Sound: Garbage has had a fairly eventful past as a band, with multiple hiatus's, breaks, solo projects and so forth.
The drummer and one of the founding members, Butch Vig, seems to approach Garbage as a hobby sometimes and it often gets put on the back-burner. Vocalist, Shirley Manson, was first discovered by Butch Vig when she was vocalist for Angelfish and had her audition to front Garbage back in 1994, though she didn't get the job until after a second audition. Their first album, self-titled as Garbage, was an unexpected smash hit and put them immediately in the spotlight. In the mid to late 90's you could not turn on a radio without hearing "Only Happy When It Rains" or "Stupid Girl". Even with the sudden fame they moved at their own pace, only releasing three more albums in the next ten years, though they enjoyed continued success in varying degrees.
"Not Your Kind Of People" is not as an aggressive album as their past efforts and while a big part of their sound is splashes of cross-genre, especially electronic, there is possibly more of that than in the past on "Not Your Kind Of People". There are eleven tracks on the album, or fifteen on the deluxe edition. The run time for the album is approximately 60 minutes for the deluxe edition and approximately 42 minutes for the standard edition. The average for each song is about four minutes. The album is being released on Garbage's own newly created label "STUNVOLUME". Garbage does plan to resume touring for the first time since 2007 with the release of "Not Your Kind Of People". Shirley Manson has said in regards to going back on tour: "Thinking about going back on the road is both thrilling and terrifying in equal measure, but we've always enjoyed a little pain mixed in with our pleasure." The touring schedule does not appear to be available yet in a finalized form. I would be interested to see how they perform songs from the album in concert after 4 6 months of touring when they are back on their "A" game. // 7
Lyrics: Shirley Manson's vocal performance on the album is competent, but nothing special. There was no point in the album where I felt blown away by her vocals. That being said, the vocals did carry the songs where they were trying to go. My impression of the vocals may be due to there being no memorable vocal hooks in the album, and maybe I expected too much from the album especially after the hiatus. I know that Shirley has worked on a lot of collaborations during Garbage's hiatus and in general I was more impressed with several of these than I was with anything on the album.
The lyrics on the album fit the music and continue with the same dark-tinged and ironic themes that Garbage is known for. As an example, the lyrics from the title track "Not Your Kind Of People" paints a picture of disillusionment with society (Please forgive any mistakes in the lyrics): "We are not your kind of people/ you seem kind of phony/ everything is a lie/ we are not your kind of people/ something in your make-up don't see eye to eye/ we are not your kind of people/ don't want to be like you ever in our lives/ we are not your kind of people". The lyrics aren't super original, but they aren't bad and they do fit in well with the music. // 7
Overall Impression: "Not Your Kind Of People" is not the album that I was hoping that it would be. At times listening to the album has reminded me of Lady Gaga, The Cranberries, and very occasionally early releases by Garbage. The first song on the album, "Automatic Systematic Habit" is by far my least favorite song on the album. The lyrics sound auto-tuned (though I'm not 100% sure this is the case) and the track sounds like it is on the verge of trying to be a dance track. No thank you, Garbage. The title track, "Not Your Kind Of People", isn't bad and I found myself enjoying it. Internet research tells me that the daughters of Steve Marker and Butch Vig provided vocal contributions to the title track as well. Really, different songs on the album left me feeling differently everywhere from hot to cold to lukewarm.
The standout tracks on the album are the single "Blood For Poppies" (though it doesn't sound like Garbage), the title track "Not Your Kind Of People", "Battle In Me" and the bonus track from the deluxe edition "Bright Tonight" (which reminds me of early Mazzy Star if anyone remembers them). I guess my main gripe with "Not Your Kind Of People" is that it doesn't sound like Garbage to me it sounds like copies of half a dozen other female fronted bands/acts. Maybe Garbage is just out of practice and it would do them some good to quit taking hiatuses and instead try to be a full time band for a while to get their own sound again. Because this isn't it. // 6
- Brandon East (c) 2012