Forget the media circus. See beyond the shock tactics the marriage,
the divorce, the booze and the drugs. Remove the make-up layers one after
the other. What you’ll get is a raw genius victim of his own success.
In 2007, the fiercely intelligent and talented Brian Warner seems to
have lost himself, sacrificing his sharp, visionary mind to become the
laughing stock of about everyone. All those tales of domestic problems
and deep depression, as fake or as true as they might be, do not matter
much to anyone who has ever taken Marilyn Manson for much, much more
than the dangerously grotesque clown the mainstream world loves to hate.
Reviewing this album has not been easy. Firstly, I need to take
in my stride the fact that Manson has completely gone into the opposite
direction than the one taken for his latest album, the magnificent Cabaret
and Burlesque inspired “The Golden Age of Grotesque”.
Once his reputation established in the mid 90s with his terrifying “Antichrist
Superstar”, Manson has never looked back and each and every release has
revealed the extent of his astonishing talent, both as a musician and as a visual
artist. Each and every album has a strong identity but never compromises the
trademark Manson touch.
Eat Me, Drink Me is a surprising release, Manson’s most accessible yet.
On the cover, the singer stares at us in a retiring, melancholic pose: “Here
I am”, he seems to be saying. “No tricks, no horror, no effect, just
me, me, ME!”. Some would say it’s a bit desperate…
If Manson has always had a fondness for pop, he’s never been that close
to delivering a tamed, sober album – a contradiction in itself as Eat
Drink Me is supposed to have been written at a time of major personal turmoil.
The album is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland; needless
to say that I was expecting an orgy of lush madness, misanthropic truth and psychedelic
Unfortunately, Eat Me… does not take us to a strange magical
world, but opens the door to the mind of the singer reflecting on his
Manson is as fluent as ever, each track full of lines that will stay
with you for a long time, just take your pick. It’s still clever,
poetical and, yes, gothic, in the literary sense of the term, with a
disturbing, sticky sexual undercurrent. It is musically that I will have
to make some reservations. Since the heartbreaking first listen (I actually
didn’t pick up the album for about a month afterwards) Eat
Me, … has
just started to grow on me, when all I wanted was to be blown away immediately…
Probably catering for the more “Emo” end of his audience,
with a more “80’s” rock feel complete with guitar solos
(WHAT?), the album features some tracks that are downright unworthy of
Manson (Putting Holes in Happiness, They Say That Hell’s not
some others are entirely forgettable. BUT (and with Manson, there is
always a “but”), there are glimpses of genius, tracks that
immediately command your attention by their sheer oddity: opening track
If I was your Vampire is a striking, gloomy, gripping gothic tale
that will make you shiver. The sweet and sour, playfully fateful Heart-shaped
Glasses shows Manson at the top of his pop game, while You and
Me and the Devil makes 3 returns to Manson’s industrial roots (thank
Tim Sköld ?), with a welcome barrage of distorted guitars,
heavy percussions and overall sense of danger and aggression… A
welcome reminder of what Manson is capable of.
If Brian Warner can make peace with Marilyn Manson, the world will be
able to welcome back one of the major artists of its time.