Marilyn Manson – Born Villain (2012)
It is likely that the vast majority of rock fans lost interest in Marilyn Manson when his true identity was exposed as a respectable, church-going journalism graduate named Brian. The sexual misconduct, the gothic outfits, the hotel-wrecking antics – everything just seemed to lose its edge when viewed as an act, rather than Manson’s depraved everyday existence. But despite having become rather passé, the self-styled enfant terrible of 21st-century rock has seen fit to release Born Villain, his tenth studio album in just under twenty years.
It’s an album that has been in the works for a couple of years, with Manson having stated in 2010 that he was aiming for a project darker and heavier than anything in his prior canon. An assertive statement for sure, but one that falls decidedly flat when taken in the context of the album itself. Far from being a slick, brooding masterpiece of contemporary metal, Born Villain is distinctly uninspiring, both musically and lyrically. The brief moments of true originality – the Nine Inch Nails-style industrial grinding of ‘Pistol Whipped’ or the euphoric blues number ‘Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms’ – are lost in a sea of tedium that is at its best inane and at its worst horribly camp. The closing track, a cover of Carly Simon‘s ‘You’re So Vain’, (featuring Johnny Depp, of all people, on guitar) wraps up the album nicely but fails to save it from rising above “average” status.
Much like its creator, Born Villain‘s bark is considerably worse than its bite.