Charles Manson: Trees


Charles Manson
(Magic Bullet)

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Let’s forget, just for one minute, everything we know about Charles Manson, and pretend he’s just another hippie folk singer.

Hmm, that would only make Trees the worst folk album I’ve ever heard (and I use the word “album” very loosely).

OK, now let’s bring in everything we know about Charles Manson. Surely in that context, Trees can be seen as a little hidden nugget of lost talent, or an ominous artifact of an artist …

No, actually that doesn’t help at all.

I don’t know what’s worse: the “songs” on here, or the fact that some PR company is trying to pass this off as a grand statement on nature with profound meaning that deserves to be heard. Aside from a few vague statements about the environment, I can’t detect a shred of “concept” anywhere.

The tracks here are of the roughest demo quality, so it’s a lo-fi dream, but the music consists of little more than a nutty bastard spouting a load of codswallop while haphazardly strumming and picking his guitar. Some songs fade out, seemingly before they’re finished, indicating that what you just heard was part of a much longer spiel arbitrarily ended when someone decided “enough is enough.”

For a similar effect with better results, just record your grandfather in the garage at 3 a.m. after a case of PBR. The only recurring lyrical theme comes in the form of Manson several times welcoming us to “Charles Manson” and his “Inner Sanctum.” I suppose that much is indisputably true.

Has Manson actually written some interesting tunes? Yes. And as a notorious figure in history, his songs probably should be heard. But if you paid money for this, consider yourself the victim of a crime. Hmm, go figure.

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