Review Summary: One of the band's biggest songs came from this, but is there anything else worth listening to on here?
While "Portrait of an American Family" was a good start for Marilyn Manson, he didn't hit true mainstream success until the release of the "Smells Like Children" EP, or as most people know it as, the album that "Sweet Dreams" is on.
Yes, we've all heard "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", Marilyn's cover of the Eurythmics classic and it was the track that pretty much put the band on the map. It, and it's accompanying music video, were strange, creepy, brooding, and angry; perhaps the exact opposite of the source material, and it really deserves the acclaim that it has earned. Not many artists can take a song, make it do a total 180 in content, and make it a mainstream hit, but Manson was able to do this flawlessly.
But the case with many albums is that the most popular song off of, the most successful song isn't always the best. Sometimes, there are hidden masterpieces beneath the singles that get little to no time on the radio for one reason or another. Will you find that in this EP?
What you're getting with "Smells Like Children" is 25% noise, 31% mediocre remixes of songs from "PoaAF", 25% tracks made of sound bites, and 18% cover songs. So only about half of the album is made of actual music. The rest is just filler that you probably will never go back to listen to more than once if you even want to listen to it once.
It takes six tracks to get to what you really bought this EP for and only a few of them are even worth listening to. "Diary of a Dope Friend" is an interesting redo of "Dope Hat" where the instrumentals chug along very slowly and Manson's vocals are slow, ominous, and very brooding and scary sounding. It's okay, but it's certainly a step down from the original version of the song.
"S*tty Chicken Gang Bang" is just some odd instrumentals that aren't very interesting at all, "Kiddie Grinder" is a remix of "Organ Grinder" and I suppose it's alright, and "Sympathy for the Parents" is one of two tracks from this album that were taken from Marilyn Manson and his band's appearance on the Phil Donahue show. Completely pointless and it's much more interesting to watch the actual episode of the Phil Donahue show (Not kidding, that episode is pretty interesting)
And FINALLY you get to "Sweet Dreams" and you rejoice! But then you realize you still have a lot of album left, and very little of it is really worth anything. "Everlasting C*cksucker" is a bland industrial rock remix of "Cake and Sodomy" that takes forever to get to the meat of the song.
"F*ck Frankie" is just people repeating the title and then some girl moaning and then the track plays backwards. More completely worthless filler. What follows is an alright cover of "I Put a Spell On You" and is probably the most Manson-ish song on here other than "Sweet Dreams."
After a pointless telephone conversation and then another noise track, you get another remix of "Dope Hat". It's very fast and industrial, but the constant barrage of random beats and sounds can put a strain on your ears. "Diary of a Dope Friend" is better.
"White Trash" is actually kinda interesting. It's an acoustic rewriting of "Cake and Sodomy" performed by Manson's tour bus driver and it's pretty good. Yes. One of the best tracks on this EP isn't even a song performed by Marilyn Manson. This is certainly a track worth listening to for the curious listener. It's a cool song that's almost as filthy as the original and is a song that you'll be able to stomach more than a lot of the other tracks here.
After another clip from the Phil Donahue Show, you get another pretty good cover of "Rock n Roll N*gger". It's another very listenable song that's fast and punkish. Not all that great, but it's probably worth a listen. Despite the track being decent, I have a hunch Manson just did it so he can say the N word in a song and cause more controversy.
"Smells Like Children" is like a messy bedroom: it looks like an absolute pig sty but whoever lives in the room probably knows exactly where everything goes. In this case, this EP comes off as a unorganized mess of bland remixes, mediocre covers, and pointless filler, but Manson probably intended it to be that way for some reason. "Sweet Dreams" may be a classic, but it can't save this from being the most poor release this band has come out with.