Review Summary: Just going through the motions
Growing old isn’t easy because everything gets old at some point, including Manson and his shocking persona. I’m using “shocking” liberally because he wasn’t controversial for a long time now and the latest album doesn’t change that. Voltaire said that “In order to see what rules over you, find out what you’re not allowed to criticize.”
And it’s been decades since last time it was rebellious to mock Christianity, conservatism, America or to say “fu*k”. Now imagine the s*itstorm if Manson decided to rip into the current holy cows of virtue signalling: Muslims, BLM, “dreamers”, feminists, LGBT, diversity, Pepsi. It could be a scandal of Columbine proportions. Instead, Manson is doing the politically correct thing and like many others is showing mock Trump assassinations. And don’t forget the classic finger-licking, Bible-tearing one-two punch! Yawn.
“I write the songs to fight and to f*ck to. If you wanna fight then I will fight you, if you wanna f*ck I will f*ck you.”
The bluntness of album’s lyrics remind of Golden Age Of Grotesque
except this time it’s unironic. GAOG got away with low-brow because it was having fun while merely pretending to be stupid. It was imitating Weimar’s degenerate art. Heaven Upside Down
is imitating Manson at his heyday. When you’re old and fat you’re neither sexy nor threatening, so singing about sex or violence looks pretentious at best and pathetic at worst. Despite that, credit where credit’s due – Manson still pulls off clever wordplay: "I'm unstable, I'm not a show horse"; "Cash is a poor man's money"; "I'm not being mean, I'm just being me"; "Cocaine and Abel / Bible and Babel".
But maybe you don’t care about lyrics, so what’s the music like? Sonically it’s Pale Emperor 2.0
with a more raw edge. For some fleeting moments it even manages to channel Antichrist Superstar
punk rock. There’s still catchy riffs and industrial synths. You have your aggressive single, your funky sexy track, your bluesy closer. Overall it’s similar to Pale Emperor.
Hold on, am I repeating myself? I’m trying to say (and there’s not much to say) that if you are a Manson’s fan (I am) you will like Heaven Upside Down
(I do). But if you don’t like nu-Manson, the album won’t win you over because it offers nothing new. So, f*ck you? Whoa! ACCIDENTAL LYRICS AND EDGY CAPS, MOTHERF*CKER!
OK, I'll stop. Album is "OK" too.