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Thread: Color Theory in Marilyn Manson's Work

  1. #21
    Enname's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thatrussianman View Post
    "Not Acceptable
    An appropriate representation of the requested resource /forum/editpost.php could not be found on this server.
    Additionally, a 406 Not Acceptable error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request."

    I don't know what's going on. I have my heaven upside down analysis ready but it won't let me post it.
    .... oh ffs. There is a word somewhere in your post that is triggering the rather arbitrary word block filter of the ISP. Don't try to post it again or it may block you. Stick this down in the forum for site problems and complain loudly.
    Quid ignorantia sit multi ignorant.

  2. #22
    speed bump mannequin Golden Eel's Avatar
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    and with just one faint glance back into the sea
    the mollusk lingers with its wandering eye

  3. #23
    Master Procrastinator 33 Bullsik's Avatar
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    I haven't read the whole thread so I just hope I won't repeat what was already said.

    Some Manson albums are based on alchemical colors, which is black, white, sometimes yellow and, of course red.

    In Alchemy black (nigredo) is symbolic for putrefaction/decomposition of physical matter. Sometimes represnted as snake or lizard, something that is near the "ground". Psychologically speaking it's the first step of depression. In Latin this operation was also called SOLVE. It's the first step of the whole alchemical operation .

    White (also called albedo) is a symbol for everything that's spritual. It's purification of matter. Spriritualization often depicted as birds in old manuscripts. The concept of snake with wings is symbolic for battle between black and white, good or evil, etc. It's a constant struggle between the two. It suits almost all processes in the known universe.

    Yellow (citrinias) is a more rare color in achemy. It's like a moment when two opposites are about to be combined into a new quality. It's when people gain their inner wisdom. In psychology it's the last step of depression, just the moment before full realization. Thing are being coagulated in a new form (hence SOLVE ET COAGULA)

    Finally, red (rubedo) - the union of opposites, the androgyne, transformated soul, Jesus Christ the ressurected king [in christianity often depicted as wearing white (pureness) and red (victory) clothes]

    This are basically all steps of alchemical Great Work (OPUS MAGNUM), the work of creation or self-creation. The Evolution of things in universe.

    It's obvious that Manson used it as a sort of symbolic talisman on some albums. These color have a great power (just look at the nazi imagery or Coca-Cola, it's not coincidental)

    "Marilyn Manson Mechanical Animals" is an anagram of "Marilyn Manson is an Alchemical Man" (this is pure genius). The album is part black, part white, have some yellowish/orange lines in the booklet, and of course one red page. The Omega picture inside shows him dressed in gold on a red background. Transforming matter into gold was always symbolic for self-realization. It's the END of the whole operation - "This is my Omega". Omega is the last letter of Greek alphabet. Phonetically it was probably pronounced as the long "O". Some of you already know that O is also a 15th letter of Latin alphabet. The hidden audio on the CD in which he says "This is my Omega" is track numer 15 and I'm just saying all of it to clarify some conscious color choices made by Manson on this album. And if you look closer at the cover you will notice that the character of Omega is white, his hair is part black, part red and there are two strands of yellow hair just to match this all alchemical symbolism.

    Last edited by Bullsik; 03-27-2018 at 01:25 PM.

  4. #24
    Hallelujah motherfuckers thatrussianman's Avatar
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    Default #5. HEAVEN UPSIDE DOWN

    Hopefully with the server switch, this will work. Let’s try this again. It's new, it's fresh, it's Heaven upside down. Let's take a look at the color and design choices made for this album.

    1. Comparison to The Pale Emperor
    Heaven Upside Down represented something new for Manson. Manson has always changed his style and look from album to album, each era defined by it's own colors and style, but not Heaven Upside Down. I was not expecting this cover to be in Black & White when the album was announced. I thought Manson had saved his "black & white style" for the pale emperor era. I believe this is Manson hinting at Heaven Upside Down being a continuation of The Pale Emperor. Therefore, it makes sense that the two albums would share a black and white aesthetic. The two albums are connected and can be viewed as sister albums, each representing a different part of Manson’s psyche. In interviews for Heaven Upside Down, Manson has said many times that Tyler Bates told him that the Pale Emperor was "just the opening act" for Heaven Upside Down. Some Pale Emperor era interviews even have Manson mentioning the phrase “… turning heaven upside down", showing that the spark for this album goes back as far as the pale emperor era. Maybe this is setting up a new trilogy (or Triptych) of albums. It's very obvious to see the pattern now; when (not if) Manson and Tyler make a new album together, the album's cover art will probably be in black and white to conclude the saga.

    Manson is obviously not the first to feature his face in black and white on his album cover. Just by a quick google search, numerous artists shoot the album cover in black and white to convey a sense of classiness, introspection, darkness, and depth. Instead of flashy colors or crazy artwork, the artist is inviting the audience into their world, with the only thing occupying the canvas being their face. These album covers are supposed to be taken more seriously, and have a timeless quality about them.

    Albums covers from various artists showing their faces in black and white.

    2. How can you analyze color theory on an album with no color?
    Since there’s no color on the cover, I will briefly cover the composition. Manson’s face is positioned in the center for maximum readability, but he’s not facing the camera. His body is turned away from the camera, showing indifference. His face is turned slightly towards the camera, which shows interest while still remaining mysterious. It is only his eyes that look at us, and his expression indicates slight sadness. The photograph is in clear relief, and we can see every pore on Manson’s face. This is in start contrast to The Pale Emperor’s cover, which was blurred and shopped so Manson was barely recognizable. In this way, the cover of Heaven Upside Down paints a clearer picture of Manson, as the music does for his thoughts. As for clothes, he is not wearing anything particularly gothic, but rather a jacket which more than anything is probably an homage to David Bowie’s album “Low”.

    Knowing Manson's love of David Bowie's work, this seems like a pretty likely homage.

    The jacket creates pleasing diagonals in the composition, and does a pretty good job of hiding Manson’s double chin. The background is a flat gray midtone, which is a good choice compositionally as choosing a darker grey or a lighter grey would start to mush with the light and dark shapes in manson’s face. The midtone actually falls pretty close to the center of the greyscale. Can you can any more midtone than that? This is what leads me to believe that the choice of background color was a deliberate decision and not just some random grey.

    The background color of the cover (as indicated by the black half-circle), on a grayscale.

    A background too light or too dark would lose important feature of Manson's face in the composition.

    The double cross logo is also displayed in the upper right corner of the album. For the first time ever, Manson has eschewed his traditional double cross (which was symmetrical vertically and horizontally) for a cross that has two horizontal lines running through the lower half of the vertical line. The symbolism is multilayered and obvious: Manson’s upside down (read: satanic) cross shows that he has now transitioned to favor the lower half of the cross, representing evil. Alternatively, one could view this as his traditional double cross with an extra long vertical line reaching up to heaven. The positioning and scaling of the cross is used in replacement of an artist/album title (the pale emperor also lacked an artist/album title on its cover). The cross is displayed on the right of Manson, as in western society we read left to right, so it makes sense that the first image we process is of Manson, before our eyes lead us to the cross.

    On the back cover, we see the tracklist displayed in descending order (appropriate given the album’s themes), with a large Marilyn Manson logo displayed underneath. Stylistically, this is a callback to the back cover of the pale emperor, with the colors inverted.

    A trend hopefully continued on the next album.

    3. No, seriously, where’s the color?
    Let’s take a look inside inside. Heaven upside down is the Manson album with the fewest pictures of Manson (born villain featuring two, portrait of an american family featuring three). If you’ve read my previous installments, you’ll have picked up by now that Manson loves to incorporate black vs. white into his album artwork. It is symbolic as well as visually pleasing: you can’t get any higher contrast than white against black. The same theme goes for heaven upside down: the logos are white on a black background, and the text is black on a white background (CD version).

    Black on white.

    Halfway into the CD booklet, in-between KILL4ME and Saturnalia (which is where the vinyl splits up), there are two pictures on opposite sides of the page. The left is of a woman kneeling at the altar of a depiction of Mary holding a dying Jesus, with a circle (crown) of thorns bordering the image. The woman is looking up to the altar in seemingly adoration and reverence, but her hands are not clasped up to her chest like normal depictions of christian prayer are. Instead, her hands are clasped downward, closer to her crotch than to her heart. The opposite picture is an illustration of a demon, or Satan himself, pondering and looking at something offscreen. The background is dark, with organic shapes indicating some sort of dark terrain Satan is walking through, perhaps Hell itself. The border is a thick, bold black border with a demon’s face breathing fire at the bottom. As a hint towards the romantic aspect of the album, the demon is looking in the direction of the illustration of the woman, perhaps looking at her directly. These two illustrations (not present in the vinyl version) give the album a richer and more in-depth portrait of its themes and concepts of dark romance, violence, betrayal, and acceptance (to name a few).

    Wish we got this in the vinyl version.

    Finally, we can talk about color. Like Mechanical animals, red plays a small but vital role in the color theory of Heaven Upside Down. In the past, Manson has incorporated the color red to represent romantic elements (as well as the obvious blood/violence element). This is backed up by the fact that Manson describes Heaven Upside Down as a romantic story, filled with violence. In the CD booklet, red text is used to outline significant phrases, song titles, choruses, and lyrics emblematic of the song as a whole. There were also 3 different colored vinyl versions of Heaven Upside Down released: A Black disc, a white disc, and a red disc. This color pairing or Red, White, and Black also shows up in previous Manson work, such as the Antichrist Superstar Logo, which is itself a parody of the Nazi Swastika. Meanwhile, The Pale Emperor featured no color other than black and white inside the album artwork, and the only two (official) colors released for the vinyl discs for that album were black and white. With this evidence, we can conclude that Manson has continued the thematic elements and color theory of The Pale Emperor into Heaven Upside Down while also building upon them.

    The chorus of Tattooed in Reverse colored in red, as well as the words, "DEAD SEA", used to symbolize importance in the meaning of the song.

    Last edited by thatrussianman; 04-14-2018 at 01:05 AM.
    I'm not actually Russian.

  5. #25
    Enname's Avatar
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    I wish I could find who drew that damned first picture. The style is so familiar (apart from Edward Gorey) but I cannot pinpoint it.

    Anyway, the red in the lyric sheet is also mimicking the rubrication (rubricatio - to colour red) used in the Bible during manuscript construction across the Middle Ages. Red is used to highlight and colour either initials, words or sentences, or it is to indicate either the start of a canto/section, to mark out actions or directions. The choice of what is rubricated was always up to the individual making the text, so what Manson chose to 'rubricate' here is always interesting to think about.

    Interesting note that he has only used red. Rubrication (despite the meaning of the name) can also oscillate between red/blue. Classic Manson colours.
    Last edited by Enname; 04-14-2018 at 01:56 AM. Reason: auto-correct is wrong
    Quid ignorantia sit multi ignorant.

  6. #26
    Hallelujah motherfuckers thatrussianman's Avatar
    Join Date: 05.10.12
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    Default A Quick Update

    Hey all. I've been away from the computer for the past week helping my family with stuff. I will post Golden Age in the next couple of days.
    After that, I will post a color analysis of the remaining albums in the following order:
    -The Pale Emperor
    -Holy Wood
    -Extras: Lest we forget, last tour, smells like children
    I'm not actually Russian.

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