MARILYN MANSON – Disposable Teens

As Fred says, there can’t have been many people who didn’t quietly shudder at the idea of Marilyn Manson doing a ‘tribute to Gary Glitter’. Which is just how Maz wanted it, of course, but he’s a cannier star than most and knows that right now he needs the media, stocked with liberal humanist softies though it is. That said, the core fanbase – outcast kids with little option but to fight Darwinism with nihilism – apparently didn’t think much of Mechanical Animals. Marilyn now has to tread a path between keeping them empathised and following his critic-friendly glam-rock calling.

“Disposable Teens” might not go down too well with the hardest-core flourfaced fuckups, but everybody else should rightly love it. It’s Manson on form, absurd and fabulous, howling and thrilling. But behind the (awesomely realised) Glitterbeat and the digital guitar grind, a curious realisation strikes: Marilyn Manson is Brett Anderson, or rather what Brett could have been if he’d dropped the godawful ballads and cocked an ear to something a bit ballsier than Bowie. Oh, and if he was a six times better vocalist: Manson’s treated roar trounces Anderson’s mewling wimp-wail, easy. Marilyn Manson the ‘band’ have all the shamelessness and flash Suede aspired to, and kept crapping out on. They have all Suede’s showiness and bloat, too, but that comes with the glam territory – it’s not a style that concerns itself much with details.

Obviously, the comparison breaks down somewhat when it comes to the words. Marilyn Manson seems as theologically inclined as ever, though it’s a subject he mines well. Jaded commentators probably decry his obsession with religion as repetitive and tiresome, but what I find oddest is that in a country as devout as the USA, more stars don’t have a crack at the subject. Manson’s myriad blasphemies are usually entertaining, anyway, and give his stuff a focus and verve lacking in his more vapidly decadent competition: “Disposable Teens” might be preposterous guff, Manson clearly being no more teenage than I am, but it has all the glitter and spirit you could want from him.