The 10 Most Underrated Garbage Songs
Garbage has been the most influential band in my life, not to mention of the 90’s. From the impressionable age of 13, I re-discovered their music and latched on tight. Since then, I’ve become a stronger, better person, thanks to the words and strength of front woman Shirley Manson.
Like most bands, singles seem to be the driving force in any band’s career with a rather large catalog. While every Garbage single is special in its own way, and a delight to hear live time after time, I decided to shake things up a bit and dive into the bottom of the treasure chest to dig out the gems that seem to go unnoticed. These are the top ten most underrated Garbage songs, in my opinion.
10. “A Stroke of Luck”
Taken from their 1995 self-titled debut, “A Stroke of Luck” has always resonated with me but I’m not entirely sure why; maybe it’s the haunting aesthetic or Shirley Manson’s vocals. As I’ve gotten older, I understand it more than I did when I was 13 and just starting to dive in to Garbage’s catalog. Either way, this song does not get the recognition it deserves, especially live.
“Don’t ask me why. Don’t even try.”
Fairly new, from their most recent 2012 release, Not Your Kind of People, “Sugar” kind of takes on the vibe of “A Stroke of Luck” in a sense. If you don’t get a cold chill running down your spine while listening, then maybe you need to dig deeper.
“Some sugar to hook her on…”
From their 1998 sophomore effort, Version 2.0, “Medication” has always been a favorite. Version 2.0 was the first Garbage album I bought and this song caught my attention during the first listen. Being 13 at the time, in a school I felt was like a penitentiary, along with teenage angst, the chorus of this song was pretty much written on the back of every notebook I owned. I’d kill to hear this one live.
“Nobody gives a damn about me or anybody else.”
7. “Cup of Coffee”
Taken from 2001’s highly underrated, Beautifulgarbage, the raw honesty in “Cup of Coffee” is gut wrenchingly painful to listen to – which makes it one of Garbage’s best. After listening to this song at 13, I remember being so terrified of falling in love and having it end in shambles that even to this day, I crumble at the thought of it. It’s like she was preparing me for what was to come, without sugarcoating it. Manson wasn’t kidding in this one, describing every distraught emotion so impeccably that you can’t help but imagine yourself as a train wreck after a breakup.
“It took a cup of coffee to prove that you don’t love me.”
6. “Run Baby Run”
Taken from 2005’s Bleed Like Me, “Run Baby Run” is a reminder that who we are on the inside outshines what they want us to be on the outside. This album came out when I was 16, and this track mirrored exactly how I was feeling at the time, and even now. Living in a big, dirty city can either make or break you. Luckily, I’ve seen both sides and I found out who I was in the process. But sometimes, no matter how you feel about it, you just need to run and find a safe place to hide, even for a little while.
“You can keep it pure on the inside, and you know what you believe to be right. So you’re not gonna crack, no you’re never gonna crack.”
5. “Hammering In My Head”
From 1998’s Version 2.0, “Hammering In My Head” takes on a role of its own. I remember playing this song for friends back in 2003 and the looks of terror and confusion on their faces is forever implanted in my mind, which I look back on with amusement. Garbage had a way of making music that was before their time. Not many bands were doing what they were doing in 1998, and now, with the rise of EDM, we are seeing more artists with the beat bug come out of the woodwork more than ever. I just wish they paid homage to their predecessors.
“A hammering in my head don’t stop in the bullet train from Tokyo to Los Angeles.”
4. “Metal Heart”
By far the most blood-pumping track on Bleed Like Me, “Metal Heart” has become a crowd favorite at Garbage shows, but I still find it to be underrated somehow. The lyrics are by far my favorite from Bleed Like Me and I think they show us more about the world than we’d like to see.
“I wish I had a metal heart. I could cross the line. I wish that I was half as good as you think I am.”
3. “The Trick Is To Keep Breathing”
I really wanted to use this one as the number one underrated Garbage song, but I’m trying not to be biased. From Version 2.0, “The Trick Is To Keep Breathing” is the most influential Garbage song in their discography for me. I owe my life to this song and this band. I even teared up when I finally witnessed it performed live in front of my very eyes in May 2012. It describes me and everything I am, blending who I used to be with the person I am to become. I just wish it was given more credit.
“Maybe you’ll get what you want this time around.”
From their debut, “Milk” is probably one of Garbage’s most underrated singles. I’ll admit, I wasn’t much of a fan at the beginning, but like everything else, experience makes you see things in a whole new light. As mentioned before, there’s a pretty good chance you didn’t hear many songs like this on Top 40 radio in 1996. The song’s music video captures the beauty of “Milk” while taking it to another level. If you don’t get the chills while listening, check your hearing.
“I am lost so I am cruel, but I’d be love and sweetness if I had you.”
1. “Breaking Up The Girl”
From Beautifulgarbage, this is probably the most mainstream sounding Garbage will ever care to get…and I friggin’ LOVE it! I read somewhere that Shirley actually hates this song (don’t know how true that is) which can probably explain why you’ll never hear it live, but I can’t get enough of it. The lyrics are so Garbage and so on point; I can’t fathom why she would dislike it so much but it definitely meets all the criteria to be considered as the number one most underrated Garbage song. Plus, the music video is magical in the sense that they just don’t make them like this anymore.
“In a modern culture, my friend you must be careful. They’ve a million ways to kill you.”