Version 2.0

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Version 2.0
Studio album by Garbage
Released May 11, 1998
Recorded March 1997 – February 1998
Studio Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin
Genre Alternative rock, electronica
Length 49:34
Label Mushroom, Almo Sounds
Producer Garbage
Garbage chronology
Version 2.0
Beautiful Garbage
Singles from Version 2.0
  1. "Push It"
    Released: April 27, 1998
  2. "I Think I'm Paranoid"
    Released: July 6, 1998
  3. "Special"
    Released: October 5, 1998
  4. "When I Grow Up"
    Released: January 25, 1999
  5. "The Trick Is to Keep Breathing"
    Released: February 15, 1999
  6. "You Look So Fine"
    Released: May 24, 1999

Version 2.0 is the second studio album by Scottish-American alternative rock band Garbage. The album was recorded primarily at Smart Studios from March 1997 to February 1998 and was released worldwide in May 1998 by Mushroom Records UK and in North America by Almo Sounds. Despite a slow start, Version 2.0 went on to equal its predecessor, becoming platinum-certified in many territories.[1] By 2008, it had sold 1.7 million copies in the United States. Garbage embarked on an 18 month-long world tour, and released a string of hit singles backed with innovative music videos.[2]

With the album, Garbage aimed to improve and expand on the style of their 1995 self-titled debut rather than reinvent their sound. Lead singer Shirley Manson wrote dark, introspective lyrics, which she felt complemented the songs' melodies. Version 2.0 received generally positive reviews from music critics, and was included by several publications in their year-end lists of 1998's best albums. In 1999, Version 2.0 was nominated for Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album. The album's third single "Special" was further nominated the following year for Best Rock Song and for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.

Composition and style[edit]

Building on framework sound and style Garbage established on their debut set, Version 2.0 featured musical references to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, songs featuring live strings, over 100 recorded tracks and an interpolation of the Beach Boys and The Pretenders.[3] The band said that the goal of Version 2.0 was to create a "rapprochement between the high-tech and low-down, the now sound and of golden memories."[4] Butch Vig stated that the band did not want to reinvent their sound, as they "felt that we had carved our own turf on the first record and we wanted to take everything we did and make it better".[5] This meant to "have the guitars noisier and write poppier melodies", showing how the band had grown together: "With Garbage, we were struggling to find an identity and to get comfortable with Shirley - and vice versa. After touring so much, there's a better camaraderie and sense of communication."[6]

Shirley Manson declared that "we didn't want to totally embrace the world of electronica", so Version 2.0 juxtaposed "the super-hi-fi with the super-organic".[4] The band wanted there to be echoes of music they like in the record, "and that means not just Björk and Portishead and Radiohead but the Beatles and Beach Boys and Frank Sinatra", Manson said, concluding that the album is overall "more diverse - more extreme."[4] The increased usage of techno beats emerged from frequent exposure to electronic music during the Garbage tour, both in clubs and listening to The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers. [6] Steve Marker stated that the band used as a reference point the Garbage song "As Heaven Is Wide", “but with a more technoey [sic] and dance end.”[7] The band also aimed to channel some of the energy of their live shows into the rhythm parts of the album. Vig remarked that "the songs sound looser, tougher" that way,[4] as by the last concerts, "we'd speeded things up and toughened up a lot of the grooves" and in the album "we wanted that to be apparent from the get-go.""[6]

While Garbage had lyrical input from all bandmembers, Manson was responsible for all the lyrics in Version 2.0..[6] Consequently, it was described by Manson as "more direct and more personal than the first. I was able to verbalize things a little clearer this time- I mean, I'm no Nick Cave, I'm never gonna be Bob Dylan. I do what I can to express myself."[8] The singer "tried to let the darker undercurrents come through to offset some of the pop melodies", adding that "like human beings, songs shouldn't be one-dimensional".[4] The singer declared that the introspective nature of Version 2.0 served to "reassure myself while I'm going crazy" due to her experiences during production, as she was "living by myself in a hotel, and I had no one to really talk to" and every day coming back by herself really late after working on the studio.[9] Manson added that only "The Trick Is to Keep Breathing" had something that was out of her life, being inspired by her friend Ruthie Trouble.[8] "Medication" came about from a frightful, isolating experience with the US medical system.[10] The song, Manson explained, is "a reflection on past ills in a way ... about taking blame on yourself for things that you had no control of at the time, and finally pushing off and realizing that this was not my fault. It wasn't all my fault. There's a huge relief and release that comes from that".[11]


I don’t think we have ever felt we know where we are going. Songs are an on-going process. It’s hard to find a point when it’s done. The only thing that makes us stop is time and people start yelling to finish.

—Steve Marker[12]

Garbage began writing their second album, which would go under the working title of Sad Alcoholic Clowns,[8] in March 1997 in the band's label-head Jerry Moss's Friday Harbor, Washington, vacation house. The group demoed and made rough outlines for new songs. When they felt they had made a good start, Garbage took the work they made in Washington back to their Madison, Wisconsin base at Smart Studios and begin fleshing out the ideas and rough sketches over the following year. The group recorded all of their work for the second album through a 48-track digital system digitally, direct to hard drives utilizing a 24bit Pro Tools rig.[6] While only one recorder was up in the early sessions, eventually another was installed to edit, and ultimately a third so Manson could record vocals while the other members fiddled with recordings. Vig estimated that the sample collage approach led to "probably have five albums' worth of music",[9] and songs featuring up to 120 audio tracks. After the digital file was ready, mixing was done in an analog tape deck, which held only 14 tracks.[13]

Much of the percussion was recorded in a disused candy factory located in Madison; Vig, Steve Marker and sound engineer Billy Bush set up a drum kit within the factory and recorded various fills, utilising the acoustics of the dilapidated building. Forced to stop after local police officers responded to complaints about the noise, some of the percussion was later incorporated into "Temptation Waits", "I Think I'm Paranoid" and "Hammering in My Head".[14]

Garbage completed recording by December 1997, as Manson wanted to return to her family in Scotland for Christmas, and asked her bandmates to just move onto the mixing.[9] Vig added that otherwise more time would spent recording, and "it was kind of scary - because we had to commit to what these songs were going to become."[6] Production was done until mid-February 1998.[7] The eventual title, Version 2.0, was a tongue-in-cheek take on how computers were heavily involved in the album's production, with Manson adding that "in the studio, at any given moment, someone would come in and find the four of us in front of the screen.”[13]

Release and promotion[edit]

I think the general consensus was that people feel our second record didn't do as well as the first one, but our second record did better. But I think in terms of our profile, I think our profile was probably quieter than on our first record.

Shirley Manson[15]

The entire visual campaign for Version 2.0 was tailored to play off the album cover artwork, the icons designed to represent each single release, provided point-of-sale and the band's videogenic sensibility.[4] Garbage spent three weeks in Europe providing interviews with music journalists from a multitude of territories, while Manson continued on her own to Australia and Asia.[4]

Version 2.0 was released in Japan on May 4, a week ahead of the international street date, to counteract parallel imports. The album was released in two editions, a standard album with a bonus remix of "Push It" by Boom Boom Satellites and a limited edition run of 20,000 copies featuring two international b-sides, "Lick the Pavement" and a cover version of Big Star's "Thirteen".[4] Version 2.0 debuted at No. 4 in the Japanese international album chart.[16]

On May 11, Version 2.0 was released worldwide, with the North American street date a day later.[4] Mushroom Records released the album in the United Kingdom on CD, LP and cassette. Version 2.0 debuted at No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart,[17] selling 31,476 copies.[18] In North America, Version 2.0 was released on CD and cassette by Almo Sounds in partnership with Interscope who shipped 500,000 copies to stores in the first week.[16] The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 13[19] selling 88,000 units.[20] In Canada, where the album is licensed by Almo to Universal Music, the album debuted at No. 2.[21]

Version 2.0 received its first gold discs on May 22, 1998 in the UK,[22] Belgium, France and New Zealand,[16] and by early October, it was certified platinum in New Zealand, Canada, Singapore and the UK[22] and certified gold in the United States, Australia, and seven European countries.[16] On the week of March 8, Version 2.0 was officially awarded the European Platinum Award by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry for 1 million sales across Europe.[16]

On June 3, 1999, Version 2.0 was certified platinum in Spain,[16] and claimed the fifth-longest chart run on the Spanish Albums Chart on June 20, while an airplay-only single, "Temptation Waits" was released to Spanish radio.[23] Version 2.0's sales continued into 2000; it was certified platinum in the UK for the second time on February 11, 2000[22] before re-charting in the UK for the final time on July 15, 2000.[24]

World Tour[edit]

Preempting the start of their world tour, Garbage played three shows in the Midwest under the alias 'Stupid Girl'.[25] The Version 2.0 tour officially kicked off with club dates starting at San Francisco's Warfield Theater on May 20, and took the band to a number of key media cities in the United States and Canada.[26] Garbage then travelled to Europe to play a number of rock festivals beginning June 1 at Netherlands' Pinkpop and finishing up at Scotland's T in the Park on July 12. In between the festivals, Garbage performed some headlining shows in France and the United Kingdom, with support coming from The Crystal Method. In August, the band travelled to Japan to perform on the bill at the Fuji Rock Festival, and then back to Scotland to perform at two "warm up" shows at Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom and then headlining the last night of the Reading Festival.[25]

Garbage returned to North America on September 17, to start a three-month tour. Support came from Girls Against Boys. The itinerary took the band from Denver, Colorado up the West Coast as north as Vancouver, BC before routing towards the Southern States. Following these dates, the tour moved up the Eastern Seaboard and into Quebec and Ontario, before finishing up in the Midwest on November 28 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During December, Garbage performed at radio shows on both coasts, including KROQ-FM's Almost Acoustic Christmas, and made a visit to Mexico City before wrapping up on December 20 in Detroit, Michigan.[25]

Continuing their touring commitment into 1999, Garbage launched a European arena tour on January 14 at Dublin's Point Theatre. Local acts such as Laurent Garnier and Rasmus support continental dates; Moloko support Irish and UK shows. Concerts in Paris and St. Petersburg are filmed to be broadcast by MTV Europe and MTV Russia respectively. A show in Tallinn is cancelled on the day when the band's equipment is held up by customs officials at the Estonian border.[27] The European run ends in Madrid on February 11.[27] Garbage then returned to North America to support Alanis Morissette on two legs of The Junkie tour, starting on February 16 in Cincinnati, Ohio routing along the Midwest, Four Corners states and onto the West Coast, ending on April 8 in Los Angeles[28]

Garbage revisited Europe to play a second summer of rock festivals, beginning with Vienna's Libro on May 19. The shows included visits to Israel and Iceland, although four concerts in the Baltic States and Russia are cancelled on the advice of the American Embassy due to the US's involvement in Kosovo. Garbage headlined a special show to mark the opening of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on July 1.[29] The European dates conclude in Duisburg on July 25. Garbage then travelled to South Africa to play four shows with Placebo.[25]

The final legs of the Version 2.0 tour see Garbage moving on to New Zealand and Australia to co-headline with Alanis Morissette, beginning in Auckland for sixteen days from October 1, and ending in Newcastle. During this time the band also performed at the Livid Festival. Garbage returned to North America to wind down the tour by headlining a series of shows organised by MTV on university campuses.[30] Titled the Campus Invasion Tour, and supported by Lit, the shows began on October 20 in Denver and is routed through the Midwest, North East and Southern States, Arizona and California.[31] The final date of the Version 2.0 tour is held in Irvine, California on November 24.[32]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
The Age 4/4 stars[33]
AllMusic 3/5 stars[34]
The Baltimore Sun 3/4 stars[35]
Entertainment Weekly B+[36]
NME 6/10[37]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[38]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[39]
Spin 8/10[40]
The Times 6/10[41]
The Village Voice A−[42]

Version 2.0 received generally positive reviews from music critics.[43][44] In a review for Time magazine, Christopher John Farley found its music exceptional because of songs that are gloomy and sexual yet lively and introspective,[45] while J. D. Considine of The Baltimore Sun said the album is a more melodic version of the approach exhibited on Garbage, and commended the songwriting and Manson's multifaceted singing.[35] Chicago Tribune critic Greg Kot believed its mix of pop and electronica has an "ersatz charm", while the noisy production retains Garbage's tuneful hooks.[46] Barry Walters of Spin felt the songs are better developed than on the band's debut, while showcasing their passionate, avant-garde sounds and Manson's personalized yet relatable lyrics.[40] According to Jim Farber of Entertainment Weekly, Manson's vocal presence elevates the unexpected sounds and makes the songs "more than just clever exercises in avant-pop".[36] Rob Sheffield, writing in Rolling Stone, said the songwriting has improved, but Manson remains the highlight, her seductive, emotive singing evoking new wave greats and appropriating the band's complex sounds into a well-crafted, original rock album.[38] Donna Freydkin of CNN Interactive commended the album for enhancing, not departing from, the style of the debut, and praised the amalgam of sounds and Manson's "clever, biting lyrics".[5] In a column for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau concluded that the metallic, discordant music suits Manson's aggressive sexuality and allows listeners to experience sadomasochism vicariously through "12 impregnable theoretical hits".[42] Jane Rocca of The Age praised it as a "personality loaded" sonic spectacle and concluded that it "salutes the new millennium with futuristic nuance".[33] Billboard writer Paul Verna said the group has expanded the possibilities on an impressive upgrade to their debut.[47] John Pecorelli of CMJ New Music Monthly felt that the album noticeably deviates from the style of Garbage as it is more melodious, more saturated, and features enhanced percussion, while its lyrical themes make it arguably more subversive.[9]

Other reviewers lamented Manson's singing and the production effects. Brett Milano conceded in Stereo Review that Garbage can produce hooky songs, but felt Manson showed limited "emotional range" as she sang in no other way but "sexy".[48] Newsweek‍ '​s David Gates was critical of the samples and what he believed to be "space-age wheeps" and "calculated showbiz shtik" in the music.[49] Danny Eccleston of The Times facetiously remarked "it's bin done" in reference to the similar approach used on Garbage.[41] NME‍ '​s Stephen Dalton called the album a lifeless, "beautiful engineered piece of modern design" and believed Manson's lyrics to be its weakness, criticizing a directness and shortage of wit.[50] AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine later called Version 2.0 an effective sequel that retains the first album's "strong pop sensibility, a production that falls halfway between alternative rock and techno - presented in a slightly newer form ... but it lacks the thrilling immediacy of the debut."[34] Melissa Bobbitt of The About Group was more enthusiastic in a retrospective on important 1990s rock records by female artists. She argued that Manson's intimidating and alluring style, the singular electronic rock sound, and the feminist stance on Version 2.0 were innovative at the time, but these elements also embodied "the futuristic path music and technology were racing toward" and can be heard throughout modern popular music.[51]


Version 2.0 was voted the 19th best album of 1998 in the Pazz & Jop, an annual critics poll run by The Village Voice.[52] It was named the Daily Mail's Album of the Year, and was included in year-end best-album lists by The Guardian, Q, Kerrang!, Melody Maker, NME, Select, Spin, Gear, Mojo and Music Week.[16][53] It was the 7th and 18th highest rated album by Spin and Rolling Stone, respectively.[54][55] Version 2.0 was Canada's largest modern rock station, The Edge 102's No. 1 Album,[16] while three tracks make Australia's Triple J Hottest 100: "I Think I'm Paranoid" (at No. 57), "Push It" (No. 87) and "Special" (No. 89).[56]

On July 14, the video for "Push It" was nominated for eight MTV Video Music Awards (for 'Best Group Video', 'Best Alternative Video', 'Best Breakthrough Video', 'Best Art Direction', 'Best Editing', 'Best Cinematography', 'Best Direction' and 'Best Special Effects'[57]) coming second to Madonna's "Ray of Light" video which received nine.[58] On October 1, Garbage were nominated for three MTV Europe Music Awards: "Best Group," "Best Rock Act" and "Best Video" for "Push It".[59]

On January 5, 1999, Version 2.0 was nominated for Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album.[60] "Push It" was nominated for Best Alternative Record at Winter Music Conference.[16] Garbage performed "You Look So Fine" for Gala Ragazza in Madrid on June 3.[16]

On September 9, 1999, the video for "Special" won 'Best Special Effects' at the MTV Video Music Awards.[61] "Special" received Grammy nominations for Best Rock Song and for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.[62]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Garbage, except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Temptation Waits"   4:36
2. "I Think I'm Paranoid"   3:38
3. "When I Grow Up"   3:23
4. "Medication"   4:06
5. "Special"   3:43
6. "Hammering in My Head"   4:52
7. "Push It"   4:02
8. "The Trick Is to Keep Breathing"   4:11
9. "Dumb"   3:50
10. "Sleep Together"   4:03
11. "Wicked Ways"   3:43
12. "You Look So Fine"   5:25



Preceded by
International Velvet by Catatonia
UK Albums Chart number-one album
May 16, 1998 – May 23, 1998
Succeeded by
Blue by Simply Red
Preceded by
Push the Button by Money Mark
How to Operate with a Blown Mind by Lo-Fidelity Allstars
Tin Planet by Space
Jane McDonald by Jane McDonald
UK Independent Albums Chart number-one album
May 16, 1998 – May 30, 1998 (first run)
June 7, 1998 - June 20, 1998 (second run)
July 12, 1998 - July 23, 1998 (third run)
August 2, 1998 - August 29, 1998 (fourth run)
Succeeded by
How to Operate with a Blown Mind by Lo-Fidelity Allstars
Big Calm by Morcheeba
Jane McDonald by Jane McDonald
Psyence Fiction by U.N.K.L.E.
Preceded by
Live '98 by Pascal Obispo
France Albums Chart number-one album
May 16, 1998 – May 23, 1998
Succeeded by
Louise Attaque by Louise Attaque
Preceded by
Mezzanine by Massive Attack
European Top 100 Albums number-one album
May 30, 1998 – June 5, 1998
Succeeded by
Blue by Simply Red
Preceded by
Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture
by James Horner
Belgian national chart number-one album
June 6, 1998 – June 12, 1998
Succeeded by
L'un pour l'autre by Maurane
Preceded by
Let's Talk About Love by Céline Dion
New Zealand Albums Chart number-one album
May 24, 1998 – June 13, 1998
Succeeded by
Adore by The Smashing Pumpkins


Country Certifications Units shipped/sales
Australia 2 × Platinum 140,000[87]
Belgium Gold 25,000[71]
Canada Platinum 80,000[71]
Denmark Gold 10,000[71]
Europe IFPI Europe
Platinum Award
1,000,000 sales across Europe[88]
France 2 × Gold 300,000[89] (410,000 actual sales, as of 2001)[90]
Hong Kong Gold 10,000[71]
Ireland Platinum 15,000[71]
Italy Gold 30,000[71]
Malta Silver[91]
New Zealand Platinum 15,000[92]
Portugal Gold 10,000[71]
Singapore Platinum 10,000[71]
Spain Platinum 60,000[71]
Sweden Gold 40,000[93]
United Kingdom 2 × Platinum[22] 600,000 (579,912 sales as of 2012)[94]
United States Platinum[95] 1,700,000 (actual sales, as of 2008)[96]

In other media[edit]

Release history[edit]

Date Territory Label Format
May 4, 1998 Japan Mushroom/BMG CD with one bonus remix, CD limited edition with two bonus tracks
May 11, 1998 United Kingdom Mushroom Records CD, Cassette, LP
South Africa, South East Asia,
Central & South America
Mushroom/BMG CD, cassette (some territories)
Australia, New Zealand White Records CD, limited edition CD with in-store bonus CD-ROM
Hong Kong, Singapore CD, limited CD/V-CD, with bonus Garbage Video disc
May 12, 1998 Canada, United States Almo Sounds CD, cassette
United States CD with bonus Newbury Comics in-store three-track Independent Access disc
February 8, 1999 United Kingdom Mushroom Records Mini-Disc
June 7, 1999 Version 2.0 Special Live Edition
Double-CD, with bonus four-track disc
July 7, 1999 Europe, Japan Mushroom/BMG
August 2, 1999 Australia, New Zealand Festival Mushroom Records
November 29, 1999 United Kingdom Simply Vinyl Double-LP, pressed on 180gm heavyweight vinyl
November 23, 2003 Worldwide
(ex-North America)
A&E Records CD, Warner Brothers major label re-issue
February 28, 2005 Digital album
August 6, 2012 STUNVOLUME


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