Version 2.0


Almo Sounds, 1998

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Garbage has to be one of the coolest supergroups with an indie attitude in the 90s. A category shared one, I guess. Butch Vig and a couple of his middle-aged mates invented Garbage out of a studio. They got a sexy vixen with a panther-like atitude with Shirley Manson. But each artist has proved their worth. They wear their Wisconsin roots (Steve Marker and Manson exempt from that) with honor. Therefore, the pressure to prove something was relatively nil when it came to making their newest album, Version 2.0. Or...was it?

Their self-titled debut was a refreshing mix of hard rock and dance club beats. Their lyrics were deliciously dark. And it was such a surprise that you couldn't help but like the mix because it caught you off guard. You're supposed to hate studio-conceived super groups, right? Well...the surprise has worn off. And nbtc__dv_250 Version 2.0 had to offer something to keep listeners interested. To Garbage's credit, they did just that on Version 2.0.

It's more intense than their self-titled debut. Far more electronica than rock. Each song seems to ache for about a dozen remixed versions to come out on a single. The loops on tracks like "Sleep Together" and "Temptation Waits" are far more in your face this time out.

Given Vig's knowledge of music (producer of Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana's best works), it is little surprise that pop history is evident on Version 2.0. "Sleep Together" is a nice play on the classic chorus, "I might like you better if we slept together". Brian Wilson gets props with a sample of his song, "Don't Worry Baby" on "Push It". Pink Floyd gets a nod in "Medication" when Manson's siren-like voice declares, "I don't need an education." Even the intense "Wickid Ways" sounds like Pat Benatar on some really intense substances.

Manson still knows how to sound like an obsessive while still maintaining her inner strength. "I'll be back to frame you/when I grow up", she croons on "When I Grow Up". Still, the rapid-fire drum beats threaten to make some of the tracks on Version 2.0 sound repetitive.

Sadly enough, Version 2.0 sounds exactly like that. You expect a better version in one or two albums. A deeper groove, something that has always been Garbage's trump card would have elevated Version 2.0. The sultry swagger of "Stupid Girl", the pensive "Milk" and even the strutting and slightly disturbing "#1 Crush" all had a slower groove that burned in your consciousness. A couple of those type of songs might have made Version 2.0 a key contender for album of the year.

If any album comes to mind when I hear Version 2.0, it is U2's fan-panned Pop album. Realistically enough, U2 did about the same thing Garbage tried to do on Version 2.0, but did it in a better way with more shifts in tempo and better lyrics. Still, Version 2.0 is an album with heart. It's one of those albums where you can put on at a party and still mope. And even as I type this, I can feel this album growing on me with each listen. For right now though, it's a new dose of a band that promises to do a lot in the next millenium. And Version 2.0 is not a bad way to end off the 90s for Garbage.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 1998 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Almo Sounds, and is used for informational purposes only.