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A Better Messiah
06-27-2012, 11:45 AM
Okay, so I totally tied the most apparent themes throughout Born Villain last night...and then I fell asleep and forgot most of it. I'm going to try to piece it back together for you all here, and this may end up being more of a collective discussion than an analysis.

The most perplexing thing that Manson has mentioned time and time again leading up to the album's release has been that of zombies. After listening to Born Villain I really couldn't relate it to zombies at all, but I think that it ties in with the concept of the "flowers of evil" (if taken in the context of Born Villain, rather than the context of Baudelaire's poetry). The imagery of zombies crawling (or literally bursting) out of their graves was largely popularized by the film Return Of The Living Dead (considered by many to be an indirect sequel to Romero's classic Night Of The Living Dead) in an iconic scene showing the zombies bursting out of their graves to "eat brains" (another cliche originated from the film). This image can almost be likened to that of a flower rising from the soil, flowers of evil. I think that the lyrics to "The Gardener" tie in with this theory the most. In its tribal roots, however, zombie mythology was largely about brain-washing, a process which involved removing all traces of life from a living person. The "corpse" would be buried alive, and many villagers would wake up inside a coffin and escape their untimely graves, walking around the village in a state of disillusion and considered by their neighbors to be "the walking dead." Manson alludes to Jim Jones in his video for "No Reflection" by using The Living Bible, who is infamous for brainwashing his disciples into committing suicide. The witch doctors who would perform the rituals on the victims could be likened to the chorus of "The Flowers Of Evil."

"I've been running from the bloodless
In fear of exile
For all of my sorceries."

And holy crap! Check out the lyrics to the rest of the song, because it totally relates to the zombie mythologies:

"The day they covered us in the dirt
like stars in the ground
that will grow into dead flowers"

"Your touch is so empty"

The intro to the song is filled with monstrous noises, almost groaning, or the yawning of a great beast. The "sleepless spiders" line reminds me of something that Rob Zombie would have used to describe the eponymous character in his song "Living Dead Girl," the video of which was inspired by the films La Morte Vivante (alternate title: Living Dead Girl) and The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari. The lyrics to "The Gardener" refer specifically to a female who is being raised as this flower of evil, and the brainwashed disciples in the video for "No Reflection" are all women. This is most likely a satire of Manson's relationships with women. As a cinemaphile, it is very likely that Manson has seen at least The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, and Horror films have always been a major influence on his work, which would not make the possibility of La Morte Vivante unlikely to have been seen by him. It is at the very least an artistic parallel worth comparing the lyrics of "The Gardener" to in order to demonstrate how the album could include zombies in its esoteric.

The lyrics to "Children Of Cain" also can be applied to that of the tribal zombie, a man who is not fully conscious and has achieved another state of awareness (in Manson's case, through Art and intellect rather than drugging and brainwashing):

"Don't assume that I'm always with you
It's just where my mortal body happens to be"

In another popular zombie film, Dawn of the Dead, civilization is portrayed as a failing system where anarchy is taking the reigns. The climax of the film occurs when a group of rebel bikers arrive at the Monroeville Mall (the film's setting) and raid the stores. The rebel bikers/anarchists ties in with Mad Max, another film that Manson has referenced, as well as anarchy as a concept. In many recent interviews he has referred to those who do wrong against him or those that he loves to be dealt with in manners which one may expect to see such anarchists do in the movies. And what is the purpose of anarchy? Chaos, of course. And why? "No Reason," which Manson has gotten tattooed on his own wrist. These bikers are always accompanied by their reliable weapons, and what does a modern insurgence need but guns? Guns give a lot of power to very weak people, and when you get enough of them together (ala a riot,) they begin acting upon knee-jerk reactions, almost instinctive, and can get a leader to speak before them, it is historically known to be easy to brianwash and encourage them. (Hitler recognized this and capitalizing upon it greatly in order to achieve his position.) This goes back to the zombie theme (brainwashing) and that of Fascism, which has characterized Manson's work practically since it began. Guns demonstrate power, and if Manson is the one controlling the guns, then he is in control. I often wondered why Manson was always so pro-gun control until he began shooting people in his videos ("Born Villain") and photoshoots (Golden Age-Era), but perhaps that can explain it...or at least open the way for the right questions. And if Manson is "The Gun," then he is what he lends to the people in order to give them power.

In the case of "Pistol Whipped," it is obviously a pun on the reproductive organ of a flower, but it is very possible to imply that Manson is literally in love with the power that holding a pistol implies. The aggressive, dominating lyrics come off self-empowering, as if abusing his love gives him pleasure by making his lover (a "Coma White," if you will) submit to him.

Christ has been compared to a zombie in pop culture quite often lately, which is something that I know members of the Manson camp must surely be aware of, considering the fact that they have mentioned Memes in the past and used such images on the official Marilyn Manson web page (such as the man whose face is punched in, which has been commonly posted on 4Chan, for instance). I'm not saying that Manson is referring to Memes in his work, but he must be aware of them, especially this one challenging the concept of Christ. A man who dies, is risen again, and becomes a bloodthirsty, heartless monster? That sounds a bit like the rise of the Disintegrator on the Antichrist Superstar album. This particular comparison is not one with much warrant, I suppose, but I do think it is worth considering the parallel, be it as rudimentary and unintentional as it may (have) be(en).

This is all I've got for now. I know that I've been rambling more than a drunken college professor, but I think that many of these things are worth considering regardless of how I stated them or what examples I used. Hope this helps, guiz.

A Better Messiah
06-27-2012, 12:00 PM
"Breaking The Same Old Ground" could also be breaking the ground as zombies claw their way out from their graves, or flowers poking up through the soil. I view it as that or digging up graves/flowers. I understand that it is about Art and that "everything has been done before," but this is Manson all. And, the lyrics "I am owned by death" don't hurt much. ;p

kleiner352
06-27-2012, 07:53 PM
I like what you drew from and where you connected things, but honestly I doubt any of it is really that valid. I think Manson stopped heavily going in-depth with references and allusions three albums ago (even EMDM's Lolita and Alice references and influences were very much surface-level). That said, I like the way you seem to have interpreted most of this, and if it was valid it would be cool. Honestly though I don't see the big zombie thing in the album, I think a lot of what people have connected is just trying to make it seem like there's more to the album then there really is.

Celebrity Killing Spree
06-27-2012, 09:48 PM
Did I miss something? What was all this zombie talk Manson made before the album came out?

thatrussianman
06-27-2012, 10:24 PM
"It keeps your brain safe, as it all eats at your face."

Could be a zombie reference.

"Death certificates"

If the Cabinent of Dr. Caligari has anything to do with this album, I'd say the album art is heavily influenced by it.

Also speaking of zombies rising from graves ...

The lines
"Bedroom Burial Ground"
and
"Bedroom Grave"
are basically the same thing. And the songs these lyrics come from are paired together, murderers and born villain.

Reminds me of how in No Reflection, "Scars" and "Old wounds" are very similar.
Lots of seeming repetition on this album, which helps it if indeed it is a concept album.

Sans Agendum
06-27-2012, 10:26 PM
"Uh uh uh aaaaah uh uh uh aaaaaah" -Disengaged

"ooowah ah ah ah ah ah ah oooowah" -No Reflection

Zombie Noises!? :O

Celebrity Killing Spree
06-27-2012, 10:28 PM
"no longer present tense" <- as in past tense, as in post mortem, as in the living dead.

thatrussianman
06-27-2012, 10:33 PM
"Uh uh uh aaaaah uh uh uh aaaaaah" -Disengaged

"ooowah ah ah ah ah ah ah oooowah" -No Reflection

Zombie Noises!? :O

lol I think Manson is just trying to be tuneful?? XD

You never know though ...

A Better Messiah
06-27-2012, 11:16 PM
Did I miss something? What was all this zombie talk Manson made before the album came out?

He made mention of being influenced by zombie mythologies, comparing this album to zombies as Eat Me, Drink Me was his vampire record.


lol I think Manson is just trying to be tuneful?? XD

You never know though ...

Now that's just downright irrational. *serious face

Heather Quick
06-28-2012, 05:06 AM
Did I miss something? What was all this zombie talk Manson made before the album came out?


(...) It’s almost in an easy way, which is a great metaphor and it applies to the recent Easter that we just went through — a zombie.

I like zombie movies, I like ‘The Walking Dead,’ I like the metaphor of it, simply because when we go with the zombie concept — if you’re bitten by a zombie, you don’t transform into something else like a vampire or a werewolf or whatever. You become something that’s not you. You don’t turn into something that’s different or something that’s evolved, you turn into something that doesn’t exist. It’s undead, so you become that’s the zero factor and that’s unusual to me. So there are a lot of things on the record that are not inspired by zombie films, but because I like that metaphor and because the first zombie, we can say is Jesus, because he died and rose from the dead three days later — that’s a zombie. So I think these metaphors exist on the record and on ‘The Flowers of Evil.’

I’m not trying to be reborn and I’m not trying to be resurrected. I’m not trying to be reincarnated, I was trying to transform, and that’s not the same as zombies, but I was trying to transform into something that I had not yet become.

http://loudwire.com/marilyn-manson-im-not-trying-to-be-reborn-im-trying-to-transform/

kleiner352
06-28-2012, 06:14 AM
http://loudwire.com/marilyn-manson-im-not-trying-to-be-reborn-im-trying-to-transform/

What I like is that he explicitly states it's not the same as zombies and he wasn't that inspired by zombie movies, he just likes the metaphor and it's a loose relation on the album. In other words "it's not really connected but I do see a bit of a semblance in retrospect"