Born this way

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

THE glory days of plat­inum sales and public outrage are be­hind Marilyn Man­son, and yet, with the de­gree of dif­fi­culty set at in­fin­ity, he’s writ­ten a solid new al­bum.

Born Vil­lain opens with creepy vo­cals and a tor­nado of heavy gui­tars. Man­son yelling ‘‘ fake’’ over and over could be a nod to his last two al­bums.

Things took a bad turn in 2007 with the low- sell­ing Eat Me Drink Me. But that wasn’t rock bot­tom – 2009’ s The High End of Low was ac­tu­ally the high end of noth­ing, his worst al­bum by a wide mile. The 43- year- old shock- rocker ap­peared done.

That’s why this al­bum is some­thing of a sur­prise. Who knew he could still write hooks? No Re­flec­tion won’t trou­ble Adele and One Di­rec­tion at the top of the charts but it is a hummable tune that might ear­worm lis­ten­ers hours af­ter hear­ing it.

On Born Vil­lain, Man­son does a bet­ter job of ren­der­ing light and shade.

Sure, he’s still a one- trick pony but at least the pony has dif­fer­ent gears this time around. Mu­si­cally his goth- rock cir­cus in­cor­po­rates some punk, in­dus­trial me­tal and glam- rock. Pis­tol Whip is a clas­sic Man­son slow jam equipped with dra­matic, de­praved lyrics and vivid im­agery; the stomp­ing, march­ing Overneath the Path of Mis­ery harks back to the band’s Me­chan­i­cal An­i­mals days; Lay Down Your Arms is a heavy, sloth­ful dirge; Slo- Mo- Tion strips away his of­ten- favoured the­atri­cal pro­duc­tion styles in favour of a raw per­for­mance.

Out­ra­geous, brash, en­ter­tain­ing, Man­son is all about the show. His favourite themes of blood, dirt, Bib­li­cal images, death, sex, vi­o­lence and self- ob­ses­sion all get a run here. His de­liv­ery style is, as ever, talk­ing verses and shouty cho­ruses.

Mur­der­ers are Get­ting Pret­tier Ev­ery Day sounds like a pos­si­ble ode to Amanda Knox but noth­ing in the lyrics of this su­per- heavy, fast paced, late al­bum me­tal romp point to her.

The ti­tle track hints at a na­ture- ver­sus­nur­ture idea – are peo­ple like Man­son born to be vil­lains or did he choose to play that role?

For an al­bum that was never go­ing to push any boundaries that Man­son hasn’t al­ready pushed be­fore, it was funny to hear Break­ing the Same Old Ground. His self- aware­ness is be­yond com­i­cal.

But then comes more com­edy gold, a cover of Carly Si­mon’s You’re So Vain with Johnny Depp on gui­tar. It’s messy and silly and was prob­a­bly recorded in one take. It’s also a weird, light and fluffy end to an al­bum that is 99 per cent dark and nasty.

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