Bleed Like Me (song)

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"Bleed Like Me"
Garbage - Bleed Like Me (song).jpg
Single by Garbage
from the album Bleed Like Me
Released May 9, 2005
Format Airplay and club-play
Recorded 2003–2004
Smart Studios,
Madison, Wisconsin
Length 3:59 (album version)
3:32 (radio edit)
Label Geffen
Songwriter(s) Garbage
Producer(s) Garbage
Garbage singles chronology
"Why Do You Love Me"
"Bleed Like Me"
"Sex Is Not the Enemy"

"Bleed Like Me" is a song by American alternative rock band Garbage. It was released as an airplay-only single from their fourth album, Bleed Like Me, in May 2005. Following on from the Billboard Hot 100 success of lead single "Why Do You Love Me", "Bleed Like Me" was released by Geffen Records imprint Almo Sounds as the second North American single from the album.

As an airplay-only track, "Bleed Like Me" reached the Modern Rock Tracks top thirty;[1] four months later, remixes by DJ Eric Kupper received enough nightclub spins to peak in the top ten of the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.[2]

In 2007, "Bleed Like Me" was remastered and included on Garbage's greatest hits album Absolute Garbage.[3]


"Bleed Like Me" was written in 2004 at Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin.[4] It was one of the first songs the band wrote after reforming from a temporary three-month split in October 2003, with singer Shirley Manson overcoming writer's block to write the lyrics to the track.[4] The song begun with Butch Vig creating both the acoustic riff that opens the track and title. Some time after he showed it to his bandmates, Manson wrote lyrics,[5] inspired by a viewing of the movie Thirteen, which she considered "so much like how my 13-year-old life was – apart from the unstable home life, which I didn't have."[6] Butch Vig: "Musically it's very simple, it's basically this little hypnotic riff on the acoustic guitar and it builds a little bit, but the song never gets too big musically. It stays pretty simple. Really it's all about her vocals. She said 'I want to sound like a girls choir' and we're like 'Cool, let's just do it now'. She went in singing 'You should see my scars' and it just floored me. Still when I hear that the hairs on the back of my neck go up. It's really an amazing moment on the record."[4]

Manson said that the main theme of the song was "about how everybody's got a story to tell, and they've all got their own burden to carry around. Whether it's really a dramatic issue or whether it's really private it shapes you as a person. I think we're all guilty of believing that our problems are more important than somebody else's."[6] Name-checking a number of her childhood friends; as well as J.T. LeRoy in the lyrics, Shirley recalled, "It's about a search for empathy. We can forget so easily that people are the same regardless of their sexuality, religion, colour, or moral values.[7] Manson followed this up, "Regardless of the differences between people – their colour, creed, sexuality or how they behave and express themselves – essentially we are exactly the same. It's about how when you are dealing with other people you have to remember that they are all carrying with them their own baggage." [8] Manson

On May 25, Garbage confirmed a list of fourteen songs being worked on for the record, including "Sex Is Not the Enemy",[9] and on December 14 confirmed that the song would be included on the finished album Bleed Like Me.[9]

On March 28, 2005, Garbage performed the track on Canal+ Album de la semaine before debuting the song live on stage at the Paris Olympia the following day. On March 28, Garbage performed the single "Why Do You Love Me" on Top of the Pops, Napster Live and CD:UK, they also performed "Bleed Like Me".[10]

Single release[edit]

On April 10 Garbage drummer Butch Vig confirmed to fans in Los Angeles that "Bleed Like Me" would be the second U.S. single taken from Bleed Like Me;[11] and on May 9, "Bleed Like Me" was released to Modern Rock and Triple-A radio stations [12] and debuted on the Modern Rock Tracks at #39 the following week.

On May 8, the promo video for "Bleed Like Me" was added by Fuse,[13] and the following week by MTVU and VH1.[14] On May 12, Garbage perform "Bleed Like Me" on the Late Show with David Letterman.[15] and complete their North American club tour on May 14 in Baltimore.

Garbage returned to North America to tour the "Bleed Like Me" single. On July 28 the band perform "Bleed Like Me" on The Tonight Show.[16] Remixes of "Bleed Like Me" by Eric Kupper debuts on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and on September 18 reaches the top 10, peaking at number 6.[1]

"Bleed Like Me" ended up being the final single release from Bleed Like Me in North America when Garbage disbanded on a self-imposed hiatus following the completion of their Australian tour,[17] despite rumours of a North American release for both "Sex Is Not the Enemy"[18] and "It's All Over But the Crying".[19] On May 22, 2007 it was officially confirmed that "Bleed Like Me" was to be included on the band's greatest hits album Absolute Garbage.[17]

Music video[edit]

Garbage in character in the "Bleed Like Me" video.
"Shirley sees the video being about love and the nurse as a caring specialist."

Sophie Muller[20]

The music video for "Bleed Like Me" was filmed on April 11 in the disused Linda Vista Hospital in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles[20] and directed by Sophie Muller. During the filming, CNN interviewed the band and broadcast behind-the-scenes footage of the video.[21]

The video begins with Manson, as a nurse, reading medical records onto a dictation machine. She is then accompanied by Erikson, Marker, and Vig, as doctors, as they view patients on their rounds. Manson is then seen preparing a ward for use – opening curtains, preparing beds and medicine. Manson breaks into a file storage, where she reads her own medical file (placed in front of director Sophie Muller's file), and later speaks to her therapist, but she is startled by a raven. In the hospital's educational room, Manson stands at a lectern, which she pushes away to perform under disco lights. The video ends with Erikson, Marker and Vig watching Manson through a two-way mirror: she is their patient. Manson finishes her dictation and ejects the cassette from the machine.

Using Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as a starting point, Manson's character was created from a mix of 1950s European nurse in costume, and evoking Helmut Newton's "strong yet vulnerable" photography subjects in her make-up.[20] Manson herself wanted the video "to have a Hitchcockian feel" referencing his films Marnie, The Birds, and Psycho, choosing graphic colours to enable to the video to "be as powerful as the song. I thought it was a brilliant concept".[20]

In 2006, the video was a "Director of the Year" nominee at the 15th Annual MVPA Awards.[22] The video for "Bleed Like Me" was included on Garbage's 2007 greatest hits DVD Absolute Garbage.[3]

Alternate versions[edit]

Track title Length Remixer/producer Notes
"Bleed Like Me (Clean album version)" 3:59 Garbage Released to Modern Rock and Triple A radio.
"Bleed Like Me (Radio edit)" 3:32
"Bleed Like Me (Kupper's Klub Extravaganza)" 8:54 Eric Kupper Released to DJs on 12" vinyl and CD
"Bleed Like Me (Kupper's Klub Extravaganza Radio Edit)" 4:04
"Bleed Like Me (Kupper's Klub Extravagenza Dubstrumental)" 8:03
"Bleed Like Me (Hydrate Vocal mix)" 10:10 Ralphi Rosario Rejected remix
"Bleed Like Me (Ralphi's Leather Daddy dub)" 11:38

Ralphi Rosario's completed remix for "Bleed Like Me" was rejected for commercial release by Geffen;[23] by August 28, 2005, the remix had leaked onto the internet.

Critical reception[edit]

"Bleed Like Me" received a largely positive reception from critics, contrasted to the mixed reactions of the Bleed Like Me album. Johnny Sharp of Kerrang! felt that "Bleed Like Me" "almost seems to be mocking [Manson's] own tendency towards self-obsession";[24] while their Emma Johnston, in a review for the album wrote that "Bleed Like Me" was the "most striking" song of the set, adding that it was "the most poignant, empathic reflection of self-abuse since Manic Street Preachers' "4st 7lb" – over a gorgeous cello strewn background, [Shirley shows her] battle scars, worn with pride, there to show that she survived".[25] Bev Lyons of Daily Record (Scotland) wrote that the song was "simplicity itself, dark and introspective" and was the stand-out track from the album, favourably comparing the track to Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side",[26] as did Guitar magazine's Jenny Knight.[27] Isabel Mohan of Heat complimented Shirley's "seductive" voice as "better than ever"[28] (however two years later the same publications Laila Hassan described "Bleed Like Me" as "a little tiresome and dreary" in a review of Absolute Garbage[29]).

Comprehensive charts[edit]

Chart (2005) Peak
U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks (Billboard)[1] 27
U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play[A] (Billboard)[2] 6

^ A Credited as "Bleed Like Me (E. Kupper remixes)"


See also[edit]

  • JT LeRoy – the literary hoax created by Laura Albert that fooled Manson into writing lyrics about the character


  1. ^ a b c "Garbage Chart History: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  2. ^ a b Hot Dance/Club Play. Billboard, issue dated October 1st, 2005, reproduced on Google Books. 2005-10-01. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  3. ^ a b "New Best Of Album". Archived from the original on 2010-05-01. Retrieved 2011-05-18. 
  4. ^ a b c "Triple-J Butch Vig interview". Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  5. ^ "Interview: Butch Vig of Garbage". 2005-04-13. Retrieved 2014-04-06. 
  6. ^ a b "PRETTY HATE MACHINE". 2005-03-26. Archived from the original on 2006-10-19. Retrieved 2014-04-06. 
  7. ^ Speed Dial: Garbage, published by Rip & Burn magazine, April 2005 issue
  8. ^ ""Bleed Like Me: track by track", NME April 9, 2005 issue" (Retrieved – 2007-07-03)
  9. ^ a b "News Archive 2003–2004". Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  10. ^ "Queen Helen 2005 issue" (Retrieved – 2007-07-03)
  11. ^ "3 Different Singles Planned". Archived from the original on 2006-02-20. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  12. ^ ""The Second Single" Chart Thread: BLM, SINTE, RBR". Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  13. ^ "Music Video News: May 8, 2005 – May 14, 2005". Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  14. ^ "Music Video News: May 15, 2005 – May 21, 2005". Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  15. ^ "GARBAGE to appear on Late Show with David Letterman on May 12!". Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  16. ^ "Garbage to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno!". Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  17. ^ a b "New Best Of Album". Archived from the original on 2010-05-01. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  18. ^ "Garbage news". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  19. ^ "Shirley Manson On Garbage Hiatus: 'I'm Burnt, I'm Done, I'm Toast'". Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  20. ^ a b c d "InStyle magazine, What's Hot Now: Garbage, June 2005 issue
  21. ^ "Garbage "Bleed Like Me" making of/interview". YouTube. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  22. ^ "15th Annual MVPA Awards" Archived 2011-05-15 at the Wayback Machine.. 26 December 2007.
  23. ^ "A MESSAGE FROM RALPHI – September 2005". Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  24. ^ Pretty Hate Machine, published by Kerrang!, #1049, March 26th, 2005
  25. ^ Garbage, Bleed Like Me, review (titled Drain the Blood), published by Kerrang! magazine, dated April 9th, 2005
  26. ^ Album of the Week: Bleed Like Me, published by Daily Record, on April 11th, 2005
  27. ^ Let It Bleed, published by Guitar magazine, April 2005
  28. ^ Garbage, Bleed Like Me, review, Heat magazine, published April 13th, 2005
  29. ^ Pure Indie Gold, Heat magazine, published July 25th 2007

External links[edit]