Even if you haven’t liked anything by Marilyn Manson since Holy Wood, you have to admit, you got excited about Born Villain. Yes Manson is history, but he was such a significant part of my past that I can’t seem to let go.
His first albums Portrait Of An American Family and Smells Like Children are decadence rotting in darkness. Truly revealing, experimental, grotesque and scary. Then you get Antichrist Superstar. Every single song, lyric and sound is perfect. I envy those lucky enough to have seen this tour. Rage and religion plague this album in a heightened animalistic state. Starting out with “Irresponsible Hate Anthem,” a song that paints a perfect picture of Manson with his own blood. The songs are twisted and raw, pulling off an in-your-face honesty that’s rare in music. “The Reflecting God” is the expression of his entire being in a scream. It washes you over with dread, forcing a sort of finality on the world. Of course we can’t forget the commanding simplicity of “Antichrist Superstar,” with its loaded lyrics and dictatorial presence.
Mechanical Animals is a sweet evolution of his brutal sound. The title perfectly sums the themes of this album. It has beautiful poetic depth as well as drug ridden glam and pessimism. “The Speed Of Pain” paints a black picture of love, lined with suicide. For me, it’s one of his darkest songs.
Holy Wood has the most songs of any of these albums and every single one is beautifully done and effective. I was started on Manson when I saw “The Nobodies” video. I was enthralled by the imagery and blunt lyrics.
Some children died the other day
We fed machines and then we prayed
Puked up and down in morbid faith
You should have seen the ratings that day
“The Fall of Adam” echoes the viciousness of Antichrist Superstar, this time with even more of a rallying attitude. “The Fight Song” solidifies Manson as a hated figure for religious organizations. Holy Wood has the perfect mix of unique songs that compliment each other like a seamless narrative.
Now that I’ve professed my admiration and respect I need to vent about my disappointment with Born Villian.
Our beloved Twiggy is back on this album and after going on about it being “our best record yet” calling it “more of a punk rock Mechaneical Animals” I believed it would live up to my naïve expectations. Did Twiggy never listen to any of their albums…? If I were Antichrist Superstar I’d feel insulted. I guess you say what you have to in order to promote new music, but it felt sincere.
I am not one of those people who want bands to sound the same decades down the road. I understand that artists grow and evolve and their music can’t be kept in a vacuum. I don’t mind that this album has a different sound, most of their albums do. My problem was with it being crap.
Golden Age Of Grotesque was a good time, Eat Me, Drink Me was ok. I expected The High End Of Low to be unimpressive but I think it’s his most autobiographical album. The songs have a raw simplicity to them and feel fresh. It also has some powerful tracks (Running To The Edge Of The World, Into The Fire) that did justice to his voice. The songs were personal, which Manson always does well.
The only memorable songs on Born Villain were the “You’re So Vain” cover and “Hey, Cruel World”. Many of the lyrics on this album felt forced and unconvincing. “Pistol Whipped” actually annoyed me and I’ve forgotten most of the others and don’t care to remind myself. I am saddened and surprised that I have finally found songs I do not like by Marilyn Manson. Perhaps I’m being unfair due to high expectations because in truth I probably like this album as much as Eat Me, Drink Me, which isn’t much. Perhaps when I get over my initial disappointment I’ll be able to accept it for what it is, but for now, I stand by my title.