Exhibition of Expressionism in Lyrics of Garbage

Music is truly a subjective form of art. Shirley Manson, the vocalist of Garbage band displays this not only through her singing but mostly through the lyrics of her songs. There is a conspicuous poetic license in her lyrics, which she matches beautifully with the perfect cadence in her singing. The philosophy portrayed in her lyrics is nothing less than any literary work.

The wit and the humour in her lyrics make her songs all the more interesting. Shirley also uses symbols and metaphors very cleverly. The emotional angst in her songs is beautifully handled with an equally angry tone. The anger and frustration that one sees in Shirley’s lyrics are intrepidly presented.

There could be elements of masochism, which sometimes become the central theme of Shirley’s songs. In the song “I am only happy when it rains”; Shirley underplays the positive emotions and focuses on the negative emotions as though she is craving to have them all for herself. Rain in the song may suggest a  resignation to darkness and seeking to find pleasure in the imposed.

It is natural to not want to feel happy when people are drowned in problems, and Shirley supports this philosophy with undeniable depressive elements in her lyrics. At the very foundation of her lyrics and songs lie the basic human cravings for acceptance, self acceptance, acceptance of human dichotomies and a rejection of all these and more.


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