Album of the Day


  • Axl Rosenberg


This is Manson’s most woefully under-appreciated work. Manson’s sudden aesthestic shift from NIN-style industrial to electronica-infused Ziggy Stardust-esque glam may have seem peculiar at the time, but with a new creative partner in guitarist Zim Zum (who left immediately following the completion of the album) and producers Michael Beinhorn (Ozzy, Soundgarden) and Sean Beavan (who subsequently spent the next two years working on Chinese Democracy) taking over for Trent Reznor, it made perfect sense. Whatever your feelings of Manson’s metamorphisis from Goth God to Androgynous Astronaut, there’s no denying that every song here rocks, and hard. There are the obvious anthems, of course- “Rock is Dead,” “The Dope Show,” the droll, funk-infused “I Don’t Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)”- but those pale in comparison next to the melancholic fervor of “Great Big White World” and “The Speed of Pain” or the epic, aurally layered power of “The Last Day on Earth” and “Coma White.” This is Manson at his most depressive (“Disassociative”), danceable (“User Friendly”), excessive (that’s porn stars Kobe Tai and Dyanna Lauren singing back-up on “New Model No. 15”), and raw (that guitar solo on “Fundamentally Loathsome” seems so dirty, so off-the-cuff, and so full of longing all at once). Manson flew his freak flag high in the name of real rock n’ roll; listening now, it’s not hard to remember why this was the only new album I cared about in 1998. Nearly a decade later, this is still a must-own.

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