Marilyn Manson’s “We Are Chaos” is a Chaotic Masterpiece


Marilyn Manson’s new album “We Are Chaos” dropped on Sept. 11. (Courtsey of Facebook)

Controversial shock-rocker of the ’90s, Marilyn Manson, returns with an album everyone knew was coming, but no one was prepared for. From its title to its varied tracklist, “We Are Chaos” blows prior expectations to smithereens. 

“We Are Chaos” begins in signature Manson fashion: a demonic voice speaking in ominous tones on the track “Red Black and Blue.” Manson paints the first stroke of this audible masterpiece with, “I can stick a needle in the horror and fix your blindness / See, I was a snake, but I didn’t realize that you could walk on water without legs.” 

From this point forward, listeners will find themselves overcome with nostalgia as drums pound with a heavy sense of conviction and the rolling bass guitar strums away, reminiscent of Manson’s earliest work from “Portrait of an American Family.” Everything about this track screams throwback, and it is apparent  Manson still has the darkness of the ’90s when he sings, “Set fire to the tree of life / Not for death just to watch the suffering.” 

Manson knows that the musical landscape is changing, and with this album proves that he is more than capable of keeping up with it while refusing to compromise the artistic values that catapulted him to such polarizing fame. He satisfies the nostalgia of ’80s fans on the track “Don’t Chase The Dead,” as guitars blaze and Manson’s vocals roar through listeners’ ears in the opening.

However, this album is not an entire return to form, as Manson sheds his skin quite brilliantly for more profound tracks. The album’s magnum opus is indeed the title track “We Are Chaos,” which draws evident inspiration from David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” From the clean but rogued acoustic guitar to the crashing drums, Manson directly speaks to us. With the anthemic chorus, “We are sick / f—– up and complicated / We are chaos, we can’t be cured,” it’s almost as if Manson has exited his realm of demons and darkness to tell his audience he is aware of what a painful time it is to live in America in 2020. Yet, he takes this pain, and like a musically misunderstood Van Gogh, creates art. The track “We Are Chaos” is not only a song befitting of such uncertain times but is the anthem of 2020.

When people hear Marilyn Manson, they do not expect love from his expansive discography. Instead, many fans associate his content with Satanic tones, rage, sex and darkness. However, Marilyn Manson defies expectations with the track “Paint You With My Love.” The song is an unexpected deviation from the metal songs on the album. It takes some time to convey to audiences that Marilyn Manson, the shock-rocker blamed for making young teenagers faithless and angry, is capable of affection. The guitar-work and drumming will surely remind audiences of the country genre.

Country singer Shooter Jennings’s influence is all over this album until almost the very end with “Solve Coagula,” where Manson sings, “I’m not special / I’m just broken / And I don’t want to be fixed,” to the sound of an electric guitar pulled straight from a Spaghetti Western film. It makes for an almost epic send-off. Yet listeners will have to wait for the main course in “Broken Needle.” In a truly epic conclusion, Manson uses all the tools in his repertoire to drive the point that, at 51, he does not only have enough gas in the tank to make music; he is the tank.

“We Are Chaos” sees Manson combining perfect amounts of nostalgia with enough refreshing experimentation to make for an engaging album. Throughout the album, Manson masterfully sheds his artistic skin enough times to accomplish the difficult feat of keeping audiences listening; we follow the journey he takes us on, a journey where we don’t know what comes next but just have to get there. Although Marilyn Manson has nothing left to prove, he has proved that chaos can lead to a masterpiece.