When it came to writing a follow up to their debut album, Garbage had their work cut out for them.
Their self-titled effort from 1995 was a huge success on the back of the sneering slow jam Queer, the anthemic rocker Only Happy When It Rains and the pulsing beat of Stupid Girl. It established Garbage as an electro-rock force to be reckoned with.
In 1998 they returned with Version 2.0, an album that now stands as probably the most complete and highest-quality album they ever made.
With less of the dark alternative rock of their debut, Version 2.0 is loaded with pounding beats and while the screaming riffs are pushed well into the background, they’re still there underneath the glossy veneer of comparatively more upbeat melodies.
It’s a more cohesive album than Garbage, with a more consistent musical theme and feel throughout. Its a true album, not a collection of standalone songs. It’s also loaded with great tracks. There is no filler on Version 2.0. Every song could have been a single.
It’s a rare beast that rocks hard from beginning to end but you can dance along to the whole shebang. It’s still dark lyrically, but it’s fun to listen to.
For an album so loaded with synth and electro touches it has also aged magnificently. To listen to it today, there’s nothing that sounds cheesy or “typical 90’s”. It is not dated to its era; it stands apart as all great music does.
It staggers me when I read “best albums of the 90’s” lists that Version 2.0 almost never gets a mention. How this album can be so forgotten and disrespected by some Is mystifying. Perhaps the beats are too poppy for some, but I personally despise pop music and yet I fucking love this album.
For me, it’s Garbage’s finest hour. If anything, it’s a musical fine wine; simply getting better with age.