Marilyn Manson’s ninth studio album feels a little bit different to the rest of his stuff. It’s less industrial grime and way more synth-heavy. It’s a bit grungy, but not entirely committed to that kind of sound. I’m almost tempted to use the word “mainstream” but I don’t want to sound like too much of a dick. For the most part, though, it feels a lot less intense.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Manson said “I’m chaos, I’ve always been chaos, my point on Earth is chaos. I’m the third act of every movie you’ve ever seen. I’m the part where it rains and the part where the person you don’t want to die dies.” In other words, he’s still at it. I can’t help thinking that it’s all such an act—but for me, The Pale Emperor didn’t play into that act as much as I wanted it to. The album’s just not as confronting as his earlier stuff and I have to admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed by that.
Realistically though, Manson’s had a long career and at 46, he’s still got more shock value than most artists. He’s always been a lyrical genius and I don’t think you can fault his musical ability. The Pale Emperor may be a bit tame by his usual standards, but it’s still Manson’s best album in years.
The Pale Emperor certainly has a different feel to it too. All of the tracks are good, but for me there was no one track that particularly stood out. “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge” and “Deep Six” are both great songs and are easily some of Manson’s catchiest tracks in a while. “The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles” is another radio-friendly track that has a solid tune and lyrics that only Manson could come up with. Other highlights include “Warship My Wreck” and “Devil Beneath My Feet”. It’s no Mechanical Animals or Antichrist Superstar, but The Pale Emperor is still easily worth a listen.
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