"Empty" may not be reinventing the wheel, but at least Garbage are making quality alt-rock that stands on its own two feet instead of drowning in its influences.
Emmanuel Elone: Normally, I can't stand grunge and alternative rock music nowadays, since many of the songs are merely clones or bad copycats of '90s acts like Alice in Chains and Nirvana. However, "Empty" is an exception in this case. The percussion and guitars are punchy and pulsing, making up somewhat for the uninspired, elementary songwriting on the verses and chorus. Moreover, the lead vocalist has a great voice as well, with a clean tone that's full of passion and doesn't need to be muffled to convey the emptiness depicted in the lyrics. "Empty" may not be reinventing the wheel, but at least Garbage are making quality alt-rock that stands on its own two feet instead of drowning in its influences. [7/10]
John Garratt: I swear that Garbage is just hanging around out of obligation at this point. If there's a sense of accomplishment to be had with "Empty", it's that Shirley Manson has managed to make a chorus more vapid than the one heard in Garbage's 2005 single "Why Do You Love Me". The filtered vocal sung over the bridge dropout coupled with slow motion shots at the 2:29 mark is another indication of how Garbage are on a pop culture treadmill of their own making. Ask yourself, if this song came from a brand new band, would you care? [2/10]
Steve Horowitz: What’s the point of going in circles? The music has some nice touches, but unfortunately it as empty as its name. Sure that’s the point, but the result is meh. Celebrating emptiness is not the same as making empty music -- as strange as that may sound, or else we should just tape the sounds of vacant rooms. [6/10]
Chris Ingalls: "Empty" serves as a reminder that the Scottish alt rockers were definitely a product of the '90s with the tight guitar riffing and Shirley Manson's elastic belting. The song wouldn't sound out of place on any of their earlier albums, but the sound is updated just enough so that it blends in nicely with the current musical atmosphere. I was kind of hoping for something a bit more surprising from these veterans, but it's actually a very good song and they're basically doing what they do best. [7/10]
Chad Miller: The guitar does a lot for this strong. It starts the piece off strongly, and its texture creates a really interesting contrast with the vocals during the chorus. The lyrics are really relatable here, although perhaps excessively so. Some more specifics would have been nice. [6/10]