WOWEE ZOWEE (50)
December 12, 2018
One in a series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the subject of our favorite albums of the Nineties (1994–2003). A new installment in this series will appear each Wednesday during 2018.
GARBAGE | GARBAGE | 1995
The first Garbage record passed me by on its release. Five years later I was in Key West, fumbling through my first writing residency, a glorified house-sit in a theatre donor’s side cottage, for which I had used my year’s vacation. The trees above the house were thick with chattering parrots. Across the street, the town library’s shrubbery housed chickens and roosters who woke, impossibly alarmed, at all hours. For some reason the stack of DVDs in the small room included the most recent Bond film, The World Is Not Enough. The theme song (which by the way is perfect) was by a band I knew about but had never heard because I didn’t listen to the radio and no longer had cable. The next day I went out to the one shop I could find and bought their first record. I listened to Garbage more or less straight through, on repeat, for the next month.
The record itself feels immaculate: three Midwest studio rats led by Nevermind-famous Butch Vig hire a younger Scottish singer who boots the whole thing to a different level. They write the songs together, yet the songs seem entirely personal, and intimate in a way their constructed manner and epic sweep ought to belie. When I return to Garbage now it will only be for a day or two, but it still sucks me into a sweet spot of big guitar, backhanded electronica, and a singer lucidly stranded between how smart she is and how often her smarts haven’t helped her. People have carped that there’s a self-conscious veneer that cuts off the soul such music ought to display. I disagree — or, lacquer is another form of armor. I know how dead-on it felt, as I slogged up the stairs back at my day job, swiping my ID card, churning out html by the yard, no credible end in sight, to have Shirley Manson in my ear, singing of escape.
WOWEE ZOWEE: Stephanie Burt on UNISEX | Anindita Basu Sempere on UNDER THE PINK | Mark Kingwell on DUMMY | Bill Nericcio on AMOR PROHIBIDO | Sherri Wasserman on HIPS AND MAKERS | Mimi Lipson on THANK YOU | John Overholt on BEN FOLDS FIVE | Jordan Ellenberg on GET LOST | Chelsey Johnson on PERSONAL BEST | Marilyn Snell on MAXINQUAYE | Dan Fox on DIFFERENT CLASS | Devin McKinney on IF YOU’RE FEELING SINISTER | Alice Boone on MTV UNPLUGGED (ALICE IN CHAINS) | Rob Wringham on SPICE | Joe Alterio on BEATS, RHYMES AND LIFE | Jason Loeffler on SECOND TOUGHEST IN THE INFANTS | Rick Pinchera on EITHER/OR | Josh Glenn on THE LONESOME CROWDED WEST | Jennifer Krasinski on SUPA DUPA FLY | Sara Ryan on DIG ME OUT | Luc Sante on MEZZANINE | Molly Wright Steenson on I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE | Franklin Bruno on ENGLAND MADE ME | Michael Campochiaro on IS THIS DESIRE? | Adrienne Crew on CALIFORNICATION | Drew Daniel on I SEE A DARKNESS | Veda Hille on THE SOFT BULLETIN | Vanessa Berry on TEENAGE SNUFF FILM | Tom Kipp on GET SKINTIGHT | David Hirmes on DOPETHRONE | John Hilgart on YORK BLVD. | Deborah Wassertzug on JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT | Adam McGovern on INVINCIBLE SUMMER | Brian Berger on TIRED SOUNDS OF… | Michael Grasso on MUSIC HAS THE RIGHT TO CHILDREN | Jen Collins on HURRAH | Flourish Klink on THE TEACHES OF PEACHES | Judith Zissman on TALLAHASSEE | Lauren Oliver on SOUND-DUST | Jason Cohen on IS THIS IT | Matthew De Abaitua on THE RAINBOW CHILDREN | Jenny Davidson on TIME (THE REVELATOR) | Crystal Durant on LIVE THROUGH THIS | Gordon Dahlquist on GARBAGE | Erin M. Routson on WASHING MACHINE | Carl Wilson on TEMPTING | Jessamyn West on ALL HAIL WEST TEXAS | Kaleb Horton on STREETCORE | Tom Nealon on BAZOOKA TOOTH | Erik Davis on DOPESMOKER | David Levine on FEVER TO TELL | Deb Chachra on MASS ROMANTIC.
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