Why Do You Love Me

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"Why Do You Love Me"
Single by Garbage
from the album Bleed Like Me
  • "Space Can Come Through Anyone"
  • "Nobody Can Win"
  • "I Just Wanna Have Something to Do"
ReleasedMarch 8, 2005 (2005-03-08)
Recorded2003–04; Smart Studios
(Madison, Wisconsin)
Garbage singles chronology
"Shut Your Mouth"
"Why Do You Love Me"
"Bleed Like Me"
Audio sample
"Why Do You Love Me"
Music video
"Why Do You Love Me" on YouTube

"Why Do You Love Me" is a song by alternative rock band Garbage, released as the lead single from their fourth studio album, Bleed Like Me (2005). The single was the first taste of the band's change in direction, eschewing the electronic-leaning production of their previous album for guitar-led rock.[1]

In the United States, "Why Do You Love Me" became Garbage's first entry on the Billboard Hot 100 in six years, since "Special" reached number 52 in May 1999, as well as the band's fifth top 10 song on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, and first since "I Think I'm Paranoid" peaked at number six in September 1998.[2] Across the Atlantic, the song was Garbage's first top 10 single on the UK Singles Chart since "When I Grow Up" peaked at number nine in January 1999.[3] "Why Do You Love Me" propelled the Bleed Like Me album to the top five in Australia, United Kingdom and in the United States, where the album debuted at a career-high number four.[4]

In 2007, "Why Do You Love Me" was remastered and included on Garbage's greatest hits album Absolute Garbage.[5]


"Why Do You Love Me" was written and recorded at the band's own Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. Garbage had quietly disbanded during the sessions for Bleed Like Me in October 2003, before reforming to make a fresh start on the album early the next year. Drummer Butch Vig found himself confused over which direction to take the band's sound, before deciding to strip back to the basics of electric guitar, bass guitar and drums, using more first takes from vocalist and lyricist Shirley Manson's vocals, and reducing the synth components.[1] Preferring to oversee the recording of drum tracks from the studio control booth, Vig approached Matt Walker to perform drums on some of the album; Walker's provided these for "Why Do You Love Me". Similarly, bass was performed by session musician Justin Meldal-Johnsen. "Why Do You Love Me" was mastered by Emily Lazar and Sarah Register at The Lodge in New York.

Garbage's record company were keen to release "Why Do You Love Me" as the lead single for Bleed Like Me; the band agreed. Manson: "We chose "Why Do You Love Me" as the first single because it has a lot of mood shifts and embodies the whole record. I feel that at the base of everyone there's a belief that we're truly lovable. But we often question it, which is why we seek out exclusive relationships."


The North American release of "Why Do You Love Me" kicked off on February 15, 2005, when Geffen scheduled the song to impact modern rock and triple-A radio stations across the United States. "Why Do You Love Me" was championed by a number of stations including WXRK in New York, WKQX in Chicago, KNDD in Seattle, XTRA in San Diego and Orlando's WOCL.[1] After its first week on air "Why Do You Love Me" was the number-one most added track at modern rock radio;[6] and debuted at number 39 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.[7] On March 8, "Why Do You Love Me" was made available as a digital download in the United States and Canada.[8] At the end of its first week on commercial sale, the song broke into the Modern Rock top 10 at number 10,[9] and debuted at number 81 on the Pop 100[10] and at number 94 on the Billboard Hot 100.[11] The song dipped a little after this early peak, leaving the Hot 100 and dropping to number 11 on the Modern Rock chart and number 97 on the Pop 100.[12] Three weeks later, in the wake of the release of Bleed Like Me, "Why Do You Love Me" rebounded to number eight.[13] The song then began to drop on the Modern Rock chart after this second peak.[14]

In the United Kingdom, A&E Records began their single release campaign by licensing a short clip of "Why Do You Love Me" for use on the Brit Awards broadcast as an intro theme for Shirley Manson who was there to announce the nominees and winner of that year's Best Live Act award (the winner that year was Garbage's label-mates Muse). A few days later, on February 18, "Why Do You Love Me" received its UK premiere on the BBC Radio 1 Jo Whiley Show. Radio 1 later C-listed the single, while XFM playlisted it as their "Single of the Week", reaching number one on their airplay chart for several weeks. Beyond this, "Why Do You Love Me" struggled for support from mainstream radio.

On March 27, the single was released on CD maxi in Australia,[15] where debuted at number 19 in the ARIA Singles chart,[16] and in a similar format across Europe the following day.

Garbage supported the Bleed Like Me album, and the "Why Do You Love Me" single from March 29 with a European promotional campaign that included three live dates in Paris, London and Cologne; a performance of the song and the band's debut single, "Vow", on an XFM radio session; and a notably large number of televised performances of "Why Do You Love Me" on CD:UK, Popworld, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Top of the Pops, Napster Live in the United Kingdom and on Album de la semaine, 20h10 petantes and Traffic music in France. Warner re-issued "Why Do You Love Me" to radio stations in a brand new configuration, omitting the opening guitar riff from throughout the song in an attempt to gain more radio exposure.

"Why Do You Love Me" was physically released in the UK on April 4 on CD, DVD and limited edition 7" in a pink vinyl and pink taped picture sleeve, as well as digital download.[15] Warner encouraged Garbage fans to purchase each format by issuing a wallet to house the singles through the band website. After reaching number 4 in the mid-week chart flashes,[17] it debuted on the UK Singles chart at number seven after selling 10,089 copies and was their highest charting single since 1996's "Stupid Girl".[18] "Why Do You Love Me" also broke a run of six consecutive Garbage singles to fall short of the UK Top 10.[18] The airplay of "Why Do You Love Me" also benefited from the chart position; and the track moved up to number 98 on the UK Airplay chart during the week of release.[18]

Returning to North America in mid-April, Garbage taped an in-studio show for music show Fuse Comp'd on April 20. The set included "Why Do You Love Me", and was the last TV recording of the song of the initial campaign as follow up single "Bleed Like Me" was released in May. The band performed "Why Do You Love Me" acoustically for a number of radio sessions, including for DC 101 and 92.3 Xtreme Radio. Later in September of that year, Garbage wrapped up touring and promotion for the entire Bleed Like Me album with a short Australian tour that included a performance of "Why Do You Love Me" on Rove Live.[19]

On the week of February 19, 2008, "Why Do You Love Me" was released as a downloadable master track for use in the video game Rock Band.[20]

Critical reception[edit]

"Why Do You Love Me" received a mostly positive reception from contemporary music critics. In a review for Billboard, Keith Caulfield wrote, "Listeners will find themselves involuntarily bobbing their heads and tapping their toes. Matched with smart (yet cryptic) lyrics, this has all the makings of a monster hit".[21]

Music video[edit]

Shirley Manson and Duke Erikson allude to the band's passive-aggression in the "Why Do You Love Me" video

The music video for "Why Do You Love Me" was shot over two days at the end of January 2005 on a Los Angeles, CA, soundstage and was helmed by director Sophie Muller. Scenes shot on January 31 included actual Garbage fans who applied via the band's website, in lieu of agency-hired models, at the band's request. Shirley Manson thanked all those who took part in a post on the website a few days later.[22]

The first two and a half minutes of the video was shot in black and white, evoking a "neo-noir" element; Shirley's bath scene and the outro crowd scenes were shot in colour. The storyline centred around cryptic references to the band's difficulty in maintaining proper relations over the previous years, as well as veiled references to Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry and their album Parallel Lines.

In the United Kingdom, a short clip of the "Why Do You Love Me" video was broadcast on MTV's Gonzo, before being playlisted across the music networks.[23] In North America, the video was playlisted by Fuse the week ending March 20; in its third week becoming their number-three most played clip.[24] Geffen licensed the music video to run in over 3,000 movie theaters, on the TV walls of Macy's, Steve Madden and JC Penney stores, and inclusion on Victoria's Secret's Pink in-store sampler.[1]

The "Why Do You Love Me" video was first made commercially available on the "Why Do You Love Me" DVD single and on the CD-ROM enhanced section of the "Why Do You Love Me" CD maxi singles.[25] A remastered version of that video was included on Garbage's 2007 greatest hits DVD Absolute Garbage,[5] and made available as a digital download via online music services the same year.[26] In 2008, a second edit of the video was released to iTunes; this version edited out the title of the book Shirley read in the video: J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.[27]

Track listings[edit]

Alternate versions[edit]

Track title Length Producer
"Why Do You Love Me (Clean Album version)" 3:52 Garbage
"Why Do You Love Me (French Radio edit)" 3:26
"Why Do You Love Me (Radio edit)" 3:55
"Why Do You Love Me (Brand New Radio edit)" 3:08

"Why Do You Love Me" was edited numerous times for radio airplay after its initial radio impact dates. The first versions sent to radio worldwide had varied between the album version and a clean version, removing the word "shit". In France, the middle 8 section of the song was removed for airplay.

In the United Kingdom, Warner Music sent out a revised version of "Why Do You Love Me" to help increase the song's audience as the singles commercial release date approached. This revision replaced the intro guitar riff with a few bars of the verse on rhythm guitar. A shortened version of this revision was also released, which completely removed the opening guitar riff from throughout the song, as well as removing the first bridge and middle 8 sections. This version was edited so that instead of ending abruptly, the last four bars are repeated over and over while fading out.


Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United States February 15, 2005
Canada March 8, 2005 Digital download
United States
Australia March 27, 2005 Enhanced CD maxi single Festival Mushroom
Europe March 28, 2005
United Kingdom April 4, 2005 A&E


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External links[edit]