Massive hooks plus escalating beats plus one neo-vamp lead singer equals perfect pop-rock -- a simple equation, really. There's no question that Garbage's self-titled debut was a sterling example of the genre, but as smart, sexy and confident as "Garbage" was, it flirted with the dangers of "perfect" pop -- that songs written on a proven formula will be so polished that their sheen blinds and repels.
Garbage's spiritless, clinical follow-up, "Version 2.0," betrays the fact that three-quarters of Garbage are former producers (hint: not vocalist Shirley Manson). Only the songs "Push It" and "The Trick is to Keep Breathing" -- the only tracks on the album with any vigor -- use diva-nonpareil Manson's voice to good effect.
Mathematics and music may spark the same regions of the brain, but music isn't math.