Alright, my blog titles suck. I admit it. At least I’m posting! I’ve gone in so many directions with my music posts here on HC, but I don’t think I’ve covered the 90’s as much. Obviously, the 80’s, decade of wasteful excess, is my favorite decade overall for music, but there’s a huge fondness for the 90’s with me. It’s during that decade that I suffered, as many of us do, the pitfalls of young adulthood. Young love, broken love, undying adulation of libations, smoking more than the proverbial, audacious claims of youth gone wild and surviving it, no sleep til Brooklyn Decker, and other claims of superior existence. Back then, you could sleep a few hours a night, and reawaken rejuvenated and ready to drink shitloads of Zima and watch MTV, because hey, that Matt Pinhead guy was hosting 120 Minutes back in those days (not to mention MTV stood for Music Television and not Margarine Television). With those heady days of youth, thereby followed some shit storms. Life is inevitable in that regard. 1995 was a year of great consternation; I was working 70 hours a week and getting paid for 50 (oh, those habits continue onward), drinking, partying, eating pizza and crap every day, dressing in badly mismatched clothing, and buying records by the caseload out at Rolling Stone Records in Norridge. Sadly, those stores and that format of music is going, going, almost gone (although enjoying a long welcomed resurgence). 1995 brought me my first heartache; the ex decided to dump me for Jesus. He joined the military and found God and lost the girl. I went out drinking with our mutual friends and we ended up at Rolling Stone Records. Originally, I remember really wanting to find a copy of Live’s “Throwing Copper” on vinyl, but instead, the bright cover of Garbage’s debut album caught my eye. At this point, I hadn’t been exposed to Garbage extensively- I had seen and enjoyed their debut single “Vow”. I really sympathized with “Only Happy When It Rains”, because seriously, when dumped by the first love, who wouldn’t agree with that song? The video for “Queer” really caught my attention, because it was strange, although it wasn’t my favorite song of the lot that had been released as singles. Then- in early 1996, MTV premiered the video for “Stupid Girl”, the 4th single released off the album. This is one of those songs that no matter how late and wherever I am, it gets cranked. A song that I instantly- and still- identify with so strongly that it just made Shirley Manson even more of a goddess in my eyes. They released “Milk” last, I believe, but I didn’t love that song. Overall, as a debut album, amazing. I found a copy and brought it home in early 1996. Things were going well for me in the record trade, and here I had a new band to look forward to. The album helped me get past the heartbreak and rebuild my broken tower.
Then in October, my mom died. I had to rebuild again. So I went off the grid and tried to get myself back together. Humpty Dumpty, therapy, tons of booze, tons of writing angry poems and songs, and working way too much. 7 months after my mom died, I got myself into a relationship with someone who was verbally and physically abusive, an alcoholic, and a drug addict to boot. When grieving, things get wonky. I quit going to therapy and decided to “save” this guy from himself. For the all-encompassing redemption of love can do that, said the grieving maternal instinct (mine, not his). By far, the stupidest thing I have ever done, and I stayed put for 2 years before I finally snapped and left. In the meantime, before I got smart, I got lucky and spotted a copy of Garbage’s Version 2.0 in a record bin at Discount Records in Midlothian. I had next to no money but I didn’t care- bought the motherfucker, and all I had heard at that point was “Push It”, which is another top 5 favorite of mine. The rest didn’t disappoint either, from “Special” to “When I Grow Up”. More importantly, this album signaled another great departure for me; getting out of quicksand that likely would have killed me, to open, fresh air on neutral ground. Again, this is an album that I could blast and not once did it fail to put a smile on my face, a spring in my step, another bullet in the torture chamber. Their next album just didn’t capture me, it’s likely given another listen, I may rescind that statement, but I didn’t find much on it the first 10 times I listened to Beautiful Garbage, and besides, that post isn’t allowed because that was on the cusp of 2000, and therefore, would not be eligible for this “Vinyl of the 90’s” that I have just started.
Overall, I couldn’t make a higher recommendation than the first two albums from Garbage. Not only are they eclectic, but a band of talented producers and musicians, led by the mighty Scottish whip known as Shirley Manson, that crafted infectious and catchy melodies that burned your airwaves alive through the mid 90’s. If you fail to at least give it a chance, well, you’re missing out on some truly dynamite music.