The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Mechanical Animals’ (1998) by Marilyn Manson

12 Feb

By Slick Nick

During the 90s, if you bought even one copy of Kerrang! magazine, you couldn’t help but be exposed to the monstrosity that was Marilyn Manson, who came to represent everything that could possibly go wrong when a bunch of lads entered a recording studio. They were everywhere, and the release of each new album was treated, ironically given their Satanist leanings, like the second coming of Christ himself by the press.

Manson, real name Brian Warner, was the very definition of style-over-substance, where looking like a dick and saying silly things in interviews could generate a shit ton of record sales even if the music on those records was as bad as that of ‘Mechanical Animals’, his third album.

With a lead singer that relied almost solely on image, and a group of cohorts all named after serial killers, it just screamed of childish attention seeking from the get-go, as if they knew they were never going to write any music that was worth listening to but couldn’t bare the thought of making the coffee in an office for the rest of their lives.

Growing up, a few things puzzled me about this band. Obviously the music had zero merit; it wasn’t particularly heavy, and there certainly wasn’t any melodies to remember . There was no sex appeal unless you happened to have a fetish for very ugly, under fed men. The instrumentation was basic and would never be admired by proggy muso types in the same way that something like Tool would have been. Yet the group’s army of misguided fans kept growing. Despite all their controversy, musically they had more in common with T Rex than Slayer, and the only shocking effect they had on the impressionable youth of the day was postponing their discovery of decent music for a few years. For myself, that band/act was Rod Stewart, but I digress slightly.

‘Mechanical Animals’ is an hour of inconsistent, incoherent balls. Every song starts and ends with noise, and inbetween fails to satisfy in every way. The vocals are the same monotonous, crap-sounding dirge, underpinned by sometimes glam/sometimes industrial but always dull nothingness. It’s so fucking slow and drawn-out as well, with each song about two minutes longer than necessary. Lead single ‘Dope Show’ is a particularly big offender; less music, more torture.

There are fleeting moments of listenable guitar work but these are over quickly to make way for more rubbish. It must have been frustrating having to make this album as a guitarist with someone as up themselves as Manson at the helm of the operation. I’m sure they consoled themselves with the buckets of money they made though.

Finally, the genre-skipping really winds me up. This can’t make up its mind as to whether it wants to wank over David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust material or be featured in a straight to DVD film in a scene where a load of douchebag characters enter an ‘alternative’ nightclub for the first time in their lives. If you’re going to dip into every genre found on allmusic.com then before you do so, you’d better make sure you’re some kind of fucking musical prodigy like Brian Wilson or Will.I.Am first, lest you end up with a piece of shit like ‘Mechanical Animals’ on your CV.

 

We’re all slaves in the… crap music show.

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62 Responses to “The Worst Albums Ever Made – ‘Mechanical Animals’ (1998) by Marilyn Manson”

  1. Mith March 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Right because people listen to music for violent sex appeal and not art right? You also talk of decent music, while I’m pretty sure you’re the kind of person that would listen to bands such as Nickleback. While lyrically the and musically Mechanical Animals will probably outdo any other Manson Album, I’ll agree that everything after Mechanical Animals, except for Golden age of Grotesque and Eat me Drink me, was absolutely horrid.

    • poppeelings March 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

      Mr Warner could only dream of writing an album half as good as ‘silver side up’.

      • Mith March 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

        Oh really? Just as I thought, just another person to promote horrid music. While Mr. Warner may not be liked, it has come down to the fact that lyrically and even musically he is by far better than something Nickleback could ever, and ever will write. Especially Mechanical Animals. Some bands tend to do this, but especially Nickleback. They were recently exposed recycling their music in their two hit singles, “How You Remind Me” and “Someday”, which sound nearly identical when played simultaneously. Now I’ve never heard a Manson song or even a Tool song where they recycle their own music. Bands such as Nickleback are ruining the world of good music and art itself and should be removed from the face of the planet. That’s no opinion. It’s truth when you compare Nickleback to probably any artistic band.

      • poppeelings March 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

        Those singles you mentioned aren’t really Nickelback’s best work… ‘Silver Side Up’ has some monstrous riffage on it. They are what they are – a decent radio rock band.

        Manson is just annoying noise with silly costumes and shock tactics, passed off as ‘art’.

        Thanks for reading/commenting btw. 🙂

      • Mith March 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

        Honestly I don’t see how really anyone can like Nickleback. However it is music I guess. You can like whatever you want. Personally I don’t see Manson as annoying noise, especialy not Mechanical Animals, now Smells like children, yes. I will agree with you completely on an album such as that. That album was more along the lines of “We’re Marliyn Manson, look at how evil and dark and cool we are.” You’re welcome. ;3

      • poppeelings March 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

        I think my article this coming Saturday will change your mind 100% on Nickelback.

      • Mith March 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

        I’ll make sure to give it a read.

      • Jerry February 6, 2014 at 5:38 am #

        Most of Manson’s work is mediocre at best, but this album stands out as a modern classic. Even Christgau, one of the snobbiest music critics in existence, gives it a decent rating.

        Nickelback, on the other hand, is radio-friendly, mindless, manufactured trash designed for sale to idiots who lack the attention span to digest good music.

        It’s not that the music sucks. It’s that you’re too closed-minded and musically ignorant to absorb something different. This album is quite complex musically, but maybe your brain isn’t capable of hearing all of it at once.

        Try some good pot, maybe. Or maybe try not being an asshole. You aren’t knowledgeable enough to pull it off.

  2. Matthew You September 24, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    wow who ever wrote this article is a real idiot because mechanical animals is the best album ever made!

    • poppeelings September 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

      I’m going to frame that comment and put it on my wall, Matthew.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. \m/ December 7, 2011 at 3:30 am #

    this made me laugh since Mechanical Animals was named the 2nd best album of 1998 and the 2209th best album of all time. dumb people are just so…. entertaining! you listened to about half of this album and went “WUT???? ME NO GEHT WUT FAHG ISH SHAYEENG??? Y FAHG SHO GEHAY????? DISH ISH SHTOOPED!! WUT R ‘MEHTUHFORSH’???? LAWLZ IMMA GO TROLE NAO!!!” and went back to listening to 80s covers done by black eyed peas and revelling in the autotuned trash. i think its sad that you hold any position of remote authority over anything or anyone. oh and look up the phrase “concept album” and if you crack open your head for a moment you might gain some musical taste and appreciation for philosophy. in conclusion, youre a troll. a really bad one, too. the way you view the world…. ugh it just makes me cringe.

    • poppeelings December 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

      1. Voted 2nd best album of 1998 by who, you?

      2. LOL @ album 2209th being some sort of accolade. So that’s basically every rock/metal album made being superior.

      3. I listened to the entire album several times over a period of days and it was all terrible.

      4. You mock autotune, as if Manson is some sort of garage rock DIY hardcore kid recording songs on his 4-track. He is no stranger to studio fuckery. Case in point: his vocals alone sound like they’ve been passed through a dozen filters.

      5. It’s not trolling to post opinions on a private blog.

      6. You’re a twat and like awful music.

      7. Thanks a lot for reading my words. x

      • guillermo arturo January 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

        The explananation why it was terrible to you is because your mund is not srong enough to understand this, the best albun frm MM.

      • poppeelings January 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

        Fucking brilliant… can’t challenge that one.

    • Eden January 26, 2012 at 2:32 am #

      hahah nice 🙂

  4. Eden January 26, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    I am a fan of marilyn manson big time, and while i dont like your opinion and think your a troll, personaly im not going to argue with you because its pointless.

    • poppeelings January 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      How is it trolling to write a review of a terrible album, with specific reasons, on a private blog? You’re the troll if anything.

  5. Optimistic_Realist January 28, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    I couldn’t help but notice that your article was stated more as fact, and not the opinion that it is. It reads as very arrogant, misinformed, and self-serving. What makes you the authority on “good” music? Every single person has music that they like, and music they don’t. But how could anyone then say music that they don’t like is bad? To me, that is almost conceded. If even one person connects with a song, and thinks its good, what gives someone else the right to say its not?

    Your very credibility is gone, to me, as soon as you classify an album that went Platinum in 3 countries (Canada, USA, New Zealand), as the worst album ever made. Impressive considering the negative opinions on the mainstream. Then you move from criticizing the album, to the entire band, making statements with examples that are short sighted, if not complete falsehoods. Release after release, tour after tour, people continue to relate. The band has longevity which is more then I can say for a lot of bands. Also, the Rod Stewart comment gave me some insight.

    Many people relate to this music, including myself. I listened to Marilyn through junior high and high school (as well as a mix of all types of music). Now I am almost 30 and I can still put in a Marilyn Manson and enjoy the music and even remember most of the words! Can’t say that for most music. For me it is timeless and still relevant today.

    You have freedom of speech, so I respect your right to put what ever you want in an article or on a blog. I would advise you to be aware of how you display and frame your opinions. Your opinion would have a lot more credence and attract more readers if it was presented as such and not fact. Your blatant over exaggeration has taken all credibility away from what you say and I look forward to not ever reading any of your posts again.

    I will leave you with this. This article reminds me of a person defending their religion, or attacking another religion, based of unsubstantiated facts that are intangible and not provable.

    Keep up the great work!

    • poppeelings January 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

      And your credability is gone when you try and use record sales to challenge a record or band’s suckability.

      PS> Let me know when Mazza sells as many records as Rod Stewart, yeah?

      x x

      • Zach June 10, 2012 at 2:41 am #

        So someone respectfully disagrees with you and you respond with acting like a pompous little prick? Im sure you have a lot of friends.

      • poppeelings June 10, 2012 at 8:38 am #

        You’re the prick if anything, chipping into a conversation in which you’re not needed.

      • Zach June 10, 2012 at 2:43 am #

        And PS. The picture you posted isn’t of Marilyn Manson.

  6. Carl February 24, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Well I really love this album, but obviously the reviewers opinion is relevent because this post if farely high up on google 🙂

    • poppeelings February 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

      That probably makes it even less relevant actually but thanks for stopping by.

  7. Jade May 17, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    You do realise that picture you posted is not marilyn right .Its ginger fish

  8. 2WENTYTHRE3 May 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    I’M unsure how old this article or “review” is….however you are obviously one of those mainstream douchebags that thinks bands like nickelback and creed are the greatest bands ever….which lends ZERO substance to your opinion on GOOD music…..that is all….

  9. 2WENTYTHRE3 May 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    I’M unsure how old this article or “review” is….however you are obviously one of those mainstream douchebags that thinks bands like nickelback and creed are the greatest bands ever….which lends ZERO substance to your opinion on GOOD music at all …..that is all….

    • poppeelings May 30, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      Twat. If you only judge a band by how many or how few fans they have then you’re the douche. By the way, Manson is hardly underground is he? He was playing arenas in the UK 10 years ago.

  10. ryan swearingen May 31, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    This is a really biased article
    1. Only the last names are named after serial killers and the first name is after someone good like marilyn monroe hince the name marilyn manson.
    2.His lyrics are more of a reflection of other peoples thoughts not his own
    3.just because you like it doesn’t mean its terrible, we all have different opinions about what music we like.

    • poppeelings June 1, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      Yeah but I’ve written my opinion clearly and methodically… why can’t any Manson fans do the same about why they like the music, instead of just getting butthurt?

  11. ryan swearingen May 31, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    Lmao oh ya and the picture is ginger fish not even marilyn manson

  12. Boscorelli May 27, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    LOL. All validity was lost the second you defended Nickelback. Monstrous riffage? My god… Your opinion will never again be taken seriously by anyone that reads what you just said.

    As for this album. Read into the theme. Actually do some research. Follow along with the story. It’s a commentary on a lot of different, intricate themes, a concept album, something that Nickelback couldn’t write if they had guns to their heads.

    I’m not defending Manson as a person, because he is very pretentious, but this album is incredible.

    • poppeelings June 15, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      I didn’t think my opinion was taken seriously in the first place.

      Why is this album incredible? No one has told me. Crap riffs, no melody, stupid lyrics… a waste of everyone’s time.

  13. Boscorelli May 27, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    Also, for accolades – “According to Acclaimedmusic.net Mechanical Animals is the 44th best album of 1998,[47] the 426th greatest record released during the 1990s[48] and the 2209th greatest of all-time.[48] SPIN Magazine ranked Mechanical Animals the 7th Best Album in their 1998 End Of Year List.[49] Online music magazine Addicted to Noise ranked Mechanical Animals 25th in their 1998 list of Albums of the Year.[50] The Village Voice ranked Mechanical Animals 40th in their 1998 list of Albums of the Year.[50] Kerrang! ranks Mechanical Animals 2nd in their 1998 list of Albums of the Year.[50][51] Q Magazine listed Mechanical Animals among their picks for their 1998 Recordings Of The Year.[50][52] Dutch magazine Muziekkrant OOR ranked Mechanical Animals 18th in their 1998 Albums of the Year list.[50][53] The record ranked 2nd in the Critics Top 50[54] and 10th in the Popular Poll[55] of German magazine Musik Express/Sounds in their 1998 Albums of the Year.[50] In 1999, American music journalist Ned Raggett listed Mechanical Animals 78th in his The Top 136 Albums of the Nineties.[50][56] Also in 1999, Australian magazine JUICE ranked Mechanical Animals 84th in their 100 Greatest Albums of the ’90s.[50][57] In 2006, sister British magazines Classic Rock & Metal Hammer included Mechanical Animals in The 200 Greatest Albums of the 90s.[50][58] Also in 2006, Dutch public radio broadcaster VPRO included Mechanical Animals in their 299 Nominations of the Best Album of All Time.[50][59] The French edition of the British magazine Rock Sound ranked Mechanical Animals 56th in their Top 150 Albums of Our Lifetime (1992-2006)[60] and 2nd in their 1998 Albums of the Year”

    It’s not a coincidence, or chance that that many publications enjoyed, and reveered the album. Especially at a time around the columbine shootings, when being a fan of Marilyn Manson was like putting a target on yourself.

    • poppeelings June 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

      2209th best album eh? Wow… I should retrack my opinion then.

      • somebody July 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

        the fact that you need to offend others in order to back your own argument goes to show that your argument is not to be taken seriously.
        Also using nickleback as a conparison just makes it worse. You could at least used some half decent band as a comparison. But still you perist in saying that 2209th is bad, wheres any if nickleback’s albums? 10millionth on the list. people shouldnt take 9 year olds like you seriously.

        Sincerely, from someone who likes good music.

      • poppeelings July 7, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

        I’m offended by you calling me a 9 year old so I guess that invalidates your opinion?

  14. Edgar February 16, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

    Although Mechanical Animals remains as one of my favorite albums, I enjoyed your review. It’s true that this album has received many compliments, but I do believe its important to have negative reviews much like this one as well. It’s necessary to have that dichotomy of good and bad in this world. Thank you for this honest review.

    • poppeelings February 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

      Thanks for reading, Edgar and if this is one of your favourite albums, please accept my deepest sympathies as well.

  15. Jobe February 19, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

    You Sir, are a moron. Your writing is of the same standard that you accuse this album of being. The fact that you put effort into this ‘piece’ suggests that you have more interest in causing internet friction than having any reasonable debate about music. And as that was your goal, I guess you can deem yourself a success. Congratulations

    • poppeelings February 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Jobe there is no debating music with Manson fans. I put forward a carefully-constructed critique of his shit album and it is met by crying and whinging from the Manson community who offer nothing of any substance as a rebuttal.

  16. Ali February 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    Who ever wrote this article is a fucking idiot who must know nothing of what good music is. Marilyn Manson is a fucking great band. Marilyn Manson himself as a being is a very intelligent and talented individual. Just because his appearance and his music is different doesnt make it bad.. Ive been a fan for about 6 years now, and to this day im still astonished on how amazing his music is. So youre opinion is shit.

    • poppeelings February 23, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

      I don’t mind bands looking stupid if their image underpins and perpetuates good music, for example David Bowie and the Misfits. I’d suggest you spend more time in adult literacy classes instead of wasting time listening to terrible music. Thanks Ali.

    • poppeelings April 12, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

      The music is terrible.

  17. lala April 14, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    Terrible review with terrible paper thin and not existent arguments. It’s ok if you not enjoy this record for what it is, but you clearly act like an ignorant prick. How about describing every song of the record1 and make a objective review about it. Too hard?

    • poppeelings April 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      Well I did cover most of the songs with reasoned critique; essentially all the songs are terrible because the music is rubbish, with nothing memorable, no hooks, no energy, nothing… just bleh.

  18. Systema Sephiroticum May 2, 2014 at 12:54 am #

    Mechanical Animals was actually a form of self-parody, but I could see that fact being beyond someone who listens to Nickelback. While his more recent albums are not good, Brian Warner’s a bright guy who actually writes songs about things like religion and culture other than simply whining about relationships (though recently there’s been a little of that too unfortunately). Again, a little too complicated to be your bag of tea if you look to Nickelback for enjoyment.

    if you actually wanted to listen to the album to maybe find something you’d enjoy despite your clear and unabashed expectations not to, listen to the transfer into the guitar solo on “Fundamentally Loathsome”, or even the chorus in “Great Big White World”. But you’d rather be a snobbish prick and write an article pretending you tried to listen to an album just so you can shit on it.

    Most of your qualms boil down to “it sucks because it sounds bad”. If you’re thinking of doing writing as a career, don’t quit your day job.

    • poppeelings May 10, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

      The songs are terrible though… if you want good songs on religion and culture, try Bad Religion who are the best band since the Beatles.

    • poppeelings May 17, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

      Bad Religion write songs about religion and culture… try them. There is nothing good about this album musically… you just defend it because it appeases your desire to perpetuate yourself as some kind of deep intellectual.

      • FMarshEsq July 9, 2014 at 11:13 am #

        With Marilyn Manson, it will never just be about the music. If you’re just listening to the album, and getting nothing from it, well fine, you’re entitled to your opinion….but….one of ‘the worst albums ever made’? I can’t see that. With MM, you have to take the whole package, such as the lyrics, the album cover, the imagery, the videos, heck even the cd is in the form of a pill (coma – not only relating to the song Coma White, but also the drug Soma from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Apparently)
        He’s a story teller with vision, not just a singer and if you’re not going to buy into his overarcing vision, you’re missing a large part of what he and his albums are all about.
        I seriously don’t think Rod Stewart or Nickelback have attempted anything like this. In many ways, he was backing a loser – he was making an album quite radically different to its predecessor so would incur the wrath of anyone who liked the AntiChrist Superstar for superficial reasons, and by casting his net as wide as the somewhat overrated (IMHO) The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars he would be found wanting. Bowie was always a magpie, as was Alice Cooper, which may go some way to explaining their longevity so MM’s merely following in their footsteps in his own peculiar way. Foolhardy? Or perhaps brave. The whole thing is an ironic comment on his sudden fame. (Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
        He’s not into popular music as such, more rebellion of perhaps a rather tame sort, but at least he’s (or was) having a go. It might not have toe-tapping melodies or danceable tunes, but if that’s all you want, there’s plenty of that around. Rod was covering the All-American Songbook. MM has a little more imagination than that.
        I can understand your dislike – but I would say Mechanical Animals is a long, long way from being one of the worst albums ever made.
        Good call on Bad Religion, but they don’t have the range of vision or influences that MM does.

      • Systema Sephiroticum August 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

        The last time I’ve talked about this album or MM on the web over the last several months is in this thread alone. If I wanted to beat off in this thread I’d be telling you to listen to my favorite band Kayo Dot, but KD doesn’t have nickleback’s catchy comfortable hooks for your plebeian palette, so there wouldn’t be much point.

        P.S. Bad Religion is a good band but it’s an entirely different genre than MM, which is industrial rock. But I guess all genres are a big confusing mess of pop for you anyhow

  19. nwa November 28, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    Worst review of anything ever, dont give up the day job. It just sounds like it was written by an angry teanager who is deeply religous and highly offended by manson lol.

  20. Brad Coleman April 23, 2015 at 1:36 am #

    With mechanical animals it has songs talking about depressive states of the mind,of course those would have slow beats,drugs and partying which have faster beats,self-loathing which of course has slower beats,if art is spilling out ones soul,mentality,state of being,personality,and creativity then isn’t this a great example of art

  21. F.U.C.K. April 29, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    SUCK MY DICK BIATCH,AND LICK MY BALLS@-).YOU FAGGOTS AND PUSSIES MECHANICAL ANIMALS KICKS ASS!

  22. PJ L May 31, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    This site is very unprofessional, Mechanical Animals was ranked as one of the best works by Manson so far and also as one of the best albums in the nineties. And why do I think this site is very unprofessional, well if the admin of this site is insulting users because they like this album, what the hell is going on?

  23. PJ L May 31, 2015 at 10:22 am #

    Plus he is ranked as one of the only true rockstars today, so check your facts bruh

  24. Wade June 11, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    Good God, what happened here?

  25. Jay December 26, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

    I mean, specifics and examples might be nice. You know, since this is supposedly a review and not an op-ed piece about how you don’t much care for Marilyn Manson or his fans. I think Manson’s music promotes self-acceptance and self-appreciation in a very interesting way. He taught me not to hate myself and to be proud of who I am. He taught me that it’s not my fault I’ve always been a reject. So his music has very deep value to me, and I think you’re doing yourself a great disservice by writing him off as childish and not exploring the deeper themes of his music. But it’s whatever, you probably think I’m stupid because I defended Marilyn Manson. Just realize that you are a very important part of Manson’s art; his music would not be nearly as effective if he wasn’t hated.

  26. Anonymous July 25, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

    Marilyn Manson have sold 17million more copies of albums than nickleback, and have recieved a lot more attention from the media for standing out.

  27. Hacker852 November 23, 2016 at 11:15 pm #

    I have to be on some real hard shit if I ever wanna listen to Nickelfack
    If you don’t know real music then stfu “music critic”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Picks of the Week: Week 6 « The One A Day Project - February 13, 2011

    […] the subject of music-related ranting, Slick Nick’s wonderful deconstruction of Marilyn Manson’s monstrosity Mechanical Animals is well worth a read if you enjoy people shouting at music or indeed if you never got the appeal of […]

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