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The High End of Low

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  • I used to be a huge Manson fan, even when it was dangerous to be one because you put yourself up to great ridicule by people who despised his cutting edge androgyny and imagination. “Antichrist” was an amazing although completely nihilistic album, it was definitely the definition of youth and relevant at the time with the approaching millennium and the whole apocalypse motif. Then “Mechanical” was the glam which either you loved or hated, I loved that album and the whole alien creature, space trip theme. “Holy Wood” had some heartbreakingly awesome songs with the whole trip down memory lane of America, everything from Jesus to JFK. There was heart there and then the “Golden Age” which played with Dada surrealism and insanity. Those four albums were all good in their own right because they had a clearly defined theme and let’s face it, Manson is a good storyteller and his life is the fiction. Whether he realizes this or not, he created his own character and became it. So all his concept albums worked because he just became that character and invited us into his world. His last two albums have been incredibly disappointing because of the “I” perspective, the extreme narcissism and view from a man who isn’t as interesting when he gets “real” because then you see how pathetic his life is. I’m not trying to be mean but he’s a lot like Michael Jackson, Jackson did “Thriller” and Captain Eo and “Ghosts”; making these music videos that were tiny movies. Yet over the years Micheal’s music grew weaker when we saw just how much self-hatred he had for himself and the plastic surgery and the child molestation charges. Manson has a lot of self-hatred and instead of getting medicated for it, he chooses to consume cocaine and absinthe which only magnifies his despair and he ruins every relationship he has ever had then tells us about it. He wants us to feel sorry for him but why? How can you feel anything but pity for a person who just does the same thing over and over…his songs are like this now. “People will come to my funeral to see if I’m dead” sounds like Michael Jackson, huh?
    While these two artists are different they are very familiar because Manson doesn’t want to grow up either, he wants to live in his own private Neverland in the Hollywood Hills with his grotesque museum of trinkets which would be cute if you weren’t a 40yo man whining about your love life. He has become his own cliche, Manson either needs to return to the concept album (give us metaphor not your reality because it invites us to judge you and psychoanalyze you and it makes you look like a self absorbed jerk) or he needs to take off the makeup and get real with himself. How about some lyrics like “I put on this face and created this lie so you would love to hate me”, there would be some honesty but like every other aging artist out there, he’s going to pump out the same teenage angsty crap with lots of cursing (because its so naughty, omg my mom took away my album so now i love him even more!) that proves nothing. I know you are an intelligent person, Mr. Manson but you are in love with your own despair and it’s disgusting. If you were telling a story I might be able to forgive the self-pity but when it’s all from the “I” perspective it feels so incestuous like you are trying to get back who you used to be and plagiarizing your former self so much that it feels like a watered down version of you. New fans will love it who want to make their parents mad and scare their peers, longtime fans over the past decade will see through the charade and wonder why we have grown up and the artist hasn’t.

    Posted on January 22, 2010