Marilyn Manson: Born Villain
After lamenting the sorry state of his life throughout 2009’s ‘The High End of Low’, Manson finally owns up to the fact that he’s a huge jerk on and the author of his own misery on ‘Born Villain’. But in typical Manson style, not only does he admit it; he celebrates it and uses it as justification to continue being a prick across this disc, in grandiose, bombastic and typical Manson style.
Opening with “Hey, Cruel World”, ‘Born Villain’ immediately starts the ball rolling with the circular logic of the world’s a rotten place, I’m a product of the world, ergo I’m rotten and it’s the world’s fault. Although in the same song he imparts a bit of hidden wisdom about ego and selfishness (His and everyone’s) in the lyric, “The center of the universe cannot exist when there are no edges.”
“No Reflection” largely ponders that Manson doesn’t know if he likes his persona or his not-the-dorky-kid-from-the-Wonder-Years real, personal life. But again this is used to justify his impulsiveness, that “I’m weak seven days a week”.
“Pistol Whipped” is the obligatory fucky-fuckysong, this time with BDSM and ultimately, the philosophical “who’s REALLY on top?” power game questions ubiquitous of any and all relationships as its topic of interest.
But no matter the song, Manson is at long last in top form once more on ‘Born Villain’. There’s not a song that couldn’t inspire outrage or conversation. One can rightfully speculate that Manson’s reasons for rhythmically pushing every possible buttonis, fuck you; that’s why.
That’s the whole point of the album. Even when he’s giving advice, such as on “The Gardener” it’s a cynical warning, not any Great Truth. It’s brilliant. He faithfully and respectfully covers Carly Simon’s signature “You’re So Vain” as only Manson could and you can’t tell if he’s rendering homage or sending somebody a message. In a nutshell, ‘Born Villain’ is the best Manson’s sounded in years, musically, lyrically and vocally.
Marilyn Manson: Born Villain – 10/10
In a weird way, there are parts of Norah Jones’ latest that kind of remind me of the sensual Techno-Jazz of Beth Orton’s ‘Central Reservation’. But Jonesis a long way from the soft, sultry piano Jazz she began her career with. She shows real evolution on this album; breaking new musical, lyrical and personal ground. Dangermouse’s top-form production and the blend of artists collaborating on the album certainly add to its brilliance.
This is definitive Norah Jones; perhaps the best album of her career. Her signature sultriness is gently intensified by experience; the lessons learned found in the notes and through the lyrics’ voice. There are bittersweet tones, and sometimes a soft anger burns through. The poetry of the album plays like the story of a woman achieving balance after years of partially-sought-after personal turmoil. All in all, ‘Little Broken Hearts’ points Norah Jones’ music to new heights.
Norah Jones: Little Broken Hearts – 10/10
The debut from Montreal band Mak, leaves me wondering what it is I’m listening to; is this Singer-Songwriter Folk Rock? Am I listening to Seal-Meets-Lenny Kravitz Jazz-Fusion or is this Post-Grunge Pacific Rock? Is it an alternate-reality version of Radiohed where Thom Yorke didn’t get in a wreck and almost die, therefore never becoming morbidly depressed and obsessed with minimalist electronica? All the good songs Coldplay didn’t record?
The tracks here are all that good, all inspired and well-performed, but for some reason as much as I enjoyed what I listened to, I just don’t feel like ‘Mak’ is a complete, or a proper album. There’s something missing beneath the veneer. There are some great, long and trippy intro’s, such as on “Stab Me” and “Cause to Effect”, some really mellow vibes, sounds and lyrics on “Reverse” and “Them”. This is a good album – but I sense restraint; whether it’s on the part of the artists or the producer I really can’t tell. That’s what makes it so hard to not give this album top marks; all the pieces are there on this one, but I can’t tell (and forgive the cliché) if this is live or if it’s Memorex.
Mak: Mak – 8.5/10