Song of the Day #1,363: ‘Hammering in My Head’ – Garbage

Best Albums of the 90s – #11
Version 2.0 – Garbage (1998)

Here’s another of those great sophomore albums that improves on already impressive debuts.

I was a casual Garbage fan based on their self-titled first album, a sultry blend of hard-edged alternative techno that introduced the criminally charismatic Shirley Manson to the world. But I wasn’t prepared for the adrenaline rush of their follow-up record, Version 2.0.

This album comes out of the gate on fire and doesn’t let up, each song building on the last both in intensity and pure ear candy value. Each track is more fun, sexy and dangerous than the last.

The momentum continues and reaches its peak with a one-two punch at the album’s center — starting with track six, today’s SOTD, and segueing to first single ‘Push It’ in one of the best song transitions I’ve heard. Only in the last four tracks does the album stumble a bit, with the final song living up to the album’s first half but the other three falling just short.

‘Hammering in My Head’ is my favorite song on Version 2.0. It feels, to quote its lyrics, like a bullet train from Tokyo to Los Angeles. I love its pulsating rhythms, its tempo changes, its “look, ma!” whiz-bang computer production.

But mostly I love Manson’s snarling, whispering vocal — her command to “sweat it all out” and her insistence, with which I would never argue, that she knew she was mine for the taking when she walked in the room.

I’m stressed but you’re freestyle
I’m overworked but I’m undersexed
I must be made of concrete
I sign my name across your chest

Give out the same old answers
I trot them out for the relatives
Company tried and tested
I use the ones that I love the best

Like an animal you’re moving over me
Like an animal you’re moving over me

When did I get perverted
I can’t remember your name
I’m growing introverted
You touch my hand and it’s not the same

This was so unexpected
I never thought I’d get caught
Play boomerang with your demons
Shoot to kill and you’ll pop them off
BANG! BANG!

Like an animal you’re moving over me
Like an animal you’re moving over me

You should be sleeping my love
Tell me what you’re dreaming of

I knew you were mine for the taking
I knew you were mine for the taking
I knew you were mine for the taking
When I walked in the room

I knew you were mine for the taking
I knew you were mine for the taking
Your eyes light up
When I walk in the room

A hammering in my head don’t stop
From the bullet train
From Tokyo to Los Angeles
I’m leaving you behind
A flash in the pan
A storm in a teacup
A needle in a haystack
A prize for the winning
A dead for the raising
A catch for the chasing
A jewel for the choosing
A man for the making in this blistering heat

Sweat it all out
Sweat it all out
With your bedroom eyes and your baby pouts
Sweat it all out
In our electric storms and our shifting sands
Our candy jars and our sticky hands

Sweat it all out

Don’t forget what I wrote you then
And don’t forget what I told you then
And don’t forget that I meant to win
And don’t forget your Ventolin
So a hammering in my head don’t stop
In the bullet train from Tokyo to Los Angeles

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,363: ‘Hammering in My Head’ – Garbage

  1. Dana says:

    I just am so not into this “hard-edged alternative techno” music generally It is interesting to me that it appeals to you as much as it seems to.

  2. Clay says:

    I’m not a fan of that style of music in general, but I’m definitely a fan of this band.

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