Marilyn Manson – Born Villian

When Marilyn Manson announced that he was returning to the downtrodden apartment in which his brilliant Antichrist Superstar record was made to create his newest offering, his legions of faithful followers must have been salivating at the mouths. The only thing that could perhaps stop said salivation would be – everything else he has done lately.

His recent live shows at Soundwave were utterly pathetic. Manson seemed uninspired, offering the bare minimum necessary to complete the set and in many ways, the same can be said about Born Villain. Manson is doing the same thing he always has and the spark has faded, the shock elements seem more like he is trying hard to shock as opposed to being naturally shocking.

The opening track Hey Cruel World shows potential, using the usual driving stomp of industrial beats with Manson firing screaming “Hey cruel world, we don’t have what it takes” in his trademarked wail. The first single No Reflection, sounds exactly like a Manson single should, it just fails to be interesting in any way. The album stand out is the drawn out Pistol Whipped full of melody and spooky sounds, this is the darkness that its supposed Prince should bring. It is also one of the only moments in which Manson’s tortured vocals seem believable.

Slo-mo-tion is the only track in which there is an attempt at something different, taking a classic rock vein and a more light-hearted feel about the vocal phrasing. Manson originally started out writing poems which he eventually turned into songs, his nostalgic intentions become the most obvious in The Gardener a spoken word performance set to dark production. The aggression lifts again for the groove heavy Disengage before the sludge rock inspired Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms.

The lowest point of the record comes in the section when the shock rocker should shine. Responsible for some of the coolest cover songs ever recorded, Manson falls extremely flat on his attempt Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, which sounds like a bad karaoke version of the original. If Manson has tried really hard on Born Villain and given it his all, then he has clearly reached the end of his tether. Whilst there are enough moments on this record to make it worthy of a few spins, it seems like ultimately Marilyn Manson has had enough.