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marilynmanson bornvillain
Artist: Marilyn Manson
Title: Born Villain
Genre: Rock / Metal
Release Date: 27th April 12
Label: Universal

Album Review

“Hey, cruel world…”

‘Born Villain’ is a return to form for Manson. His sado-masochistic relationship with the world is a mass canvas explored via his scathing lyrics and pounding rock laments. In this album, Manson explores a concept about the transformation of the self. There are profound moments lyrically, specifically in the song ‘Overneath the Path of Misery’ where he infuses ideas of Shakespearean madness (mainly that of Macbeth). ‘No Reason’ being the inflammatory statement throughout the song, he maims a theory of human actions (and of course his own) in relation to the values of the Macbeth play including Greek myths (mentioning the rape of Persephone as a “marketing scheme”). Intricately and articulately he defines the negativity of the world in a whole.

‘Born Villain’ comes from a personal perspective of Manson’s in a sense, not only is it a personal perception but a societal declaration, that of he being somewhat of a pariah (as he has been numerous times in the media and ironically, a villain, a scapegoat of ‘evil’). This record is a self-analysis for Manson, defragmenting oneself to the point of resurrection. The topic of transformation takes us back to the days of his superb birth - ‘Antichrist Superstar’, an inauguration of a star although this time he is unapologetically dissecting himself for art, and brilliant art this album is. These are his scars on show both in sound and lyrically.

In terms of sound, the album intertwines the rawness of ‘Antichrist…’ and the glamorous integrity of ‘Mechanical Animals’. There’s room of experimentation here too, long intros to songs filled with abstract ambience that paints pictures before the song even commences. He has confessed that as an artist, he has always been more of a visual artist and so with that in mind, these songs in this blistering and violent album, Manson builds images for you with biting splendour. The song ‘Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day’ really hits with you a bloodied fist and his fantastical, impure vehemence that we could all irrefutably love increases to a level of, well, in effect, crying parents and puritans alike. You feel a growth of character in this album, it ferments, changes with every listen.  ‘No Reflection’, his first single from the album, firmly constructs a grand return. The catchy riff complimenting the idealism of the song that interprets Manson’s stature (however, possibly debatable) - “I’ve got no reflection, I don’t know which me that I love”.

And, maybe here from the song ‘The Gardener’, “I’m not man enough to be human but I try to fit in and I’m learning to fake it” vividly sparks images of social battles in context of gnawing guitars that could resound and break a neighbourhood. ‘Pistol Whipped’ is a cool anthem composed with sleazy guitars filled with sexual, sadistic violence towards (metaphorically, perhaps) about the lost loved ones or even the ones he takes for granted - it’s an archetypal ‘rock star’ signature. However, the lyrics have a more transcendent poeticism than just blunt barbarism especially when he’s invoking such references to writers such as Baudelaire and Shakespeare. It has always been Manson’s strongest point in music and that’s his writing. The only weak point is his cover of Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’ that features Johnny Depp on guitar. It is merely pointless.

‘Born Villain’ is Manson’s most sincere portrait and it’s strong enough to not have a pretty frame. The last two albums have been on a poorer scale, although I now see them as a build up to this sublime creation. This album is also his affirmation of finding out who he is and now that he has, we can expect more thunderous brilliance, this is another beginning for Manson and for once, the villain here wins.


01. Hey, Cruel World…
02. No Reflection
03. Pistol Whipped
04. Overneath The Path of Misery
05. Slo-Mo-Tion
06. The Gardener
07. The Flowers of Evil
08. Children of Cain
09. Disengaged
10. Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms
11. Murderers Are Getting Prettier Everyday
12. Born Villain
13. Breaking The Same Old Ground
14. You’re So Vain


Marilyn Manson – Vocals, Guitar
Twiggy – Bass Guitar
Fred Sablan – Guitar
Jason Sutter – Drums


Cover Picture

marilynmanson bornvillain


Music: 9
Sound: 8
Total: 9/ 10

Buy the album here!

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