The fall of grunge was a difficult period for popular music to face. No sweat for Garbage, who confronted the industry head-on with this, their alt-pop/rock debut, in 1995. We hadn't heard much of this genre after the Golden Age of Grunge struck, and when this genre struck back, it was a hell of a ride. While not altogether separated from grunge stylings, Garbage was infinitely more universal and definitely more accessible than most of the grunge acts of their time.
The album opens with the punky, spiteful "Supervixen" -- a grand first impression of catty frontwoman Shirley Manson, who was all fluoresecent red hair and skin-tight leather. The song's herky-jerky, stop-go style is immediately engaging, and the ripping guitar riffs recall peak-era 80s new wave. Manson shows a more introspective lyrical and vocal style on the second track, "Queer," and even concots an immortal anthem while begging for antidepressants on "Only Happy When It Rains." She emulates pre-"Eat to the Beat" Debbie Harry on the metallic "Not My Idea" and mimics the wailing pensiveness of the Cranberries Dolores O'Riordan [now Burton] on "Fix Me Now" while still sounding like herself: a gothic, artsy chick. She even performs a self-exorcism in the rueful, brilliant "Stupid Girl."
Garbage truly covers all the bases here, and their to-and-fro musical style doesn't sound dated, even today, 9 years later. They still carry the same spark and playful attitude they did years ago, and cross the line of rock to pop so often and so smoothly (and so much better than the crossover bands of today) that it's almost dizzying. Always familiar, always sarcastic, and always effective, Garbage will prove to be one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.