Garbage

Version 2.0

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Neither a flat-out retread nor a full-fledged progression, Version 2.0 is almost too accurate a title for Garbage's second album. Everything that made Garbage a success is here -- Shirley Manson's seductive strength, strong pop sensibility, a production that falls halfway between alternative rock and techno -- presented in a slightly newer form. Version 2.0 may be gilded with fresh drum loops and shiny, computerized production, but it lacks the thrilling immediacy of the debut. It isn't that Garbage's sound is no longer appealing -- it's that high-tech production has a tendency to make the songs sound the same. That was a problem with the debut as well, but it's discouraging to find that those flaws are repeated, not solved. Still, when Garbage pull it all together, the results are irresistible, and there are just enough moments on the album -- including "Special," "Push It," "Temptation Waits," and "I Think I'm Paranoid" -- to make it a successful follow-up, even if it isn't a brave step forward.

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