Gothic Council vs. Marilyn Manson

Categories: Gothtopia

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I was in high school when Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar came out, and yeah, I played it until everyone around me begged me to stop. Though I've grown to appreciate deeper and better artists, Mr. Warner has always had a place in my heart for introducing me to a darker world.

I still think he's highly underrated as a lyricist. He's quite gifted with the odd turn of phrase, at least the equivalent of Axl Rose, and his showmanship is undeniable. That being said, he's often sewn onto the goth scene like Belial gets sewn back onto Duane at the end of Basket Case.

I've argued before about his inclusion under our little black parasol, and mostly I get gnashing teeth in response. However, I would put forth that as a Reznor protégé his credentials check out, and that many of his tracks, particularly off of Mechnical Animals, fit perfectly as modernist goth tunes.

Plus, I have never seen any goth scene cooler than the faux-goth gangsta thing he pulled in the "Tainted Love" video. But I knew I'd feel more comfortable if I had some experts, or at least a few people who were still awake and listening to the Mission, weigh in on the subject.

I summoned the Gothic Council to pass judgment on Mr. Manson. Joining us this week are DJs Martin Oldgoth and Regen Robinson, fashion designer Batty, living historian Morrighanne Burns, blogger at Night's Plutonion Shore Sarah Fanning, co-founder of the Age of Decay festival Alethea Carr, author of the Encyclopedia Gothica Liisa Ladouceur, and artist Darla Teagarden.

Martin Oldgoth: Nope. Just can't accept him in my gang. Reznor (in my opinion) wrote one very average album and went downhill fast when he chose the irritating shouty, loud guitar shit as a career path.

I rank both alongside Rammstein as being one of the primary causes for the death of the goth scene as we knew it, paving the way for people to accept just any old crap as being "gothic." There was no need to ignore the bands putting out genuinely good music at the same time in favor for industrial-lite, metal. Kill it with fire.

Batty: Gotta agree with Martin. Kill it with fire. I also think Reznor wrote a couple mediocre albums that were really catchy and while they did suck a lot of people into the scene that moved on to liking better stuff, he and Manson also sucked in a lot of the people that killed the beauty of the scene as well and devolved into things that appeal to the lowest common denominator.

I won't deny that Manson is a brilliant businessman who knows how to sell himself; however, the ability to make money doesn't make one spooky. Does not like. I like dark and mysterious and the delicate beauty in the dark in our scene, not the grotesque route he takes.

Martin Oldgoth: Yeah, got to give him that much. He's a manipulator, all right.

Batty: Also, If we want to go for grotesque and shocking but in a pretty way, Sopor Aeternus hands-down kicks Manson's butt in any goth brawl of the weird.

Morrighanne Burns: I can see where Martin is coming from, but Antichrist Superstar was a good album, especially from a DJ point of view. "Beautiful People" filled the floor every time I played the bugger, and it is good to have a dance to, but that might be because the drums remind me of listening to glam and New Romantic stuff when I was a child.

I prefer some of his earlier stuff. "Sweet Dreams" is an inspired cover and "Lunchbox" makes me smile when I'm on the bus listening to my iPod.

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I think Horror bands are awesome!!! i am a huge horror fan :D


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Is there any truth behind the rumor that Brian Warner was a frequent pen pal with Rozz Williams back in the 80s? I always wondered whether Manson's music video for disposable teens featured the cross imagery as some kind of failed attempt at a Christian Death reference.


Manson is above and beyond Goth could ever dream of being. He is the epitome in other words. It goes downhill from there.


Is Marilyn Manson still going? Goodness. You'd think he'd have thrown in the towel years ago. Yes, I get his relevance in 90s America, but in todays times? He's become more of a clown-like puppet than anything. Most of the teenage mall-gothy kids I know have moved on. I think it's high time he did too.

Gary Packwood
Gary Packwood

Manson's music is an example of advanced music theory concepts thought about in a 'theory' course (not class) at a legitimate conservatory of music where music theory along with sarcasm, irony and Manson are appreciated by many, perhaps most.

Manson is seen there as a brilliant performing artist and lyricist who makes money in a for-profit setting. That's ironic and rather amusing to American students of the performing arts who are expected to feel honored if invited as a performer to drag their instrument to a concert hall where they earn a hundred bucks and an air-kiss.

And now we have cross-over music grabbing a toehold with professionally trained musicians such as The 2 Cellos (Sulic & Hauser) who knocked the socks of the world of popular music by winning a Grammy this year. 

I can't help but wonder if Manson was their inspiration to do something 'weird' and completely outside the box with classical music.

But probably the most fun for Manson fans and me is watching music critics review Manson's work when in fact many of the critics know nothing about music theory or even that Manson was at one time a journalist.

A music journalist.

And for sure, Gothic 'customers' are appreciated just like other fans as he prepares the deposit slips for his bank accounts.

Al Iguana
Al Iguana

To me, Manson is about as goth as Gene Simmons. Or Lady Gaga. No matter how many freakshow-exibits-in-jars he fills his house with, he's just a hair-metaller to me. There is a difference, it's not about all wearing black (it's more than a haircut, more that meets the eye - Fiends?)


correction:correct, he is* far shittier


If you mean in terms of shittiness, then yes you are correct, they are far shittier than even the worst actual goth related item could ever be.


For the most part, Manson has moved on. He really isn't relevant these days. And, that whole "mallgoth" phenomenon is over too. The whole "mallgoth" thing was pretty much a 90's and early 2000s thing. Since Hot Topic became Forever 21 and a lot of the "dark alternative" 90's/early 2000s bands fizzled out the whole "mallgoth" thing has disappeared. Manson hasn't had a hit since 2003, Hot Topic hasn't been spooky since 2005, and I haven't seen a kid sporting baggy Tripp pants since the early 2000s. Looks like they've moved on why can't the Goth scene do so as well? Honestly, the subject of Manson has been beaten TO DEATH. Let it go, PLEASE.


I agree, even Hot Topic has moved on from back then [which may say something about why they're not doing well anymore financially].

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