So, did everyone have a great Mother’s Day? I sure did, and hope that the rest of you lovely music-loving mamas out there did, as well! I had a day of doing nothing but watching what I wanted on tv, window shopping online, and, later that evening, seeing Dark Shadows with my oldest son and his girlfriend. Of course, I love one Mr. Johnny Depp and, despite reviews, found this movie delightful for a number of reasons. Mainly for Johnny Depp. But that’s not who I’m referring to in this post.
No. Although Johnny Depp seems to be in the midst of a very public midlife crisis, I was reminded that I wanted to do a piece on the latest release by his friend Marilyn Manson when I recently read about Johnny throwing his son a birthday party in which Manson performed. And so here it is!
This may come as a shock to some of you because of all the shock-rock, industrial, and metal acts I’m a fan of, but I actually avoided Marilyn Manson like the the plague for the longest time. I did not give the music a chance because I was no longer an angsty, rebellious teen with a driving need to piss everyone around me off, and I found the band itself just too damned gimmicky. Then? One day on the way home from work, I heard a cover of The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” that sent chills down my spine. I think my jaw might have dropped just a little bit when the DJ announced that the song was by Marilyn Manson, and although I had expected the band to be at least passable as musicians, I really hadn’t expected to like them.
So, despite the bible-ripping headlines (hey – no one can deny Manson’s gimmickery has definitely worked), I’ve called myself a fan ever since. Not only is he a marketing genius, but he’s also an artist as well as a writer/journalist (and a very good one at that. Seriously; he is well-informed, and much more articulate than you might think.) Admittedly, my interest pretty much peaked with 2000′s Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death). I did like a song or two from 2003′s The Golden Age of Grotesque, but found Eat Me, Drink Me (2007) abysmal and I couldn’t even tell you what The High End of Low (2009) sounds like.
That brings us to this year’s Born Villain, which has more than pleasantly surprised me, especially after being progressively disappointed by the band’s previous two releases. I’ve had a chance to listen to this record through and through a few times now, and I have to say that I love every song. It’s not as heavy as Antichrist Superstar and beyond, nor as glam or industrial-sounding as some other releases. But it seems to combine the best sounds and elements of the best records, yet still manages to sound exciting and fresh. In my opinion, Born Villain most closely resembles Mechanical Animals and is their best effort since. So if you liked the band during that era, you’re sure to like Born Villain.
Tracks to check out: As I said, I think I love every track on this record. In addition to the first release, “No Reflection,” some of my other favorites are “Born Villian,” “The Gardener,” “Pistol Whipped,” and “Breaking the Same Old Ground” (which took me right back to “Sweet Dreams”. No lie!). And don’t forget about his collaboration with Johnny Depp (yes, we’re back to Johnny Depp now!), a cover of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”.
And with that, here’s a video of a live performance of “Sweet Dreams” featuring Johnny Depp from Revolver’s Golden Gods Awards in lieu of a playlist of new material: