I've been listening intensively to the new Marilyn Manson album for several days now. It has been a pretty hardcore nut to crack. It is very different from most of the former MM albums. It sounds a bit like a demo recording with unusually good sound quality though (for being the demo recording it isn't.)
The songs are stripped bare and mostly built upon industrial noisy and hard-beating rhythms that makes you think of Killing Joke and Joy Division at times. It's not that there is none of the more melodic Manson stuff hidden underneath all the noise and dirt, it's just much more difficult to get to it than it used to be.
The lyrics are still pure Manson and even if they probably provoke fewer people these days, Manson is still a potent writer of lyrics.
Some have tried to compare the album to "Antichrist Superstar" , and I can see why, at least to a certain degree. Antichrist however, included some much more catchy and polished tracks in all of it's filthy atmosphere. You don't get many (if any) instantly ass kicking hits on "Born Villain", although some clear favorites did start to crawl out of the dirt after a few days of repeated playbacks at work and home.
"I’m not man enough to be human
but I’m trying to fit in
and I’m learning to fake it"
Favorites could be songs like Pistol Whipped, Gardener, The Flowers Of Evil, Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms, Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day, Born Villain, You're So Vain.
"You're So Vain" is a cover of an old Carly Simon song and Johnny Depp plays drums and lead guitar. If you think the lyrics have a familiar industrial sound to them, you're right. They were used in Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails song "Starfuckers, Inc."
"You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?"
Unfortunately Manson didn't seem to think that buying his fucking CD also qualifies you to get the lyrics with the CD. You will have to find them here. Releasing a CD with no lyrics or booklet is just one more reason for people to steal music instead of buying the fucking CD. And nope, HMV: including a copy of the CD cover image inside the CD calling it an "art card" does not make for a satisfying special edition. Jesus Fuck!
I find the missing lyrics so unsatisfying, that I have decided not to buy a beer for Mr. Manson at this year's Copenhell festival here in Copenhagen. I'll be in the crowd though, don't wanna miss the goddamned party after all!
To Sum it up: yes, Manson is still a vital and very interesting part of the music scene. Yes, I liked his 2009 album "The High End Of Low" better than this new one. But if you are willing to invest some time listening to "Born Villain" then an ugly and dirty flower will emerge. Ugly as it is, it is still a flower!
Manson is a master of video. He is a fucking one of a kind, actually. Why his sick version of "Alice In Wonderland" never happened is totally beyond me. Would have been a fucked up piece of art of gigantic awesomeness...