manson’s album promotes change

Donovan WilsonReporter

“WE ARE CHAOS” seems like a fitting title for an album about 2020, and essentially what Marilyn Manson has done with his new album.

Many of the A-list artists, such as Taylor Swift, are embracing a feeling of hope for what’s to come, but Manson has provided a setlist of pessimistic anthems for those who know it is going to get worse before it gets better.

“RED BLACK AND BLUE” starts the album off with what appears like Manson giving the speech that begins the apocalypse. The song unapologetically attacks United States of America for its treatment of its citizens, including Manson himself. It sets the tone for a dark album that foreshadows a dystopian future.

Manson is known for rock music with a dark twist so it was a surprise when a folk rock song was the title track and lead single, “WE ARE CHAOS.” This is Manson’s version of hope; we are all indefinitely screwed and going nowhere fast, but let’s drink to the apocalypse while we watch the world burn.

“Don’t chase the dead or they’ll end up chasing you,” wails Manson on the aptly titled “DON’T CHASE THE DEAD.” It’s his way of saying if you constantly worry about the day you’re going to die, it will creep up on you before you are ready for it.

“PAINT YOU WITH MY LOVE” is an echoey, country-tinged power ballad of sorts that feels right at home in this mixed bag of pre-apocalyptic prayers. Manson seems to be taking form as the grim reaper talking to the same person he scolded in the previous song, inviting them to the underworld rather than repulsing them unlike in the previous song.

Through this new voices eyes death seems to be a privilege rather than an obligation like it is through the voice of the previous song.

“I need a raincoat for tomorrow, it’s about how much people cry when you die, it’s not about the storm of tears that you make when you’re alive,” proclaims Manson on “HALF-WAY & ONE STEP FORWARD.” The song paints images of the exact thoughts racing through someone’s mind at full speed as they plunge headfirst into darkness.

The way Manson describes death on this album is very romanticized and inviting in a way. It feels as if he really is a reaper, enticing the listener to dive into his realm.

“PERFUME” is a conceptually interesting song as it jumps all over the place thematically and ties it all together with two seemingly unrelated things; Fashion and Satan. Society’s unrelenting obsession with how we look is illustrated perfectly here. The relationship between narcissim and social beligerence is no mere coincidence in this ideology, it is a direct correlation.

“KEEP MY HEAD TOGETHER” dives further into what we are doing to plunge society into the aforementioned infinite darkness. This time, however, Manson explores topics of how we think we have ownership over everybody and everything and try to change their ways of life while unknowingly letting ours deteriorate. It pays out like an eerie warning to the U.S. to stay out of foreign affairs that don’t affect the U.S. and worry about our own dying country.

“I’m not special, I’m just broken and I don’t wanna be fixed,” solemnly sings Manson on “SOLVE COAGULA.” It feels as if we have switched to a new character, maybe us, the audience Manson has been warning this whole time. We, the audience, finally listen to Manson and realize while also neglecting the fact that we could fix what’s around us rather than focusing on ourselves.

“BROKEN NEEDLE” closes off the album with a slow, acoustic ballad telling the listener that this nightmarish hellscape was merely a dream – a look into just how bad it can be if we stay as dangerously complacent as we are currently.

“I’ll never ever play you again,” yells Manson as the album roars to a close, seemingly bargaining with a higher power.

A constant battering of hope has been pulsating through 2020’s musical landscape, but Manson replaces that by realizing hopelessness. He begs us to acknowledge our pain and downward spiral before we lift ourselves out of it.

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