Single Review: Garbage “#1 Crush”

#1 Crush
Album: Romeo + Juliet Soundtrack
Year: 1997

Shirley Manson obsesses over a guy in the intense, sexually charged “#1 Crush.”

Manson groans in ecstasy in the opening of the single. A drum beats ambivalently in the background as she says she would sacrifice herself for the guy. For the longest time, she’s only wanted to feel his shoulder brush hers. The guitars seethe with jealousy. (“I would die for you/
I would die for you/I’ve been dying just to feel you by my side/To know that you’re mine.”)

She’s a Christ-like figure to him. She adds that she would weep for his losses in his life. Then, dissolve the negative emotions inside him with her salty tears. She would rid him of any apprehensiveness or hesitation. (“I will cry for you/I will cry for you/I will wash away your pain with all my tears/And drown your fear.”)

Manson sings some infatuated “ahh-ahhs” in the background, setting a unnerving, watchful tone.

The drums are more pronounced and impassioned with each beat in the second verse. She will set up an altar with his picture and candles. She will say a prayer for him each night. She views him as an innocent, child-like person. She’s willing to commit murder, steal, or villify whoever she has to in order to be his girlfriend. (“I will pray for you/I will pray for you/I will sell my soul for something pure and true/Someone like you.”)

To her, he’s with her all the time. He walks with her to the mall or the movies. He has a conversations with her. Although he avoids her, she will make herself known to him eventually and he will return her feelings. (“See your face every place that I walk in/Hear your voice every time I am talking/You will believe in me/And I will never be ignored.”)

Manson becomes desperate by the next verse. She will feel his pleasure and fall he makes. She will kill herself and rip her still beating, bloody apart as evidence of her love for him. (“I will burn for you/Feel pain for you/I will twist the knife and bleed my aching heart/I’ll tear it apart.”)

She pleads that she will commit his sins for him. She will debase herself until he realizes they are one and the same. (“I will lie for you/Beg and steal for you/I will crawl on hands and knees until you see/You’re just like me.”)

She wants him to abuse her love and be cruel to it. She begs for him to destroy her, as she is hurting from loving him afar. (“Violate all my love that I’m missing/Throw away all the pain that I’m living/You will believe in me/And I can never be ignored.”)

She lists some other things she would do for him, like take the blame for his crimes or cross oceans to get to him. It would mean she would be able to talk to him and spend time with him. She has faith in him and repeats she would sacrifice herself for him. (“I would die for you/I would kill for you/I will steal for you/I’d do time for you/I would wait for you/I’d sail ships for you/To be close to you/To be a part of you/’Cause I believe in you/I believe in you/I would die for you.”)

Manson accurately conveys obsession as how the character in the song would view herself. Manson is calm, believing her behavior is normal and not violent. She sees him as a deity to worship. According to her, he’s the perfect person. Any flaws would shake her. She sees him as only one way and if she does ever manage to get close, he has to fit her dreams. Or else.


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