Not so long ago, current galaxy, a new Marilyn Manson album came out. Not much was known about it during the recording process, except that it will be THE BEST EVER ™ and will mark Manson’s return to form.
Born Villain sounded like a concept album. With all the references to Shakespeare present in the Born Villain trailer, one could only assume that this album will be a lyrical masterpiece. Manson cited Fleurs Du Mal and Macbeth as influences. What could go wrong?
Well, a lot, actually. Album has no tangible concept, unless the listener wants to far-fetch a lot of things. And you want to do that, since conceptual albums were what they did best. Fortunately, Born Villain is not riddled with depressing love songs, but they are still present and don’t go well with the album’s supposed theme. Maybe I’m wrong and the album has no theme, but interviews from this era really sound like he’s proud of this ”I became a born villain” concept, so I have no idea what to think. Lyrical high points are “Overneath the Path of Misery” and “Children of Cain”. I guess. I mean, it’s no Shakespeare or Holy Wood era Manson. But they’re okay. Ish. They fail miserably when compared to any of the band’s work up to (and including) The Golden Age of Grotesque, though.
Musically, it’s not bad. It’s no Holy Wood or Mechanical Animals or etc…, but it has its moments and just enough catchy parts to make you come back a couple of times. Vocals, however, are horrendous at times, on my first listening I had the urge to skip some songs and the only thing you can do is let them grow on you (like a tumor) or immediately convince yourself that they’re great. I can appreciate the moments like “I have to look up just to see hell” had, where the screaming\moaning\wailing at the beginning really added to the atmosphere of the song, but on Born Villain whole verses and\or choruses sound like that. Luckily for Manson, that’s the only sound he can still produce live, so great for him!
All that being said, I enjoy Born Villain more than I’d like to admit. But I’m not in denial - if some random band came up with this album, I wouldn’t give it a second listen (or maybe even a whole first). This album works for me mostly because it’s Marilyn Manson, and I’m a fan boy. He can do better. They can do better. There is more than enough musical proof out there.
6/10 (mostly out of respect, or what is left of it)