Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Marilyn Manson

  • Smells Like Children [Nothing/Interscope, 1995] D+
  • Antichrist Superstar [Nothing, 1995] Dud
  • Mechanical Animals [Nothing, 1998] C+
  • Holy Wood [Nothing, 2000] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Smells Like Children [Nothing/Interscope, 1995]
Unmitigated consumer fraud--a mess of instrumentals, covers, and remixes designed to exploit its well-publicized tour, genderfuck cover art, titillating titles, and parental warning label. The lyrics to "S****y Chicken Gang Bang" are nonexistent, those to "Everlasting C***sucker" incomprehensible. Only "F*** Frankie," a spoken-word number in which a female feigning sexual ecstasy reveals that it isn't "Fool Frankie" or "Fire Frankie" or "Fast Frankie" or for that matter "Fist Frankie," delivers what it promises. It's easily the best thing on the record. D+

Antichrist Superstar [Nothing, 1995] Dud

Mechanical Animals [Nothing, 1998]
If only the absurd aura of artistic respectability surrounding this arrant self-promoter would teach us that not every icon deserves a think piece, that it's no big deal to have a higher IQ than Ozzy Osbourne, that the Road of Excess leads to the Palace Theater. Instead, his banned-in-Wal-Mart slipcase job will fade into the haze of records people found interesting at the time. Its strategy is to camouflage the feebleness of La Manson's vocal affect by pretending it's deliberate--one more depersonalizing production device with which to flatten willing cerebella whilst confronting humankind's alienation, amorality, and failure to have a good time on Saturday night. Catchiest songs: "The Dope Show" and "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)." Duh. C+

Holy Wood [Nothing, 2000] Dud