Stupid Girl (Garbage song)

Stupid Girl (Garbage song)

Infobox Single
Name = Stupid Girl

Artist = Garbage
from Album = Garbage
B-side = "Driving Lesson"
"Alien Sex Fiend"
Released = February 28, 1996 (Europe)
March 11, 1996 (UK)
May 25, 1996 (U.S.)
Format = 7", 12",
CD maxi, cassette single
Recorded = 1994 - 1995
Smart Studios,
Madison, Wisconsin
Genre = Alternative rock
Length = 4:18
Label = Mushroom (Worldwide)
Almo Sounds (North America)
Writer = Garbage, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon
Producer = Garbage
Reviews =
Last single = "Queer"
This single = "Stupid Girl"
Next single = "Milk"
Misc = Extra album cover 2
Upper caption = Alternate cover
Type = Single

Lower caption = International CD2 cover

"Stupid Girl" is a song by Garbage, released as a single in 1996, taken from their 1995 self-titled debut album. It became Garbage's highest charting single in many territories, including in the US Billboard Hot 100 and in the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at #4. It's success was driven by an innovative music video and cutting-edge remixes which gained massive airplay across the world.

The success of "Stupid Girl" propelled sales of parent album "Garbage" into the top twenty of the Billboard 200 and into the UK Albums Chart top ten. In 1997 the song was nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group.

Written by Garbage members Duke Erikson, Shirley Manson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig, the song is based upon a drum sample from The Clash's 1980 hit "Train in Vain", whose writers Joe Strummer and Mick Jones were given a co-writing credit for the song.

In 2007, "Stupid Girl" was remastered and included on Garbage's greatest hits album "Absolute Garbage".cite web|url=| title="New Best Of Album"|publisher=""|accessdate=2008-02-05]


"Stupid Girl" began as a rough demo in January 1994, during sessions between Vig, Erikson and Marker in Marker's basement recording studio in Madison, Wisconsin. ["Q" (issue 09/01/1996)" (Retrieved - 2008-02-05)] The band had been jamming with numerous instruments, an eight-track and samplers. Marker created the bassline, while Erikson wrote a jangly guitar riff, reminiscent of the guitar signature from Pink Floyd's 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'. The whole song came together when Vig brought both parts together over a drum sample from The Clash's "Train In Vain"." "Stupid Girl", "Kerrang!", November, 2002 issue (retrieved 2008-02-25)] The song also conains an uncredited sample from Orange Crush by R.E.M, which can especially be heard in the Todd Terry remix.

After Marker saw Manson's group Angelfish on "120 Minutes", the band invited her to Vig and Marker's Smart Studios to sing on a couple of tracks. After a dreadful first audition, she returned to Angelfish."Garbage: Behind The Music", VH1, aired March 31, 2002"(Retrieved - 2008-02-05)] Manson eventually returned to Smart for a successful second time, where she began to work on the then-skeletal "Queer", "Vow" and "Stupid Girl" [""Modern Life Is Rubbish", "Melody Maker" magazine, March 18, 1995 issue (Retrieved 2008-02-05)] Working on the lyrics, "Stupid Girl" became an "anthem for a girl who won't settle for less than what she wants". ["Shirley Manson, as quoted in "Stupid Girl" press release, Mushroom Records, January 1996. Retrieved 2008-02-25]

Additional percussion is performed by Pauli Ryan, and bass guitar by Mike Kashou. ["Garbage" sleeve credits]

Reflecting on the success of the song in 2002, Butch Vig admitted: "People still ask us who the "Stupid Girl" is, and that's impossible to answer. The song is sort of meant to be a wake up call. It could be about an ex-girlfriend. It could be about a rock diva that we all know, it could be about your sister. It could also be called "Stupid Boy".

ingle release

"Stupid Girl" was first released in Australia and New Zealand as a two-part CD single set. Spread across both formats were "Queer" remixes and studio tracks "Trip My Wire" and "Butterfly Collector", b-sides previously included on the U.K. release of "Queer".citeweb | url= | title="Garbage : "Queer" discography" | | accessdate=2008-02-26] The single charts at #47 in Australia and #32 in New Zealand. A commercial release across Europe followed on February 28,""Stupid Girl" music video press release (February 1996)" (Retrieved - 2008-01-28)] on a single CD maxi format, with both "Queer" b-sides.citeweb | url= | title="Garbage: "Stupid Girl" discography" | | accessdate=2008-02-26]

The release of "Stupid Girl" in the UK was scheduled for March 11 to support Garbage's first headline U.K. tour.cite web | url= | title=1996 Setlists | | accessdate=2008-01-28] "Stupid Girl" received massive pre-release video and radio airplay (A-listed at Radio One, Virgin and Capital), reaching #5 in the UK Airplay chart."beautifulgarbage" promotional history press release" (Retrieved - 2008-01-28)] Garbage also performed "Stupid Girl" live on "Top of The Pops" and "TFI Friday" (along with a performance of "Only Happy When It Rains").

Continuing their theme of special edition 7" vinyl releases, Mushroom chose to release the "Stupid Girl" vinyl in a fabric sleeve. Two colours, red and blue, were released, each with a plastic "G" logo stitched on the front. This vinyl was limited to 10,000 copies. The CD single release was a two disc set, featuring b-sides "Driving Lesson", "Alien Sex Fiend", a Garbage remix of "Dog New Tricks" and remixes of "Stupid Girl" by Red Snapper and Dreadzone."Record Collector" #209" (Retrieved - 2008-02-06)] "Stupid Girl" debuted at #4, the band's first UK top 10 hit, spending two weeks in the top ten and seven weeks in the top 75, selling 135,000 copies. [""Top 200 of 1996", "Music Week", issue dated Jan 4, 1997] On the back of the success of the single and tour, "Garbage" reached the top 10, peaking at #6.

, guaranteeing heavy airplay.""Hits" (Stupid Girl trade ad)"" | (Retrieved - 2007-05-15)]

The album, "Garbage", ascended the Billboard 200 as the success of the single saw its sales increase, and on July 30 it was certified platinum for 1,000,000 sales.cite web | url= | title=Gold & Platinum searchable database | | accessdate=2007-05-14] "Garbage" peaked at #20 on the Billboard 200, and "Stupid Girl" reached a peak of #24 in September. Its remixes made it a substantial hit at #5 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. Garbage performed "Stupid Girl" at the VH1 Fashion Awards, which made headlines when Manson suffered a "wardrobe malfunction".

"Stupid Girl" was released in France in August, as Garbage returned to Europe to perform at rock festivals, reaching #36, becoming their first hit there. The single was also re-released in Germany featuring an exclusive radio edit by Oliver Sitl. An Remix E.P. was released in Australia and New Zealand, featuring the Dreadzone and Red Snapper mixes, and "Alien Sex Fiend"

In 2005, "Stupid Girl" was featured as the theme song to Curtis Hanson's "In Her Shoes" [citeweb | url= | title=Soundtracks forIn Her Shoes (2005) | publisher=Internet Movie Database | accessdate=2008-02-26] while later that year, Alexz Johnson recorded a cover version of the track for her album "Songs from Instant Star". [citeweb | url= | title="Instant Star" TV Series soundtrack | | accessdate=2008-02-26]

Music and structure


On the intro, four bars set the rhythm, adorned by only a guitar pick-slide and audio effects. The verse adds Manson's vocals and a bass riff which uses flattened blues notes to give "Stupid Girl" an R'n'B feel. The eight-bar prechorus abruptly cuts in with minor chords and sampled feedback replaces the bass which drops out. This, coupled with Manson singing high in her range, creates tension and enables the presence of the bass to be felt when it re-enters on the chorus. The guitar figures in the bridge include a phrase played low and rhythmic guitar stabs on the opposite side of the audio mix. On the chorus, Manson's main vocal is answered by an "aah-ah" of voice and guitar together. The word "girl" lands on a flattened bass note (A against the F# chord, instead of A#). [""Stupid Girl": How the Garbage hit single is constructed", The Band, May 1998. Retrieved 2008-02-25]

Music video

, the band's third video in a row to be guaranteed heavy airplay on the network.

The video for "Stupid Girl" is a performance piece, inspired by the title sequence from David Fincher's 1995 movie "Se7en".cite web|url=| title="Australian Tour 1996"|publisher="Alternative Melbourne" (Written by Carmine Pascuzzi, reproduced @ |accessdate=2008-02-10] The clip was shot in just four hours entirely within a warehouse. Bayer cut the film into pieces, and soaked it in his bath, applying deliberate fingerprints and abrasions to the footage before putting it back together by hand.2008-02-05)] Bayer later re-edited a second version of the video, with alternative footage from the original shoot for a remix version of "Stupid Girl" by Todd Terry. ["Thirty Frames Per Second: The Visionary Art of the Music Video", written by Steve Reiss and Neil Feineman, published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc,. Publishers ISBN 0-8019-4357-3 (accessed 2008-02-25)]

The "Stupid Girl" video was first commercially released on VHS and Video-CD on 1996's "Garbage Video", along with "making of" out-take footage.""The Screens Are Full of Garbage", "Melody Maker", issue dated December 7, 1996" (Retrieved - 2008-02-05] A remastered version was later included on Garbage's 2007 greatest hits DVD "Absolute Garbage".


Garbage recorded a number of tracks in January 1996 during rehearsals for their first full-length concert tour. [""The Bin Crowd", "Guitarist" magazine, May 1996 issue (Retrieved 2008-02-25)] During the rehearsals, Garbage remixed their own "Dog New Tricks", from "Garbage",2008-02-25)] and record "Driving Lesson", "Alien Sex Fiend" and "Kick My Ass", a Vic Chesnutt cover for inclusion on "Sweet Relief II: The Gravity of the Situation". [citeweb | url= | title="Various Artists "Sweet Relief II: Gravity Of The Situation" | publisher="Rolling Stone"| accessdate=2008-02-26] Daniel Shulman plays bass on all four tracks. ["Stupid Girl" and "The Gravity of the Situation" sleeve credits]

On October 14, 1998, Garbage, Electronic Arts and would promote a live webcast from Garbage's headline show at Dallas Bronco Bowl by offering a free digital download of "Driving Lesson". The song registered over 6,000 downloads.

Official remixes

For the initial single release of "Stupid Girl", remixes were commissioned from Dreadzone, who completed two mixes and Red Snapper. All three versions appeared on the CD singles for "Stupid Girl" (the Red Snapper remix also appeared on European release of "Only Happy When It Rains"). [citeweb | url= | title="Garbage: "Only Happy When It Rains" discography" | | accessdate=2008-02-26] An instrumental version of the Red Snapper remix was later released on the compilation "Big Beat Elite". [citeweb | url=
title="Various: "Big Beat Elite") | | accessdate=2008-02-25

For the U.S. release of "Stupid Girl", the song was remixed for clubs by Danny Saber, Rabbit in the Moon ("Future Retro mix") and Jason Bentley, Bruno Guez and Blue ("Shoegazer mix"). Todd Terry completed two remixes for club play ("Freeze Club" and "In-House Dub") while his "Tee's Radio mix" was released to Top 40 radio. Both this remix and Danny Saber's were later released internationally on "Milk". [citeweb | url= | title="Garbage: "Milk" discography" | | accessdate=2008-02-26]

Red Snapper and Danny Saber's remixes were then used on "Garbage Video", while two additional remixes from Todd Terry ("Bonus Beats" and "Capella") were released in 1997 on the "Stupid Girl Remixes" 12" in the U.K. In 2007, Todd Terry's radio mix was remastered and included on the "Absolute Garbage" bonus disc "Garbage Mixes".

Critical reception

"Stupid Girl" received an overwhelmingly positive response from music critics both upon the release of "Garbage" and on its eventual single release. "Select"s Ian Harrison called the song "Duran-like, describing it as "mighty doomy pop neatly tailored to enhance one's natural discontentment", ["Garbage" review, "Select, October 1995 issue (retrieved 2008-02-25)] "Vox" magazine's Craig McLean called it "malignant, dirty, devious, sneering pop", ["Garbage" review, "Vox, October 1995 issue (retrieved 2008-02-25)] , while "Metal Hammer"'s Pippa Lang compared Manson's "ever-so-sexy, sibilant" vocals to Trent Reznor's. ["Garbage" review, "Metal Hammer", October 1995 issue (retrieved 2008-02-25)] "Kerrang!" described "Stupid Girl" as "a classy piece of predatory pop perfection that wields an iron punch beneath it's velvet glove".

In addition to its Grammy nominations for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, in 1996, "Stupid Girl" was also nominated for a Danish Grammy for Best Rock Song,cite web | url= | title=Garbage Fast Facts | | accessdate=2008-02-25] an MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist [cite web|url=| title="1996 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS"|publisher=""|accessdate=2008-02-18] and an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Rock Song. ["Version 2.0" press release, May 1998, published by Mushroom Records. Retrieved 2008-02-25] In 1998, "Stupid Girl" won a Best Pop award by Broadcast Music Incorporated. [citeweb | url=
title="Stupid Girl" (Legal Title) | | accessdate=2008-02-25
] The song was ranked at number 405 in Blender magazine's "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born".

Comprehensive charts


External links

* [ Garbage official website]
* [ / "Stupid Girl" video] at YouTube
* [ / "Stupid Girl (Remix)" video] at YouTube
* [ "Stupid Girl" lyrics]

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