You have to question Marilyn Manson’s commitment to his musical cause: with talk of film-orientated work circulating and his own admission a couple of years ago that “I just don't think the world is worth putting music into right now”, it comes as exactly no surprise that his sixth long-play platter is an entirely by-numbers affair that fails to raise his personal bar of success above its previous peak, reached way back in 1998 with Mechanical Animals.
The semi-self-produced Eat Me, Drink Me will placate the pop-goth hordes feeling empty inside these last four years – 2003’s Golden Age Of Grotesque being Manson’s previous studio album – but anyone with half an ear cocked to his finest moments will hear it for what it is: a pure and simple retread of mediocrity past. There’s no spark here, no fire; there’s little of the intelligence that has, for so long, enabled Manson to punch above his critical weight. Dismal arrangements, co-penned by bassist Tim Skold, roll into each other with nothing worthy of individual praise; as a cohesive piece of work Eat Me, Drink Me merely bores the listener into shrugged-shoulders submission.
Pre-album single ‘Heart Shaped Glasses (When The Heart Guides The Hand)’ summarises its parent LP fairly successfully in just five short minutes: a dull, plodding drum beat is maintained throughout – no explosions, no fireworks… no pilot light, even – while Manson’s croaked vocals are, at the very best, half-arsed. The overall impression left by this album is a puzzling one: is this music career suicide, or some sort of get-out-of-jail contractual deal? Because there’s truly nothing to it – no substance, no longevity, no soul.
Eat Me, Drink Me’s title may allude to fantastical adventures in imaginative lands, and there can be no doubt that its maker is, at his best, quite the contemporary rock visionary, but the execution is so join-the-dots (and colour within the lines) that any semblance of emotion, of confidence in this material, is washed away by layers of needless fuzz and sludge. Succinctly as possible, this is a poor show from a man whose showmanship, on screen and off it, will be his epitaph. Mercifully, this album shouldn’t even be a footnote – it’s no nadir, for sure, but it sure isn’t any good.
5Mike Diver's Score