Marilyn Manson's new album, The Pale Emperor, was released on Tuesday, January 20, 2015. When I went to Best Buy to pick up the pre-ordered copy (I put the CD on reserve -BestBuy.com has a great service where you can buy it on the site, but put it on reserve to pick up at the store on the same day) on Thursday, the young lady processing my order exclaimed, "I didn't even know he had a new album out! I haven't heard him in years!" I laughed and said, "Yeah, I'm not sure how well advertised the new album was. I subscribe to Rolling Stone and there was an interview where Manson talked about the new album. I was also on YouTube one day in November and saw the new single out. I downloaded it and loved it. I wanted to check out the album." She smiled, marked in the computer system that I picked up The Pale Emperor, then went on my merry way to listen to the CD in my 2002 Sony walkman.
This was the video I saw on YouTube in November 2014. I really liked Day Three of a Seven Day Binge and wanted to download it. As I continued listening to it, I really thought hard about giving the CD a listen when it was to be released in January. I've been a Manson fan since 2003 and I love his older music. I didn't check out his 2012 album; I thought the new single sounded great.
When I received the January 15, 2015 issue of Rolling Stone in the mail, I was delighted to see an interview with Marilyn Manson. I thought the way Rolling Stone described the Pale Emperor is in line with how I will review Marilyn Manson's The Pale Emperor: "...his new album, The Pale Emperor, is almost an equal to Anti-Christ Superstar, the 1996 record that lifted him out of the Fort Lauderdale post-grunge wasteland and shock-rocked him straight to the top, much to the dismay of the Christian right, which in 1999 tried to blame him for the horrors of the Columbine High School massacre. But where Superstar was all sinister, industrial grime, the Pale Emperor is bluesy, synth-heavy, fairly radio friendly and full of odd found-objects squeaks and torments. Many of its songs, among them the hard-stomping recent release of 'Third Day of a Seven Day Binge,' were recorded in one take, with all subsequent efforts to clean them up ignored. 'It's dirty,' says Manson happily, 'like the dirt under my nails, like someone who has dug a grave.'"
I agree with Erik Hedegaard, the writer who interviewed Manson for Rolling Stone. Anti-Christ Superstar was the first Marilyn Manson album I owned, copied from a friend's step dad. The Pale Emperor is much different than Anti-Christ Superstar because I find Superstar much more heavy and the imagery of the songs are darker. You can tell with Superstar, which was released in 1996, that Manson was riding the wave of his image of the button-pushing, offensive nut job that everyone feared. When he proclaimed himself as "The God of ----" in 1994, then the Antichrist in 1996, Superstar makes sense. I hold that album in high regard, though, because it's a great album.
I love The Pale Emperor, however, because it's a bit different than what I expected (though I wasn't really quite sure what to expect - I love being happily surprised, which this surprise me in a good way). To me, the album reminds me a little bit of Mechanical Animals, which Manson released in 1998. The Pale Emperor is synthy and to me it has a Southern rock flare to it. I think the synths and the melodies are catchy - it's a perfect album to listen to when you're working out. I mention the Southern rock flare because in the song "Slave Only Dreams To Become King" has a Southern minister preaching "The human wheel that force unseen the offspring of a deathless soul...", but it just has that feel to me. I especially love "The Devil Beneath My Feet," because it makes me want to get up and dance. It just has that powerful beat to get me moving. The lyrics are also classic Manson such as: "Don't bring your black heart to bed/ when I wake up, you better be gone or you better be dead" or "It's better to be blamed for robbing Peter than guilty for paying Paul." (love the Biblical reference - Manson returning to the old days!) I love all the songs on The Pale Emperor, but these are my favorites:
Third Day of a Seven Day Binge
The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles
The Devil Beneath My Feet
I bought the Special Release of The Pale Emperor, which included three extra songs. I loved these songs as well:
Day 3 (acoustic version of Day Three of a Seven Day Binge)
Fated, Faithful, Fatal
Fall of the House of Death
I give The Pale Emperor 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. It's definitely an album to check out because you'll be singing most of the songs. They're catchy and easy to memorize. I can't wait to hear more from Manson!