Marilyn Manson - Born Villain
- By Jon Bye -
- May 07, 2012
It’s been a time of mixed fortunes for the God of F**k, with a changing cast of misfit musicians joining and leaving the group in recent years. This has taken its toll on the archetypal high gain Manson sound, which has become more subdued. Opener ‘Hey, Cruel World’ is more grungy than goth rock, less destined for stadiums than seedy pubvenues.
Age also seems to be taking its toll on Manson. His vocals have become more grizzly, while lyrics have become self-reflective compared with earlier shock-value material. ‘The Gardener’ is almost spoken word in places, a drunk-like rant about alienation - an attribute Manson has previously relished rather than mourned. ‘Children of Cain’ meanwhile sees Manson more as crooner than a rock god, lamenting rather than spitting hate. And these are the less formulaic songs, that aren’t just slow, grinding apathetic rock numbers.
Even the obligatory cover - ‘You’re so Vain’ for this album - is less poignant and egotistical than previous choices. Where the inspired choices of ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘Personal Jesus’ stank of sinister rock and roll swagger, this time its more angry inebriated karaoke.
Manson’s direction has been pointing to a less glam rock performance for some time now and Born Villain appears to confirm this. The attributes it lacks are the ones for which Manson is most revered; it’s not overly heavy or challenging but mainly it’s simply not as clever as previous material. The Manson of the past could put his finger on the pulse of public revulsion and then wrap people around it. And because of it, for years Marilyn Manson was reviled as a figure akin to a paedophile. For bible belt America he was the antichrist incarnate.
Fans loved him and the band for the fact he could elicit that response from the closed minded and poke fun at even the darkest subjects. Born Villain may masquerade as something in that vein but it’s not a patch on previous efforts. Dark this album may be, but now where near as dirty or risqué as before. And arguably, that’s the Marilyn Manson we all want to see.
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