Sound — 8
We're all pretty used to Marilyn Manson's obsession with the darker side of life, but his latest record Eat Me, Drink Me goes in a bit of different direction -- love, or at least Manson's version of love. There aren't any typical ballads on the new album, but many of the songs revolve more around sex, lust, and love than anything else. The song tempos reflect the themes, so you're in for a mellower Manson for the most part.
Of course, Manson always loves to push the envelope in whatever he does, and his love songs absolutely keep to that tradition. The opening track If I Was Your Vampire doesn't start out with a high-energy beat, instead taking a slithering, sexual approach. It's actually a great song and sets a chilling mood for the album. There is a distinctive cut in the creepy synthesizers that Manson used in past Manson songs, but it is just as effective with just Manson's voice and one guitar. Listeners are even treated to a bit of falsetto from Manson, which takes the song in an unexpected yet cool direction.
Are You The Rabbit is another memorable track on the CD, with an excellent, slow-grooving guitar intro that makes for an all-around great rock song. Manson doesn't need to add any scary lyrical overtones because the guitar itself has an ominous, old school Danzig feel. The tempo goes up and down depending on the section of the song, and it keeps things interesting, with Manson even showing off his range a bit more. It's one of the few songs on the record that feels like a straight-out rock song, and the pinnacles comes at the end when guitarist Tim Skold delivers an amazing solo.
There is nothing that really approaching the evil sound of Beautiful People on Eat Me, Drink Me, so some previous fans might not like the slower, sensual side of Manson. A few songs like They Said Hell's Not Hot are slightly disappointing because they don't live up their lurid titles. There is definitely a cut in the synth work, and that is one part of Manson's earlier work that will be missed.
Lyrics — 8
Manson always does his best to make his lyrics a bit scandalous, and the latest album still reflects that for the most part. The track If I Was Your Vampire is a prime example, particularly because it's mixed with his other favorite new topic: love/infatuation. He sings, You press the knife; Against your heart; And say, 'I love you, so much you must kill me now.' Manson wrote the lyrics in a chronological fashion, and hearing how the story evolves does make it an interesting listen.
Evidence explores the sexual side once again, and Manson is a little more explicit this time. He sings, You're so sudden and sweet; All legs, knuckle, knees; Head's blown clean off; Your mouth's paid off; f--k me 'til we know it's unsafe. Some listeners will be offended, but at this point in his career it might seem like a letdown not to have a few songs like that on a Manson album.
Overall Impression — 8
Probably the most apparent difference in the new material is the lack of synth work. Manson obviously doesn't feel like he needs extra effects to create an eerie sound anymore, particularly when the topics of many of his songs revolve more around sex. It was definitely the shock rock that lured many of his fans to him back in the '90s, so the toned-down Manson might be somewhat disappointing for those people.
What is great about Eat Me, Drink Me is Manson's ability to still write a solid song. A few songs get stuck in a musical rut at times and don't go anywhere, but then there are songs like You And Me And The Devil Make Three. The track has a slight industrial feel at times, but it's actually the cool bass and very subtle synth lines that carry the song. Manson is impressive as a songwriter, and he was probably wise to toss aside the scarier side of his persona to show off the stripped-down side of his music.