Eat Me, Drink Me: are you a Manson fan?
David Jackson
6/22/2007 5:32:57 PM

Marilyn Manson tends to provoke sharp divisions among listeners. For one thing, he’s always been a controversy magnet. Whenever teenagers do something dangerous/ stupid/ irresponsible/ tragic/ whatever, it’s a sure bet that his name will be dragged into it, usually right up there between Slayer and the ever-popular Grand Theft Auto videogame. But even leaving aside the parents’ groups clutching their Bibles and quaking with fear at the idea of their children being exposed to something called Antichrist Superstar, there’s a big gap between those who like Manson and those who don’t. He provokes irritation from musicians who feel his act is too simple and unskilled. But to Manson’s legion of fans, that isn’t the point. They love him for his outspoken, controversial nature – and because he’s really, really loud. So how does his new album, Eat Me, Drink Me [Interscope] measure up? The answer will depend largely on one question: are you a Manson fan?

The album is absolutely true-to-form for Marilyn Manson, involving crunchy guitars, creepy-sounding processed vocals, and lots of doom and gloom. Right from the start, Eat Me, Drink Me will delight Manson devotees, pulsing out a big, muddy sound you can sink into and, if you so desire, wallow in. Everything about the disc is jagged and thoroughly disreputable. The album keeps a pretty consistent pace and tone – but that may not be so good for the rest of us. On Eat Me, Drink Me, the songs tend to run together, and if you’re not paying attention, you may not really notice the different tracks.

The basic issue here is one of sustainability. If you’re not really into the whole Gothic shtick, the repetition on this album is sure to bother you, and even if you are, creatures of the night, dark ritual, and serial-killer romance only go so far. On Manson’s best work – tracks like “This Is The New Shit” and “Rock Is Dead” – he creates something both catchy and strangely disturbing. These songs get stuck in your head, but would get you strange looks if you actually walked around singing them in public. This, musically, is what makes Manson interesting – combining the inaccessible with the accessible, using his edginess to supplement melody. Eat Me, Drink Me, unfortunately suffers from a lack of compelling melody, although it crops up occasionally on the album’s likely singles (“Heart-Shaped Glasses” and “Putting Holes In Happiness”).

So, again, for longtime fans, this album is a must-have. For the rest of us – not so much. While venturing into Manson’s dark imagination can be fun for a time, the thrill is fleeting. If horror movies and masochism aren’t your thing, your time and money are probably best spent elsewhere.


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