Overall Impression — 10
"Portrait Of An American Family" was, of course, Manson's first album. Unlike his other ones, past Portrait, this collection doesn't rely on synthesizers and warped guitar distortians to sound weird and different. Starting with the first track. What genius! The monologue from "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory" (when they're in the boat going thru the tunnel) with a chorus of people screaming "Faster, Faster!" louder and louder. It begins on such a low level of volume that you almost have to lean in to the speakers to actually hear it. It almost makes me want to put this album on in synch with the "Willy Wonka" movie, just to see the similarities. And then he hits you with the song "Cake and Sodomy," "Wrapped In Plastic," and "My Monkey." My favorite points on the album are in the beginning and the end. The middle still has merit but not as much moxy as does the extreme sides. That little girl in the very beginning of "Lunchbox" is great! "Next motherfucker is going to get my metal!" That fits rather well when the song talks about how Manson wants to grow up to be a rock star so that nobody fucks with him. Something tells me that this album has a little bit of truth and insite to the younger Brian that used to be and what he went through. Shifting a whole album later, track 13 "Misery Machine" is an almost fare-well to the listener. Odd how that's the only way I can explain that last track. However, I think it's great, a bit of sarcastic humor on Manson's part, how he added an answering machine message from a rather irrate women at the very end. You have to wait almost 6 and 1/2 minutes before it shows up but it's worth it. I can't tell whether the message is fake and was just recorded for the grins of the album or if it's a genuine message from a parent that doesn't approve of their antics (somehow I would not be surprised if that were the case). Not to hit exclusively on the lyrics or the arrangements, the music itself is great. "Dope Hat" has an infectous bass and drum beat that has me going every time I hear it. The same goes for "Get Your Gunn." If you're a fan of Manson and you enjoy his other works (by the way, I'm writing this review years after this album was released), then you'll hear some Manson-isms written in the song. I'll explain. The song "Antichrist Superstar" (from 1996 album "Antichrist Superstar") reflects the style and beat of "Sweet Tooth," not identically but just enough to be recognizable. "Portrait Of An American Family" is a great album to listen to all the way through, and I don't say that about many albums. This one is definately an exception. Go buy It!!!
Portrait Of An American Family review by Marilyn Manson
Overall Impression — 10