Marilyn Manson’s new single release: Slo-Mo-Tion
The late 90s/early 2000s has, musically speaking, a lot to answer for, mainly because it delivered to the world a sub-genre best forgotten: that of the dreaded nu-metal. Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park were all the rage, Slipknot were amassing legions of fans, and all the while actual “metallers” Metallica seemed intent on producing rubbish.
On top of this we had to endure a wave of pop-punk that arrived in the form of Sum 41, Good Charlotte etc, and the golden age of hip-hop was turning in its grave thanks to the comedy stylings of rapper Eminem. Amongst all this, however, industrial-goth-alt rocker Marilyn Manson was reigning supreme having been catapulted to superstardom with singles I Don’t Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me), The Beautiful People and The Dope Show enlivening suburban youth and enraging parents and conservative politicians everywhere.
A decade or so has past since Manson’s heyday and on 1st May he returned with his eighth studio album Born Villain. The follow-up to 2009s The High End of Low, it was rumoured to be heavier than its predecessor, arty and according to Manson: “doesn’t really sound like any of my old records”. Well, a variation on his catalogue it may be, but the core elements are the same and, frankly, a lot of Born Villain is paint-by-numbers Manson. The goth-rock, alt-metal antics are still firmly in place and it is kind of a surprise to see Manson (who has become as well known for his intelligence and his ability to speak articulately about pretty much anything, as he is well known for his music) produce something so, well, predictable.
The album’s second single Slo-Mo-Tion is an apt signifier of this. The stripped back instrumentation (straight-forward bass, drums and guitar) is a good, fresh approach for Manson to get back to basics and allows for songwriting to take centre stage. This, however, is only really a good idea if you have strong songwriting to showcase and on Slo-Mo-Tion, as with most of the album, it’s good, but it’s not great. The dirtyphonics remix of the track injects more pace and chaos which makes for an interesting experiment, but detracts from the sinister, lurching quality of the original. It’s not without its charms, but the song suffers from the album’s two biggest problems: the production is patchy and it is way too long.
Long-time fans will probably welcome Slo-Mo-Tion and its parent album as a return to form for Manson with its simplicity and raw nature giving it a starting-from-scratch quality. Lyrically, he’s as sharp as ever on this track and still keen to shock, but it seems as though he doesn’t have much new to say. The same can be said for Born Villain as a whole. Listening to Manson chat about American foreign policy or social issues would probably be a far more engaging experience.
Listen to Slo-Mo-Tion here: