Band: Marilyn Manson
Album: We Are Chaos
Label: Loma Vista Recordings
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
FFO: Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, Korn
Marilyn Manson has accomplished a lot over the course of his career in the span of three decades. Writing, singing, producing, acting, directing, but possibly most notably a master in visual art. His artistic presentation of both himself and his work is why every person knows the name “Marilyn Manson” regardless if they can even think of a song he has made. So by now there is no need for any further introduction into who he is as a man. Let’s get into the music. This is Manson’s 11th studio album. He has had some rocky reception in the 2000s but it seems like with the past couple releases, he has been able to bring people back on board with a relatively more mature sound. My personal opinions fall pretty much right in line with those of the public. The few albums between 2007-2012 were certainly not my favorite. But I have enjoyed his most recent couple. As for this new one, ‘We Are Chaos’ is one of his most ambitious albums in a long time.
After hearing the two singles, I was very curious as to what the rest of this album would sound like. The two songs I already heard were somewhat similar, but I still couldn’t help but feel uncertain for what was to come. I can’t lie, the intro song creeped me out in the beginning. I loved it because it felt exactly like something he would do, and it was haunting. This first song though made me very excited for the rest of the album because it confirmed so far that the singles weren’t a fluke. This song was a little harder, and arguably even more in his element. Listening to this song and the two singles that followed back to back made me realize how interesting the sounds are he’s actually using when it comes to the synths, acoustics, piano, but still keeping it rock. Also throwing in these daunting screeching screams from time to time. Going deeper into the album, there’s more and more that goes on sonically. Halfway through I already knew this was Manson’s most diverse work to date. Each song lives and breathes on it’s own while containing similar enough elements to flow together very very well. One of those recurring things being the synth. I like to think of it as the blood of this album because it flows in and out of each song, typically in the beginning and end, or when other instruments calm down. Is it possible to describe a sound as tamed yet anarchic? I think it’s the choruses that bring these songs together, wrapped in a beautiful dark ribbon. All while there is a sort of “chaos” surrounding or perhaps at the core of each song. Lyrically Manson doesn’t take on anything crazy new for him. He talks a lot about people in general. He’s always been one to expose the disgusting side of humanity. The duality of things, as he himself represents. He’s certainly having fun with it but at times more laid back than aggressive. It’s a difficult mood to describe. Despite all the emotion he puts forward, he’s a hard man to read. The overall narrative though is directly spoken from the title itself, We Are Chaos. With of course, some self-deprecation.
As I hinted at in the beginning, it’s no secret Manson hasn’t been at his peak for a while. His best work was in the 90s, he struggled in the 2000s, and he has only recently been putting out rather “safe” rock music that has been pleasing enough to enjoy throughout an album. This however, takes the cake when put up against any work from him in the past 15-20 years in my opinion. The mixture of different sounds put together with his signature voice and beyond catchy choruses make this so enjoyable to listen to and have on repeat. He’s stretching farther than just that regular rock sound, while doing something new. A sound different than what we’ve ever heard from Manson, or from really anyone else. If there’s something I miss from his old music, I wish he would really unleash in a song at some point instead of just jumping back into a chorus to then leave the song. A song like “Infinite Darkness” felt like he really needed to at least belt out a scream and throw out some harder riffs towards the end there - switch it up. This can lead to a little dissatisfaction, but in the end I always enjoyed the song as a whole.
This album felt like a breeze after it was over because I was having so much fun with it. I’m very pleased by this record and happy that he is still capable of giving us something unique but true to him. Even if ‘We Are Chaos’ turned out bad, Marilyn Manson remains and will always remain a cultural icon both in and outside of music. Luckily enough though, that icon is still killing it with what he does best.
Strongest Song: We Are Chaos, Half-Way & One Step Forward, Broken Needle
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/marilyn-manson/251375