Album Review: Marilyn Manson, 'Born Villain'

Marilyn Manson
"Born Villain"
Producer: Marilyn Manson
Cooking Vinyl/Downtown
Release Date: May 1

Marilyn Manson has always done well playing the tragic hero - or the sacrificial lamb. So it seems appropriate to quote Macbeth near the beginning of "Born Villain," the shock-rocker's first new album in three years. "This is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury," he sings in the song "Overneath the Path of Misery." It fits so well and there's certainly plenty of that here. But "Born Villain" finds a seemingly refreshed and clear-minded Manson and his band poring through a diverse set of moods and styles in songs that cut a little deeper than the deliberate provocation of many of his previous works. The raw and often stripped-down set is built on sophisticated dynamics, while references to the Stooges ("The Gardener"), glam rock ("Slo-Mo-Tion") and even blues ("Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms") accent the pulsing industrial undercurrent and foreboding spookiness that are Manson's stock in trade. He's not just, as the song says, "Breaking the Same Old Ground." And the bonus track cover of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" with Johnny Depp is a welcome dose of cacophonous camp.

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