BLEED LIKE ME
review by Octavio Ramos Jr
The superficiality of modern pop music has made cynics of many of us. The problem with such cynicism is that sometimes-good bands get torn up in the process. Such is the case with Garbage, which has been maligned for its poppy style of electro-rock. Still, very few can deny that songs such as Only Happy When It Rains, The Trick Is To Keep Breathing, and Cherry Lips pack a punch and retain their allure long after the CD has sat on the shelf for a while.
With Bleed Like Me, Garbage continues to tap into the core sound of electro-pop, which consists of cymbal-driven percussion, roaring guitars with chunky riffs and playful solos, and Shirley Manson's sultry and soft/ harsh vocals. Thrown into the mix are keyboards (including a Mellotron possessed by the spectre of King Crimson), atmospherics, and electrical effects that bring out the poppy sound and make it something truly special. With three producers making up the band, production should be top-notch, and it is, down to the intricate melodies in songs like Bad Boyfriend, Metal Heart (nice bass overdubs), and the Run Baby Run (you'll hum the melody line for days).
Lyrically, Shirley and company dig deep into their collective soul and let others experience what's seething inside. Right Between The Eyes is a call to arms to ignore the opinions of others, which could also be aimed at the critics of the band's music. The title track takes a riff from Lou Reed's immortal Walk On The Wild Side but updates it for modern ears, Sex Is Not The Enemy bathes in its own freedom, and Boys Wanna Fight charges its political message with keen observations on how boys and girls behave in social circles.
Bleed Like Me should be the album that enables Garbage to shed much of the criticism aimed at the band's earlier efforts. Hey, it's far from trash - it's Garbage.