As one of a child-sized handful of token females in what was primarily a boys’ club, Shirley Manson took her place strong in a musical world on the outset of the grunge movement of the early '90s, and she and her band made that world their own. The Garbage sound is best known for incorporating the melancholy of that grunge sound with something that is equal parts new wave, shoegaze and electro-pop of the previous decade to create something unarguably farsighted and successful. Garbage released four albums over a decade, taking a brief hiatus between 2005 and 2007 but only ending it with the greatest hits retrospective, Absolute Garbage. Not Your Kind of People marks the band’s first original release in seven years. And the question on the minds of fans everywhere is, “Was it worth the wait?”
It is hard to determine whether Not Your Kind of People fits in well with current musical trends, or that Garbage created the current trends and Not Your Kind of People is the sound by which so many of today’s artists have been inspired. Or both. Whatever the answer, this fifth studio effort from the post-grunge quartet picks up where burn-out and label conflicts left them (and fans) years ago, this time on their own label and their own terms.
Not Your Kind of People opens with the easily danceable “Automatic System Habit,” in which Manson discards the deplorable idea of being “your dirty little secret.” With a synthesized voice providing the refrain and a strong, toe-tapping cadence, “Automatic System Habit” is only the first track on the album in which Garbage has laid the framework for a throbbing nightclub remix. “I Hate Love,” the album’s seventh track, is already halfway there.
In an attempt to remind fans that they have never been afraid of a challenge or of turning heads, Manson melodically sings her way though what might have been a risky choice for the first single from Not Your Kind of People, the very poppy “Blood for Poppies.” It's risky as a first single in that it is quite possibly the track that is the farthest detached from their previous sound. But, once again, Garbage has never been a band averse to taking risks.