Marilyn Manson : Born Villain

After a three-year absence, the one and only Marilyn Manson is back with his eighth studio LP, Born Villain. How one feels about this piece of news will depend on how one feels about the artist, formerly known to his parents as Brian Warner. It’s been 18 years since their debut LP Portrait Of An American Family, and as ever, the themes being portrayed in the music revolve around self-loathing, anti-social behaviour, feelings of inadequacy, hatred of religion and other well-trodden tropes. Once again: if you’re a fan of Marilyn Manson, then by all means buy this record. It will make you happy.


I, for one, am really quite pleased with Born Villain. My favourite Marilyn Manson album, 1998’s Mechanical Animals, was a delightfully in-your-face mish-mash of glam, punk, industrial and electronica that pushed the envelope with its fantastical stories of drugs, sex, death and idol worship. Born Villain, to my pleasant surprise, revisits this territory, with Manson’s usual flair, intensity, poetic license and – yes – humour (it’s not said often enough how damn funny his wordplay can be).


First single No Reflection is armed to the teeth with chunky guitars and throbbing drums whilst Manson shrieks in the chorus, “I don’t know which me that I love.” Breaking The Same Old Ground is a disturbing fairytale, with hypnotic xylophone play, clockwork sound effects and brooding bass. The Gardener is a grooving poetry-slammerific spoken-word dirge, with Manson muttering, “I’m not man enough to be human/But I’m trying to fit in/And I’m learning to fa-fa-fa-fake it.” Punctuate that shit with some sparse synths and jab it with spots of absolute Death Metal, and you’ve got a record to sink your teeth into. Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day is just flat-out punk rock served raw and bloody, while the bizarre cover of Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain features guitar and drum work by … Johnny Depp? Weird. But cheeky, and somehow appropriate.


Like I said, if you’re a fan of Marilyn Manson, then this record will appeal to you. But hey – even if you’re not, why not give Born Villain a go? True, Manson isn’t for everybody, but there’s a lot to like on this particular platter.




Best Track: The Gardener

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