CD Review of Bleed Like Me by Garbage

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Bleed Like Me
starstarstarstarno star Label: Geffen
Released: 2005
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Garbage refuses to follow the current trend of patterning their music after the sounds of the 80’s. Instead, there is an unmistakable post-grunge feel to their fourth effort Bleed Like Me, which hearkens back to the day of their self-titled 1995 debut. In that era, the electronica-rock sound that made the band famous was widely considered innovative, but now it just sounds a little dated. That’s not to say that fans aren’t going to find some good songs – there are a few on every Garbage album – just don’t expect any growth in the band’s sound.

Most of the lyrics feel like they were ripped from lead singer Shirley Manson’s diary. On the opening track, “Bad Boyfriend“, phrases like “I wanna hear you call out my name / I wanna see you burn up in flames” indicate that she might have gone through a nasty breakup during the band’s four-year hiatus. “Run Baby Run” is more optimistic, and the melody sounds like a good leftover from the Version 2.0 sessions. The album’s first single, “Why Do You Love Me,” is classic high-tempo Garbage infused with a keen heavy metal riff. On the beautiful title track, the spotlight is focused solely on Manson’s inspired vocals, where she discusses problems like anorexia, cutting and drug abuse.

The band’s first three albums mixed some excellent work with some clunkers, and Bleed Like Me is no different. While the first half of the album contains a few gems, the rest is mediocre at best. The band decided to play it safe by doing what they do best, and while they delivered a moderately fun album, it just feels like more of the same.

Key tracks: “Bleed Like Me”, “Run Baby Run”, “Why Do You Love Me”, “Bad Boyfriend”

~John Paulsen