With the upcoming release of Marilyn Manson’s new album, The High End of Low, I thought I would go through his back catalogue of studio albums and list some of the highlights. Or the ones I think are the best.
Portrait of an American Family
The first time I heard any of Manson’s stuff, I was sitting in my junior year drama class and this chick, I think her name was Melissa (can’t remember), had her headphones on listening to this CD. She let me have a listen, and I was instantly hooked. “Cake and Sodomy”, “Lunchbox”, “Dopehat”, all great songs. “My Monkey”, though, has to be my favorite from this album. This Marilyn Manson is a Manson less polished, still rough around the edges. They sound like the garage band from hell. And to listen to this album, and to see Manson back when, then to hear and see him now…it’s a metamorphosis.
Smells Like Children
This is a party free-for-all. I don’t really go for remix albums that much, but this is more than a remix album. There are standard remixes here of songs from the Portrait CD, there are some oddities that have to be heard to be believed, and there are three cover songs. All three covers, “Sweet Dreams (are made of this)”, “I Put a Spell on You”, and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger” are excellent. Manson and the band really put the S & M into “Sweet Dreams”, and I like it better than the Eurythmics’ original version.
This is the album that catapulted Marilyn Manson into the public eye and made him the lightning rod for what everyone hated in the mid-’90′s. This is still a rocking album. This is where Manson got the polish, but it’s dark polish, naturally. Unlike Trent Reznor, who co-produced, you get the feeling Manson is no put on, that these aren’t costumes for him, they are his everyday clothes. “1996″ is one of my favorite songs, but also check out “Irresponsible Hate Anthem”, “The Beautiful People”, “Dried Up, Tied and Dead to the World”, “Cryptorchid”…just listen to the whole album. One complaint, it feels a little weak now, not as aggressive as it should; I’d love to hear a remastered version.
This is the CD that made a lot of fans think Marilyn Manson had sold out. Maybe he did, I don’t care. The songs are catchy, the beats are infectious, it’s grim glam rock. Listen to “I Don’t Like the Drugs (but the drugs like me)” and try not to think of David Bowie. Not long after this album was released, Manson and other “dark” artists were blamed as a reason for the Columbine shootings, and this album took a nose dive in sales afterward, though it is the second bestselling album for Marilyn Manson. Aside from the aforementioned song, listen to “The Dope Show”, “Rock Is Dead”, “The Speed of Pain”, ”Posthuman”, “Coma White”, and “Fundamentally Loathsome”.
Holy Wood: In the Valley of the Shadow of Death
This is probably my favorite Marilyn Manson album. Even the art is wonderful. It is the third and final installment of the concept album trilogy, Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals being the first and second entries. But the trilogy is told backwards, so even though Antichrist was released first, it’s actually the final installment. Got it? Holy Wood was also a return to form, for most fans, after the glam of Mechanical Animals. “The Fight Song” simply kicks ass, as does “The Death Song”, “Disposable Teens”, “Target Audience”, “The Nobodies”, and “Born Again”. Listen to the whole CD, it’s a must have. John 5 rocks it.
The Golden Age of Grotesque
A lot of people blamed Tim Skold for ruining KMFDM. I don’t know. A lot of Marilyn Manson fans say Skold ruined Marilyn Manson and cite this album as proof. I like The Golden Age of Grotesque with it’s aesthetics giving nods to the 1920′s and ’30′s and to pre-Nazi Germany. After Holy Wood, I think this is Manson’s second best album. It’s more accessible, maybe that’s what some people have a problem with. I just think it’s a great album. Listen to “mOBSCENE”, “Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth”, the title track, “(s)AINT”, and “Spade”.
Eat Me, Drink Me
Yep, those are nods to Lewis Carroll; there are several nods to Alice In Wonderland on this one. Eat Me, Drink Me is Manson going all heartfelt, singer-songwriter. Not really, but close. This is a really intimate album. Well, as intimate as it can be and still be a Marilyn Manson album. The majority of the songs are mid-tempo, and it’s actually quite good. This was Tim Skold’s last outing with Manson. Check out “Putting Holes in Happiness”, “The Red Carpet Grave”, “They Said That Hell’s Not Hot”, “Mutilation Is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery”, and “You and Me and the Devil Makes 3″.