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I just love Garbage's Version 2.0. That CD rocks with a great mix of techno and power chords. But, honestly, the reason I really like that CD is because the lyrics, and Shirley Manson's vocals, are girl power songs. Although Manson's voice is certainly not masculine, it has a ferocity that appeals to men and women alike. She artfully mixes feminine style and vulnerability with masculine assertiveness and independence, all this on top of the techno/power chord stylings of the band. Version 2.0 is a CD that I could listen to at the gym and work out my aggressions.

So, I was anxiously anticipating my next installment of girl power music, the pseudo self-titled BeautifulGarbage. Sadly, I better take up yoga because BeautifulGarbage, the band's third album, takes a significantly different turn for the soft. The samplings range from hip hop to 60's chime-y Shangri-La with less power chord intervention -- nothing as inspired as the Kate Bush sample on Version 2.0. One song in particular, Can't Cry These Tears, could have been a chiffonesque staple at my dad's prom. More disturbing, the lyrics on this new release have changed from the anthems of Version 2.0 to scary, pathetic laments. On songs like Cup of Coffee, I have to wonder if Shirley Manson was pining obsessively over someone at the time of this album.

The album isn't totally girl-psycho, though. At least a few songs, such as the first single, Androgyny, and Breaking Up the Girl include power chords and vocals like those of Version 2.0. In fact, BeautifulGarbage would probably not seem so mundane, and would garner a higher sponge rating, if it weren't for the great work on that record. If you buy BeautifulGarbage, though, I wouldn't take it to the gym, even for low impact aerobics.

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