Three moments that define a line of – and in – the time of Shirley Manson, Garbage’s singing voice, you just posted No Gods No Masters, the band’s seventh album in nearly three decades on the scene.
A young lady in a pastel blue dress, who at the beginning of a video sang about the unique happiness that rainy days caused her, with the mattress of a techno rock that seemed like I came, in 1995, to relieve a grunge in a pharmacological coma after the suicide of Kurt Cobain and to compete as equals with the brit pop of Oasis and Blur.
The same girl, this time in black and white, with a rebellious and sexy strand that falls over her face, in the foreground, surrounded by eccentric and doubtful characters, describes the strangest beings within a Venn diagram that contains all the strange beings, with a loop that sounds like an industrial Phil Spector five years from the end of the century.
Shirley Manson, from the days when it seemed that Garbage arrived to relieve grunge to a present confirms the validity of a proposal with its own speech. Photo: Luciano Thieberger.
And now, that woman in question, in an atmosphere indebted to Seven by David Fincher, describes reprehensible behavior to a girl That he wasted everything that life had to offer him.
The band that came to stay
Only Happy When It Rains, Queer Y Stupid girl: three singles, one after the other, with three great clips as backup in the days when MTV was a music channel that shaped the taste of the young.
With a Scottish post dark and post gothic image, Manson, owner of an irresistible voice. And, after the drums, Butch Vig, a name and a surname that anyone a little interested in rock back then would immediately associate with the production of the Nevermind of Nirvana, and also to that of Dirty, of Sonic Youth, and that of Siamese Dreamby Smashing Pumpkins.
Garbage’s self-titled debut album fulfilled and exceeded everything it promised. TO Garbage followed in 1998 Version 2.0, a sound continuation of his first CD that debuted right at number one in the UK sales rankings.
Later came slightly less memorable albums, non-traumatic separations, meetings (always with the initial formation of Manson, Vig, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker as stable members) and tours suitable for both nostalgic and new generations.
Surprise: garbage strikes again, and better than ever
Until, at the beginning of last June, Garbage published No Gods No Masters, which was unexpectedly and unanimously greeted by both his fans and critics as the best the band recorded since Version 2.0.
Inspired by the Chilean riots of October 2019, which had her as an active visitor in the heart of Santiago, Manson conceived his lyrics in a more political way than ever, while the group sounds with its usual mix that goes from a pop due to Blondie (Flipping the bird) to the indestructible marriage between an atmospheric beat and the singer’s misty throat (Godhead).
In addition to offering an ode of love, hate and hope to the city of Los Angeles called This City Will Kill You. And several bonus tracks, on a CD that adds the deluxe edition, in which they cover Starmanby David Bowie, and Because The Nightby Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen.
As if all that weren’t enough, they welcome Exene Cervenka and John Doe, legendary members of the punk band Angelina X, as guests on the song. Destroying Angels.
Now, a computer in Buenos Aires, another in Los Angeles (this one with the camera turned off at the request of the interviewee) and a rigorous chat time scheduled in advance. You have the floor Shirley Manson, voice and front woman by Garbage.
By the power of albums!
-When listening No Gods … it emerges as a kind of cinematographic concept, from a listening that goes from beginning to end, a little contrary to this current situation where individual songs are usually heard. Was it planned this way?
-I prefer that people listen to the album from the beginning to the end, beyond the fact that each song can stand on its own, and that is something that we have deliberately thought about. But we definitely have a position, and that is we still believe in albums and their power, beyond people being more interested in singles.
-And what was the sound concept? Because No Gods … sounds entirely like some kind of Greatest Hits Garbage, but with new songs …
-That’s something that many tend to agree on based on this new album. To be honest I am surprised when fans come and say to me: “It’s great, it sounds like old Garbage”. Because it is clear that it is not a pop album.
The new Garbage moves away from the more direct pop to reinvent itself in a more complex and complicated plan. Photos Press
It is a complex and complicated album, which demands a certain attention when listening to it. I think the band tried to manage the energy that comes off the album, and the same thing happened to me with the lyrics, which are very intense.
-In terms of lyrics, do you agree that this is Garbage’s most politicized album?
-For me these lyrics are a social, economic and humanitarian comment. I understand, as I see things, that I will not corrupt my idealism by capitalist greed. I want to be idealistic, I don’t want to be cynical.
I want everyone, and not just me, to live a better life. For me to leave my house and see people who live on the street, in a city like Los Angeles, which is one of the richest in the world, is something obscene.
–This City Will Kill You it has that message to Los Angeles, it is like a love song where everything is wrong but a hopeful message that shows that things can change …
-Thanks! I see it as a melancholic song, but yes, there is a side of hope.
The dream of making South America
-One of the things that inspired the album was the 2019 revolt in Chile. And the clip of the single The Men Who Rule The World It was directed by the Chilean artist Javi Mi Amor. What can you tell us about your bond with that country?
-My visit to Santiago was one of the most profound experiences of my entire life. I was in the people’s protests against the government, and it was something very mobilizing. It changed me and influenced the way I see what happens in the world. After that I can’t see what happens the same way.
Shirley Manson visited South America in 2019, and her time in troubled Chile inspired Garbage’s new album. Photo: Luciano Thieberger.
That experience changed me forever. I met Javi there, we both started to follow each other on Instagram and that’s how I got to know her work, which is amazing. His art tells me about the times we are living in. This is how I wrote to him and he did that piece so full of love, intensity and beauty.
-Are you still in contact, both with people from Chile and Argentina?
-Yes! I made very loving musical friendships both in Santiago and Buenos Aires. People I really admire, with whom I write a lot. My dream, my hope, is to return to South America soon, to Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, to present this album. And I talk about this album not because it is the last, but because I feel that in some way it belongs to them.
-How do you feel when young girls take you as an example to follow? How do you handle that?
-It is one of the great privileges of my whole life. Inspire others to live their lives, encourage people to live more freely And more clearly, it’s a great thing, for which I will always be grateful.
-How did the Coronavirus affect you in your daily life?
-We had a severe quarantine in Los Angeles last March. Add to that the earthquake. But luckily my family is in good health, and I am in good health. I’m so thankful that we survivedThat is why my heart goes out to those who lost loved ones. Therefore, we all have to have great mental strength.
The world got heavy
-At the same time, the elections in the United States, the referendum in your native Scotland before added to Brexit … The world got heavy …
-Yes, the world is heavy. But we have to face those problems and look for different solutions. I have the illusion that we have learned from our mistakes, that we have brought on board different, marginal voices towards governments.
So we can face the problems with another class of representatives throughout the globe. We need new ideas and new perspectives, because there were ideas that used to work but that no longer work.
For Manson, the world got heavy, but there is a light at the bottom of the tunnel. Photos Press
-Finally, if the Shirley of today met the Shirley of the ’90s, what would you say?
-Don’t hold that shit! (laughs)