Man, did that first Garbage album age well. In the mid-90s, the idea of melding sampled beats, grunge guitar and impossibly cool basslines with an even impossibly cooler female lead singer felt like a whole new thing.
The fact that the mastermind was super-producer Butch Vig, who had helmed a couple of little records called Siamese Dream and Nevermind meant that the project was always going to be high-profile enough to fail miserably.
Instead, the opposite happened: Garbage was a smash, going double-platinum and spawning a succession of singles, the best of which appropriated an old Rolling Stones song title to let Shirley Manson rage against her generation of stupid girls:
Don’t believe in fear
Don’t believe in faith
Don’t believe in anything
That you can’t break
Musically, “Stupid Girl” is powered by the “Train in Vain” drumbeat, a bassline that struts around your speakers daring you to listen to any other part of the song, and a guitar that alternately jangles and howls. On top of all that, they added whatever found sounds — that scritchy noise before the chorus is a slowed-down DAT player fucking up — they felt approriate.
In 1995, “Stupid Girl” sounded like nothing else on the radio, and 20 years later, you can hear its influence everywhere.
Official Video for “Stupid Girl”
Every Certain Song Ever
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