“The Men Who Rule the World” by Garbage

The overall project this track is featured on, which is entitled “No Gods No Masters”, is meant so serve as a criticism of capitalism and what have you. And in the current age, such critiques are often imbued with attacks against the male power structure, i.e. the fact that “men… rule the world”. Or put differently the rulers of most nations are in fact male. 

So Garbage asserts that it is they who made the world into the “f***ing mess” we know it as today.

And this is one of those kinds of songs where, aside from bluntly dissing the male power structure, nothing is really said directly. But reading in between the lines, we are able the ascertain some of the prevailing issues which Garbage is attributing to them.


First, as implied by the chorus and highlighted during the first half of the second verse, is the idea that they’re greedy in the name of “self-preservation”, i.e. bilking the people in the name of keeping themselves rich and powerful. 

"The Men Who Rule the World" Lyrics

And the third verse centers on environmental concerns, implying that these same individuals are responsible for the massive ecological degradation we have witnessed in modern times. And basically, all of their unfavorable behaviors towards mankind are boiled down to the powers that be’s lust for cash. 

After all is said and done, Garbage seemingly concludes the track by expressing a hatred for these ‘violators’, as well as a desire to “destroy” them.

But at the end of the day, as with other musicians who tend to drop songs like these, Garbage isn’t likely to do anything effectual in terms of confronting the world’s power structure. No matter how hot-tempered songs like this may be, no pop artist is going to lead a revolution against the man. 

Moreover these types of tunes, where we may be feeling some of the sentiments contained therein, tend to be somewhat overly-simplistic in their approach. For instance, instead of indirectly putting the onus on govvie and big business to effect environmental change while concurrently acknowledging that they are not likely to do so, we as individuals can do our own part in terms of trying to preserve the ecology.

But still, we get where Garbage is coming from. There really are some serious issues to be addressed in terms of how the world is being run. 

A Recent Surge in Artists Attacking The Powers That Be

Today it’s sort of the order of the day to attack the male-centric capitalist power structure. Verily, we have borne witness to quite a few other artists express similar sentiments in recent times. 

So it’ll be interesting to see how the band deals with this issue, as in whether or not they’re able to bring a fresh spin to them, throughout the rest of the No Gods No Masters album.

Garbage's Shirley Manson discusses "The Men Who Rule the World"
The music video to this track, which is an animated affair, was directed by Javi.MiAmor, a visual artist from Chile.

When was “The Men Who Rule the World” released?

This track came out on 30 March 2021 as part of “No Gods No Masters”, Garbage’s seventh-studio album and ninth overall.


Garbage is a band that really established itself with their first album, the self-titled Garbage (1995), which into the 21st century remains their most-successful full-length. For instance, it was certified double-platinum in the US, UK and Australia, in addition to selling over 4,000,000 copies worldwide.

And as far as singles go, Garbage did experience a handful of hits during the aughts. But as it stands now their heyday was definitely during the 1990s as their second album, “Version 2.0”, performed somewhat similarly to “Garbage”. Some of their best-received/signature songs includes the likes of:

  • “Only Happy When It Rains” (1995)
  • “Stupid Girl” (1996)
  • “Push It” (1998)
  • “Special” (1998)

Garbage is a four-member outfit that formed way back in 1993, with their membership remaining consistent throughout. And said membership consists of two guitarists, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker, drummer Butch Vig and frontwoman Shirley Manson. And it is also those four artists who are credited with writing “The Men Who Rule the World”.

They are also acknowledged as the track’s producer, though collectively under the Garbage moniker. And in that regard they worked alongside Billy Bush.

"The Men Who Rule the World"

Was “The Men Who Rule the World” a single release?

Yes, it was. Garbage actually released it as the album’s first single. It was followed by the album’s title track.

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