Single Review: Garbage “Shut Your Mouth”

Shut Your Mouth
Album: beautifulgarbage
Year: 2002

When a couple has been going out for a long time. Extended family members then put on the pressure: “when are you going to get married?” Sometimes the couple eventually does, if their relationship goes in that direction. Then, after the wedding and the couple has had to start their lives, another question is being asked: “when are you going to have kids?”

Some couples may dance around the question and not really answer it to avoid it.However, if one half couple is in popular rock band, they may write a song about how much they hate being asked. In this case, it’s Shirley Manson and she’s telling those it’s her womb and she’ll mate when she wants to.

Her extended family has been welcoming. Although some have been polite, others have been nasty, and some want gossip published in the tabloids confirmed. Her husband’s family knows the rock star version of her and is only interested in that aspect of her life. They also want to know everything about her personal life with her husband. (“Welcome/We love you/We hate you…We want you/We need you/We wish we were like you/They say you’re a saint/You’re a whore/You’re a sinner/That he had you/He made you/He can’t live without you”).

She has her own press crew, awaiting the next chance to pounce. The tough question they are asking is: “when are you going to have kids?” They think she’s ready and should have one. (“Would you confess if we asked/That you nurture the urge/To declare that it’s time/To settle down/With a man of your own/You want a baby/A family/A piece of security”).

In the chorus, she tells them to stay out her buisness and not get hysterical (“Shut your mouth/Try not to panic/Just shut your mouth/If you can do it”).

Next, they start asking her about how she feels about religion and if she has morals. (“How do you feel about God and religion/Are you good people/Bad people/Guess it doesn’t matter people”). Her extended family wants her to be Shirley, the rock star not Shirley, the person. However, they’ve seen glimpses of her music videos but aren’t fans. They don’t like it at all. Manson and her husband really don’t care what they think. (“Make her bring that famous face/We know your music but of course we’d never buy it/It’s too fake man…We don’t give a f****** damn”).

She’s feeling the pressure from perhaps her agent or record to be Shirley Manson, lead singer of Garbage all the time. If she follows through, she could be a superstar. (“I hear you say it/Play it smart girl/Win the game love/Give’em what they want/What they want to see and you could be a big star/You could go far/Make a landmark/What have you been reading you smart girl?…make a landmark/make a shitload”).

She sees the world as full of hypocrites: people saying they are loving, noble individuals who live by their morals (“And the world spins by/With everybody moaning/Pissing, bitching and everyone is shitting/On their friends/On their love/On their oaths/On their honor/On their graves/On their mouths/And their words say nothing”).

Ultimately, she feels like her opinions are worthless when she shares them with her family, record label and people in general. (“I wanted to say something/Oh shut your mouth”).

Manson approaches the topic of being a celebrity without the whining. She sticks to personal issues which everyone can relate and talks about her experiences in general terms. “Shut Your Mouth” is what the album beautifulgarbage should’ve been: moody and authorative without a care of being the cool band of the moment.


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