The God of Fuck is here!
Only this time around, he is more like the God of Cuddling-And-Dry-Humping-His-Naked-Girlfriend-in-a-Dark-Alley-Stoned-As-Fuck.
If my witty humour didn’t break it down for you, let me elaborate…
Long gone are the days, when Marilyn Manson was the self-appointed boogeyman for conservative, God-fearing people all over the world; a true, over-the-top rock star carrying equal parts of danger, shock and provocation. That act got a little old over the years and though he may took him some time to figure it out how he should evolve (High End of Low, Born Villain), he really got it right this time.
On The Pale Emperor, Manson reveals a slightly different side of his musical and art persona. He’s mellower, bluesier, softer. And I don’t say that in a bad way. He just realized that you don’t have to scream at the top of your lungs to get on the top of people’s head anymore. It certainly helps that the album’s songwriting is the best we ‘ve seen from him in years. But, what also helps, is having a truly creepy voice singing truly creepy lyrics (“I’ve got bullets, in the booth, Rather be your victim, than be with you“) over truly creepy music.
Speaking of the music itself, MM and collaborator Tyler Bates, present us with a very chilling vibe throughout the record, making us hear noir stories about life, death, love, failed gods and failed humans. Even though I really enjoyed the majority of the songs and Deep Six is Super Disco Metal, the ominous Slave Only Dreams To Be King is, well, ominous and Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge is like a third day of a seven day binge (you ‘re just getting started), the following tracks made me realize something else…
Mephistopheles of Los Angeles, Warship My Wreck, The Devil Beneath My Feet made me think of Marilyn Manson as an applicant for entry in The Rock Elite, the highly regarded closed group of rock gods, past their prime, still contributing to their legacy, by putting out killer records and live shows. You know, the Hall Of Famers. And three HOFers that came to mind were Lemmy, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. That’s a nice little company you are trying to get into, Mr. Manson.
Mephistopheles of Los Angeles – If you ask Lemmy what kind of music he plays, he always replies “Rock ‘n’ roll, man”. Likewise, under all the industrial sounds and bigger-than-life guitar riffs, if you strip down a lot of older Marilyn Manson songs to the basics, you ‘ll get a rock’n’roll classic, Mephistopheles of Los Angeles, a song The Cult easily could have written back in the day, if only they knew how to spell Mephistopheles.
Warship My Wreck – I would never say that I am fully aware of David Bowie’s career but my superficial knowledge over his music makes me sure that Manson is this generation’s Thin White Duke. Only, you know, Black…
The Devil Beneath My Feet – If Manson turned out to be Iggy Pop’s lost, younger, goth brother, then, a lot of stuff would start to make sense. And seeing him trying to enjoy a similar later music career, as a senior member of The Rock Elite, like Iggy himself, well, that gives me hope that we are going to continue to listen to his new Marilyn Manson record, every couple of years, in the future.
By the way, if this is not a heartbreaking rock ballad about damaged romance, I don’t know what is.
“Don’t bring your black heart to bed
When I wake up you best be gone
Or you’d better be dead”,