Review Summary: Well, he brought the emotion back into his music, but perhaps a bit too much
Marilyn Manson has never been the most liked person in music. When thinking of some of the most influential bands of the past 20 or so years, some may mention Marilyn Manson, but plenty won't even bring him to mind, so it's safe to assume that outside his fanbase, most of his albums would have pretty mixed receptions from listeners. 'Eat Me, Drink Me', on the other hand, is one of the Marilyn Manson albums that garners and extremely mixed reaction within his main fandom. Some think that this album is by far the worst in his discography, being too much of a lyrical change and a more commercial rock sound. Others (mostly teenage girls I've noticed) think that the change suits Manson, getting to show his more emotional side while still maintaining the gothic feel of his past work. This mixed reaction is fairly expected, considering this album strays away from criticisms of religion and politics or even the over the top sexual lyrics found in 'The Golden Age of Grotesque'. This album mostly consists of songs based on Marilyn Manson's love life and relationship issues he was having at the time of release.
If that description of this album makes you immediately refrain from giving this album a listen, then...well I don't blame you. Going from the controversial but intelligent lyrics of his concept trilogy to songs based around love and loss with a more pop rock sound was certainly not what many fans were looking for in Manson's sixth studio album, but that's exactly what they got. Perhaps the first issue with the album that you'll notice in the opening track, "If I Was Your Vampire", is Manson's voice. They've added an extremely annoying filter over it that makes it sound much louder than it is. This issue lingers in every single song and gets annoying very fast. Beneath the effect, his voice still maintains that unique and technically unimpressive charm that he's had for years (though with a bit of age showing) so you have to wonder why the filter was even needed.
Instrumentally, while technically fine, can make you cringe at how poppy and cheesetastic they can sound. The guitar riffs in "The Red Carpet Grave" and "Heart Shaped Glasses" are so high pitched and laughably cheesy that you'll end up just sitting there, laughing, saying "What the hell"" "They Said That Hell's Not Hot" goes beyond just having a cheesy riff (which it does) but it has a borderline mainstream hard rock sound and is a complete drag to sit through. The chorus in "Evidence" is basically the same way, but it's more like one of those slightly more creative rock bands that somehow got some decent airtime on radio stations. The whole package just fails to feel like a Marilyn Manson album which, considering all of the style changes the band has gone through over the years, is really saying something.
There are a few upsides to this album though. There's a charm to "Putting Holes in Happiness" that makes it a pretty good song. I wish I could tell you what that charm was though. I just think it's worth a listen. "Just A Car Crash Away" is probably the most Manson feeling song in this LP and you will probably get some enjoyment out of it. Solos are also much more abundant in this album than they are in any other of their albums. They're simple, yet still entertaining, and they never feel pointless or out of place. Finally, I turn my attention to the writing. These may be pointless and mind numbing relationship songs, but to be fair, their lyrics blow any mainstream rock love song out of the water. They're different and relatively creative, so at least he hasn't lost his ability to write decently, even if the topics are bland and uninteresting.
Despite a few upsides, this album doesn't hold up, and is certainly the weakest of Marilyn Manson's main discography. The cheesy instrumentals and the horribly unnecessary (yet painfully well written) topics weigh this album far too much. Take out Marilyn Manson's identifiable voice and replace it with any singer from a popular hard rock band, and you'd just end up with an above average pop rock album. Manson's fangirls will defend this album to the death saying that it shows his more sensitive and personal side, but coming from the Antichrist Superstar and one of the most intelligent writers in modern music, this album just feels unneeded and his discography would have been better without it.