Marilyn Manson: All Albums Ranked Best to Worst!
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Antichrist Superstar - Marilyn Manson
The "classic" Manson album! This is when they graduated from their "Spooky Kids" era and initially defined their signature sound & look going forward. The noise interludes on this album make it a compelling listen from start to finish. This album to me represents the band blasting and clawing their way to recognition, ending up at the top of the mountain.
Mechanical Animals - Marilyn Manson
This was a great and unique follow-up to "Antichrist". They were still riding their initial creative peak in this album, opting for more pop & gloss instead of doom & gloom. There are even fewer filler songs on this album vs. "Antichrist", but it does miss a little of the "edge" that was found on "Antichrist"...but the songs here are so catchy, who cares! As opposed to "Antichrist", I think this album is a reaction to finally being famous, and pointing out the absurdity of the whole "celebrity" culture.
The Pale Emperor - Marilyn Manson
Amazingly, one of Manson's latest albums is my third favorite. There were many years in the 2000's where the band drifted into mediocrity, but "The Pale Emperor" was a necessary evolution for a more "grown-up" Manson. This album regains some of the darkness of his early albums, but it doesn't bash you over the head with it. The songs are slower, less bombastic, and more minimalist...but they seep into your psyche. I'd recommend at least a couple of listens all the way through the album...because the first time you hear it, you'll probably think: "What is this? Is this Marilyn Manson??" However, during listens 2-3+, you'll find yourself hooked.
Holy Wood (In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death)... - Marilyn Manson
There are a lot of singles that I enjoy off this album, unfortunately surrounded by a lot of filler. This album was kind of their attempt at mixing "Antichrist" and "Mechanical Animals", and I think it was successful on the big arena rock singles like "The Nobodies", "Disposable Teens", "The Fight Song", etc...but there's also some filler to slog through to get to those killer tunes.
Portrait of an American Family - Marilyn Manson
Being their debut full-length album, this nearly sounds like a different band than later iterations of Manson...more playful and silly than scary, I'd say. Still, there are several long-time classic songs that still please in concert from this album, and you do still get a sense of their excitement and creativity shining through on their first album here.
The Golden Age of Grotesque - Marilyn Manson
This was the album that resulted in John5 and Madonna Wayne Gacy, who were long-time band members, quitting afterwards...and you can see why. This is the album where they really started becoming caricatures of their earlier selves. In my opinion, they were trying to recapture their original success by emulating their older selves, but it just comes off as being phoned in almost. The singles on this album are catchy at least, but the rest of the songs on here are mostly forgettable.
Eat Me, Drink Me - Marilyn Manson
This one is also listenable, but again is part of the "growing pains" period of the band, which I consider be the decade between about 2003-2013. I really do like "If I Was Your Vampire" and "Heart-Shaped Glasses", which are slower and more pop-centric rock singles, but the rest of the album isn't much to write home about.
The High End of Low - Marilyn Manson
This was again Manson trying to negotiate the battle between pop and shock rock, and not being very successful. "Arma-goddamn-motherfuckin-geddon" is an amusing song, if not a little silly, but I honestly don't really even remember most of the rest of the album.
Born Villain - Marilyn Manson
This is another album from the "growing pains" era that I nearly skipped. In addition to having a lot of so-called "filler" songs, this is the only Manson album that doesn't really have any compelling singles either. There wasn't much about this one that I'd really care to revisit. The best thing I can say about it is that I think this is the album that shocked Manson into the realization that he's grown up and can't spend the rest of his artistic life trying to emulate his younger self, because he cannot ever be successful in that venture. He spent the 3 years following this album soul-searching, which lead to the near-masterpiece that is "The Pale Emperor".
My favorite Marilyn Manson studio albums, in order!
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