Marilyn Manson - The High End Of Low
It may be hard for some to believe, but Marilyn Manson aka Brian Warner has been an active, well-known musician going on 20 years now. I know this makes me feel old: I've been a fan since Antichrist Superstar all of 14 years ago. I still approach each new MM release the same way: anticipating something creative, different and perhaps revolutionary. He set a high bar on his early albums and many will say his star has risen and fallen a long time ago. However, he refuses to let any notion slow him down musically, and with The High End Of Low he continues his musical life one album further. A more true "return to form" from his more recent endeavors back to the sound that made him famous, the album is fueled by the return of Twiggy Ramirez aka Jeordie White to the fold.
The creative juices that flow between Twiggy and Marilyn bring something altogether different to the table than MM could manage otherwise. It's evident early, as "Devour" opens on an extremely high note. A guitar melody reminiscent of Mechanical Animal's more depressive moments swirls over a rudimentary bassline as Manson digs into lyrics that couple the emotional depths of Eat Me, Drink Me with the self-depravity of Mechanical Animals. The chorus rises up in the mix as he sings, with a pitch in his voice that causes surprise (a note he rarely has hit in the past), "And I'll love you, if you let me. And I'll love you, if you don't make me starve". It's similar, but altogether different. From here on, the rest of The High End Of Low is pretty much hit-or-miss: tracks like "Pretty as a Swastika", "Leave a Scar", lead single "Arma-Goddamn-Motherfucking-Geddon", "Blank And White", "Wow", "Unkillable Monster" and "We're From America" are all pretty average, even though they bring to mind more fantastic moments from his past albums. Two early songs that stand out are the twangy, western-feel of "Four Rusted Horses" (with one hell of a chorus, something I know MM has always prided himself on using to hook listeners) and the softly-spun, melodic, emotional "Running to the Edge of the World". 9-minute "epic" "I Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies" is a serious blunder, with too little substance to justify it's length. Still, a decent track. One of the best songs comes towards the end: "I Have To Look Up Just To See Hell". Everything about this song brings to mind Portait Of An American Family in the best of ways.
This album is a real grower, more so than perhaps any other in his discography. At over 70 minutes, there's plenty of material to satisfy and peruse over. What's undeniable at this point is that nobody can write off Marilyn Manson as a musical entity just yet: the better half of The High End Of Low contains some of the best music he's put together in more than a decade. For fans who fell off the wagon some time ago, this album might just be the excuse you've been waiting for to jump back aboard. The only negatives are the somewhat repetitive nature of some of the tracks, some lyrically silliness (cannot be avoided with Manson, where there are gems there will be turds) and perhaps a little long-toothedness in terms of length. Otherwise, a great album.
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on 2009-06-22 SolitaryMan Said:
He certainly is still addicted to the idea of fitting in and being relevant enough to be a superstar; he's never truly seemed satisfied being an underground sensation, although that is truly where his fame began and perhaps ended as the exploitation of the name and what it meant went to great lengths over the years to cheapen what it all stood for. There is plenty of crap on this album (and it's easy to pick through it), which may or may not make the more decent moments shine a bit brighter. I stand by my review and ranking, but also admit that his best days seem long behind him.
on 2009-06-22 KLee Said:
I did NOT like this album at all. I think Manson has been spinning his wheels for the past few albums and even with his reuniting with Twiggy. Manson, imho is trying to find that next trend and wants to be ahead of everyone else and it leads to a mismash of crap.
on 2009-05-28 SolitaryMan Said:
I was working on my own review of this album, and Zoe pretty much gets my thoughts across already. More Manson than Manson has been since Holywood. Still vastly different than those times. Having Twiggy back in the fold is definitely giving the music some old-school feel, and that's much appreciated. I'll have an editorial review up for this soon.
on 2009-05-28 zoeclarke93 Said:
Recently I have been listening through several of MM's albums, i knew aall the singles and had watched the video's so was quite familiar with his 'sound'. i found that from listening to one song and looking at the album cover of each cd i could work out which song is from which album, as each album has its own story, feel and sound.
This album is another story, its isn't like antichrist superstar or holy wood, however i found it has more 'manson' in it than eat me drink me, which was a reflection on his personal life.
Listening to the album is quite a drag at times due to its length and repetitiveness throughout.
However I felt there were some tracks that stand out among the variety of sounds, and after 1 listen to a track you find yourself singing along, i think its definitly worth a listen however dont expect too much, as some songs seem a bit 'rushed' and lacking 'quality'.
Should be a treat for manson fans as its closer to his original sound than the other recent albums.