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Added by the giraffe on 4 Feb 2014 09:31
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the giraffe vs. Marilyn Manson

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People who added this item 157 Average listal rating (104 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 0
In 1994, I went to see NIN perform live & Marilyn Manson kicked off their show. They were intense & had a strong element of danger and unpredictability that's sadly disappeared for the most part from rock music. I was in love, and thus sought out this, their major-label debut album. I've listened to Portrait so many times I can recite every word on it including the samples. It's dark, it's weird, and there's something really fun about the whole experience.

Manson's lyrics are interesting throughout as they touch on a variety of issues with a bit of social commentary, but for my money the highlight here is the music especially the guitar work by Daisy Berkowitz AKA Scott Putesky. At the time I'd never heard a sound like he made, and I really haven't heard anyone else duplicate it since.

I was so in love with this album that I wound up buying a handful of live bootlegs on CD as well as a bootleg VHS of theirs. The sound quality on all of them was OK, but each of the CDs wound up giving me a chance to hear at least one song I hadn't heard before. A couple included live performances of the Spooky Kids song "White Knuckles", but the one I bought after Smells Like Children came out had early versions of songs that wound up on Antichrist Superstar.

Favorite song: "Snakeeyes and Sissies"
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
Lunch Boxes & Choklit Cows [CD & DVD] - Spooky Kids,Marilyn Manson
Speaking of Spooky Kids, while I continued to wait for a proper new album from Manson I made a new friend who happened to have a dubbed copy of one of the Spooky Kids tapes. I eventually convinced her to let me make a copy of it for myself, and listened to it incessantly. Some of those songs wound up on this release from 2004, which I've included here as a place-holder for their earliest material. Back in their early days their demos were full of samples of everything from Charles Manson to recordings of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the songs ranged from funny to weird to primitive versions of what would become Portrait. Thanks to bootlegs I found I think I eventually acquired most if not all of their early recordings, and I still dig most of them.

The best thing about this release is that the sound quality is slightly improved over the bootlegs and copy I have. Plus it came with DVD footage from some of the Spooky Kids shows, which is amusing.

Favorite song(s): "Negative 3"


and/or

"Thingmaker"


(I honestly can't decide here...I love both songs equally.)
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 177 Average listal rating (115 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 0
Smells Like Children - Marilyn Manson
Here we have MM's first remix album. Unlike most remix albums though the versions of songs from Portrait present here are more like reworkings (including a "cover" of "Cake and Sodomy" by their former bus driver) than what you'd normally expect from remixes. Then to keep things interesting they also recorded a trio of covers: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", which wound up being their gateway to popularity; "I Put a Spell On You", a Screamin' Jay Hawkins cover that's my favorite track on this album; and "Rock 'N Roll Nigger", a Patti Smith cover no doubt picked mostly for shock value. Then, sprinkled between all the actual songs are a bunch of weird recordings from things like the band's appearance on Donahue or a phone conversation about drugs. As a matter of fact, drugs seems to be the main theme here as one can't help feeling that a lack of sobriety would improve the overall experience & was likely the main inspiration behind it all.

I mostly love this one because it's so strange and original. There's at least one track I could do without ("Fuck Frankie" which I'd be surprised if ANYONE liked), and the noise at the end of the album isn't worth sitting through more than once. And yeah, the oddball recordings wind up feeling like filler after a while. But really they add to the overall effect of the album, and it makes for an unforgettable experience.

On a side note, Smells Like Children was originally composed to include a pair of "Abuse" tracks the band had acquired by interviewing people while they were on tour. Neither one wound up on this release, but I've heard them (yay bootlegs!) & have no doubt Interscope was scared of the backlash they'd cause had they been left in. Feel free to head to wikipedia to look that up for more details.

Favorite song: "I Put a Spell On You"
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 316 Average listal rating (222 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
Antichrist Superstar - Marilyn Manson
So after all this love I'd felt for the band & their music, I hear that Manson has lost guitarist Daisy Berkowitz which was immediately a warning sign for me regarding this album. Back then I heard that he was fired and that he quit, and it would be a few years before the truth would surface. Anyway, they lost him in the middle of recording this album, so his contributions wound up being minimal which is sad. But, the 4 songs he's credited as co-writing are "Irresponsible Hate Anthem", "Tourniquet", "Wormboy", and "Man that You Fear", which are also the best songs on the entire album. For the rest of the album, the guitar work was mostly taken over by Twiggy Ramirez, with help from Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson.

And as much as I love Trent, the fact is that his fingerprints are all over this album to the point I sometimes forget he didn't write some of the songs on it. The originality the band displayed on their previous works gets traded in for a standard Industrial sound that just doesn't much impress me. The lyrics wind up being the best part of the album, as Manson went all out to voice his ideas about America, and it's those lyrics that make the weaker songs more rewarding to listen to. There are a couple songs on here I can do without ("Little Horn" and the overrated "The Beautiful People"), so overall I find Antichrist Superstar to be merely good but nothing great.

I caught them once while they toured behind this album, and was so disappointed that I wound up turning my back on the band for a while. Gone was the prevailing sense of unpredictability and danger, traded in for theatrics which paled in comparison. So between that and my lack of love for this album, I mostly ignored them until Holy Wood.

Favorite song: "Man That You Fear"
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 270 Average listal rating (181 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
Mechanical Animals - Marilyn Manson
So when this came out I didn't even give it a chance. The singles it launched failed to impress me, I hated the new look, I refused to pay money to see them live, and I've still never owned this album. Eventually I did listen to it once after I got back into his music again, but I mostly hated it.

I listened to it again just for this list & there are maybe 3 songs that don't annoy me. If you can get over all the blatant and overt ripping off of Bowie, this album is all right I guess. And the best compliment I can give it is that at least Manson had something to say when he recorded it. But it's reinforced my belief that he gave up any semblance of originality musically in favor of popularity so he could keep pissing people off.

Favorite song: N/A
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 45 Average listal rating (30 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
The Last Tour on Earth - Marilyn Manson
I completely skipped this one too, but for the purposes of this list I gave it a spin. And it's not too bad really. I would like it better if it was all one recorded performance instead of various performances stitched together, but that's a minor complaint. The few songs off Portrait kick ass, and most of the songs from Antichrist are ones I enjoy, so all of that is worth listening to. Unfortunately there's also "The Beautiful People" and some of the songs that annoy me off Mechanical Animals, so there are moments where I'm tempted to just skip ahead. I DO like that he left some of his stage banter in the recordings, which is entertaining enough aside from the cheesy bit about a dream he had. And I've liked "Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes" since I first heard it on the "Disposable Teens" single, so ending the album with the studio version of that song makes it end on a positive note.

Not essential by any means, and I prefer the bootlegs I have from the Portrait days, but not nearly as bad as I'd assumed it was.

Favorite song: "Get Your Gunn"
the giraffe's rating:
So one day I picked up a copy of CMJ, which happened to have "Disposable Teens" on its complimentary disc plus an interview with Manson about Holy Wood. Between the interview & the song my interest was piqued, and I decided to give the new album a fair chance. As it turned out, it got me back into Manson again.

The lyrics here are stellar, with thoughtful social commentary focused by the overall album concept. I love the way Manson strings together ideas about and references to The Beatles, JFK, Christianity, the Columbine school shootings, and celebrity/fame, and there's so much food for thought that one listen won't let you grasp it all. Equally excellent is the band he has supporting him, especially with John 5 slaying on the guitar and melting faces from start to finish while also breathing life and emotion into the tracks. For the first time since Daisy Berkowitz left the band, they seem to be playing together well as a unit instead of being merely a bunch of slaves to Manson's vision.

Despite the fact it contains 19 tracks, there's not a single song that could be written off as filler or inessential. The whole album flows perfectly from one song to the next, and by the end of it if you're like me you play it through all over again. The album is so good I even gave Manson another chance by seeing him in concert, and would continue to see his performances for a few more years.

Favorite song: "Lamb of God"
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 140 Average listal rating (97 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
The Golden Age of Grotesque - Marilyn Manson
This album gets a lot of hate, and I think it's rather unfair. For the first time since Portrait it sounds like Manson is actually enjoying himself and having some fun, especially with regards to the lyrics which are full of wordplay. His lyrics also take aim at his experiences with rock stardom, and are peppered with pop culture references. The loss of Twiggy on bass winds up being minimal as Tim Skold proves more than up to filling his shoes, and the more guitar-centric songs work well thanks to the talents of John 5. I could do without the song "Para-noir", and the title track took a long time to grow on me due to Manson's vocal delivery, but overall it's a rewarding listen.

Favorite song: "Ka-Boom Ka-Boom"
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 96 Average listal rating (55 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Normally I wouldn't even bother with discussing a best of album, but since it's part of the discography I figure I should. This is an interesting release as it doesn't rely solely on singles like most best-ofs do. There are 3 covers here, all of which are good enough though I'd argue better covers could have been included (like "I Put a Spell on You" or "Down in the Park"). The collection is mercifully short on Mechanical Animals material, which is great for me, and the most represented album is Holy Wood which seems about right. Since I never got around to picking up the Spawn soundtrack it's great that "Long Hard Road Out of Hell" is present here too.

My main problem with this one at the time of its release was that it was obvious that Marilyn Manson would still be around, so why release this now? Well, as it turns out (so far) the timing was perfect for it, as after this the music declines drastically. I can't think of a single song written after this collection that would be worthy of inclusion with the ones here (*EDIT: "Odds of Even" could join these now that I've heard The Pale Emperor. At the time I wrote these comments that album hadn't come out yet).

Favorite song: "Long Hard Road Out of Hell" (not really, but I'm picking it to represent this one)
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 65 Average listal rating (49 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 0
Eat Me, Drink Me - Marilyn Manson
Supposedly this album was intended to be the start of Marilyn Manson as a solo act, which is hilarious to me since only Portrait and Holy Wood show signs of any true collaborative efforts. The rest of the albums all seem like Manson coming up with ideas & making everyone else do what he wants them to. And that feeling I get seems reinforced by the fact that at this point in his career he's the only original member left. And as a matter of fact, the only other musician on this album is Tim Skold who, as I mentioned, joined up with Manson in time to record Golden Age. Drummer Ginger Fish was absent from the recording process, but I think he wound up coming back for the live shows.

The album starts out well enough with a trio of songs that are listenable enough and even enjoyable at times. But then we have "Just a Car Crash Away" which makes me want to stab my ears out between Manson's vocals & the awful soloing. The lyrics for "Heart-Shaped Glasses" are pretty idiotic, as are the ones for "Evidence", though the latter song is further ruined by the cheesy '80s-ish guitar solo. And then "Are You the Rabbit?" has more bad vocals & soloing, at which point one is greatly tempted to turn the album off and find something better to listen to. And it used to be I'd say the next song "Mutilation Is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery" makes holding on worthwhile since it's the only song that doesn't dwell on Manson's broken heart but instead lashes out at his younger imitators, but listening to it again it's not as good as I thought I'd remembered. It's merely OK and would be vastly improved by him screaming some; as it is he sounds somewhat bored when he's singing. The album picks back up though on its way out with "You and Me and the Devil Makes 3", before ending on a mediocre note with the title track.

This album effectively killed my support for what the band was doing. Thankfully it was made available to listen to online for free so I didn't have to buy it, and the thought of having to sit through any of these songs live convinced me to stop seeing Manson in concert. So I haven't seen them since they toured behind their best-of, which from what I hear isn't a bad thing as Manson's vocals continue to degrade with each passing year thanks to his heavy drug (ab)use.

Favorite song: N/A
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 38 Average listal rating (30 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 0
The High End of Low - Marilyn Manson
So as I said I wasn't supporting Manson any more when this album dropped, but once again it was put up online for streaming in advance of its release. Much ado had been made of Twiggy returning to the group, plus former NIN member Chris Vrenna had joined the band, so those two things made me curious to hear what they came up with. Oh, and Skold was gone which meant no crappy solos which I was also fine with.

This album starts out OK and ends mostly OK too, but the middle section is so bad it requires some effort to get through it. I kind of like "Four Horses" aside from the fact that musically it sounds ripped off from Depeche Mode. But "I Want to Kill You..." is bloated, overlong, and obnoxious to boot, and now that I've listened to the album again that seems like a fair assessment of the entire thing. The only thing that could possibly elevate this album above Eat Me, Drink Me is the fact the music is overall better. Unfortunately it's also forgettable, as evidenced by the fact I couldn't remember a single song prior to revisiting this album & when I did revisit it I didn't recognize most of the songs ("Pretty as a Swastika", "Unkillable Monster" & "We're from America" being exceptions).

Supposedly this is the album Twiggy & Manson "always wanted to make", which is depressing. From what I could pick out from the lyrics Manson has nothing new to say here, and the music completely fails to reach the levels of even the weaker songs on their earlier albums. There's not much originality here either, so I guess the long-term goal of Manson & Twiggy was to make something mediocre and forgettable? I wonder what their younger selves would think of this album...

Anyway, I don't have this one either, and had to turn to YouTube just to revisit it (turns out all the albums in this list are available there in full, either as playlists or full album streams). Thankfully now I can forget about this one for good.

Favorite song: N/A
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 0
Born Villain - Marilyn Manson
I was determined to ignore this album when I first heard of it, but let my curiosity get the better of me when it too was put up online for streaming prior to its release. I sure wasn't going to buy it, but it couldn't hurt to give it a chance so long as I could hear it for free, right? Yeah, well...

I tried to listen to it again for this list, but the awfulness of the two albums that precede it had me burned out already & thus made this an absolute chore to sit through. So I took a break, forgot about this list for a while, and came back to it when I was in the mood for some Manson again...and the main compliment I can give it is it's an improvement over the previous two albums.

The music is what's most interesting on this outing. Manson's lyrics aren't anything worth giving over too much attention to, which is frustrating since he prefers to make his voice the center of every song. They're more inspired than they were the past two albums, but ultimately forgettable and soulless. His vocals aren't very impressive either; the screams which used to convey his anger well are now mostly grating & I can't help feeling at times like singing lessons could expand his range. There are a few bright spots though: "The Gardener" which recalls Bauhaus, the stomping and driving "Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day", and "Overneath the Path of Misery" which shares elements with Manson's early work.

Ah, but 3 good songs don't justify adding this one to my collection either. I've also realized as I've made this list that the main element missing from Manson's work as his career has dragged along is that there's no conceptual focus anymore. Starting with Golden Age of Grotesque the albums are just collections of songs, and as such they deliver varying results. At this point it seems too late to have hope that he'll realize this fact & deliver another album that's worthwhile, but since he keeps popping up with more music every few years you never know.

Favorite song: "The Gardener" (possibly the only song truly worth subjecting others to)
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 0
The Pale Emperor - Marilyn Manson
If it wasn't for this list, plus an article on The A.V. Club that caught my eye, I wouldn't have listened to this one. The headline of said article claims Manson rises to relevance on this album, which seemed too bold a claim to not explore. Turns out they may be right.

This is the first album since Grotesque that actually moves me...I found my head nodding and legs dancing from one song to the next, which the last 3 albums failed to accomplish. "Odds of Even" is easily the best song he's recorded in years, a pleasant surprise that alone convinces me to add this album to my collection. Now, I've only listened to it once at this point so it remains to be seen how often I'll give it a spin...but on first impression I'm digging it. The fact I'm willing to listen to it again speaks volumes. It sounds like he's finally determined to make worthwhile music again. We'll see how long it lasts.

(I'm being very conservative in my rating for now, given that I've only heard it once. The rating may change if I find it grows on me over time.)

Favorite song: "Odds of Even"
the giraffe's rating:

I've been meaning to make this list for a long time now, but I only seem to think about it when I'm on my way to bed or off doing something else. So while it's long overdue I'm determined to finally get this done. This is my way of documenting my relationship with & thoughts on Marilyn Manson's music throughout his career.

Fun fact: it took me so long to complete this list that Manson released a new album that required me to add to it.

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