Marilyn Manson is one of the principal artists responsible for reintroducing the idea of the concept album. With his 2003 realease, Manson delivers a masterpiece that serves as a sober reflection of today's saturated soceity in which "Everything has been said before, nothing left to say anymore".
Musically, the album sounds like a mixture of metal and early 20th century swing, and the two styles of music are used to draw a parallel between the glitzy vaudeville era and today. As always, the music on the album is new and innovative, proving that Manson can and will continually throw curveballs towards his listeners. It is also likely his best album lyrically. While there are many random and silly lines throughout the album, they are used in irony to show the aritificiality of most modern-day music (take a good look at most rap lyrics, then get back to me). The album also hits moments of lyrical brilliance, evident in songs such as "Doll-Dagga..." and "Bright Young Things". It's no surprise that Rolling Stone considered this to be one of the top 10 albums of 2003.
Thaeter: The introduction to the album, a series of mechanized noises that leads nicely into the next track. As it isn't really a song, it gets no rating, but it givesw a nice overview of the music on the album
This is the New Sh**: The secnod hit released from the album and featured on the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack. The song is an upfront summary on our society. Starting of relatively slowly with a creepy industrial verse, the chorus hits hard with a crowd screaming along with Manson. The lyrics are painfully blunt, with verses like "I'll stick it you know where, you know why, you don't care". Good Song 9/10
mOBSCENE: The first hit from the album, it hits you right away with the opening guitar riff and heavy cmybals. The songs meaning is a little lost on me, but seems to refer to the lifestyle of Manson and similar artists. The cheerleaders in the chorus make the song lighter and less serious, but are still an interesting touch. 9/10
Doll-Dagga-Buzz-Buzz-Ziggedy-Zag: As the name suggests, this is a somewhat manic, fast-paced song. It has a solid swing-beat throughout, and interesting lyrics such as "Cocaingels and asses, give me opium masses, fill your churn porn preachers we'll fill up your glasses". There is supposedly a reference to some old movie in the chorus, as voices chant "You're one of us". One of my favourites on the album. 10/10
Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth: I never really got too attached to this song. It has a nice heavy guitar and vocals, but feels somewhat plain to me for some reason. Appears to be about a lower class uprising. Not a bad song, but pales in comparison of the rest of the album. 6/10
The Golden Age of Grotesque: A change in pace, this song has a slower beat that sort of drags through the song. Starting with a drumroll, the song has Manson singing in a strange distorted voice and is partly sung in German. In my opinion, it should have been released as the third single from the album instead of [s]AINT, as it is a softer song that would likely appeal to a larger audience. 9/10
[s]AINT: A minor single, it featured a music video that was banned in North America, as it is essentially pornography set to music (the video can be found online, or on the Lest We Foget DVD). Not my favourite song, but it features an interesting drum beat. It's about Manson's status as an alleged heathen, as he states "Hold the 's' because I am an 'aint'". 7/10
Ka-Boom! Ka-Boom!: An awesome song that would also have made a good single, the music hits you with agressive guitar as iit opens, followed by a solid bass line through the verses and a beautiful melodic chorus. The song is sung to a girl who Manson apparently cannot feel for despite his superstar status; "I'd like to love you but my heart is a sore". Stays in my head for days. 10/10
Slutgarden: An interesting track, it is about a girl who developed feelings for a guy after sex with him, but he doesn't share them. The lyrics are very venemous and mean, the chorus reads "When I said me, you know I meant me, and when I said sweet I emant dirty". Manson essentially calls the girl a dirty whore. Nothing too special musically, but fits into the album well. 8/10
Spade: Unlike his previous albums, there is only one real slower and sadder song on Golden Age, and this is it. Like most tracks on the album, it remains very bitter, with an angry chorus and bridge. Musically its soft with hard guitar cords that hit you during the verse. The high guitar notes during the last chorus are the perfect finishing touch. The lyrics are possibly the best Manson has ever written, the chorus "You drained my heart and made a spade, there's still traces of me in your veins". My favourite song on the album. 10/10
Para-Noir: A 6 minute song that is mostly instrumental, it sounds like the angry aftermath of Spade, as the singer realizes what a bitch his past lover was. There is a female voice in the background listing the reason's why she slept with him, with Manson singing only in the chorus. Features a decent guitar halfway through, and an awesome synthetic scream by Manson that drags on for almost half a minute and ends up aounding like a circular saw. The word *** is said 33 times during the song. 8/10
The Bright Young Things: Another favourite, this song refers to a younger generation of careless youth who are destructive and violent. Serves as a teenage anthem, with a chorus of "We know who we are and what we want to say, and we don't care who's listening, we don't rebel to sell it just suits us well, we're the bright young things". Heavy guitar and drums, and the bridge sounds almost like Manson is rapping, which is a cool effect. The only negative comment is the 40 second outro, which reminds me of a ceiling fan spinning very slowly. 10/10
Better of Two Evils: A song about Manson's relationship with the media. Nothing that really stands out in it. Somewhat catchy musically, but the lyrics in the chorus get a little annoying. 6/10
Vodevil: This song took some time to grow on me. Like the previous track, is isn't much lyrically, however its an awesome song musically. Opens with a strange piano-like sound, then going into a catcy bass line that unfortunately fades out as the song continues. The chorus is furious, and has Manson screaming as if his lungs are soon to fall out. A nice heavy album finisher, unlike the usual soft album closers such as Man That you Fear or Coma White. 9/10
Obsequey (The Death of Art): An album outro similar to Thaeter, it features sad piano chords in the background and what sounds like a news reporter's voice (I can never make out what he's saying). Seems to imply that music has deid as a result of commerce and capitilization. Also recieves no rating, as it is really part of the album as a whole and not an individual track.
With no real low points and a fresh, raw energy rarely found in today's mainstream metal, this is possibly my favourite Manson album. It is apparent that Manson feels right at home in this Golden Age of Grotesque we now live in.