Tell Me Where It Hurts (Garbage song)

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"Tell Me Where It Hurts"
Single by Garbage
from the album Absolute Garbage


"All The Good in This Life"
Released July 16, 2007
Format 7" vinyl, CD single, DVD,
Digital download
Recorded March 2007 at
Kung Foo Sound & GrungeIsDead, Los Angeles
Length 4:10
Label A&E Records
Songwriter(s) Garbage
Producer(s) Garbage
Garbage singles chronology
"Run Baby Run"
"Tell Me Where It Hurts"
"Blood for Poppies"

"Run Baby Run"
"Tell Me Where It Hurts"
"Blood for Poppies"

"Tell Me Where It Hurts" is the 2007 lead single from alternative rock band Garbage's career-spanning greatest hits album Absolute Garbage, and was released as a physical single by A&E Records in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and as a digital single or airplay-only release in other worldwide territories.[1]

"Tell Me Where It Hurts" was written by Garbage members Duke Erikson, Shirley Manson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig in Los Angeles in March 2007 after an eighteen-month hiatus from working as a group, as they needed to write some new songs for inclusion on Absolute Garbage. The song was written around a string arrangement by the band[2] coupled with newly written lyrics and a title that vocalist Manson had come up with a few years prior.[3]


Garbage began work on "Tell Me Where It Hurts" in earnest during February and March 2007 at Vig's home studio in Los Angeles,[4] ending their self-imposed hiatus to record new tracks following the band's appearance at a benefit show in Glendale, California for musician Wally Ingram who had been suffering from throat cancer.[5] In an interview prior to that event, drummer Vig told Billboard "Despite the layoff, the group has been sharing song ideas via the Internet. We need to sit down in a room and play them and get them complete".[6]

The genesis of "Tell Me Where It Hurts" came from Garbage jamming in a Bacharach-style, which took shape in the recording studio once guitars were added.[7] Manson did not want the song to be a "simple, lovey-dovey love song, it had to have strange connotations".[8]

During the sessions to write new songs for Absolute Garbage, Garbage worked on four songs - "Tell Me Where It Hurts", "Betcha", "All The Good In This Life" and "Girls Talk Shit".[9] Of the four songs, only "Tell Me Where It Hurts" made the album, while of the other three songs, one ended up a b-side,[1] one an iTunes bonus[10] and one remaining unreleased, respectively. Garbage completed two versions of "Tell Me Where It Hurts": an orchestral version and a "Guitars Up" mix with a rockier arrangement.[2]

Bass on "Tell Me Where It Hurts" was performed by Daniel Shulman,[11] who had been Garbage's touring bassist from 1995 until 2002, as well as performing on tracks from both Version 2.0 and Beautiful Garbage.[12] This was his first appearance on a Garbage track since taking up an A&R position with Island Def Jam Music Group in 2003.[13]

Single release[edit]

On May 22, 2007, "Tell Me Where It Hurts" was confirmed by Garbage for UK release on July 9 preceding Absolute Garbage on CD single and on two 7" formats.[1] By June 11, that release date had been pushed back a week to July 16[14] and one of the 7" formats was cancelled and replaced with a DVD single. On May 31, Garbage's MySpace profile was updated to include "Tell Me Where It Hurts" and its b-side, a remix of "Bad Boyfriend" on streaming audio.[15]

Promotional singles featuring radio edits of both versions of the track were issued to radio stations across the UK, Ireland, Europe, Israel and Australia at the end of May. By June 16, "Tell Me Where It Hurts" had been playlisted on XFM Scotland's Upfront, Radio Forth[16] and C-Listed on UK BBC Radio 2[17] where it remained for five weeks prior to the single release date. In its first week at Australian radio, "Tell Me Where It Hurts" was #2 most added song.[18] On September 14, "Tell Me Where It Hurts" peaked at #1 on Turkey's Radyo ODTÜ chart where it stayed for two weeks.[19]

Despite debuting on the UK Physical Singles Chart on July 29 at #15, combined sales of physical formats and digital downloads meant that "Tell Me Where It Hurts" charted at #50 on the main UK Singles Chart.[20] The following week "Tell Me Where it Hurts" fell to #137.[21] On August 16, the full length orchestral version of the song, titled "Un Belle du Jour mix", was released digitally on iTunes UK store.[22]

In North America, "Tell Me Where it Hurts" was not officially sent to radio; however, Triple A station WXPK in White Plains and alternative rock stations KNRK in Portland and WEQX in Albany "added" the song to their station playlists from May 29.[23]

Track listings[edit]


"Bad Boyfriend" was originally written by Garbage, and produced by Garbage and John King in 2004 for the Bleed Like Me album.[24] Vig "goofed around" with the track in 2006 while updating his home studio, and while putting the Absolute Garbage package together thought it could be included. Rather than soliciting an outside producer to remix the song Vig finished it himself. When he presented it to the rest of Garbage, they agreed the remix should be included on the album.[4] The new version was subtitled "Sting Like a Bee remix", and was first released on the 7" of "Tell Me Where It Hurts" as well as on the two-disc edition of Absolute Garbage (as "Garbage remix").[1]

"Betcha" was written and produced by Garbage at the same time as "Tell Me Where It Hurts"[9] and was exclusively released on the CD single format.[1] Press releases for "Tell Me Where It Hurts" gave the impression that "Betcha" was a cover version of the Pussycat Dolls' 2005 worldwide hit single "Don't Cha",[25] however the song at most alluded to it in the lyrics: Thomas Callaway, Anthony Ray and Trever Smith, the writers of "Don't Cha" are not given any songwriting credit for "Betcha".[26]

While "All The Good in This Life" was initially listed for release on the B-side to a cancelled second 7" format,[1] it was eventually released bundled with Absolute Garbage as an exclusive online bonus track on iTunes Australian and UK stores.[10] In 2008, "All The Good in This Life" was physically released on the charity compilation Songs for Tibet: The Art of Peace,[27] and was included on a "Tell Me Where It Hurts" digital EP available through 7digital and iTunes Plus.[22]

Music video[edit]

The promotional video for "Tell Me Where It Hurts" was directed by Sophie Muller[28] for Oil Factory and filmed in late April in Los Angeles.[29] Muller suggested an homage to Luis Buñuel's 1967 movie Belle de jour in her treatment for the video, along with an ultra-modern French-inspired set, which Garbage felt was perfect for what they wanted visually accompany the song.[2]

Shirley Manson alludes to Belle de Jour's Séverine in the "Tell Me Where It Hurts" video.

Opening with a tracking shot of Manson arriving at a high-class brothel, dressed like Catherine Deneuve in Belle de jour, where inside she meets the brothel owner, several other girls and three male patrons played by Erikson, Marker and Vig. Picking up a young man in a cafe, Manson partakes in various light sexual acts with him, shown on screen through subtle visual innuendo, suggestive camera shots, and aggressive editing. After night-vision scenes showing Manson with facial bruising, she returns to the brothel parlour in defiance of the others, attending to the young man who is now blind and uses a wheelchair. The cafe scene featured a cameo from members of Wisconsin band Wandering Sons.[29]

A short "Making of" documenting the filming of the video for "Tell Me Where It Hurts" was included on the DVD single. Directed by Todd Stefani (brother of Manson's friend Gwen Stefani), it features short interviews with Manson, Vig and 1st A.D. Andy Coffing.[2]

On May 19, 2007, Garbage fan sites reported that the video for the song was being aired on UK digital television provider Virgin Media's Video on Demand service.[30] On May 29, the video officially debuted on Channel 4's Video Exclusive slot.[31] While the video featured on WEA International's worldwide DVD pressings of Absolute Garbage, it was not included on Geffen/UMe's North American DVD release.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

"Tell Me Where It Hurts" received a positive to mixed reception from music critics. Positive responses came from Music Week who described the song as "epic",[32] as did BBC Music's Jaime Gill[33] while Slant described it as "lush and lilting.. an undeniable sign that, despite their extended hiatuses and internal turmoil, Garbage is very much alive with ideas and ambition". Digital Spy's Alex Fletcher wrote "the track soars with Arcade Fire-style violins before a creepy electronic breakdown interjects towards the end. [Garbage] take a traditional message of unrequited love and mix it with their inimitable bittersweet lyrics".[34]

The Sunday Mails Avril Cadden describes Manson's vocal as "cute and sexy"[35] while its sister publication Daily Record "sounding more like Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders than the stupid girl we're used to" and also noting that the song had "all the hallmarks of Shirley Manson, the solo artist."[36]Rock Sound compared the track to Scottish band Texas.[37] Classic rocks Johnny Dee praised the band's work at breaking their formula by "adding strings to the dynamic... ["Tell Me Where It Hurts"] sits well alongside their peerless early material".[38]

Negative criticism was received from The Guardians Jude Rogers, who described "Tell Me Where It Hurts" as "anodyne",[39] while The Scotsman felt that the song "is not out of place [on Absolute Garbage], but neither does it better anything already said".[40] Pitchfork Media's Adam Moerder felt that the song "provides little hope for a Garbage rebound",[41] while PopMatters' Evan Sawdey nonchalantly wrote "majestic and sweeping, [the song] manages to accomplish the rare compilation feat of not being completely worthless".[42]

In advance of 2008's 50th Grammy Awards, Geffen Records submitted "Tell Me Where It Hurts" for consideration in four categories: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.[43] However it failed to pick up a single nomination.[44]

Release history[edit]

Release Date Territory Record Label Format
June 2007 Australia Warner Music Australia Airplay
United Kingdom A&E Records
July 9, 2007 Digital single ("Guitars Up mix")
July 13, 2007 Ireland 7" vinyl, CD single, DVD single
July 16, 2007 United Kingdom
August 16, 2007 Digital single ("Un Belle de Jour remix")

Comprehensive charts[edit]

Chart (2007) Peak
Belgium (Wallonia) Ultratip 50 (GfK)[45] 24
Italy (FIMI)[46] 96
Macedonia Top 30 (IFPI)[47] 1
Romania Top 100 (Music & Media)[48] 80
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[49] 16
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company)[20] 50
United Kingdom Physical Singles (The Official Charts Company)[20] 15

Credits and personnel[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "New Best Of Album". Archived from the original on 2009-06-20. Retrieved 2007-05-22.
  2. ^ a b c d The Making of "Tell Me Where It Hurts" (DVD track)
  3. ^ Interview with Duke Erikson, Lime magazine, September 2007 issue
  4. ^ a b "Another Butch interview". (archived on Garbage Proboards). Archived from the original on 2012-06-24. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  5. ^ "Garbage End Sabbatical for Benefit Show". Music. Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  6. ^ "Garbage, Raitt Lead Benefit For Veteran Drummer". Retrieved 2007-05-12.
  7. ^ "The End of Chapter One". Drum Media (reproduced on Garbage. Archived from the original on 2012-11-23. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  8. ^ Shirley Manson, as quoted on The Making of "Tell Me Where It Hurts"
  9. ^ a b Classic Rock magazine, August 2007
  10. ^ a b Email from Warner UK, dated July 20, 2007, regarding the release of Absolute Garbage: "You can also download the album from iTunes for the iTunes exclusive album featuring an exclusive new track, entitled 'All The Good In This Life'"
  11. ^ "Tell Me Where It Hurts" sleeve credits
  12. ^ "Daniel Shulman: Credits". Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  13. ^ "01.26.04 Studio Diary #13". Archived from the original on 2012-06-24. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  14. ^ "Absolute Garbage". Archived from the original on 2007-10-14. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
  15. ^ "MySpace Music: Garbage". Retrieved 2007-06-05.
  16. ^ "Tell Me... is C-Listed on Radio 2 [UK]". Garbage. Archived from the original on 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
  17. ^ "Travis join R2 A-list". Music Week. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
  18. ^ "Absolute Garbage". Warner Music Australia. Archived from the original on 2007-09-01. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
  19. ^ "Radyo Odtu top 40 chart Sept 14, 2007 issue". Archived from the original on 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  20. ^ a b c "Timbaland ends Rihanna's chart reign". Music Week. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
  21. ^ "Stupid Girl re-entered the UK Top 200 Singles". Garbage. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
  22. ^ a b "iTunes UK Store listing
  23. ^ "Garbage; "Tell Me Where it Hurts" ; Station Add History". Mediabase. Archived from the original on 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  24. ^ "Bleed Like Me press release". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  25. ^ June 2007 Warners press release for the "Tell Me Where It Hurts" single, as used by a number of online retail stores: "["Tell Me Where It Hurts"] will be available on 7", CD (both with brand new tracks – the CD with a spin-off of the Pussycat Dolls 'Betcha') and DVD."
  26. ^ "A.S.C.A.P. ACE Results (Betcha)". Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  27. ^ "The Art of Peace Foundation Songs For Tibet (Jukebox)". The Art of Peace Foundation. Archived from the original on 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  28. ^ Absolute Garbage DVD credits
  29. ^ a b "Wandering Sons make connections with director, Madison's Garbage". (reproduced on Garbage. as original article has been removed. Archived from the original on 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
  30. ^ "Tell Me Where It Hurts airs on UK TV". Retrieved 2007-05-20.
  31. ^ "Tell Me Where It Hurts". Archived from the original on 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
  32. ^ Music Week magazine, July 15 chart issue
  33. ^ "Garbage - Absolute Garbage". Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  34. ^ "Garbage: Tell Me Where It Hurts". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  35. ^ Sunday Mail, July 8 issue
  36. ^ Daily Record, July 13 issue
  37. ^ Rock Sound magazine, August 2007 issue
  38. ^ Classic Rock magazine, August 2007 issue
  39. ^ "Absolute Garbage track by track review (July 13, 2007)". London: The Guardian. 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  40. ^ "Absolute Garbage release of the week (July 23, 2007)". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  41. ^ Moerder, Adam (2007-07-23). "Absolute Garbage review". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2007-11-04.
  42. ^ "Absolute Garbage track by track review (July 13, 2007)". PopMatters. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  43. ^ "TMWIH & THE GRAMMYS". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (reproduced on Garbage. Archived from the original on 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  44. ^ "50th Annual Grammy Awards Nominations List". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  45. ^ "Wallonia Utratip 50, dated August 18th, 2007". Retrieved 2011-01-19.
  46. ^ "Tutti i successi del 2007". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
  47. ^ "Macedonia Top 30, July 9, 2007 issue". Retrieved 2008-02-06.
  48. ^ "Romania Top 100, August 6, 2007 issue". Retrieved 2008-02-06.
  49. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Chart Top 100; 22 July 2007 - 28 July 2007". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  50. ^ "A.S.C.A.P. ACE Results (Tell Me Where It Hurts)". Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  51. ^ "BMI Repertoire: Tell Me Where It Hurts (Legal title)". Retrieved 2008-01-28.

External links[edit]