Garbage Releases Sixth Album, ‘Strange Little Birds’; And How Creating Their Own Record Label Saved The Group

Garbage, the alternative rock band, is releasing their sixth album, Strange Little Birds, on June 10.

Active since 1995, the American-Scottish rock band has released razor-edged works including Garbage(1995), Version 2.0 (1998), Beautiful Garbage (2001), Bleed Like Me (2005), and Not Your Kind of People (2012). According to Entertainment Weekly, Strange Little Birds will be very similar to the group’s 1995 debut album and will feature songs that are based on the tumultuous times of the present day.

Shirley Manson, the lead singer of the group, spoke about how the songs focused on the feelings, moods, and the chaotic atmosphere experienced by today’s generation.

“We were very clear about wanting to make a record that was authentic to the chaotic times we’re living in.”

According to Rolling Stone magazine, Garbage recently shared the dizzying new video for “Empty,” the lead single from their upcoming album.

The video shows the group playing rock and roll in a merry-go-round fashion with kaleidoscopic stage lights flashing in the background. The songs from the album are based on mature themes, and Shirley Manson has channeled all her energy and enthusiasm into lyrics that are emotionally fragile. Garbage band members work hard on every song, treating each song as if it were going to be the last song they will ever record, and therefore, will be their legacy. It is for this reason that their records are filled with ebullient passion.

The 30-year journey has not been an easy one for the Garbage members, who, not unexpectedly, had their share of differences. At one point in time, the group members had to face immense pressure due to meddling from their record label, which they say caused internal differences within the group. The problems were actually made public during the production of their Bleed Like Me album. Eventually, in 2005, the band members decided to cut short their concert tour and disband to focus on their individual career paths. However, they later regrouped to produce Not Your Kind of People, the fifth album, which was released in 2012 through Stunvolume Records, the band’s own independent label.

Establishing their own record label liberated Garbage from the constant corporate meddling that often plagues talented musicians. Taking control of their product enabled the band members to redefine their sound, which includes a mix of rock, pop, and electronic influences. In essence, by Garbage creating their own record label, they effectively shielded their members from outside interference, ultimately bringing the band members much closer together.

For Garbage’s lead member, Shirley Manson, the key to teamwork lies in appreciating the flaws in every member’s fragile personality. According to Spin, Manson believes that these are the times when everyone is desperate to look and sound perfect.

And problems arise when people fail to admit their faults and the mistakes they have made during their pursuit of perfection. The previous disbanding of Garbage was attributed to these attitude problems and ego hassles which made band members cross swords with each other.

One of the key factors for the eventual professional success of Garbage as a group is the ability of the team members to manage their egos. According to Rolling Stone, Garbage members have stopped focusing on expectations, results, and awards.

Currently, they just want to respect each other and produce beautiful music. The band has come to acknowledge the fact that even the shyest and quietest person harbors an ego which can, in some instances, be just as big as the loudest and most obnoxious person. Ultimately, a rock band survives if the ego of every member is managed, and everyone in the group has equal ego power. The Garbage band members have figured out the secret to working well with each other by learning to harness their ego power and balancing it with humility, which has allowed them to get over their differences and put the group first.

Time will tell as to whether fans, both old and new, will think that Garbage’s sixth album, Strange Little Birds, is as good or even better than their previous offerings.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.]