Advantages I'm above these boxes
Disadvantages Yes I am
|Quality and consistency of tracks|
|Cover / Inlay Design and Content|
|How does it compare to the artist's other releases||Outstanding|
|How does it rate alongside the competition||Outstanding|
Well, yes. Usually I'd wear a mask of cynicism and merely say Marilyn Manson (the man and the band) aren't too worth of praise. But the first time I heard 'Mechanical Animals' I arrived at a surprising turning point. I began to realise that away from the mass market shock image that the kiddies love so well, well, somewhere in there was both groovy music sharing a depth with The Beatles (ie "catchy" "disposable") and above that pretty fine lyrics.'Great Big White World' sets about making the long play take flight. I have to take my hat off, aside from sounding great I really am quite partial to the lyrics. My hat shall now remain off until the end. Far from being shock-cock-rock this song is an articulate and thought-provoking examination of a world that has lost all its colour, or rather has been drained of all its colour. Naturally in some respects this is a modern topic for a song, and in other respects it's like some old folk song suggesting the world isn't as good as it once was. This is the thing with Marilyn Manson, whilst some do their best to label him as a symptom of our times others see clearly that he is far from post-modern and owes more to times gone by such as the 60s movement and 70s intellectual rock.
This album has said to be rooted in David Bowie's soil. Shudder. The fact seems to me as being that when Marilyn Manson isn't trying to be Alice Cooper he indeed equals if not surpasses the standard set by David Bowie. This album proves that away from trying to shock, the pretender of darkness really can write darn decent songs.People tend to avoid the words concept and album these days, which puzzles me because if you look in the right places you'll find a plethora of stunning concept albums. For instance Pink Floyd's 'Animals' ought to be as well respected as George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' such is the artistry and political bite. 'Mechanical Animals' is certainly a concept album to my mind, a brilliant one. The name itself reveals the concept; this is a tour-de-force exposé of the dehumanisation of modern life. "The living are dead," sings he. The cover art is rather stunning also; an asexual Manson appears in a startlingly dehumanised grey synthetic costume. The message is strong and coherent throughout the album, it could have easily fallen flat on its face and ended up looking pretentious but they have pulled it off in fine fashion.
'Mechanical Animals' is filled with catchy glam rock songs, the rest of the band are constantly maintaining a quality and power in the music that really delivers the lyrics to pretty much their full potential. A rare feat in itself. 'The Dope Show' sticks in mind as well as a Beatles pop song, it's that catchy yet isn't quite as cheesy. 'Mechanical Animals' the title track is brilliant, it sets the mood of the whole album. The fourth track 'Rock Is Dead' is a fine example of why reviewers often mention glam rock when talking of this album. It isn't the Slade style cringe-worthy glam rock, it is just that songs like 'Rock Is Dead' aren't afraid to be both ultra-catchy and utterly overproduced, and naturally over the top. It's a great song and tells us that, "God is in the TV." Yes!The modern day angst continues with 'Disassociative' that at times almost verges on all out space rock, slightly less drugged but similar to something you could imagine the mighty Hawkwind spewing out of their mashed up heads. Ah Hawkwind! Wish I'd been alive then. -an aside: I picked up 'Masters Of The Universe' for £1.99 in the HMV bargain bin, and found it to be one of the best albums I've ever bought. Spaced out.- Speaking of which, 'The Speed Of Pain' has a very Hawkwind style computerised voice but the genius is having an acoustic guitar at the root of the mix. I even hear backing singers in there somewhere, once more proving to the whole world that sometimes you really can consider overproduced music as good music. God forgive me. Bob.
'Posthuman' is something that I'd like to lick. I like to lick things I like, see. Lines such as, "God is just a statistic," and even better, "God is a number you cannot count to," really float the boat that is me. The music is manic and in keeping with things rather unnatural sounding, it pounds away like a big mental computer going ape-poop in a big mental robot factory. Or something. 'I Want To Disappear' sounds just like T-Rex. I mean, "just like," T-Rex. It's spooky and rather nails the whole Glam Rock tag. And so on.All I can say about 'I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)' is: "yeah baby." Actually there is a lot more to this song than what one may presume from the title/chorus line. I think it's best explained by the following lyric: "There's a hole in our soul that we fill with dope, and we're feeling fine." And perhaps I'll convince you what a brilliant song this is with another quote: "Raised to be stupid, taught to be nothing at all." This a provocative commentary on the hopeless and unnatural society which we persons have built up around ourselves. And check out the backing singers, lovely touch. 'New Model No. 15' continues, "I'm as fake as a wedding cake," and so on. 'User Friendly' is a groovy name for meaningless whorish sex. The lyrics, "Use me like I was a whore / Relationships are such a bore / delete the ones you've fucked," are in my view spectacular. It's sad; it captures the mood of disillusioned youth perfectly, as the entire album does.
'Fundamentally Loathsome' features rather tender vocals (well, compared to usual). Makes me giggle anyway. Ah, hate you feel, but love is not real. Bless him. And so on. 'The Last Day On Earth' is by now standard and doesn't go anywhere new. Not that I'm suggesting the album is too long, or too samey. It isn't. I just wanted something to say. The intro to 'Coma White' sounds just like something else but I can't think of what. Shame. Cool all the same. Actually to stop being flippant for a second, this is a really moving song. It captures hollowness in drugs dependence and explains that no matter how many drugs you take to escape the world you can never escape yourself. Whilst certainly not an anthem, it is a darn fine song to end on.~~TIP~~
Listen: If Marilyn Manson didn't market themselves by grabbing hold of cheap symbols and pretending to be Alice Cooper not only would they have artistic integrity but also.. nobody would know about them at all. See?This is a challenge. Not because it's hard to listen to -it's very easy to listen to, you could even play it to your Gran, no go on, do!- but because you have to put aside your own prejudices about little Gothy kids or rather brats whom you know worship Marilyn Manson. They make him the Anti-Christ Superstar. Well forget that, he's about as much of an Anti-Christ as Freddie Mercury was. What he is however is a reasonably talented songwriter and singer with a whacky pop-metal band behind him. The result isn't the crumble of society, it is rather a fine album that even verges on the camp at times. It's simply a joy to listen to.
To go deeper than that isn't really necessary. But if you do dig in what you will find is a surprising depth to the lyrics. They capture a certain body of thinking upon these post-modern times that is neither post-modern nor old. Whilst the post-modernist doesn't really seem to care, Manson seems to present his anger at what a crock of shit life and the world is. In that sense Manson to me represents one of the most romantic artists around right now. Hoorah for him. And for us being able to listen to him. Moaning at least is caring, which is better than most manage.
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