Something Else! sneak peek: Garbage, "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?" (2011)

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All hail the long-awaited return of the ass-kicking rebel chick Shirley Manson and her scraggly band of alterno-rockers in Garbage.

For a time, in the mid-1990s, her all-attitude vocals and sado inspired-outfits seemed to be everywhere — beginning with their band’s self-titled 1995 debut, a fizzy combination of pop, rock, electronica and samples which sold more than 4 million copies on the strength of “Only Happy When It Rains” and the Grammy-nominated “Stupid Girl.” As the group found similar success with 1998’s Version 2.0, Manson became a model for Calvin Klein. The group even recorded the theme song to the James Bond film “The World is Not Enough.”

Then, poof. Garbage recorded a pair of follow up albums but, despite the mild success of “Why Do You Love Me” in 2005, neither sold all that well. Maybe she was getting too famous. (We love to dismantle a superstar, right?) Maybe the band — which included Butch Vig, producer of the multi-platinum selling Nevermind by Nirvana — got busy with other projects.

For whatever reason, though, Garbage went silent — until now, as their version of “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses,” from U2’s Achtung Baby, heralded a return of Manson and Co. to the studio. It’s a darkly thrilling introduction not just to the first recording in five years for Garbage (which also features Steve Marker and Duke Erikson), but also a new Achtung tribute album issued this week by the UK magazine Q.

One of the more anthematic, mainstream items on U2’s electro-noir 1991 comeback, “Wild Horses” opens here amidst a simmering, venturesome nightscape — with Manson singing in a black-widow purr. Save for the chorus — which ramps up into a sweeping metallic howl — she never modulates out of that dangerous whisper, sounding like something between a moaning levee wind and a shuddering, Dionysian climax.

No word yet on when Garbage’s new project, which follows 2005’s Bleed Like Me, will appear. The Q magazine tribute album, called AHK-toong BAY-bi, also includes appearances by Jack White (“Love Is Blindness”), Nine Inch Nails (“Zoo Station”), the Killers (“Ultraviolet [Light My Way]”), Depeche Mode (“So Cruel”), Patti Smith (“Until the End of the World”), and the Fray (“Trying to Throw Your Arms Around the World”), among others.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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