I am utterly useless with words. Anyway.
I remember the day so clearly when I went to buy Bleed Like Me in April 2005. I was in College, and I decided I’d go to my morning lessons but come lunchtime-I would leave for the afternoon. The week before I had saved my lunch money up in order to buy this album. This album was much needed at that point in my life. I had to decide if I wanted to go to Uni or not (I did, thankfully) and what I was going to do with my life. I was approaching adulthood, dragging and digging my heels into the ground. I didn’t want this; but at the same time, I didn’t want to feel how I was feeling anymore. That year and a few before I was so unhappy. I’ll never know why (maybe I do, I don’t know) but it was awful. However, the torment was worth it. It builds you up and gives you a certain kind of strength that no other could ever give you. A sense of accomplishment. Like, “If I can live through this, I can live through anything.” It’s something I cling onto when I feel the need. Most of the time, I just let it sway and carry on.
So, that Monday lunchtime I took the bus from College to town. I went straight to the G section (I was going to say spot but thought better of it) of the records, and I picked it up. I picked up Bleed Like Me. I looked at it with longing, wanting eyes. I felt as if I was buying something so sacred. Something that would change something inside of me. It did. I paid for it, and hurried to the bus stop so I could get home and listen to the record. However, with such great things comes a setback. The bus stop before my house- my mum gets on. Panic takes over me, and I start to think of an excuse. I knew that if I spoke, word vomit would just occur. So I told her the truth. I told her I skipped my afternoon lessons because I had to buy the Garbage record, and I wanted to just spend the rest of the day listening to it. Her reply? She smiled, gave me a hug and said “That’s my girl.” I was never so proud to have been so honest with anyone. My mum understands how vital music is to me. It’s on a par with oxygen. Without it; I’m dead. I’m nothing.
I remember listening to it, and just feeling so much. The intro to Bad Boyfriend caused my head to spin. The guitar thrashed my skull. I felt every pounding of the drum in my heart. My attention was then drawn onto Run Baby Run and Right Between The Eyes. Those two songs were a lifeline for a long time when this album came out. They still are now. The words to both songs are something I hold so very dear to me. The way Shirl sings, “Stay alive, my love.” It just made me feel as if she was singing it to me. That I had to just stay alive, because it wasn’t going to be this dark and awful forever. This record wasn’t as vulnerable and painful as the previous three. This record felt like a healing process. As if someone was coming to terms with life, and starting to live. That’s how I felt then about the record, and it’s how I feel about it now still. It just feels like a weight being lifted off one’s shoulders listening to this record. It gives you a sense of strength. It pulls you through.
Bleed Like Me was probably the hardest song for me to listen to. When you can identify to some of the characters that Shirl sings about, it is quite hard to take in. You see yourself differently, and you become quite cautious of how others may see you. You felt alone before with how you felt about what you did/do- then you hear this song, and it makes you see that you are not alone. There’s others out there that are bleeding the same way as you. It makes you feel less ashamed living with it because someone else is your voice. Someone else, who has lived through it, has come through and is your beacon of hope. They have given you the strength that you never thought you had. You owe it to yourself to pull through, because others will let go of your hand when it gets rocky. “Try to comprehend, that which you’ll never comprehend.” No one else gets it, no matter how hard you try to explain- they just don’t get it. They label you all kinds of things. Things that aren’t true. But Garbage know the truth; they’re speaking it for you.
Happy Home breaks my heart. It feels like a huge realisation of something. You’re going to have to decide for yourself what this is though. I love the massive instrumental euphoric build-up within the last few minutes of the song. It makes you feel so alive, and close to something. Again, you’ll have to decide what exactly. This is another favourite of mine, especially lyrically.
It’s All Over But The Crying is probably my favourite off the record. It is so heartbreaking, and you will weep your heart out to it. When Shirl sings, “Everything you think you know, baby, is wrong.” Just instantly reaches you to the very core. Lyrically, it’s one of my favourite Garbage songs. The first verse contains a lyric, that I can hand on heart say, it is the lyric I identify so much with- especially from a Garbage song. It just made me, I have no idea. I guess it saved me. This record fucking saved me : “Certain things turn ugly when you think too hard. And nagging little thoughts change into things you can’t turn off.” It is so true. It was apt in 2005, and I think it always will be. I use this line to make sure I don’t dwell on certain things. I don’t want nagging thoughts ruling my mind anymore. I use this line as a reminder. I feel as if I am in eternal debt to Shirl for this song. This record.
Metal Heart just oozes vulnerabilty, “I wish I was half as good as you think I am.” I challenge anyone to have never felt this way. I feel like it a lot of the time. I’m not afraid to admit it. Does that show strength? What does it make me? I have no idea. Maybe I have the answers buried deep down inside of me. I’m 25, I don’t need to know just yet. All I have to do is learn.
Sex Is Not The Enemy, Boys Wanna Fight, Why Don’t You Come Over are massive anthems for this record. They pour out a sense of FUCK YOU. I’VE GOT MY FREEDOM. You can’t take that from a person. You can trap their body all you want; but their mind is the thing you cannot tame or take from them. I adore every single record by Garbage, but this album for me, is like a huge release of everything negative. The healing and self acceptance started for me with this record. This record gave me the courage to go to Uni and do something for me. It gave me the chance to heal, be free and happy. I’d have been a confined mess if it wasn’t for this record. There are two lines from Right Between The Eyes that I always seem to have floating around my head :
“Why do you like to give them what they want, they like to watch you as you fall apart.” and “People kill to build you up, and they’ll stab you in the back like that.”
They’re just to simple lines that mean so much to me.
I cannot discuss this album without mentioning the lead single, Why Do You Love Me? The intro, the damn riff, the drums, the lyrics- EVERYTHING about this song made me so excited about their return in 2005. I was so so happy. This song is so fragile, and typically Garbage. The music and the lyrics are aggressive, frail and to the point. I love that Shirl has never sugarcoated her words. She hits you right in the gut. The first verse has some brilliant lyrics, ones that I have always found comforting and can stil relate to, and will probably always relate to: “I’ve done ugly things and I have made mistakes. And I am not as pretty as those girls in magazines. I am rotten to my core if they’re to be believed.” There will never come a time where I don’t feel a connection to those lyrics.
Well, I think I have written more than enough about this life changing and remarkable record. We all have that one record that means more than the world to us. This record made you feel alive when you felt so fucking dead and numb inside. The record that saved your life in ways nothing or no one else could ever come close to doing. This record (I want you to think about this record, and I want you to shut the world off- and go listen to it. In the dark, with headphones in.) This record is your life. It was the reason you kept going. It still is. This record gives you a sense of peace, and comforts you more than anything else ever has. You’d give anything to tell those who made the record what it means to you, but you may not have any way of doing so. That’s okay; just keep playing the record, and STAY ALIVE.