Had this come out when I was 12 or 13 instead of 14, things may have gone so differently for me. I could totally see the 12-23 year old me totally falling for the sugar rush of Marilyn Manson’s off the wall glam shock tactics. They were too weird to be grunge, not dancy enough to be Industrial and way too early to be Nü Metal. I remember the Lunchbox EP, Dope Hat and I remember it all going in one ear and out the other as background noise to adolescence. At 14 I think I was content and jaded enough to be like “whatevs, this was cool when it was called NIN” and just keep on smelling the teen spirit. I think the most off putting thing about even giving Marilyn Manson half a chance was, stop me if you’ve heard this one before… their fans! I couldn’t stand all the kids who were starting to align themselves under the Marilyn Manson flag and call it Goth. Those same kids who would eventually become The United Nation of Juggalos nation. And while I hated the fans and was indifferent to the music, I did however really like Brian Warner AKA Marilyn Manson as a person. I enjoyed whenever he was on TV or Howard Stern. He was very intelligent, well read and articulate. I liked him as person so much so that I sometimes wished I could just will myself to like his band… but alas I could not! So he would just get my respect for being the best possible frontman you could ever hope for when it came to free speech and expression.
A couple of weeks ago for whatever reason (probably something to do with Mike Jones) I got a bug in my ear to track down the first Marilyn Manson album Portrait of an American Family and give it a chance only about 15 years after the fact. I had a feeling all the time removed from it and the fans I’d be able to hear more objectively and perhaps even enjoy it. My suspicions were correct! I was kind of surprised how familiar I was with a good chunk of the album… things really do sink in even when you don’t pay any attention to them. I can also now being so far removed from when it came totally see how tongue in cheek so much of this album was.
Now while this is no master stroke by album or even Awesomely Awful Album standards, It did quite nicely quench my thirst for some White Zombie meets NIN style Alterna-Industrial tunage. There is a shit load of filler and cring inducing moments, but the fe times things work, they really work.
You can only listen to Pretty Hate Machine, Broken & The Downward Spiral so many times before you need some variation to your aggro 90s fix! Portrait of an American Family does just that… provides a nice short term alternative high. But ultimately at it’s end you’re left with dry mascara caked on your eyes, manic panic all over your forehead and, yep you guessed it… a desire to hear Pretty Hate Machine, Broken & The Downward Spiral. But at least from this point on I can (in some sense) enjoy the music of someone whom I’ve long respected. Dope Hat and Lunchbox will now unabashedly be welcome as some tasty guilty pleasures to get me pumped up for THE WEEKEND!- My Pal the Crook