‘We are all fragile, unsure and scared but today’s pop robots ignore that’ says Garbage star Shirley Manson

Singer Shirley Manson has always been the ultimate indie poster girl. Since 1995 when Garbage released their debut, self-titled album and sold 4 million copies with hits such as Stupid Girl and Only Happy When It Rains the band made a huge mark in the male-dominated Britpop scene.

But the 47-year-old says today’s A-list pop stars are missing the vulnerability that often makes brilliant artists. 

“Those girls are geniuses at what they do,” Shirley says of the Beyonces, Gagas and Perrys.

“What is missing is all these women topping the charts right now are superhuman – they are like robots. They are built to be the biggest, most successful, most enduring, most alluring creatures out there. They are the greatest cheerleaders we will ever see. They are perfect.

“What I feel sad about is that the fragile don’t get to be heard,” she told Metro.

“Often the best music comes from those who are socially fragile. They are not the cheerleaders or the most popular, they are the weird little underdogs nobody noticed at school in the shadows.”

Shirley Manson

Shirley Manson performing earlier this year

"It's just the human existence," she adds.

"Aren't we all fragile? Unsure and scared? Don't we all get disappointed and broken-hearted. To ignore that is nutty and weird. 

"I'm often so shocked when I see a pop star go through something really dark," she adds. 

"Then they bring out their next record and there's not even a smudge on the page in testament to what they endured as a human being. To miss out on that moment is a squandering of your time."

Speaking about the grief she suffered herself after the death of her mum during a seven year break between the band's last two albums Shirley said: "There is always the high and always something horrific. 

"It was a dreadful time. My mother was dying and I felt incredibly helpless, like we all do when we lose a loved one. There's nothing you can do to stop the deterioration."

However, Shirley found solace in her role playing a robot in US Fox TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

"I loved it," she says. "I got to play an emotionless, powerful, destructive robot. I could go on set and literally annihilate the world. 'I'm in a s*** mood today so I am going to blast you out the water."

Talking about her time in Hollywood filming the show Shirley said she found the place's obsession with image and plastic surgery grotesque. "There's plastic surgery everywhere. You can go to lunch with somebody who looked one way and you speak to them again and they look completely different."

The band are kicking off a 20 Years Queer Tour in London on November 8 which the Edinburgh-native is feeling excited about.

"To come to this point in my life, with 20 years of being able to make records and going all over the world, is such an insane privilege so it feels like our peak of the first record in a funny way."

For tour dates and info visit

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