Dynamo Hum

Meanwhile, on top of her mastery of glamour and gimmickry, Manson's ability to write shapely melodies has bloomed amazingly since Angelfish--the first five tracks could all be singles--and she bolsters the songs further by borrowing or paraphrasing other melodies as though she's recycling garbage. (The American Breed in "I Think I'm Paranoid," the Pretenders in "Special," Romeo Void in "Sleep Together," and the Beach Boys in "Push It," the only appropriation listed as a sample in the publishing credits.) If Garbage were honest, they'd call this Version 1.1 instead of Version 2.0, because it's a better rendition of the first record, a classic upgrade rather than a dramatic reinvention. But software companies routinely bait consumers with misleading nomenclatures, too.

Given the similarities between records one and two, you can either say that Manson has a limited worldview or a consistency of vision. She's like a Brill Building lyricist, except instead of two genders, she has sadists and masochists. In her binary scheme, there's only dominance or submission, so on Version 2.0, she's usually either hurting someone or getting hurt. In the latter mode, she proffers sullen high school yearbook adages like "I say never trust anyone," "Nobody gives a damn about me or anybody else," and "No one's ever what they seem." When adults regress into unimpeded emotion, their moods are like those of adolescents aspiring to maturity--Manson is the crossing guard at this intersection, and she nearly makes her role explicit as she fantasizes about stability and revenge in "When I Grow Up." But that intersection is also another possible definition of cyberspace, a spot where adults pose as randy kids, and kids surf for adult material. And it explains how Garbage, a band with a median age that's probably twice that of Marcy Playground, can program youth culture so persuasively.

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