There are certain albums that come out at the right time. This applies to, without a doubt, No Gods No Masters, the seventh album from the alternative band Garbage. The band announced the release of their newest album back in March and with it, released the first single, “The Men Who Rule The World,” an anthem that was an outright condemnation of the patriarchy. Not too long after that, the title track of Garbage’s new album was released, and it was a critique of organized religion.
On Friday, June 11, No Gods No Masters was fully released, and it just may be the best Garbage album since Version 2.0. That’s not to say that albums 3-6 were bad. Far from it. What makes No Gods No Masters is that it is an evolution in Garbage’s style, and it captures the emotions, frailties, insecurities, and outrage of the times we are currently in.
On the song “Uncomfortably Me,” Shirley Manson, Scottish vixen and lead singer of Garbage, sings:
Spent every day wishing my life away
Always so nervous and unsure of myself
Always the bridesmaid and never the bride
Always the wallflower never the sport star
I wanted their body wanted their hair
I wanted the way that they walked straight ahead me
I didn’t know then what I think I know now
I wanted their confidence wanted their love
Written by all four members of Garbage (Butch Vig, Duke Erikson, Shirley Manson, and Steve Marker), like every song on No Gods No Monsters, “Uncomfortably Me” speaks to the insecurities many of us face growing up and for some, still have.
“Waiting For God” is a prime example of the band using their platform as a call for social justice. Manson explains to Apple Music:
“I would have felt really disappointed in myself if I hadn’t touched on systemic racism on this record. It really is something that’s just become more and more pressing on me. When Trayvon Martin was murdered—this beautiful 17-year-old kid, walking home at night in a hoodie, holding a bag of Skittles in his hands and he gets shot by a white supremacist—and the way his death was treated in the press, the way that disgusting George Zimmerman got off by pleading his own fear, I think it triggered something in me.”
The song’s mournful and melancholic vocals and music masterfully bring home the injustices faced by the black community.
While there are influences of their earlier works on this album, Garbage also draws inspiration from bands like Blondie and Roxy Music. The latter influence is confirmed by Butch Vig, the band’s drummer, who told Entertainment Weekly about the song “Anonymous XXX”:
“The way Shirley sings that first verse, I swear I could hear [Roxy Music bandleader] Bryan Ferry singing.”
Included on both the digital and a physical deluxe CD of No Gods No Masters are eight tracks released as singles between 2014 and 2018 for each year’s respective Record Store Day. Among the eight tracks are covers of the David Bowie song “Starman” and Patti Smith’s “Because the Night.”
No Gods No Masters is available now on digital, streaming, CD, and vinyl.
Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one contributing writer and may not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors