Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Two of a Kind

I have always loved bands like Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Janis Joplin, Bangles, Cranberries. I think it's something to do with the women in the bands - they were very spunky and gutsy.

Two ladies burst into the music scene in 1995. Both of them were lead singers of their bands. Their music a blend of hip-hop, techno, rock and blues. They were both very pretty. They were also very good songwriters. I am talking about Gwen Stefani and Shirley Manson, of bands No Doubt and Garbage.

The two were very different too. Garbage had a dark, doleful sound to them with songs like Stupid Girl, I Think I Am Paranoid, Queer. Manson also looked that way - with all the dark eyeliner around the melancholic eyes (She had a very troubled childhood it seems - something about being skinny and having no confidence).

No Doubt was more chirpy sounding with Just a Girl, Sunday Morning (Though there was underlying sadness in a couple of their songs of the breakup of a seven year relationship between Gwen and Tony Kanal - the band's bassist - most audible in the song Don't Speak). Their videos also were bright and colourful with Gwen in trackpants or lively frocks.

Spiderwebs was the first No Doubt song I heard and Happy When it Rains formed my introduction to Garbage. Somehow I have always associated one with the other since the very first time I heard them - like Tom and Jerry - You can't think of Tom without Jerry intruding your thoughts and vice versa.

Garbage had two successful albums - Garbage and Version 2.0. I liked both equally but I tend to lean towards their second album. I feel that the band were at the top of their form then. Garbage's drummer Butch Vig is also a record producer and was behind Nirvana's Nevermind success! He has also produced albums for Smashing Pumpkins and Soul Asylum (Runaway Train!) among others. He was also the one who spotted and inducted Manson into the band. Garbage came out with the title song for the James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough. Their later albums didn't go down well with me. I didn't like the songs too much and more importantly Manson had her hair sheared and dyed. That was such a bummer. I hear that Manson might come out with a solo album soon. I hope she lets her hair grow back by then.

No Doubt did extremely well with Tragic Kingdom and Rock Steady. Their second album Return of Saturn did ok (Gwen turned thirty that year. The planet Saturn takes thirty years to complete one revolution around the sun - thats heavy trivia!). Gwen was well known for the way she carried herself, for the clothes she wore, for style. She popularised the bindhi. She wears one in most of her videos. She came out with her solo album in 2004 - Love, Angel, Music, Baby. The songs are nice (Hollaback Girl, Cool) but I like her more for her No Doubt days - before her L.A.M.B clothing line and fashion dolls days. Seems that the band might get together and come out with an album next year. I can't wait to lay my ears on it.

Been a while since I have been able to do any associating - at least not pairing that happens subconsciously. Alanis Morisette and Sheryl Crow? Madonna and Kylie? Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey? Can't think of any in this century - Avril Lavinge and Pink maybe? None of them match up to Manson and Gwen, not for me.


Anonymous said...

no doubt -that was one cool
(no-)garbage dude!!

Nigel said...

now that im browsing this article agin, how about
Hillarry Duff & Avril? - Sugar'n'spice if u ask me ;)