The Savage Animal 4.09.14: Top 8 Marilyn Manson Albums

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The Savage Animal 4.09.14: Top 8 Marilyn Manson Albums

Posted on: April 9th, 2014 by tommyj

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"WrestleMania XXX Review": Going into WrestleMania XXX I pulled off something that I hadn’t been able to do in a while. I convinced myself to let go. I let go of my jaded predictions, my snarky expectations, and my guarded fandom. I expect too much from wrestling. I’ve been spoiled by getting great content in special occasions and expect it to be like that all the time. Those days are over. The tone and style of wrestling is different. It’s just like life. Music, movies, and people were different during the "Attitude era". Wrestling is behind in the times, but it always has been. "South Park" and Howard Stern were around before the WWE decided to get "edgy". Right now the tone of entertainment and people’s moral measure is different. Some would say, it’s more balanced and reactionary. The world, minus five years, equals wrestling. Five years ago reality TV was popular, beards were notable, swamp people characters, etc. etc. etc. were all "in". People were super sensitive against everything. People were about to "Occupy" Wall Street and start protesting. What’s going in WWE? Yeah… all of that. It’s "the world minus five years equals wrestling".

I was excited. I wanted to see Mania and I’m glad to take it in. I had issues with my Network stream and had to deal with it for A LOT of my weekend. I’m pretty sure I spent more time trying to fix my extensions on Google Chrome than I will actually watching the Network this weekend. Once I missed out on the Hall of Fame, I got a little frigid towards the show. I expect it to be fun, but I’m not expecting it to satisfy any specific stranded.

This turned out to be a good way to spend six hours. The preshow took forever. The four way tag title match was not all that exciting. When the crowd started chanting "this is awesome" to THAT match it was hard from rolling my eyes at the screen. Are we SERIOUSLY saying this match is "awesome"? It wasn’t bad or anything, but this chant used to be used for Match of the Year candidates NOT stuff involving Usos and Jack Swagger. Stop wasting impactful chants on anything. Why not a "This is de-cent! This is de-cent!"? Anyways, there was no title switch and there was no way we’ll care about this match come a month or so from now.

The first real match on the real card was the Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H match. I did like this match and got caught up in it, but it seemed a little weird to me. It didn’t come off as "explosive" as it should have. I’ll have to watch it again because it doesn’t really have much about it standing out in my head as I write this.

The follow up and "cool down" would be The Shield going over strong on Kane and the New Age Outlaws. I’m happy to see The Shield get this kind of win and positive exposure. They are now 2-0 at WrestleMania. The Outlaws can fade away now and Kane should get one final run to wrap up his awesome career. Being taken out like this almost gives the impression that he’s not a serious threat anymore. The Andre The Giant battle royal was actually really good. It was one of the best battle royals I can honestly say I’ve ever seen. Yeah, Rumbles and gauntlets have been out there and cool but this match was special. They got in a lot of cool spots and the fact that Cesaro got the win was really surprising and sweet. Great surprising pick for sure.

John Cena defeated Bray Wyatt. I’m not surprised by this, but the psychology of the match was strange. Cena kind of overacted this whole thing, but it’s hard to fault him when competing against evil hillbillies who have their own twisted rhetoric on morals and life. They accomplished and sold a lot of stories in this one. I wanted Wyatt to win, but I’m not mad at this. Cena did more than his share in getting Wyatt’s mind games and skillset over.

The streak is… over? Wow. I still can’t believe that Brock Lesnar defeated the Undertaker at WrestleMania. I’ve been to two of the "streak" matches and have been a fan of Taker’s since I can remember. I always said that he SHOULD lose the streak, but I always thought it would be a young guy to pass the torch. Not Brock Lesnar. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would have gone with this pick. No one expected it. Everyone was already talking about next year and even the year after. It almost felt like Taker realized he couldn’t do it anymore and told Brock to take him out. The reaction from Paul, Brock, and the crowd at the end was amazing. Wrestling would never be the same after that. Seriously. I think everyone is going to need some time to let this soak in and settle. Wow.

After this we saw AJ retain her title in a 14 women WrestleMania payday appearance match. It was really surprising to see AJ come out with the belt. I don’t think anyone would have imagined that to happen either, but still people were stocked and awed’ by the whole streak thing.

The main event was only like 23 minutes. I’m not complaining or anything, but didn’t it feel like a lot longer? This match never really felt like it clicked. It hit the big and important spots, but overall it was a big cluster of crap. None of that will be remembered though. People are a going to remember the big first bump, Steph and Hunter’s involvement, the crazy RKO-Bomb spot on the table, and Daniel Bryan winning the match. It wasn’t the best Wrestlemania main event of all time or anymore, but the moment of D-Bry winning will go down as one of the company’s pinnacle moments of a new era.

WWE was exhausting this time. Some stuff shocked me, some stuff underwhelmed me, and some stuff will be forgotten by next week. It was like they took the matches, put them in a WWF Warzone video game simulation and let the results just happen. This isn’t a bad thing, but it was a big confusing . I like that… I think. Another Mania has come and gone. It wasn’t the "greatest of all time", but it was a solid B+. There was barely anything to complain about. That’s always a plus with me. Always!

Top 8 Marilyn Manson Albums
Anti-Climatic Superstar?
Marilyn Manson is great. Deal with that fact, get over yourself and admit that either you’ve not FULLY absorbed his art or you’re just being a dick. I’m not saying he must be your favorite artist or even one you like, but his impact on music is undeniable. His unique talents are undeniable. His ability to strike a chord in people is undeniable. Manson IS great.

He’s not MY favorite artist or anything, but I appreciate his work and at times can honestly say his music is exactly what my ears needed. I grew up at the exact moment that his music was most "relevant" to the masses. Being in high school while "Antichrist Superstar" and "Mechanical Animals" came out was a great contrast to the over pumped Eminems and boy bands. It’s not even that I’m a Manson "apologist" or anything. I’m just not a close minded twat. I’m NOT a fan of Eminem, but like Manson, his talent, impact, and place is hard to argue. It’s just be objective.

Objectively speaking, Marilyn Manson has had some "hit and misses" during his long career. Whatever happens, he keeps going forward and making more art. He doesn’t wait five years in between albums, he’s not releasing albums in weird ways to keep up with Radiohead, he’s not on TMZ every day, and he’s not hiding himself away. While he’s not exactly the same scary monster he was when he was wearing corsets and cutting himself up in the 90s, he’s still a pretty damn interesting guy who makes really enthralling music. If you’ve missed out due to ignorance or because you’re afraid your plaid shirt wearing friends won’t like it then that’s your problem.

Today I’m going to figure out what I think are the best Manson albums and put some kind of rational order to them. Let’s see how it goes…

(2000) –
I wasn’t a fan of this album. I think it was my expections were set REALLY high at this point. I loved everything until this album when I started feeling a disconnect. My least favorite would come after this one with "Golden Age", but there’s no room for that release on this "top eight". I start off with this 2000 release. There were some really good songs on this album, but it almost felt "forced" in some aspects. While Manson took a big risk with "Mechanical Animals" it was like he saw it not go as well as he’d have hoped and in turn went to this album. I never really liked "The Nobodies", "The Fight Song", or even "Disposable Teens". They didn’t feel like they came from a genuine inspired place. I could be and probably am wrong, but they just felt "off". "Disposable Teens" IS cool, but it’s only "cool" because it sounds like a really polished and commercial version of what someone would make to be "this album’s Beautiful People… but catchier!" I’m probably just being weird on this one, but it’s the vibe I’ve taken in.

VII. Born Villain

(2012) –
This is probably the man’s most lackluster release. I can’t even tell you much about it. I know I own it and listened to it a few times. I know for sure I gave it a fair chance because I’m a fan of Manson and always hope to feel engaged and inspired by the man’s work. No luck. It went in one ear and out the other. I’d listen to it again in the future, but on a list of his albums it’s the one I’m most indifferent about. It’s like an audible-shrug.

VI. Eat Me, Drink Me

(2007) –
Manson was quiet for a while and came back with a fairly decent release. I was excited about this album but it just didn’t hit the marks with me that I would have wanted. It’s not bad at all. The inspiration and direction of it just kind of felt a little let astray. It barely worked and the tone of it felt wrong. It seemed that Manson was in a love daze at the moment and it wasn’t a type of love that translated into a good album. At least it wasn’t in this case. The main track was "Heart Shaped Glasses". It’s just a icky song. I think I give it a little more credit than I should just because this was the album he was touring on when I saw him in concert for the first, second and only two times. The man put on a great show and the songs from album was part of the show I got to see. Simple as that.

V. Portrait of an American Family

(1994) –
After getting exposed to the band by my number two pick, I instantly went out and got my hands on this early release. It was still pretty much a "spooky kids" release. The band was just kind of weird and off putting. The album has some great songs on it like "Get Your Gun", "Lunchbox", and "Dope Hat" but it never fully connected with me as much as some of Manson’s other albums. It’s got some hit and miss stuff outside of the main hits and once you had "Portrait" and "Antichrist" you really didn’t need to put this one in. Especially once the live album came out. Once you had that, this release just about become obsolete. Of course, saying all of this makes me want to give it a listen and see if I was just being spoiled by two pinnacle releases.

IV. The High End of Low

(2009) –
Manson had a "comeback" of sorts. He put out one album and people seemed to slowly accept him again. He started showing up in random things and got back out there. He put put "Eat me, Drink me" and got the rust off. For me, THIS album was what secured Manson as a legit adult with me. I was always going to like him on some level because of older stuff, but I didn’t think I’d hear anything "new" by the dude and really get excited about it. That’s until I heard this gem. I think of all the Manson albums this one might be my favorite to listen to from start to finish. It’s a great album that too many people have slept on over the years. I really appreciated his growth and direction on this release. It has some less than great stuff like "Pretty as a Swastika", but I absolutely adored "Four Rusted Horses", "We’re from America", "I Have to Look Up Just to See Hell", and "Leave a Scar". The "I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies" is one of the most haunting and cool songs of Manson’s best work. It’s an epic journey that carries us through a sick and twisted mind of someone comparing film to murder to love. It reminds me of "Bela Lugosi" by Bauhaus. If you have any taste you’d know that’s a comparison of deep admiration.

III. Mechanical Animals

(1998) –
I think this may one of the most underrated albums of the late 90’s. Manson freaked people out by switching up his image. He went from being a black haired, corset wearing goth monster to sleek red haired white alien with breasts. It was a weird change up. I know a lot of people who said it was Manson’s way of copying Bowie’s "Ziggy Stardust "character and they may be right. There’s no denying the comparisons. The comparison didn’t end with the image thought. The creative energy and art provided was on par as well. I wouldn’t be as so bold to saying this album is better than "Ziggy Stardust", but there is plenty of goodness from this album to make it at least bringing up. My "favorite" changes all the time, but I think Manson’s "Coma White" from this album may be my most-often favorite of Manson’s awesome lineage of kick ass songs. The other singles like "The Dope Show" and "I Don’t Like The Drugs" were as big as anything he put out. It was an interesting time. I think that this was his more accepted album. It was after his rise to the mainstream notoriety, after him settling into be "comfortable" with the majority of the TRL mass mainstream audience, and BEFORE he faded into his place as an "established" artist. So by that, this album was the turning point. If it had been different would the momentum had kept going or did his experimentation fail? That’s a hard question to answer but never the less, I loved this album.

II. Smells Like Children

(1995) –
This breaks my rules of not including EPs in "best album lists". I’ve been a stickler to this rule for years, but this album breaks a lot of rules. It’s one of the favorite EPs of all time. Its right up there with Nine Inch Nails "Broken" release as being important and impactful to the lineage of Manson. Without this EP I would have never discovered Manson. It was a late sleepless night and I found myself flipping through the channels. I come across the video of "Sweet Dreams". The flickers and flashes in a dark quiet room bouncing off the face of an impressionable teenager is the exact shot parents and churches would fear for the next five or so years. It would open the door to the masses and allow Manson to stomp onto the scene with the amazing "Antichrist Superstar" album. This album is just special. While "Antichrist" made the bigger impact and had the greater hits, this album had almost an Ouija board type of feel to having. From the great cover, the creepy instrumentals, the iconic covers, and the tone being set its hard to turn your attention away from this album. It feels like it’s handmade. It doesn’t feel like a mass produced album. It feels like something you shouldn’t have and should hide from authority. I love the music on this album, but in the general spirit of "Marilyn Manson" THIS album is the most definitive and important. But we’re talking history here…

I. Antichrist Superstar

(1996) –
This is obviously the number one album. I could have been weird or combative with rational thinking and went with any other album. As much as I enjoy other albums of his, this album is his best. It’s not his only great album, but the greatest. It’s one of the biggest albums of the 90s. Yeah, there’s Nirvana, Tupac, Metallica, and a lot of iconic artists highlighted in this decade but this album was just as, if not more than, important and impactful as those. It’s not just Trent Reznor’s production, the cool packaging, iconic videos, or sales. Manson struck a nerve and found the pulse in a lifeless music world. After the grunge faded and settled in there was still a whole other group of kids needing a voice. The "freaks" didn’t just mope and get angsty. They… We… needed
more. We needed a middle finger, a scream, and a fun gothy uniform to tie it all together.
Do I even need to talk about the tracks? We get "Beautiful People", "Long Road Out of Hell", "Cryporchild", and pretty much every single track on here. Even the 80 or so that is nothing more than a place holder on the 99 tracks total. It’s a great album and something that future generations will look back on and study.

What is YOUR favorite Marilyn Manson album?


When you put Christian Bale in anything I’ll watch it. Same goes for Woody Harrelson. So when you put them BOTH in a movie it’s pretty much a sure shot viewing for me. This movie is no different. I HAD to watch it because of the awesome cast. I went in not knowing a whole lot about it and it’s probably for the best. Bale plays a dude who works hard and tries to make ends meet in his meager life. His brother, played by Casey Affleck, gets in over his head with an underground fighting promoter and criminal played by the more nice than expected Willem Dafoe. It’s an interesting aspect because the promoter doesn’t want Affleck to get hurt, but Affleck’s character insists on fighting some bad people to make up his debt and get some money. The bad people? Woody Harrelson and his mountain folk family. The dude is VILE. I’ve seen Harrelson play some mean characters over the years, but this one is the meanest. It’s not so much that he’s more violent because let’s face it, "Natural Born Killers" sets the bar pretty damn high. What makes him so mean is that he’s unlikable. In the other movies he’s got a sense of coolness to him. He has a swagger to his madness. In this he is devoid of any charismatic enthrallment. He is a monster who only cares about his own sick and twisted motives. Bale’s character ends up having to face off with Woody in a kick ass war. It’s a gritty tale of survival. Not in the "trapped on an island" or a "fight for your life" kind of way, despite it turning out that way. To me it’s more about defending one’s honor in some serious acts of desperation. His survival is physical, but it’s also surviving another day to be able to look at himself in the mirror knowing he is standing for what he believes. It’s a good vs. bad movie where the good isn’t all that "good". The context is deeper than many would probably give it credit for. This movie should have gotten more attention during the award season. The story is a bit dry and sterile at times, which is odd considering the characters and story, but the actors involved made this movie a stand out for 2013. If you can stomach a non-charismatic monster fighting a normal down on the their luck man then you’ll appreciate this. Hell, I recommend it in general. It’s worth watching and deciding for yourself but I think this might have been the dark horse of 2013. Basically, it’s a solid powerful film and you should watch it. B

"Worst Case Scenario" is a new take on the concept of "fantasy booking". For years professional wrestling fans would spend endless hours of thinking up the coolest things that could happen. Why waste the energy? This only leads to high expectations. "Worst Case Scenario" flips that. Instead of looking through rose colored glasses, let’s take a bi-weekly look at the worst possible scenarios in professional wrestling. I’m not going to be malicious or anything too mean, but I will not refrain from letting my brain come up with the worst possible shit I can. Sadly, it seems the writers and producers of mainstream TV wrestling and the mainstream iPPV level indies are doing the same thing but charging us for it. And now…

"WWE Literally Pushes John Cena To the Moon!"

The WWE has been "shoving John Cena down our throats" for years.

I think everyone, even the most rational of people, had had a moment or two where they frown at the television and get upset by the amount of camera time and super human conquests of John Cena. He always wins. He never loses and he overcomes all evil. The crowd can boo or cheer him as loud as they can but at the end of the day he’ll overcome crap and be standing tall in his overly dramatic and overly done way. He’s not bad. He does a great job sometimes, but not nearly enough to merit the stature. John Cena is a great performer and does well in his role. His whole persona and history is a written story. He took the ball and ran with it and since the WWE had no other viable option to put their chips behind we’ve been given Cena over and over again.

There’s not much left, right?

Well, we’ve all heard the phrase "they pushed that guy to the moon!". We’ve heard it in terms of Ryback, Goldberg, Orton, and of course Cena. It’s a metaphor for a company getting behind a certain superstar in order to see to it that they’ll be the top guy. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. For the WWE, the only option left is to literally push John Cena… TO THE MOON!

The idea would be pretty cool from a creative stand point, but would destroy any and all respecting logic left in the WWE’s hands. The story would have to involve a monster heel showing up and beating up everyone. We’d finally reveal that the reason he can’t be hurt and defeated is because this monster is… AN ALIEN!

He takes the belt and goes to his home planet. The WWE is left without a World Title. John Cena then challenges this being to a fight. I mean of course John Cena would stand up against the aliens and defend his company, right?

So Cena makes the challenge… Him… The Monster… The WWE Title… ON THE MOON!

Cena spends months preparing, going to space camp, and studying physics.

In the end… Cena goes over the monster clean. He teases a heel turn, but in the end kisses an alien baby and introduces his newest shirt.

Ivan Reitman makes great movies. Most of the time. He’s not perfect, but some of his movies sure as hell are. Of course we’re talking "Ghostbusters" here, folks. His newest movie, "Draft Day" is obviously not "Ghostbusters". Nope. Not at all. In this movie we see Kevin Costner play a GM for a NFL team who has to deal with the chaos of the NFL Draft. His team, Cleveland, has the first pick in the whole thing but he trades the pick and most, not quite all, but most hell breaks loose. Joining Robin Hood is Jennifier Garner, Ellen Burstyn, Denis Leary, Frank Langella, Chadwick Boseman, and the underrated actor that is Sean Combs. The trailer pushes it like it’s a sports comedy, which I REALLY hope it is. For some reason when I first heard of this movie I came to the conclusion that it was a romantic comedy in the guise of a sports movie. You know, the same way "Jerry Maguire" was about football. It HAD football, but the underlying and main story is a love story. I have no issues with a love story being involved with the movie, but if encompasses the spirit and tone of the whole thing then I think these trailers and the promotion for it is complete bullshit. I’m optimistic though, but the second I hear Bruce Springsteen or anything "Bob Dylan-ish" I’m going to punch my hand in full on bully-anger. "Draft of Dreams"? No thanks. I’m still optimistic though!

That’s 391! I was going to have a "First Impressions" week, but this week ended up being a lot busier than expected. I still plan on doing on, hopefully by next week. I have a solid hand full of column topics to run with for the next couple of weeks, but it’s running thin. We’re closer to the point than I wanted to admit. I considered taking a vacation from "The Savage Animal", but I think we’ll be retiring the column in the near future. I’ll still be posting blogs where I’ll ramble about movies, rant about nonsense, make wrestling predictions and all of that fun stuff. Just being forced to write a few hundred fresh words on music every week is a little tedious. I’ve not been too connected to music as of late and writing the same opinions on the same albums and artists every week isn’t what I want to do and it can’t be that entertaining for you, the reader. I never wanted to bullshit anyone. Sometimes these columns are inspired fun, sometimes they’re good rambles, and sometimes I look back and cringe. It’s been an evolution and I’ve grown as a music listener, writer, content creator, and person since starting this column in 2006. I don’t know what that’ll do to my status here, but I’d like to stick around for the occasional review, fact or ficion, or buy or sell. I’ve not reviewed a single album release in a long time. It’s been mostly contained within my "first impressions" so that would be a nice change of pace. Never the less, all good things must come to an end. I’m still inspired. It’s just not in this particular outlet. I’m writing, creating, and seeing results from my own production company Digital Lizard Productions LLC. Between that and life, my time budget just doesn’t really afford me the few hours a week that go into this column. If you feel like you MUST have my "voice" still represented in your life somewhere then check out one of the web shows, blogs, or other creative endeavors I’m still cranking out. It’ll be okay. I promise. Until next time… Have a Great Week!


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