Subhuman (Garbage song)

Subhuman (Garbage song)

Infobox Single
Name = Subhuman

Artist = Garbage
from Album =
B-side = "#1 Crush"
Released = August 7, 1995
Format = 7", CD maxi
Recorded = 1994 - 1995
Smart Studios,
Madison, Wisconsin
Genre = Alternative rock, Industrial,
Length = 4:36
Label = Mushroom Rercords
Writer = Garbage
Producer = Garbage
Reviews =
Last single = "Vow"
This single = "Subhuman"
Next single = "Only Happy When It Rains"
Misc = Extra album cover 2
Upper caption = Alternate cover
Type = Single

Lower caption = CD single cover

"Subhuman" is a song by alternative rock band Garbage, released as their second single in 1995, exclusively in the United Kingdom. Mushroom Records released the song commercially as they felt it was a strong single, having previously been a b-side to Garbage's debut single "Vow". ""Subhuman" sales notes, published by Mushroom Records, July 1995 (Retrieved 2008-02-05)"]

"Subhuman" was the first Garbage release to reach the U.K. Top 75. Until the release of "Tell Me Where It Hurts" in 2007, "Subhuman" was the last Garbage single not to reach the U.K. Top 40. ["Music Week", August 4, 2007 chart issue (Retrieved 2008-02-05)]

"Subhuman" was used to massively raise general awareness of the band without exhausting potential singles from the scheduled debut album "Garbage" and as an advertising campaign to brand the "G" logo by using plain white flyers, stickers, carrier bags, t-shirts and subway posters, all emblazoned with the band's "G" logo in black.

ong profile

"Subhuman" was written and recorded between March, 1994 and May, 1995 during sessions between band members Duke Erikson, Shirley Manson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig in either Marker's basement recording studio or at their own Smart Studios in Wisconsin university town Madison. ["Q" (issue 09/01/1996)" (Retrieved - 2008-02-05)] The band has kept the story behind the song ambiguous, although Erikson has said that the lyric "burn down all your idols", the first line of the song "pretty much sums it up". ["Duke Erikson, as quoted on "Modern Rock Live" (Retrieved 2008-06-30)]

ingle release

"Subhuman" was initially released as a b-side on international pressings of preceding single "Vow". Mushroom Records felt that "Subhuman" was a strong single, despite the song only ever being intended as a b-side. The marketing strategy behind the single was to use a limited edition release with special packaging, like they had with "Vow", to massively raise band awareness; and depending on radio airplay, a chart position within the Top 75. No music video for "Subhuman" was made, but instead Mushroom used the "Vow" promo video to promote the single.


On August 7, "Subhuman" was released on 7", and CD single featuring debut single "Vow" as a bonus track, for greater retail impact. The vinyl format for "Subhuman" was packaged in a black plasticised rubber wallet (the original idea had been to make the sleeve from Neoprene), and both formats were limited to 3,000 copies each. Both sold out within the week. ""Only Happy When It Rains" sell-in sheet, Mushroom, September 1995)" (Retrieved - 2008-02-05)]

"Subhuman" debuted at #50 in the U.K. chart. "Music Week", August 19, 1995 chart issue (Retrieved 2008-02-05)] Mushroom had produced an extra 2,000 copies of 7" in a simple black card sleeve in case of high demand if "Subhuman" had gotten into the Top 40. 1,000 of these made it into shops the following week, where it fell to #77.

The debut album, "Garbage", was released the following month, although the lead single was changed following the release of "Subhuman", from "Queer" to "Only Happy When It Rains". "Record Collector" #209" (Retrieved - 2008-02-05)]

"Subhuman" was included as a bonus track on Japanese pressings of "Garbage", while in Korea and Singapore, a limited two-disc edition of the album contained the track. From Nov 26, "Subhuman" was included on "Rare Track Collection", a five track compilation given away free in France with copies of "Garbage". In May 1998, "Subhuman" was included on "Independent Access", a CD sampler given away in Newbury Comics stores with copies of Garbage's second album "Version 2.0".


*UK 7" vinyl Mushroom S1138
*UK 7" vinyl Mushroom SX1138

# "Subhuman" - 4:36
# "#1 Crush" - 4:52

*UK CDS Mushroom D1138

# "Subhuman" - 4:36
# "#1 Crush" - 4:52
# "Vow" - 4:30


"Subhuman" was backed with "#1 Crush", which had also previously been a b-side on "Vow", as well as "Vow" itself on the CD. In 1996, a remix of "#1 Crush" by Nellee Hooper was released on the soundtrack to Baz Luhrman movie "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet". On January 4, 1997, "#1 Crush" reached #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, staying at the top for four weeks. It also reached #29 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart. cite web | url= | title=Single Chart History: Garbage | | accessdate=2008-02-05]

Critical reception

"Subhuman" received a mostly positive response from music critics. Both "Kerrang!" and "Melody Maker" rated it "Single of the Week", "Kerrang!" writing ""Subhuman" crunches along on a thrilling, all consuming electro-rhythm-from-hell. Totally distinctive and utterly brilliant" ["Kerrang!", Single reviews, August 5, 1995 issue (Retrieved 2008-02-05)] while "Melody maker" lengthily enthused "There are reminders of Curve, in the scowling, abrasive guitars, trussed down with a rubbery, mordantly funky rhythm programme. This is severely internal music, right inside your head, pulsing like a migraine, with Manson crowing like a dominatrix as she presides over some impending psychological breakdown". ["Melody Maker", Single reviews, August 12, 1995 issue (Retrieved 2008-02-05)] "Hot Press" described "Subhuman" as "hypnotic drum loops combined with a guitar overload in an industrial noise-feat", adding that it was "a great single". ["Hot Press", Single reviews, August 1995 issue (Retrieved 2008-02-05)] "Vox" were equally positive, writing "trashing a bloated, ego-fuelled but nameless icon, "Subhuman" is one of [Garbage's] darkest songs to date." ["Vox", Single reviews, August 1995 issue (Retrieved 2008-02-05)]

"NME" were severely critical of "Subhuman", stating that the single was a disappointing follow up to "Vow": "Garbage go and ruin it all by being hopelessly techno-gothic. The end result is a song plagued by its own earnestness... it more or less self-destructs." ["NME", Single reviews, August 5, 1995 issue (Retrieved 2008-02-05)]

Credits and Personnel

*Shirley Manson – vocals, guitar
*Steve Marker – guitars, bass, samples and loops
*Duke Erikson – guitars, keyboards, six-string and fuzz bass
*Butch Vig – drums, loops, noise and efx

*Written by Garbage
*Copyright 1995 Vibecrusher Music / Irving Music, Inc (BMI) / Deadarm Music (ASCAP)

*Recorded & produced by Garbage
*Recorded at Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin, USA
*Second engineer: Mike Zirkel
*Mastered: Howie Weinberg (Masterdisk)
*Editing & post production: Scott Hull (Masterdisk)

Comprehensive charts


External links

* [ Garbage official website]
* [ "Subhuman" lyrics]
* [ "Subhuman" release discography]

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