September 11, 2020


Marilyn Manson – We Are Chaos (Loma Vista/Marilyn Manson)

As most of 2020 has felt and looked like a sideshow to the Manson circus, it’s no surprise that We Are Chaos is his best work since Antichrist Superstar. On the title track, he bawls in his iconic warble, “We are sick, fucked up, and complicated. We are Chaos, We can’t be cured.” This is a sentiment that ties the tumultuous universe of the last 7 months to the angsty youth paradigm that gave the Dope Show its first staging.

After spending the last few years steeping himself in various pop and folk subgenres, covering Johnny Cash, and generally getting away from what he does best, We Are Chaos displays the musical maturity that comes from all that travelling. But DAMN! it’s good to be home. 

“RED, BLACK AND BLUE” is a psycho-glam masterpiece that opens with a creepy monologue, then launches into a full-on angry gothic takeover. “PAINT YOU” starts as a guitar and piano homage to Bowie and McCartney before ascending into noise. Classic Manson

Through his career, he has spent a lot of energy and lyrically punches on the falsity of celebrity and the foolishness of hero-worship, and that is just as true here. Some examples: “Just ‘cuz you’re famous doesn’t mean you’re worth anything / In this world or the next one or the one before” (“INFINITE DARKNESS”). “I’m not special, I’m just broken. And I don’t want to be fixed” (“SOLVE COAGULA”). “Am I a man or a show or a moment” (“WE ARE CHAOS”). 

While it’s not as chaotic as the title seems to indicate, it is as Manson as it gets. His self-torment and cultural flagellation are front and center. The album closer, “BROKEN NEEDLE”, sees him playing the part of a turntable stylus, broken by the grooves that mistreat it, scratching up the instigator, putting it away, and promising to “Never ever play you again”. That kind of lyric sticks with you. 

-JR

Read More »