Marilyn Manson: Born Villain

Marilyn Manson
Born Villain
(Cooking Vinyl Records)

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Back in the 1990’s, Marilyn Manson (the band) was exactly what the music industry needed. They were frightening, shocking and disturbing while pumping out great tunes like no other. Now– not so much.

The current incarnation comes across more like a solo act. Yes, Twiggy is still there, but it’s not the same. Once a band starts having a revolving door of musicians—musicians that typically act as hired guns with no input—the music starts to suffer. Which brings us to Born Villain—Manson’s new release and first away from longtime label, Interscope.

Right off, I found Born Villain to be a better effort than Manson’s two previous releases. The tunes are catchier and a bit more memorable this time around. Some songs even conjure moments of past Manson greatness, particularly “Overneath The Path of Misery,” which would actually fit in on their debut, Portrait Of An American Family. There are also small moments that bring their classics, Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals, to mind but they’re few.

In an unexpected but welcome surprise, Johnny Depp makes a guest appearance on the bonus track. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty forgettable rendition of the Carly Simon hit, “You’re So Vain.” In my opinion, Marilyn Manson just hasn’t been able to crank out a decent cover since they gave dark overhauls to “Sweet Dreams” and “I Put A Spell On You” and they were both on the same album sixteen years ago.

Born Villain isn’t a bad album by any means, it just isn’t as interesting as previous work. I personally think the often kooky and creepy keyboard elements once provided by former member Madonna Wayne Gacy are severely missed. Having Twiggy back might be the only thing keeping Marilyn Manson afloat. But unless they get back their other former main songwriter (yeah, right) it’s hard to get too excited about the band’s future output.

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