Eat Me, Drink Me
ebruary 23rd, 1999: Eminem releases “My Name Is,” which goes on to become the first rap single to go to #1 on the TRL charts. April 20th, 1999: Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris kill 13 people at Columbine High School. No musician has ever had nine weeks of such monumental career damage, without actually doing anything themselves, as Marilyn Manson suffered there. The boy Mathers snatched his crown as the number one folk devil in mainstream culture, then the Trenchcoat Mafia forced him into perhaps the most embarrassingly emasculating step-downs in musical history (which itself was followed up by three long painful years wherein Big Bri tried to prove to us that he’d read a book once in a series of “intelligent” “interviews” “outlining” his “considered” “position”).
The first of these, technically, shouldn’t be a big deal. Alice Cooper, KISS, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube: pop culture public enemies number one have a limited life expectancy before they have to turn to self-parody and embrace the world of pro-celebrity golf, reality TV, novelty porn, or Disney movies. Problem is, Marilyn Manson doesn’t have a plan B. Yeah, he’s painted a few pictures. Yeah, he was in a couple of movies. Yeah, he’s already “retired” from music once. But this part-glam, part-metal, all-fannydangle thing, this is it for him. He can’t leave the game alone—even though it doesn’t need him.
The second? Since Columbine, Manson has been scared to actually do anything. This is why his career for the past eight years has basically consisted of him covering 1980s electro-pop songs with him shouting the lyrics. (Perhaps true redemption for him lies in an interpretation of “Doctor Doctor”?) Holy Wood and The Golden Age of Grotesque are bad, forgotten albums because of this impasse of ideas: a) they don’t live up to the standards he’s set up for what a Good Marilyn Manson Album should be (stadium Goth drumming with Manson doing his Middle America-baiting showman deal), and b) Manson hasn’t bothered to create any new standards for his music to stand up to. His career for the last decade is basically that of a chicken with its head lopped off, running around the coop unawares whilst coughing up a never-ending stream of blood. If you couldn’t guess, Eat Me, Drink Me is where the fowl finally falls over and collapses in a pile of its fellow poultry’s fecal matter.
The issue is simple. Manson doesn’t seem to realize the landscape has changed. In a time where there’s a wrist-slashing emo band on every street corner, groaning “I love you so much, you must kill me now” isn’t going to cut it. Either are his slow, long, faux-grandiose epics that sound like a Bauhaus tribute band rehearsing. His attempted beef with My Chemical Romance consists of him showing them what Lo Fidelity Allstars would have sounded like if they were a gang of skulking teenagers with an Aladdin Sane fixation (“Mutilation Is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery”). Gerard Way’s response to this record pretty much enters the dictionary as the new definition of “ethered”: “We still haven’t found someone that has knocked us down that we need to take seriously. If Elvis Costello said we sucked we would think about it a bit.”
The great joke about Marilyn Manson (the band) was that they comprised some of the most talented, if wasted, musicians of the late ‘90s mainstream rock scene. Forget all of the pissing around in stilts and surgical gear: Ginger Fish’s drums on “The Beautiful People,” Twiggy Ramirez’s bass line on “The Dope Show,” it was this shit that made kids go out and paint their fingernails with marker pen. Twiggy’s gone now; Ginger’s been replaced, ignominy of ignominies, by a drum machine; and the new members can’t even be bothered to give themselves funny Marilyn Manson-style names. I mean, if you’re too fucking lazy to sit down for five minutes before going “I dunno... how about Shakira Mugabe?”, you don’t deserve to be in this band.
But, then again, you’re dealing with a man here who’d rather spend his evenings staring at the bottom of an empty gin bottle than Dita Von Teese’s pubis. All bets are off.
Reviewed by: Dom Passantino
Reviewed on: 2007-06-14