A look at songs that aren’t necessarily good or bad, merely ones that, because of the climate of the music world during their release, somehow, someway, were not the massive hit songs they should logically have been.
Garbage was one of the most popular and iconic bands of the late 1990s, offering a postmodern sound with an ear to the future, pop hooks, and the alternately sultry and menacing vocals performed by my #1 crush, Shirley Manson.
Not a lot of alt rock bands scored a string of veritable hit singles. It was pretty much Garbage, the Foo Fighters, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Garbage’s second album, Version 2.0 (1998) was like the Rhythm Nation of extremely catchy and lovingly produced but vaguely unsettling synth rock, churning out four rock hits: “Push It,” “I Think I’m Paranoid,” “Special,” and “When I Grow Up.”
Beautiful Garbage, the follow-up to Version 2.0 was released in late 2001, went platinum, and charted at #13, same as Version 2.0. In other words, Garbage was still very popular. The first single “Breaking Up the Girl” was released with little heraldry, but it was only an okay song, but why the hell did Beautiful Garbage’s second single “Cherry Lips” (Go Baby Go!)” go nowhere and fail to make any U.S. chart at all? After all, it’s both very good and very Garbage.
Maybe it was just a bit too bright and happy for Garbage. This sounds like the greatest Kylie Minogue song ever, especially because it was released during the brief period when American decided to give the Australian pop star a spin. (As such, “Cherry Lips” is Garbage’s biggest hit ever in Australia.) The darkness was just a little too far below the surface—Manson wrote the song after reading two novels by JT LeRoy, the fake male author dreamed up and presented under false pretenses by female author Laura Albert, who wrote the novels and dressed up as LeRoy when she had to. LeRoy, and “Cherry Lips”: androgylicious!