“When all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed.”
It’s got to be pretty weird being Marilyn Manson in the post Burton/Emo world. How do you carry on as the Antichrist Superstar when no-one cares if you are the Antichrist or not?
The key word in that moniker for me however has always been ‘Superstar’. It’s long been a frustration that his one obvious road out of this hell was to be our last great glam rock star – Mechanical Animals set the stage perfectly and his career since then has been punctured by blindingly good reminders of why he has all the sex, sass and swagger necessary to be the God of Fuck forever – unfortunately it’s more often not the road he chooses to take.
Born Villain, like much of his career, is a mixed bag. When it’s good it’s very, very good and when it’s bad it boring.
High points: There are a few excellent tracks on Born Villain – Pistol Whipped, Slo-mo-tion, The Gardener, The Flowers of Evil, Born Villain and Breaking the Same Old Ground are all above average, with Pistol Whipped and Slo-mo-tion being the standout tracks.
Pistol Whipped is a claustrophic, sexy, BDSM drawl that, although tempting to view as part of the recent I Love The Way You Lie trendification of domestic violence is in fact probably best just not thought about too much at all!
Slo-mo-tion is a fantastic big glamorama done in the way only he can. Reminiscent of songs like I Don’t Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me) and Arma-goddamn-motherfuckin-geddon it’s exactly my favourite kind of Marilyn Manson song. Pop-rock with a great big middle finger.
Low Points: One of the biggest disappointments on it is the cover of Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain (intriguingly also credited to Johnny Depp though I’m not sure doing what). Marilyn Manson has recorded some of the greatest cover versions of all time, I Put A Spell On You, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) and Golden Years spring to mind, but sadly this is more in the vein of Tainted Love and Personal Jesus – tired rehashes that don’t really bring anything new to the table. What a wasted opportunity!
The rest of the tracks range from average (Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day, Children of Cain) to tedious (Disengaged, Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms) and most anoyingly the album does that strangely common cardinal sin of starting with one of the most boring songs on it (Hey, Cruel World).
All in all not a classic and certainly not an album that will gain him any new fans but there is still enough here to keep the ones he has happy.
Scores on the doors:
Hey, Cruel World – 5/10
No Reflection – 6/10
Pistol Whipped – 8/10
Overneath the Path of Misery – 6/10
Slo-mo-tion – 9/10
The Gardener – 7/10
The Flowers of Evil – 6/10
Children of Cain – 5/10
Disengaged – 4/10
Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms -4/10
Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day – 6/10
Born Villain – 6/10
Breaking the Same Old Ground 7/10
You’re So Vain – 5/10
Overall rating: 6/10
The final word: Not the God of Fuck-All quite yet.