Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Marilyn Manson - Born Villain" Review by Dom

Marilyn Manson. His name is synonymous with fear, controversy and just overall weirdness. I've always been one to look past his image and just listen to the music. Now, I'm not the biggest Manson fan, I enjoy a decent amount of songs and only a few albums overall but every time he drops a new album I always check it out. Born Villain is Manson's eighth full-length album and it comes 18 years after the band's first album, Portrait of an American Family. Looking at that album compared to the latest, it sounds like two completely different bands, except for Manson's vocals. Now Manson has been on this, slower, more depressing sounding album since 2007's Eat Me, Drink Me, which was a HUGE change stylistically coming off of 2003's The Golden Age of Grotesque. This more depressing style has actually been what got me back into the band, Eat Me, Drink Me is my favorite album by the band, over his classics like Mechanical Animals and Antichrist Superstar. So how does Born Villain hold up?

1. Hey Cruel World... - I've always thought albums should start out with a bang, with higher energy setting a tone for the album, while this song isn't too high energy it sets a fantastic tone for the rest of the album and is actually reminiscent of his Mechanical Animals album. A definite standout.

2. No Reflection - The single off of the album and the first song I heard off of it, at first listen I thought it was a bit boring but since I've started loving it. It's here that you can see that the band is trying to blend their new style with elements of their Antichrist Superstar-era and it's working fantastically, especially on this track.

3. Pistol Whipped - This song is very mellow, slower guitar riff with Manson singing to the melody over it. It's an interesting track, I'm feeling it. I can see a lot of people not liking this track but definitely give it a shot..

4. Overneath the Path of Misery - This track starts out with a truly creepy spoken word intro, and I can't tell who's talking in it, but it's very creepy. The spoken word leads into one of the more boring tracks on the album, the instrumentals have that more industrial feel as they used to but it can't save this song.

5. Slo-Mo-Tion - The uneventfulness of the previous track carries over into this track. With an interesting and rock-driven bassline the track starts off pretty well but just doesn't do much for me.

6. The Gardener - Another spoken word intro, this is one isn't creepy and this one lasts about 5 seconds leading into another prominent bassline. It's an interesting song, it doesn't fully have my approval but I love the chorus, maybe it'll grow on me.

7. The Flowers of Evil - It seems this album is suffering from what his last 2 albums did too, boring 20 second intros that do nothing for the song. This is another filler song for me, doesn't keep my attention, the chorus sucks too. At this point I'm just hoping the album will turn around.

8. Children of Cain - My hope for a turnaround did not come true on this track, the song is decent, the chorus is good but like a lot of these songs it's on the boring side. Listening to it you think to yourself "I wonder when the song will end", and that's not a good thought.

9. Disengaged - An intro that is interesting finally, it's weird and that's what Manson is supposed to be. Finally a better song, the energy has kicked back in, the lyrics are good and my wish for a turnaround has begun to come true. Hopefully the album closes out in similar style.

10. Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms - From the start of this song you can tell you're in for a more metal-style Manson song and it's good. It almost feels like a sequel to his song "The Fight Song" from 2000's Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death). One of the bigger standouts on this album.

11. Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day - This is the type of Manson song title I've come to expect. High energy again, I love this song. Only stops for a breath for a few seconds, overall this song just does not stop. This is the type of Manson I love.

12. Born Villain - Title track, longest track on the album. This song returns to the slower style but it does it better than the mid-section of this album. It's a well-put together song, enjoyable.

13. Breaking the Same Old Ground - A creepy song, Manson vocals just get creepier the slower he forms the words. The title is interesting to me because, to me, this song captures what Manson's newer style is, since Eat Me, Drink Me it's been a slower style with powerful vocals and catchy choruses which is what this song is.

14. You're So Vain (featuring Johnny Depp) - Don't get excited Depp fans, he only plays guitar and drums on the track, no vocals. When I found out Manson was doing a cover I got excited, some of my favorite tracks by them are covers, "Sweet Dreams", "Tainted Love" and "Personal Jesus". The band knows how to do covers and make them their own. This song is no different, while I'm not too familiar with the original by Carly Simon I definitely like this version. It's got a creepy vibe, it's uptempo compared to the rest of the album and it's just a very good cover song and a terrific way to close the album.

Overall - This album won't be revered as one of Manson's best albums, that's a fact. That being said it is still a quality album and addition to the band's body of work. If you're not a Manson fan, I find it hard to see this album being the one to introduce you to Marilyn Manson. As always the production on this album is spectacular, and as always the vocals are the shining star. While he may not be the greatest singer in the world, his delivery, his creepy voice and the passion he sings with make up for it. While this album isn't as good as my favorite, Eat Me, Drink Me it's another step in a direction that I am fond of, especially when it comes to Marilyn Manson.

Rating - 6.5/10

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