Marilyn Manson - Eat Me, Drink Me

If there's an aspect to Manson's career that is disappointing, it's his apparent inability to reinvent his musical output to complement his chameleon-like image, a la his muse, The Thin White Duke. Whereas Bowie has - to a greater or lesser extent - been able to genre hop and come out the other side credentials intact, when Manson ventured outside his musical comfort zone for the frankly alien-esque Mechanical Animals it bode well. For him to subsequently retreat into an industrial dead-end was disappointing for anyone who had visions of a mainstream Manson taking his particular vision to the front rooms of Middle America and the front steps of a Bush-led White House.

On Eat Me, Drink Me, his sixth studio set, there are hints that Manson wanted once more to produce something different, but his new songwriting partnership with Tim Skold has produced a largely one-dimensional collection that is often leaden and indistinguishable over the whole.

Opener "If I Was Your Vampire" gives full reign to Manson's Bauhaus fetish, a tightly wound mood piece that sets the theme of bloodied love and relationships that continues with the second track ("If you're Bonnie, I'll be Clyde"). "The Red Carpet Grave", disconcertingly, builds on a juddery riff that's a distant cousin to Oasis's "The Importance of Being Idle" but it never morphs into anything more substantial.

The album's first single, "Heart-Shaped Glasses" is an interesting stab at white-boy funk, but it takes the Jade Puget remix (one of the bonus tracks on the UK edition) to force MM to wear a different mask - this one being that of Germanic disco diva. Thereafter, as the album begins to play out its second half, it's kinda 'business as usual', a run of heavier tracks that add little to his ouvre. "Mutilation ..." is typical, with its Glitter Band-stomp and "Fuck you, fuck you ..." chorus veering dangerously close to parody. And there are troubling moments where, were it not for Manson's distinctive croak, this could be - Anton La Vey forbid! - Jet or some other lumpen bar band, co-writer Skold bringing little to the orgy beyond a penchant for indifferent guitar wankery from the 'Noel Gallagher School of The Obvious'.

Young Americans. There's an album, right there. Will Marilyn Manson ever have the chops to write it?



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