Music Review: Born Villain by Marilyn Manson

By Vanessa Butler

The king of Goth is back with his eighth studio album Born Villain

There are three times in my life I remember listening to Marilyn Manson. The first was when my older sister worked at one of those redundant Goth stores that littered all malls in the late ’90s. I swear, all of those stores had a specific song list and “Sweet Dreams” played every half hour. The second Marilyn Manson milestone was when I was going through my own Goth phase that only lasted for however long “mOBSCENE” was charting on MTV. The third time I listened to Marilyn Manson was when I was washing my dishes while listening to his first album in three years, Born Villain, over the weekend. Sure, I wasn’t outside on a church stoop smoking cloves and drinking out of a flask like when I first listened to Mechanical Animals, but I was still able to rock out to the king of shock rock.

Manson’s eighth album, the first off of his own label, Hell, etc., aims to be different from the previous two. Cutting off his tainted relationship with Interscope records, Manson has said that he’s in a more creative space this time around. Without the studio breathing down his neck, as they supposedly had with his past two albums, Eat Me, Drink Me and The High End of Low, he was able to be “very certain about what I wanted to say.”

For someone like Manson, who has infamously been the reason for all things evil in the world, having meaningful connections with what you say is imperative. It’s not as if he’s checked in his Goth-metal daemon demeanor for something tamer; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. From the first track “Hey, Cruel World…,”, listeners are reacquainted with a more dominant Manson as he drawls out the first Manson-ism of the album, “We don’t need your faith. We’ve got fucking fate.” The fourth track, “Overneath the Path of Misery” opens with a fervent reading of Macbeth’s “Sound and Fury” before going into one of the best tracks on the album, full of squeals, loose bass strings, and insistent guitar riffs.

I did, however, roll my eyes while listening to the beginning of “The Gardener.” The constant reminders that he is different than the rest in 2012 are a little unnecessary, yet the song was catchy all the same. The bonus track, “You’re So Vain,” in which Johnny Depp performs for some reason, makes me wish he would put out an album exclusively of cover songs.

All in all, the album is without a doubt more enjoyable than his last two. You can hear an undeniable confidence throughout almost all of the tracks, save for a few filler tracks in the middle. Manson is the king of the misunderstood, and we’re happy to see him climbing back into the limelight.


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