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Marilyn Manson- Born Villain

by Rev. Walter Beck

Marilyn Manson used to be rock n roll’s bad boy; he was the devil incarnate and was blamed for everything from teenage rebellion to high school massacres. Manson is no longer such a public demon, but seems to be trying to prove that he still is with his latest LP Born Villain.

Well, on a first spin, it does seem that his harder-edged sound has returned. His last couple of albums have shown him trying to experiment, to go beyond the shock and awe of industrial-tinged metal. With this one, his old sound is back, helped tremendously by the work of long-time bassist Twiggy Ramirez.

The album’s lead single, “No Reflection” is the second track on the album, after the mechanical metal noise of the opening “Hey Cruel World…”, it’s not a bad single, it has the thumping electronic industrial beat that became Manson’s signature, it has the heavy distortion and his darkly misanthropic lyrics. In short, it’s what we’ve come to expect from a Manson track, but it’s nothing new and groundbreaking.

The album continues along a similar path, there’s the heavy machine noise of “Pistol Whipped”, the quiet, haunting sounds of “Overneath the Path of Misery” (complete with half-whispered recitations of Shakespeare), and the hypnotic bass thump of “Disengaged”, a track that is chant worthy with its steady, driving rhythm.

Of course what Marilyn Manson album would be complete without a few strangely titled songs to freak your parents out? Manson lives up to expectations with such cuts as “The Flowers of Evil”, “Children of Cain” and the aptly titled “Murderers are Getting Prettier Every Day”. Manson knows the public expects him to write misanthropic lyrics that could be the wet dream of high school counselors and youth ministers everywhere. He delivers his product as expected.

In another Manson tradition, he toted out a somewhat obscure pop cover, this time choosing Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”, a pop record that was a big hit in 1972. Of course, Manson’s target teenage audience wouldn’t know that, maybe their parents would. In usual Manson style, just like he did with “Personal Jesus” and “Tainted Love”, he tries to make it dark, heavy and evil. But this bonus track sounds like an afterthought. Although I suppose pop culture junkies will appreciate the fact that Johnny Depp plays guitar and drums on the track.

This is the end of the road for Manson, he’s not frightening, he’s not scary, he’s not threatening anymore at all. The only people who are going to be even remotely shocked at this point are the preachers who look for homosexuality in children’s shows. Other than that, everybody else has gotten used to the act.

I’ll leave you with this, the thirteenth track from this album, “Breaking the Same Old Ground”.

You’re right on that one Mr. Manson.