|Studio album by Garbage|
|Released||August 15, 1995
(See release history)
|Recorded||April 1994 – May 1995,
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
|Genre||Alternative rock, grunge, trip hop|
|Label||Mushroom Records UK
Almo Sounds (North America)
|Singles from Garbage|
Garbage is the debut album by American alternative rock group Garbage. It was released in the late summer and autumn of 1995 worldwide, following critical acclaim and promising chart positions for their debut single "Vow", which entered the Billboard Hot 100.
Garbage eventually spent over a year on both the US and UK charts, reaching the top 20 on charts worldwide and receiving multi-platinum certification in numerous territories. The album's success was helped by the band promoting it on a year-long tour, including playing on the European festival circuit and supporting the Smashing Pumpkins throughout 1996, as well as by a run of increasingly successful singles culminating with "Stupid Girl" which in 1997 was nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.
Garbage was considered innovative for its fusion of pop melodies with alternative rock, trip-hop and electronica genres and its use of loops and sampling including, amongst other things, The Clash's "Train in Vain", the sound of torn sheets of metal, an air conditioning unit and a broken tape deck.
In 1983, Butch Vig and Steve Marker founded Smart Studios in Madison and Vig's production work brought him to the attention of Sub Pop. Vig's old band Spooner reunited in 1990 and released another record, but disbanded in 1993 as Vig and Marker's career as producers gained strength. In 1994, as Vig become "kind of burned out on doing really long records," he got together with Duke Erikson and Marker, and they started doing remixes for acts such as U2, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and House of Pain, featuring different instrumentation, and often highlighting new guitar hooks and bass grooves. The experience inspired the three men to form a band, where they "wanted to take that remix sensibility and somehow translate it into all of the possibilities of a band setup." An early comment that their work sounded "like garbage" inspired the band's name.
Vocalist Shirley Manson had been performing with the Edinburgh rock band Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie since 1984. In 1993, several band members, including Manson, changed their name to Angelfish. Their only release, the self-titled Angelfish, did not do any better than the preceding albums by Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, selling only 10,000 copies.
Initial sessions with Vig on vocals, and the member's past work with all-male groups led to the band's desire for a woman on lead. Marker was watching 120 Minutes when he saw the music video for Angelfish's "Suffocate Me". He showed the video to Erikson and Vig while their manager Shannon O'Shea tracked Manson down. When Manson was contacted, she didn't know who Vig was and was urged to check the credits on Nevermind, the popular Nirvana album which Vig produced. On April 8, Manson met Erikson, Marker and Vig for the first time in London. Later that evening Vig was informed of Kurt Cobain's suicide. Garbage was put on hold, until Angelfish were touring North America in support of Live. Erikson, Marker and Vig attended the Metro Chicago date; and Manson was invited to Madison to audition for the band. The audition did not go well, but Manson socialized with the men while there and they found they had a similar taste in music. Angelfish disbanded at the end of the Live tour. Manson called O'Shea and asked to audition again feeling that "it would work out".
In her return to Smart Studios, Manson began to work on skeletal versions of the songs "Queer", "Vow" and "Stupid Girl". While looking for a record deal to put the album out, Garbage sent out demo tapes with no bio, to avoid a bidding war over Vig's production history. Garbage signed with Mushroom U.K. worldwide and to Jerry Moss's label Almo Sounds for North America. Manson's contribution was licensed to both Mushroom and Almo by her label Radioactive.
Garbage continued to work on the album throughout the start of 1995, being delayed by Vig's work producing Soul Asylum's Let Your Dim Light Shine album and the songs being "piecemealed together in the studio". Vig described the composing process as a "disfunctional democracy" where someone would bring a loop or a sample, which was followed by jam sessions where the bandmembers would "find one bar that's kind of cool, load that into our samplers, jam on top of that, [and] Shirley will ad-lib", with the process continuing until the song was finished, often with "all of the original ideas gone, and the song had somehow mutated into something completely different." Among the songs that were completely reworked, "As Heaven is Wide" went from "a big rock track" to a techno song with Tom Jones-inspired beats, only keeping Erikson's fuzz bass and Manson's vocals from the original recording. Given Vig "got bored spending so many years recording really fast, straightforward punk records", the band "didn't want to approach the Garbage record from the angle of a band playing live", making their songs out of samples that would be processed and reworked in a wall of sound process "to create something that sounded fresh."
A major part of the work was Manson rewriting the song lyrics, which Vig said the band attempted to "write from a woman's perspective and I think, initially, some of them were a little pretentious. But as soon as Shirley came on board she simplified the lyrics so that they were a lot more subtle and worked better as songs." Manson detailed that regarding the previous song sketches, "some of the ideas for lyrics I found unsuitable, and others I liked and worked on with them. I always went to bat for what I believed in."  The singer added that because "the lyrics take a while to work on" bandmates would give suggestions and she included the ones that fancied her.
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Garbage has an experimental alternative rock sound that "tr[ied] to incorporate different styles and genres, throw it all into a big melting pot and see what would happen", according to Vig. Vig explained that as in his opinion "the most exciting bands are those who incorporate all those elements of punk, funk, techno, hip hop, etc." Garbage would attempt to do the same and "take those influences and make them work in the context of a pop song.”
The band went overboard with experimentation, with Erikson adding that throughout they liked to include “sounds that we found accidentally, like Steve’s sample of a tape deck backing up, or the bit in ‘Stupid Girl’ that was initially a mistake, but when we slowed it down, actually fit the timbre and pace of the song and became the hook.”
The lyrics on the record were described by the bandmembers as "a collaborative psycho-therapy session wherein personal demons of various sizes and importance are exorcised, vilified, taken revenge upon and laid to rest." Vig said they tried to deal with "dark themes that I think a lot of people can relate to in some way or another", which included voyeurism, hedonism, perversion, obsession and "the art of self-destruction." Manson stated that while the content was "a lot more poppy" than most of her previous work, the songs ended up describing the dark side of her nature, as "sometimes I'm a bit wee creepy, and that definitely comes out in the music." The singer also declared that the music "unlocks sensations and feelings that you keep inside, that society doesn't allow you to show", saying that the gist of a mean-spirited song like "Vow" is very real despite "none of us hav[ing] ever really acted on those feelings".
Release and promotion
In United States, the album was preceded at alternative radio by "Vow". Despite not being able to actively promote the single, Almo Sounds issued Garbage on August 15, on CD, cassette and double-vinyl.
Garbage took a while to reach high charts in North America, which Vig considered was "because I don't think it's cool to say you're in a pop band in the States. To be truly PC, you have to be in the grunge zone." The album debuted at #29 on the developing artists Top Heatseekers album chart. Four weeks later, the album debuted at #193 on the Billboard 200, as "Queer" impacted at Modern Rock. In November, Garbage launched their first North American tour, which drove "Queer" to #12 on the Modern Rock chart and Garbage to climb to #127 on the album chart and spend four weeks at #5 on the Heatseekers chart. The album dropped off the Billboard 200 at the start of December. At the start of January 1996, "Only Happy When It Rains" was serviced to alternative radio; as Garbage re-charted on the Billboard 200 at #183. At the start of March, Garbage peaked at #2 on the Heatseeker chart. A week later, the album broke into the top half of Billboard 200 for the first time, as "Only Happy When It Rains" peaked at #16 at alternative radio. The album had sold 238,000 units by this point. "Only Happy..." peaked at #55 on the Hot 100 at the start of May as Garbage was certified Gold by the RIAA for shipping half a million units. A week later, the album reached #47 on the Billboard 200 before dropping to #73 in June as "Stupid Girl" impacted Modern Rock. At the end of the month "Stupid Girl" reached the top ten at Modern Rock while Garbage ascended into the top forty of the Billboard 200 for the first time. At the end of July, Garbage was certified platinum for shipping a million units, and a week later peaked at #20 on the album chart. "Stupid Girl" peaked at #24 on the Hot 100 in September; by which time Garbage had doubled its weekly sales to shifting around 40,000 units and remained in the top thirty of the Billboard 200 for two months. Almo serviced "Supervixen" to alternative before releasing "Milk" as the last single from the album; however alternative radio picked up on "#1 Crush", which was licensed to the soundtrack of Romeo + Juliet, and sent it to #1 at the end of the year. Garbage dropped to #78 in December, before rebounding to #47 at the start of February 1997 on the back of the success of "#1 Crush". Garbage clocked up its 81st and last week on the Billboard 200 at the start of May 1997 when it bowed out at #191.
In Australia, Garbage debuted at #5 on the ARIA album chart. In New Zealand, Garbage debuted at #11. Eleven months after release, Garbage topped the New Zealand albums chart and peaked at #4 in Australia.
Garbage debuted on the UK Album Chart at #12 with first week sales of 9,409 copies. A week later the album dropped to #26 before falling out of the Top 40. The album re-entered the album chart at the start of 1996 and climbed steadily as "Stupid Girl" hit #4 on the UK Singles Chart at the end of March. The album subsequently peaked at #6  and remained in the top ten until May. Garbage left the Top 40 in October, and recharted at #34 at the end of the year. Garbage was issued on the MiniDisc format on March 20, 2000 and re-charting in the UK for the final time in July of that year. As of May 2012, the album has sold over 700,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
Vig stated that the band had no initial plans to tour as "not going on the road would really free us up to record tons of stuff". As the bandmembers realized "that if we were going to have a successful record we'd have to go out on tour and promote it", and enjoyed playing live to record the "Vow" video, they decided to perform to audiences as well. To perform the complex and layered tracks live, the band hired Los Angeles bass player Daniel Shulman for the tour, and figured out ways to trigger samples on stage, such as having Marker play a keyboard along with his guitar.
On February 24, 1996, Garbage set off on a 17-date headline tour of North America. Garbage then joined Smashing Pumpkins as support on their North American arena tour from June 25, although the support slot was cut short due to the death of Pumpkin's keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin on July 12. Garbage returned to Europe on August 3 promoting Garbage with a month of shows around the festival circuit. Garbage then headed south to Asia and Australia to promote the album, beginning with shows in Singapore on September 28 and ending in Osaka, Japan on October 18. Garbage returned to the US to give Garbage a final push by rejoining the Smashing Pumpkins rescheduled tour from October 23.
Reviews, accolades and nominations
|Entertainment Weekly||A |
Garbage received universal acclaim upon its release. Garbage was certified silver by the BPI on January 1, 1996 and gold one month later. Garbage became platinum-certified for UK sales of 300,000 on May 1. Garbage was certified gold by the RIAA on January 5 and certified platinum for one million US sales on July 30. The ARIA certified Garbage platinum, with sales of over 210,000 units.
Garbage had also been certified double platinum in Canada, Australia  and New Zealand and gold in France, Denmark, Ireland and Singapore. Garbage was certified platinum in the UK for the second time on October 16, 1998, and in the US for the second time on February 24, 1999. It was also certified gold in the Philippines on June 20.
All songs written and composed by Garbage, except where noted.
|3.||"Only Happy When It Rains"||3:56|
|4.||"As Heaven Is Wide"||4:44|
|5.||"Not My Idea"||3:41|
|6.||"A Stroke of Luck"||4:44|
|8.||"Stupid Girl" (Garbage, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones)||4:18|
|9.||"Dog New Tricks"||3:56|
|10.||"My Lover's Box"||3:55|
|11.||"Fix Me Now"||4:43|
|Japanese standard edition bonus tracks|
|Japanese G - New edition bonus tracks|
|14.||"#1 Crush" (Nellee Hooper remix)||4:45|
|Australian and Japanese Tour Edition bonus disc|
|1.||"Milk" (Rabbit in the Moon mix)||5:49|
|2.||"Stupid Girl" (Tee's radio mix)||3:45|
|3.||"Queer" (Danny Saber mix)||5:39|
|4.||"Dog New Tricks" (The Pal mix)||4:02|
|5.||"Alien Sex Fiend"||4:37|
|French Rare Track Collection Virgin Megastore bonus disc|
|2.||"Girl Don't Come"||2:33|
|5.||"Trip My Wire"||4:26|
|French, German & Spanish limited edition bonus disc|
|1.||"#1 Crush" (Nellee Hooper remix)||4:45|
|Korean & Singapore bonus disc|
|1.||"#1 Crush" (Nellee Hooper remix)||4:45|
|2.||"Girl Don't Come"||2:33|
|Aug 15, 1995||Canada||Almo Sounds||CD, Double-LP, cassette||Standard edition|
|Aug 29, 1995||Europe||BMG||CD, cassette|
|Sept 4, 1995||Australia||White Records|
|Oct 2, 1995||United Kingdom||Mushroom Records UK||CD, Double-LP, cassette,
limited edition 7" box set
|Oct 21, 1995||Japan||BMG Victor||CD||Titled G, includes two bonus tracks|
|Nov 17, 1995||France||BMG France||Standard edition, b/w Rare Track Collection bonus disc|
|Jan 30, 1996||Korea||BMG Han Kook||Standard edition|
|Sept 23, 1996||Australia||White Records||Double-CD||Limited Tour Edition, with five bonus tracks|
|Jan 8, 1997||Japan||BMG Victor/White Records|
|Mar 25, 1997||Korea||BMG Han Kook||Limited edition bonus disc, with four bonus tracks|
|Apr 14, 1997||France||BMG France||CD||Limited edition, b/w bonus "#1 Crush" bonus disc|
|Apr 23, 1997||Japan||BMG Victor||Titled G - New Edition, with two bonus tracks|
|Nov 26, 1998||Japan||Titled G - New Edition, with two bonus tracks (reissue)|
|Nov 29, 1999||France||BMG||Deluxe digipak edition|
|United Kingdom||Simply Vinyl||Double-LP||Standard edition, pressed on 180gm heavyweight vinyl|
|Mar 20, 2000||Mushroom Records UK||MiniDisc||Standard edition|
|c.2000||Europe||PIAS Recordings||CD||Standard edition (reissue)|
|South Africa||David Gresham Records|
|South America||Universal Music|
|Australia||Festival Mushroom Records|
|Aug 22, 2001||Japan||Sony Music Int'l||Titled G, includes two bonus tracks (reissue)|
|Oct 1, 2001||Russia and CIS||BMG Russia||Standard edition (reissue)|
|Nov 23, 2003||Worldwide
(ex. North America)
|Feb 28, 2005||United Kingdom||A&E Records||Digital download||Standard edition|
|Oct 4, 2005||France||Warner Music France||Double-CD||Packaged as Garbage: 2CD, with Beautiful Garbage album|
|Sept 1, 2008||United Kingdom||Rhino Entertainment||Packaged as Garbage: 2 In 1, with Version 2.0 album|
|Oct 24, 2008||South Africa|
Chart procession and succession
New Adventures in Hi-Fi by R.E.M.
|New Zealand Albums Chart
October 20–26, 1996
Ænima by Tool
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