lit90s

Most bands would be happy to have one or two songs on their debut album considered strong enough to be singles.  But what happens when your record label is so pleased by the number of potential hits, they’re afraid to release too many too soon?

A strange question that faced alt-pop quartet Garbage when their self-titled debut was ready for release in 1995 – their UK label, Mushroom, wanted to build on the buzz that greeted the band’s first single, “Vow,” without dipping too soon into the hit single well that was Garbage the album.  Their solution?  Release one of “Vow’s” b-sides as a limited-edition single.

“Subhuman” (download) was released in a strictly limited run of 3,000 copies. It’s somewhat of a collector’s item these days, since the song has never resurfaced – besides the limited-pressing single, it’s only been featured on Asian versions of the band’s debut. That’s a shame, since “Subhuman” is one of my favorite Garbage songs, an almost industrial rocker that would fit nicely on a greatest hits or singles compilation.  Hey, now you can make your own!

The “Subhuman” CD single featured, surprise, “Vow” as one of its b-sides, while the other, “#1 Crush,” (download) was remixed a year or so later by Nellee Hooper for the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack.  That version went on to spend four weeks at the top of the Billboard Modern Rock Chart, no mean feat for a tossed-off b-side.  The original version featured here is a rawer take on the song, and I actually prefer it to the more famous remixed version, indie-rock snob that I am.

So, back to that Make Your Own Garbage Compilation I mentioned … if you’re going to do that, you’ve got to include the obvious;  “Queer,” “Special,” “The World Is Not Enough,” etc.  But don’t forget a few strong album tracks, since there are so many to choose from.  One that’s a must-have, also from Garbage, is “Not My Idea,” (download) the great sixth (!) single that never was.  What’s on your Garbage mix CD?

And can you believe Shirley Manson is currently without a record deal and instead is running around as a Terminator on The Sarah Connor Chronicles?  These days, I tell ya.

“Subhuman” was not released as a single in the U.S.
A remixed version of “#1 Crush” peaked at #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart and at #39 on the Top 40 Mainstream Chart in 1996.

Get Garbage music at Amazon or on Garbage

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