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Thread: Retrospective: Born Villain

  1. #11
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    I gave Born Villain some listens recently and surprisingly I enjoyed it much more than when it came out. I still have problems with some songs (namely Pistol Whipped and Disengaged), however I changed my mind completely about some of them. There are some really good tracks on this album, such as Hey, Cruel World which is my favorite for the moment, Overneath the Path of Misery, Children of Cain and the title track. The album is definitely less chaotic THEOL. It's still nowhere near as good as Manson's best records, but much better than what I remembered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by S.D. View Post
    Would you feel the same if there were less tracks on the album?
    Probably, but not as much.
    You're right, though. Too many filler tracks for me, or at least what I consider filler.
    Maybe I'll go back, take the songs I enjoy and listen to them in one complete sequence.

    I also agree with Mr.Svperstar13 in regards to Twiggy's complacent song writing efforts.
    If he's not going to push for creativity, then someone else should be co-pilot during the composition stages.
    He stepped down for "The Pale Emperor", and look at the results compared to "Born Villain".
    Twiggy's my main man, but sometimes I feel as though he's simply around for a paycheck these days.
    When meeting him at Monster-Mania 33 this past March, he couldn't have been anymore uninterested,
    And it seemed like the most severe of hassles, greeting people that adore him in exchange for money.
    Tough life.

  3. #13
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    There's some interesting thoughts here, thank you for sharing so far. I suppose what some value in Born Villain is what others lament; its direct attitude and simplicity.
    I've read hundreds of Marilyn Manson interviews for each record, and Born Villain was one of the few where his descriptions of the album itself were actually pretty accurate. Not the hyperbolic 'it's the best concept Marilyn Manson album ever' soundbites, but more things like this:-

    "It was important to go back and give myself no other options. We started making this record, and made it with the limitations of immediacy and urgency. It wasn't so much improvisation as it was figuring out that when you only have a pencil and a guitar or a drumstick it's almost re-inventing the wheel. And I like limitations. They work for me. It worked for me back when I didn't even have any songs, and I could only draw.
    I wanted to make it something that, over the past few albums, it didn't start to become less passionate, but less fun for me. And art was always the thing that brought some fulfilment to me. And it had started to slip away."

    When you read into that, it is very truthful. It's easy to dismiss his album commentaries because he has to say the same thing to so many people, but despite mentioning a similar approach for EAT ME, DRINK ME and The High End Of Low, it's not really the case. ...DRINK ME has a 'stripped' approach to recording an album, but Tim's writing style isn't reactionary, it doesn't seem like an album that was written spur-of-the-moment at any stage. Similarly, The High End Of Low knowingly has some of Twiggy's older compositions on it, and a general large, sprawling approach, resulting in the variety of songs a lot of people pick up on.

    I think what we heard on Born Villain was Manson and Twiggy actually just sitting down and writing a 'NEW' album for the first time since they reunited, and that's why I have so much time for the record. That may also be why Manson was so keen to make comparisons with Holy Wood, because despite being written by a band, it was also the last time the pair had collaborated on something that was 'theirs' prior to parting ways.
    I can understand why The Pale Emperor is important for fans as a strong, artistic statement, but with the above in mind, its approach is really no different from Born Villain; they're both to-the-point, confident Marilyn Manson albums, ...Emperor is just a little more deliberately concise and refined. ...Villain however, when compared with its predecessors is dripping with literary references, well-executed phrases, gleefully defeatist logic, and descriptions of the human condition only Manson excels at. I know I said this before, but it really is like a 'positive' Holy Wood, if such a thing is possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manson15Marilyn View Post
    Still the best lyrically. Idc about the music production or whatever. Sounds like music to me.
    This is a suitably minimalist assessment, but it does ring true for me. I can obviously tell the difference between recorded-in-a-shed shit and high quality music, but Born Villain doesn't ever sound amateur or lacking in decent musicianship/quality recording equipment. There's layering in Manson's voice, adequate and welcome use of sampling, click tracks, pedals, delay, and compression across the entire album, whilst still remaining a straightforward 'rock' album. Subtle aspects like the creeping sirens in Murderers..., cameras, gun chambers, the music box, peculiar wailing, scraping and scratching sounds throughout the whole piece definitely hark back to the atmosphere and landscape of Holy Wood, without it feeling like you're inhabiting this depressing alternate reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by AStrangeGay View Post
    When meeting him at Monster-Mania 33 this past March, he couldn't have been anymore uninterested,
    And it seemed like the most severe of hassles, greeting people that adore him in exchange for money.
    Tough life.
    Hasn't he always been like that, though? I can't think of a point in Manson's entire career or time spent collaborating with Twiggy where he's spoken extensively for more than half an hour about a Manson album. Neither have many other people to be honest, it's Manson's "beautiful show" and he likes to describe it for people personally. A shame in some ways because there's a lot about the actual music and guitar work I'd like to know from someone like Twiggy, but I think that's been the deal for a long time now, leopard, spots etc.

  4. #14
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    I haven't actually listened to Born Villain in quite some time, so I'm giving it a spin right now as I type this.

    Like most people, the first I saw of Born Villain was the trailer with parts of Overneath as the soundtrack, and thought it was fucking killer. Then there was the video for No Reflection (I think that came before the release?) and the fact the album released in Australia on my birthday meant I was fucking pumped for this album. I was waiting outside the store before they opened and went straight home to give it a listen.

    Unfortunately despite that I was a little let down at first. While I like the album, still to this day the album opening with Hey, Cruel World just seems weak to me. While I could theorize about the song packing more punch if the bpm were turned up just ever so slightly, mostly it's in the production. The first chorus hits with all the force of a kitten pissing on a granola bar. I like the song, but the production is just not album opening, "shit, Manson's back!" material as he billed it at the type (this is the album where he spoke a lot about making an album for those that had never heard his previous work, right?)

    That out the way though, I liked it from first listen, and there's a lot of great songs on there (No Reflection, Pistol Whipped, Overneath, Slo-Mo-Tion, The Gardener, Children of Cain, Murderers, Born Villain, and Breaking the Same Old Ground) that I'd rate alongside any of Manson's work. There's a couple of others that, while good, don't hit the spot in quite the same way for me (Flower, Disengaged, Goddamn Arms) although some people absolutely fist their own anus over them, so each to their own I guess.

    I don't even mind the Carly Simon cover. Hell, growing up hearing that being played by parents and family, I quite like it.

    I've repeatedly mentioned my dislike of the drums on many parts of this album before, so won't go in to it all here again. I think we can all agree though that that drum fill in The Gardener is a fucking disgrace that should have never been allowed to happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by DecayingSinner View Post
    What still leaves me perplexed is how everyone loved this album when it was released, but now everyone seems to hate it. But the same thing happened with every album since Holy Wood.
    Isn't it quite the opposite? People trashed the shit out of EMDM on its release, now it seems to go over only ok with the majority of people. THEOL also took a bit of heat, though not as much, nowadays it seems to stir up mixed responses at best although the initial vitriol it caused among a certain sector of the fanbase has dulled with age, at least.
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Empirical Guy View Post
    I haven't actually listened to Born Villain in quite some time, so I'm giving it a spin right now as I type this.

    Like most people, the first I saw of Born Villain was the trailer with parts of Overneath as the soundtrack, and thought it was fucking killer. Then there was the video for No Reflection (I think that came before the release?) and the fact the album released in Australia on my birthday meant I was fucking pumped for this album. I was waiting outside the store before they opened and went straight home to give it a listen.

    Unfortunately despite that I was a little let down at first. While I like the album, still to this day the album opening with Hey, Cruel World just seems weak to me. While I could theorize about the song packing more punch if the bpm were turned up just ever so slightly, mostly it's in the production. The first chorus hits with all the force of a kitten pissing on a granola bar. I like the song, but the production is just not album opening, "shit, Manson's back!" material as he billed it at the type (this is the album where he spoke a lot about making an album for those that had never heard his previous work, right?)

    That out the way though, I liked it from first listen, and there's a lot of great songs on there (No Reflection, Pistol Whipped, Overneath, Slo-Mo-Tion, The Gardener, Children of Cain, Murderers, Born Villain, and Breaking the Same Old Ground) that I'd rate alongside any of Manson's work. There's a couple of others that, while good, don't hit the spot in quite the same way for me (Flower, Disengaged, Goddamn Arms) although some people absolutely fist their own anus over them, so each to their own I guess.

    I don't even mind the Carly Simon cover. Hell, growing up hearing that being played by parents and family, I quite like it.

    I've repeatedly mentioned my dislike of the drums on many parts of this album before, so won't go in to it all here again. I think we can all agree though that that drum fill in The Gardener is a fucking disgrace that should have never been allowed to happen.



    Isn't it quite the opposite? People trashed the shit out of EMDM on its release, now it seems to go over only ok with the majority of people. THEOL also took a bit of heat, though not as much, nowadays it seems to stir up mixed responses at best although the initial vitriol it caused among a certain sector of the fanbase has dulled with age, at least.
    It could be perhaps newer fans coming into the fray as well. I didn't start listening to Manson until around 2011/2012 so I missed all of the hey days.

    EMDM has remained in my top favorites, though. Even though I initially didn't like the vocal effects, it's always remained in my favorite albums. Most Manson fans are either apathetic to it or don't like it.

    Glad you picked up on the drums too. I thought I was hearing things or something.

    I actually thought Cruel World had potential to be a strong opener, but Manson sounded so bored in that song. I've mentioned before that his voice on BV sounds either bored or strained. His strongest vocal performances were No Reflection, Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms, the last 40 seconds of Breaking the Same Old Ground and Murderers are Getting Prettier Every Day. The rest are either good or just sound bored/strained which falls back to that dumb live album thing they did.

    I would absolutely love to hear and see more songs like Murderers and Goddamn Arms, though. I could be wrong, but I am sure Murderers had to have been the first song recorded. That'd explain the factitious "suicide death metal" comment. Plus his screams are on fucking point and there's no howling which he relies on when he can't scream.

  6. #16
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    Specifically relating to the last two posts, I've long-held the theory that the aggressive, turbulent material on Born Villain was where they started on tour, probably about six or seven songs worth maybe, and the more emotive material was penned later in Manson's house. I agree that Murderers... was probably one of the first batch, perhaps alongside Hey, Cruel World..., Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms, Overneath The Path Of Misery, Pistol Whipped and maybe even the title track, or elements of it at least.

    You know he mentioned a potential EP following the record? Well that might have been a nice outlet for The Flowers Of Evil, Disengaged, and Breaking The Same Old Ground, with You're So Vain as a bonus. Despite being a 'bonus' song on the album, it seems widely regarded as part of the record for most people, and being tagged on the end there is a little odd.
    I understand the points made about drums, and Hey, Cruel World... actually ended up sounding better live in some cases than as an album opener. Strangely, people often compare No Reflection and Deep Six, which is understandable from a 'Manson Single' perspective, but I think there's more musical territory in common between Hey... and Deep Six. If the same level of post-production had been given to the former, it could have been one of the most incredible Manson album openers ever. I still love it though, especially in context of the video.

  7. #17
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    Overall I don't hate BV but I'm not particularly enamored by it either. I've heard worse things in my life and as far as music goes I'd rather listen to BV than most modern mainstream shit. However that being said I'm not trying to downplay the things people find terrible about the album in fact I do find it quite tiresome how he howls instead of either just singing or choosing a nice scream. The howling is obnoxious and I roll my eyes or cringe when he does it. Even though I have grown more fond of THEOL recently there is still some of that vocal styling in there that I just can't stand.

    Hell I'm not even gonna say that TPE is particularly better or worse than BV honestly it's all related and connected in my opinion. TPE definitely has more of nice sound and feel to it for me and I definitely prefer it but it's still modern Manson. These recent records to me I feel are super connected to each other and the more that I have re-listened through EMDM-TPE I get that feeling even more. So I'm done dissing most of the new stuff he's put out because I think if you take in everything for these three records it's quite interesting going through a sort of "history" with him. I'm not sure what I'm really trying to get at here but I'm really not too bothered about BV much anymore and really don't have much apathy towards most of his work.

    Anyways as always I find S.D. posts quite interesting to read even if I wouldn't go as far as you to outright praise BV I can at least say that the album in my opinion isn't as bad as I once thought it was. Not sure how I can attribute my change of heart but I just find it hard to really hate much of anything so I think that would be too strong of word to describe BV. Maybe I sound like I'm not being critical enough? Honestly though I don't really care about that. I've had more than enough time to be as critical as I want about the album, nowadays I just listen to it when I want and notice new things and appreciate stuff in ways I didn't when it was new.

    Sidenote: The cover for BV is probably the only thing I can find suuuper bad till this day. I still think it would have been better to go super simple and use the multi colored revolving MM logo with a white background. The album cover as it is just seems really lazy to me and not good enough at all. Even an album I used to loathe 'THEOL' I still really dug that album cover.
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  8. #18
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    I don't currently enjoy Born Villain as much as I did when it was released. To me, it hasn't stood the test of time. Although, there are some pretty strong tracks on this record. My personal favorites would have to be Hey, Cruel World, No Reflection, Overneath (The Path of Misery), The Flowers of Evil, Children of Cain, Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms, and Murderers Are Getting Prettier Everyday.

    I enjoy the bulk of the record, it's just not a record that I listen to often, nor do I have the urge to. I'll pick out certain tracks to listen to every now and then but nothing more than that. I do think that Overneath (The Path of Misery) is one of the best songs in the Manson catalogue. I love the lyrics. I also enjoyed during the tour from this era the Susperia intro leading into Hey, Cruel World. It was an awesome and hypnotizing intro.

  9. #19

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    My feelings on Born Villain are difficult to explain because I'm not sure why I feel the way I do. When it was released I remember thinking it was a powerful step forward, a bit of a return to form, but as time has passed... I just don't listen to it - and I listen to Manson almost daily. Born Villain is essentially the one album that I skip over entirely. Even now, bringing up the playlist for it, I can't point to a single song that I see and think, "That is a great song, I really want to hear that again." There's something about the album that I'm unable to articulate that just removes it completely from my interest.

  10. #20

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    It's always exciting when a new album is released, and I think that obviously plays into the "This iz the BEST MM album EVERRR!!!" feeling many people get upon each release. Now that it has had some time to sit, I think I can be a bit more critical and honest. Now, I love every album the man has put out. I'm so happy that they all exist and I wouldn't cut anything from any of them. They have all impacted my life and was the soundtrack to certain parts of my life if for a few months or years or whatever. So I don't hate Born Villain. But it's certainly no where near his best. It does seem kind of lazy (which is odd due to the fact that it apparently took 2-3 years to make). There are some really great songs on it. But it's just no where up to par to the old shit. And I'm not trying to say that in a way that seems like I'm jumping on the band wagon of "only the old shit was good!". No, I truly just don't think it lives up to previous work. But I don't think TPE lives up to previous work either. I had both albums damn near on repeat for months and months around the release. But I seldom play them now. For some reason, I can always go back to the Tryptych and even EMDM and THEOL. Actually, I think THEOL was his last excellent album. It was dark as shit and really makes me feel so many things, even in songs like We're From America which seem to have little to do with the overall concept of the album. I think it is such an underappreciated record and unfortunately not many people recognize how perfect it really is. It seems like SO much thought was put into it..

    This leads me back into BV. Sorry for the detour. Born Villain, although marketed as his "comeback" album, was anything but. It seems confused as to what it's trying to be. You've got some songs about the human condition, nature/nurture, etc.. and throw in some random greek mythology here and there. The lyrics were just not that good in my opinion. And the music was also forgettable. Still, I find it very difficult to properly describe this album. Because I still love it. I'd hate for anyone to think that I hate it and think it's the worst piece of shit ever. It's not. I love No Reflection, Pistol Whipped, Slo-Mo-Tion.... Basically I love the first half of it and a couple of tracks at the end. But it seems like a lot of filler. I love the You're So Vain cover.

    I know "No Reason" was a big part of that album. But....that's not doing the album a favor! It really does feel like some of it was written for "no reason". I don't know. There are some cool parts in the songs. I love the vocal effect when he sings "there...isn't a keeeyyyy....you can use on meee..". That almost reminds me of Mechanical Animals. I don't know. I guess I wanted something more thought out that would really wow me lyrically. I would always tell everyone Manson is a lyrical genius in the past and would reference all the word play on GAOG and the messages and double or triple meanings on albums like Holy Wood or Mechanical Animals. There was even beautiful poetic imagery in albums like EMDM and THEOL. But I guess something about my favorite rockstar, who in my head is strong and powerful, singing lyrics like "I'm weak seven days I'm weak". Well, it really does feel kind of weak.

    Pale Emperor isn't much better. I do not understand all of the love for Mephistopheles. Deep Six was cool, though maybe too long. I always liked Devil Beneath My Feet. 3rd day grew on me after I could get past his humming (which sounded awful to me at first). Odds of Even, Cupid, and Birds of Hell are all great.

    I don't know really what else to say or how to end this post. I guess the main point is, I don't care if Manson has changed or whatever, or wants to do a different style. But the lyrics should still and always be the very best. I feel like the delivery is weaker in the vocals and the song writing is just nebulous. I'm a big Wednesday 13 fan. He's changed his style a lot over the years. He started as horror punk, then got darker and harder, he's had an old school rock project (Gunfire 76) and even an outlaw country project (Bourbon Crow) and his most recent shit is just getting heavier and heavier. And I am by no means a country fan, but I love a lot of the Bourbon Crow shit, because the quality is still there and the lyrics are great, or at least they are to me. Still, they don't compare to Manson's lyrics but...I guess Manson just really fucked himself by setting the bar soooo fucking high in previous albums. If any other band put out Born Villain, it would be their best record. I know I'm disgustingly biased.

    Born Villain was pretty good. Just not too memorable. And I don't really think Pale Emperor will be all that memorable either in 15 years....but you know what? Who gives a shit? None of this matters. It was well worth the 12 bucks. It's given me hours upon hours of entertainment. I really have nothing to complain about. I'm really not trying to bitch. All of his albums more than paid for themselves. I've bought albums from other bands that I've never even listened to, or heard only a couple times because I really didn't care for it. I love everything Manson does and I'm right on board with every new era. This is all so desperately subjective. So much about an album and whether you like it or not has to do with the time and place in which you hear it, what's going on in your life, etc... There is no way to recapture my childhood innocence and my very first experiences hearing Manson. How could he ever live up to this illusion that we build inside ourselves of what is great....especially at a time when we are growing up and are more invested and impressionable to art? Some kid surely heard Born Villain for the first time and it was his or her introduction to Manson and it will forever be their favorite album. It's very tempting for me to pretend that it's not subjective and say, NO, OBJECTIVELY HOLY WOOD WAS BETTER!!! The performances were better, his voice was better, the interviews were better, the costumes were better, theatrics, etc.. etc.. The music writing and production was better, the band was better....etc.. I could do that, but it's bullshit. It's my own little version of truth and it's the worldview illusion that I've built for myself. And we've all done that for whatever albums are your favorites. Not that Holy Wood is necessarily my favorite, I just said that as an example.

    Ummmm, fuck it? Why am I ranting for so long? No Reason.

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