Androgyny (song)
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Androgyny Song
Single by Garbage
from the album Beautiful Garbage
"Begging Bone"
ReleasedSeptember 24, 2001
CD maxi, CD single
RecordedApril 2000-May 2001,
Smart Studios,
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
GenreAlternative rock, electronica, pop rock, funk
LabelMushroom Records UK
Interscope (North America)
Garbage singles chronology
"The World Is Not Enough"
"Cherry Lips"
Alternate cover
CD2 single cover
CD2 single cover
Alternative cover
12" single cover
12" single cover

"Androgyny" is a 2001 hybrid rock/pop/funk song released by alternative rock group Garbage as the lead single from their third studio album, Beautiful Garbage. Released worldwide in September 2001, "Androgyny" represented a shift in the group's style, overtly embracing current music elements into their repertoire.

While a moderate success in many markets across the globe, such as in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, promotion for "Androgyny" and its parent album were put on hold in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The mixed reaction from both critics and Garbage's fanbase to "Androgyny" also contributed to its underperformance on Garbage's home markets of the United Kingdom, where "Androgyny" stalled outside the top twenty, and in United States, where it failed to register on any Billboard charts.

Composition and recording

Garbage began the process of writing, recording and self-produced their third album in April 2000 at their own Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. The sessions for the record would last well into the following year; "Androgyny" becoming realised sometime in January 2001.[1] Garbage had been making rough mixes of their work, and had moved a chunk from one musical piece into another to create what would end up as "Androgyny".[2] A classical guitar part written for another song on the album, "Untouchable", was matched with a sparse drum machine pattern written for "Androgyny" during tracking stages. Although it sounded a little crude, the band felt that the piece had character; the band edited it with Pro Tools software and matched it with a synth melody.[3] "It's really three songs stuck together," guitarist Duke Erikson later recalled, "The way we do things is almost like Cubism. It's different viewpoints of the same thing, jammed together on the one canvas".[2]

The majority of the recorded work on Beautiful Garbage was to analog tracked through a Trident A Range mixing console; then fed into Pro Tools for recording overdubs, editing and mixing.[2] Originally the band had recorded a keyboard bassline during the verses; Daniel Shulman asked to perform organic bass on those parts instead. The band agreed; Shulman recorded those parts using a Fender Precision Bass Deluxe with the E String tuned down to D.[4] While Shirley Manson's main vocals were generally not treated to the extent that they had on Garbage's first two albums, a lot of her backing vocals were; on "Androgyny" each vocal track was EQ'd and treated differently.[2]

Single release

"Androgyny" received its world premiere radio broadcast on 9 August 2001 on Steve Lamacq's Evening Session on BBC Radio 1; this was followed up by pre-release broadcasts the next day on Nemone's Radio 1 show, and on Capital and XFM's breakfast shows.[5] "Androgyny" was officially serviced to UK radio on August 13.[5] "Androgyny" was C-listed at BBC Radio 1, Virgin, Red Dragon and Isle of Wight Radio.[5] XFM's Arthur Baker premiered the Felix Da Housecat remix of "Androgyny" on his show on August 19, while The Architechs remix premiered on the Dreem Team's Radio 1 show on August 26.[5] Both mixes were issued on 12" vinyl on August 20; the Felix Da Housecat mixes to nightclubs, while the Architechs remix was sent to specialist clubs.[5] The "Androgyny" music video premiered on both MTV UK and VH1 on September 10;[5] the following night's broadcast of the Mercury Music Prize event featured two teaser adverts during the commercial breaks to promote both "Androgyny" and Beautiful Garbage.[5] "Androgyny" was B-listed at Radio One.

Garbage spent a week in the United Kingdom to promote the single and album from September 17; recording a performance of "Androgyny" for Pepsi Chart Show, Top of The Pops and The Base to be broadcast after the single release.[5] Shirley Manson co-hosted the Steve Lamacq Show on September 19.[5] Garbage made their first live televised performance in nearly two years on September 22; performing "Androgyny" on cd:uk and the following day a live performance on T4 Popworld.[5]Mushroom Records UK issued "Androgyny" on September 24 on three formats; a 2×CD single set featuring "Begging Bone" and the Neptunes remix of "Androgyny" on either disc and a 12" vinyl featuring both the Felix Da Housecat and The Architechs remixes (which also featured across the CD singles). Woolworths made "Androgyny" its 'Single of the Week'.[5] "Androgyny" debuted at #24 on the UK Singles Chart, which was lower than any of the six singles Garbage released during the Version 2.0 album cycle.[6] "Androgyny" dipped to #52 the following week, before leaving the Top 75 altogether.[6]

In North America, Interscope scheduled "Androgyny" for impact on Modern Rock, Hot A/C, Mainstream Top 40, Adult Top 40 and AAA format radio from August 27.[7] The single received early play from Star 94 in Atlanta, Q102 in Cincinnati, KALC in Denver, KRBZ in Kansas City and Chicago's WXRT, and major support from KKMR in Dallas.[7] "Androgyny" then became the #1 'Most Added' track at Mainstream Top 40, Adult Top 40 and AAA.[7] The music video for "Androgyny" was premiered on both VH1 and MTV on September 10, while a remix of "Androgyny" by The Neptunes, a production duo consisting of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, was serviced to clubs.[8] Further plans for a remix of "Androgyny" by Missy Elliott were discussed.[9] Interscope partnered with Yahoo! Messenger to promote the release of "Androgyny" around the launch of their new instant messenger initiative termed IMVironments that allowed users to play music and Flash Video clips inside the IM window. Users were able to correspond within a Garbage-themed environment that included the "Androgyny" audio, a Flash montage of the band, a hyperlink to to view the "Androgyny" video and a link to Yahoo! Music to purchase the new album.[10]

To set up the release of both "Androgyny" and Beautiful Garbage, PIAS France serviced the video for "Androgyny" to music stations on September 13;[11] "Androgyny" was playlisted by radio stations Europe 1, Europe 2, RTL, France Inter, Ouï FM, Sud Radio, FIP, WIT FM, Alouette FM, Le Moev' and Couleur 3, and by music channels MCM and MTV France, with specials broadcast by France 3 and M6[11] PIAS Germany serviced the music video to stations where it was playlisted by RTL II, VIVA, VIVA2, MTV Central and; "Androgyny" was also well received by German radio, where it peaked at #57 on their airplay chart.[12] On September 24, PIAS released a maxi CD featuring "Androgyny", Felix da Housecat and the Architech's remixes of "Androgyny", and "Begging Bone" across Europe. In some countries such as Netherlands and Italy, PIAS also issued a two-track CD single featuring the Felix da Housecat remix on the b-side; PIAS France imported the 12" single from the UK to distribute to national music stores.

For the release of "Androgyny" in Australia, FMR set a radio premiere date of August 24 across the two countries, confident from early album previews across airplay formats that the single would potentially receive massive radio support.[13] "Androgyny" became Garbage's first Top 10 Airplay hit in Australia.[14] The physical single was released on September 24 as a maxi single featuring "Begging Bone", and the two Felix da Housecat and The Architechs remixes.[13] "Androgyny" charted at #21 on the ARIA Charts[15] and at #36 on the RIANZ singles chart.[16] "Androgyny" stayed on the Australian chart for seven weeks,[15] and on the New Zealand chart for thirteen, eventually rising to #17 on its eleventh week.[16]

Unlike the subsequent singles from the album. "Androgyny" was only performed on a regular basis during the band's Beautiful Garbage World Tour, not reappearing in the setlist until the band's Strange Little Birds tour fifteen years later. Before the performance of the song in Charlotte, North Carolina, Manson prefaced the song by condemning the controversial Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act that was being deliberated in the state at the time.[17]

Track listings

Music video

An androgynous Shirley Manson in the "Androgyny" video.

The music video for "Androgyny" was directed by Don Cameron over a three-day London studio shoot commencing August 20, 2001.[5] The video was produced by Tsunami/Method Films and its visual effects overseen by Smoke & Mirrors. Collaborating on the music video were top hair / make-up / stylists, British '60s airbrush artist Peter Barry and digital matte artists.[18]

The concept for the "Androgyny" music video sought to redefine Shirley Manson as a fashion icon.[18] Cameron framed Manson's on-screen performance and the bands' cameos in several graphic art directed environments, as well as placing the band within a cast setting for the first time: interspersed throughout the video is footage of multiple fashionable twenty-somethings seen swapping clothes and kisses in a public restroom as the band look on. Cameron also used post effects to make Manson appear as a visualization of androgyny.[18] Clothing chosen by stylist were from Martine Sitbon, Benjamin Cho, Richard Saenz, and undisclosed designers.

The creation of the "Androgyny" video involved the design of four different and individual effects.[19] The opening section of the video presented Manson in a similar style of the classic Vladimir Tretchikoff Balinese girl paintings, created using matte painting and green screen. The footage was heavily treated and combined with multiple layers of painted elements to give Manson porcelain-like skin that is characteristic of Tretchikoff's work.[19] The second section of the video that involves the use of CGI featured Manson dressed half in a man's suit and half in a women's suit; as Manson rotates on a turning pedestal, elements of her body and clothing morph.[19]

The limousine sequence, where Manson is seen chauffeuring a young couple down a stylised freeway, involved filming multiple motion control passes and painted/keyed elements. Motion control data was manipulated in post-production to remove the reflections of the set and creating reflections of the street lights and cityscape.[19] The final sequence sees Manson performing in front of a city backdrop; this involved multiple layers of matte painted elements to create.[19]

The music video began airing across Europe and North America on September 10, 2001.[8] Music station VH1 paired its broadcasts of "Androgyny" with the band's earlier single "Only Happy When it Rains". In 2002, a QuickTime format of the "Androgyny" video was included on a promotional sampler CD-ROM titled Garbage:Sampler, given away by Mushroom Records UK in conjunction with The Sun newspaper and Asda supermarket.[20]


A screenshot of the offline version of the "Androgyny" mixer.

The CD format of Beautiful Garbage contained an enhanced element where users could remix four tracks from the album, of which "Androgyny" was one of. Created in conjunction with Sonic Foundry, using a customized version of their drag-and-drop ACID Pro music sequencer software, the remixes utilized samples and loops taken directly from the actual songs. The enhanced section could be accessed when the user was online; a simplified version of the software featuring only "Androgyny" loops was accessible when the user was offline.[5] The offline 'soundtoy' featuring "Androgyny" loops and samples was later included on the Garbage:Sampler CD-ROM.[20]

Interscope Records and Sonic Foundry launched a competition in November 2001, in which fans were invited to remix "Androgyny" by downloading free ACID Xpress software. Entrants could then upload their work to a specially created website ( to stream their mixes online.[21] The winner received copies of Sonic Foundry's ACID Pro 3.0, Sound Forge 5.0, Vegas Audio 2.0, and five loop libraries.[21]

Track title Length Remixer/producer Commercial release
"Androgyny" (The Architechs dub) 5:04 The Architechs No
"Androgyny" (The Architechs remix) 4:59 Yes
"Androgyny" (The Neptunes remix) 3:18 The Neptunes Yes
"Androgyny" (Thee Drum Drum mix) 4:35 Felix Da Housecat Yes
"Androgyny" (Thee Glitz mix) 6:09 Yes

In 2007, Felix da Housecat's "Thee Glitz mix" of "Androgyny" was remastered and included on the bonus disc of Garbage's greatest hits album Absolute Garbage.[22] The remix was included on the 2003 2 Many DJs landmark mashup album As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2.

Critical reception

"Androgyny" was met with mixed reception upon its late 2001 release. Kerrang!'s Dom Lawson described it as "pretty collides with sterile" and "glistening";[23]Q's Paul Elliot wrote ""Androgyny"s R&B stutter evokes Destiny's Child, essentially pop, but not without depth"; a reviewer for Heat claimed ""Androgyny" is a bewitching record, pirouetting between pop, rock and funk".

Release history

Release Date Territory Record Label Format
Aug 13th, 2001 United Kingdom Mushroom Records UK Airplay
Aug 24th, 2001 Australia Festival Mushroom Records
Aug 27th, 2001 Canada Universal Music Canada
United States Interscope Modern Rock, Hot A/C, AAA,
Mainstream & Adult Top 40
c. August, 2001 Mexico Universal Airplay
South America
Sept 19th, 2001 Japan Sony Music Int'l CD maxi
Sept 24th, 2001 United Kingdom Mushroom Records UK 12" vinyl, 2×CD single set
Western Europe PIAS Recordings 12" vinyl, CD maxi, CD single
Eastern Europe BMG CD maxi
Australia Festival Mushroom Records
New Zealand
South Africa David Gresham Records


Chart (2001) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[15] 21
Belgium (Flanders) Ultratip 50 (GfK)[24] 10
Belgium (Wallonia) GfK Ultratip 50 (GfK)[25] 5
Canada Singles (SoundScan)[26] 19
Germany (Media Control)[27] 93
Ireland (IRMA)[28] 39
Italy (FIMI)[29] 35
Netherlands Single Top 100 (GfK)[30] 71
New Zealand (RIANZ)[16] 17
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[31] 22
Spain (AFYVE)[32] 11
Sweden Sverigetopplistan (SRIA)[33] 54
Switzerland Singles Top 100 (Media Control)[34] 67
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[35] 24
UK Indie (Official Charts Company)[36] 5


  1. ^ "01.15.01 STUDIO DIARY #30". Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b c d "Recording Beautiful Garbage", Sound on Sound, June 2002 issue
  3. ^ "Garbage: Steve Marker & Duke Erikson cut the crap", Guitar Player, January 2002 issue
  4. ^ "Daniel Shulman on Garbage's Beautiful Garbage", Bass Player, March 2002 issue.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Mushroom Records UK Beautiful Garbage & "Androgyny" promotion, marketing, tools and schedule campaign itinerary, published Sept 2001
  6. ^ a b Q, "Garbage: Slipping Away, November 2001 issue
  7. ^ a b c "Androgyny" trade advertisement, published by Hits magazine, on behalf of Interscope Records.
  8. ^ a b Beautiful Garbage Point-of-Sale brochure, published by Interscope, 2001
  9. ^ "Missy and Manson Team Up", NME magazine, as quoted by Butch Vig, Sept 2001
  10. ^ IMS: The New Promo Fad, issue November 10th, 2001. Billboard magazine, reproduced on Google Books. Retrieved .
  11. ^ a b "Artistes & Musiques: L'album: BeautifulGarbage", MusiqueInfo, September issue
  12. ^ "Garbage: The New Single Cherry Lips" marketing brochure, published by PIAS Germany/Disconnected, November 2001
  13. ^ a b Beautiful Garbage Point-of-Sale brochure, published by Festival Mushroom
  14. ^ "Breaking Up The Girl" Point-of-Sale brochure, published by Festival Mushroom, 2002
  15. ^ a b c ""Androgyny" - Garbage". Archived from the original on 2012-09-27. Retrieved .
  16. ^ a b c ""Androgyny" - Garbage". Charts.Org.Nz. Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. Retrieved .
  17. ^ "Garbage: Androgyny LIVE in Charlotte 2016-07-23". Youtube. Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ a b c "Garbage - Androgyny". Archived from the original on 2010-12-24. Retrieved .
  19. ^ a b c d e ""Garbage "Androgyny" August 2001"". Archived from the original on 2009-08-21. Retrieved .
  20. ^ a b The Sun, issue dated February 1, 2002
  21. ^ a b "The Contest". Archived from the original on 2002-06-07. Retrieved .
  22. ^ "New Best Of Album". Archived from the original on 2009-06-20. Retrieved .
  23. ^ "Garbage: Beautiful Album Revealed, Kerrang! magazine, July 2001
  24. ^ "Flanders: Utratip 50, dated october 20th, 2001". Retrieved .
  25. ^ "Wallonia Utratip 50, dated october 20th, 2001". Retrieved .
  26. ^ Canada Singles chart, issue October 27th, 2001). neilsen SoundScan, via Billboard magazine, reproduced on Google Books. Retrieved .
  27. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet (Garbage - Androgyny)". Retrieved .
  28. ^ ""Androgyny" - Garbage". Retrieved .
  29. ^ "Indice per Interprete: G". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved .
  30. ^ ""Androgyny" - Garbage". Retrieved .
  31. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Chart Top 100; 30 September 2001 - 06 October 2001". Official Charts Company. Retrieved .
  32. ^ Sólo éxitos. Año a año. 1959-2002, by Fernando Salaverri, published by the Foundation Author of the General Society of Authors and Editores (SGAE), 2002
  33. ^ ""Androgyny" - Garbage". Retrieved .
  34. ^ ""Androgyny" - Garbage". Retrieved .
  35. ^ "TOP 40 OFFICIAL UK SINGLES ARCHIVE (6th October 2001)". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved .
  36. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 21, 2018.

External links

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