“Was” is past tense.
Has anyone even listened to this album right the way through? Can anybody muster even the slightest interest in any of the songs? Does anybody know or care when one track ends and the next begins?
This album is so featureless and uneventful that sometimes I forget that it exists. I start absently wondering whether there will be a new Manson album soon, and then I remember that one did, in fact, come out, and this is it. Then I listen to part of a song or so on Youtube. I never finish it. Marilyn Manson’s music from the past ten years has the positive trait of making things in your environment seem unnervingly interesting, such as a sleeping cat, a bit of fluff on the floor, etc.
Born Villain is the musical equivalent of pushing a broken shopping trolley. It is slow, tedious, and unrewarding. Where are we going here, Brian? “Hey, Cruel World” is an effort at bringing back the gritty hate punk of “Irresponsible Hate Anthem”, but it sounds laboured and lethargic, like someone set the metronome thirty clicks too slow. “Slo-Mo-Tion” is offensively worthless dribble with no reason to exist. Nice drumming, too. Sounds like a GarageBand drum loop.
“The Gardener” has Big Bri spruiking his stupid beat poetry to the backdrop of bass guitar and more drumming c/o GarageBand. Calling this boring is an insult to honest God-fearing boring things everywhere. There’s no energy or inspiration on either side of the speakers. Brian just doesn’t care. You can almost see the studio execs holding up a “YOU CAN STOP PLAYING NOW” sign.
It’s Twiggy’s second album back in the band – remarkable, as virtually nobody lasts for two consecutive albums in Marilyn Manson. Chris Vrenna is credited for about a million things. I don’t know much about that guy, except that he made some remixes of Rob Zombie songs back in the day. Otherwise it’s Brian’s show. I assume his midlife crisis is in full swing by now, with publicity quotes like “Sometimes you don’t know how the fuck to be yourself, because you’re too confused by the circumstances you’re in.” Don’t hope that the old Manson magic is coming back any time soon. Manson himself has forgotten it.
The desperation becomes very tangible on track 14, Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain,” a guileless attempt at creating a crossover hit like “Sweet Things (Are Made of This)”. This was my favourite song as a kid and he makes into a non-event just like the others. Johnny Depp is on the song. I shouldn’t have mentioned him because now I’m thinking about The Onion’s Johnny Depp Now Completely Made Of Scarves And Bracelets instead of Born Villain.
It is not as terrible as Eat Me, Drink Me. That’s another tick in the boredom column, as it fails even to be entertainingly bad. I won’t call Born Villain music because that might trigger Pavlovian reactions towards much better things. I won’t call it “noise” because even noise is sometimes more interesting than this. Maybe it should be classified as an “alternative to silence”.
“Hey, have you heard Marilyn Manson’s new alternative to silence? I haven’t, either. No-one has.”