Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson is back and better than ever on Born Villain, the follow-up to 2009’s The High End of Low. The album is packed with dark lyrical content and heavy, distorted riffs, both staples of Manson’s music. (Photo via Marilyn Manson’s official website).

Having been quiet since 2009’s The High End of Low, alternative metal’s prince of darkness Marilyn Manson returns with Born Villain.

Like Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, there is a beauty in Manson’s corrupt and tainted mind, painting stomach-churning pictures that are not for the faint of heart. Having originally found success during the rise and popularity of nu metal, Manson distanced himself from that movement, preferring alternative metal anguish over cookie monster-sounding raps. Manson’s balance of thought-provoking visual and lyrical content has greatly contributed to the artist’s success. His longevity is due to how unrestrained he his in his art, saying and doing whatever he pleases since his inception back in 1994.

This continues to be the case even now. Prior to Born Villain’s release, Manson, alongside director Shia LaBeouf (Yes, the Shia LaBeouf) created the album’s teaser trailer. A combination of sexual fetishes, punishment and judgment, the video’s dark and sinister atmosphere means only one thing: Manson is back.

And the album is truly a testament to that. Single “No Reflection” chugs with dark, industrial rock riffs, accompanying its fearless leader. “I don’t know which me that I love/Got no reflection,” sings Manson. His self-loathing indicates that not even superstardom can save him from himself.

“Overneath the Path of Misery” will undoubtedly stand out, even against Manson classics like “The Beautiful People” and “Antichrist Superstar.” “The rape of Persephone was a marketing scheme,” croons Manson. This is what has always made Manson so appealing: He is boundaryless and says the most appalling things defiantly.

There is an intelligence veiled beneath Manson’s darkness which has always been a staple of his music. He’s not just being controversial for the sake of being controversial. There’s a message behind everything, bringing to light the many things (rape, abuse, aggression) that often we are too hesitant to discuss.

The lyrical content is a reminder of why we hate to love Manson. He tells it like it is — and there’s no stopping him.

Unfortunately, the music on Born Villain does become redundant after some time. The grunge distortion and chug-chug-chug riffs do not change much as the album progresses. It acts as a bare minimum for frontman Manson: helping him get from beginning to end in one piece.

Born Villain is a return that will surely please devoted Manson fans and anger his opposers — something that maniacal madman Manson is all too familiar with.

Printed on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 as:Manson returns with signature darkness

This Year in Culture: 2011

Photo Credit: Lin Zagorski | Daily Texan Staff

Editor's Note: The Life & Arts senior staff combed through this year's pop culture and selected the artists, albums, books and movements that they think, in one way or another, helped define 2011. This is the first in a two-day series.

“I’m a fucking walking paradox/No I’m not, threesomes with a fucking triceratops,” were the first words Tyler, The Creator — of rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All — rapped in his “Yonkers” music video. Despite having only been released on YouTube, and advertised solely on the underground group’s blog, the video gained millions of views in a matter of days. As Tyler rapped about flying planes into buildings and stabbing Bruno Mars to death amidst visuals of him eating cockroaches and hanging himself, it became evident that “Yonkers” itself wasn’t a phenomenon, but emblematic of one to come. That phenomenon came later this spring in the form of Tyler’s debut album, Goblin.

This year was a defining one for hip-hop, coming off the late 2010 release of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and into 2011 with Lil’ Wayne’s highly anticipated The Carter IV and Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collaborative project Watch The Throne. Despite the anticipation and notoriety of each release, none of these albums had the effect on hip-hop that Goblin did. The Carter IV, while technically proficient, was trite and something we had all heard before. Watch The Throne was two things we had heard before.

Goblin was something we had never even felt before. Tyler’s insane persona and lyrics about doing copious amounts of blow while raping and murdering women was a realm of music that had for the most part not existed, and had certainly gone untouched by the mainstream. Tyler, The Creator managed to do with Goblin what KISS and Marilyn Manson had done before: strike legitimate fear into people. Only this time, it was with a bit more substance and quality than KISS and Manson’s lackluster efforts predicated more on showmanship than the technical quality of the music.

The best part is that, like the “Yonkers” music video, Goblin reflects something even larger than itself. First and foremost, the entire Odd Future collective stands to make a serious impact on music. Hodgy Beats has quickly established himself as one of the most apt rappers in the game, and once Earl gets back from Samoa, he has the potential to become one of the greatest rappers in history. At age 15, he had a flow and wordplay beyond the level of many popular contemporary rappers.

The album also features Odd Future resident R&B singer Frank Ocean on two of its tracks. Frank Ocean is on the forefront of a massive shift within R&B. Half of Trey Songz’ catalog is about drinking champagne with “shawty” in the club, having sex with her afterwards and then crying about the emotional implications. Frank Ocean, along with Canadian phenomemenon The Weeknd stand to make huge changes to this with meaningful R&B songs that are of absurdly good quality and have the potential to appeal to a vast array of markets and cultures. They speak of love, loss and other topics common in R&B that people can relate to.

Goblin also serves as a precursor to hip-hop’s rising punk mentality. They exist at the head of a movement, featuring rappers like Waka Flocka Flame, Lil B, and others who take no prisoners and care about no one‘s impression of their music.

Editor's note: The following video contains explicit lyrics and violent imagery.

Editors Note: This is the second in a three-part series profiling designers participating in this year’s Austin Fashion Week, which began Saturday and runs through Aug. 21.

It would be a big mistake to write 20 year-old Sabra Johnson off as a fashion designer and model who looks like a sweet and innocent Taylor Swift or Blake Lively. Her designs are a mash-up of flowing, free-spirited gowns and darker elements straight out of a Marilyn Manson concert. While the two don’t seem related, for Johnson it’s about playing with creativity in multiple forms.

Growing up in Huntsville, Texas, Johnson got into beauty pageants ten years ago and was quickly picked up by Disney Channel and MTV, then moved to print modeling and is now designing her own clothes. Johnson will showcase her line of gowns on Friday night at Aces Lounge.

Daily Texan: Have you had any training?

Sabra Johnson: My mom and my grandmother both did gowns. My main focus is gowns but I have picked up jewelry work. My style is more hippie-vintage, so I’ve been making metal headdresses or little “head thongs” as I like to call them. I also imported some blue and pink fox fur for hats that will be worn with my gowns on Friday.

DT: How did you get to being on television?

SJ: I started doing child beauty pageants when I was 10. One day we went to this rinky-dink mall and there was a pageant going on. I guess it was the thing to do there, and I really fell in love with it. So then I did Oprah, Dr. Phil and “Good Morning America,” because I did a lot of child beauty pageants. Then A&E did a biography on my life. Disney signed me after that, then I switched to MTV when I was 16. But after that, MTV was following me to my high school and classes and I thought it was too much. I was getting to the point where I was about to start college. So I decided to do something less stressful and went into print. After that I modeled for the fashion industry and then decided to design for the fashion industry two years ago.

DT: When did you first start designing?

SJ: Last year I played with it but this year I really want to put myself out there. Last year I threw a fashion show for my birthday with mohawks and sequined bras and thongs. It was very scandalous, but I loved it.

DT: Who are your influences?

SJ: The darker side definitely appeals to me. I’m a total metalhead. I listen to Necrophages, Dying Fetus, Cannibal Corpse, you name it; it doesn’t even look like me, but I love it all. When people see my collection it’s kind of like I just threw up everything on the collection. It’s a mix of all these gorgeous hippie gowns while the girls walk to these Marilyn Manson songs. Then I told my make-up artist I wanted them to look like they were heroine-chic, like they’re coming off of doing heroine for four days straight and they’re starting to sweat.

DT:How do you see all these disparate things connected?

SJ: My head is a jumbled mess of everything. So when I put things together, it fits for me. I’m the kind of person who will wear anything out in public. If it’s wild and out there then I love it. That’s why my collections are wild with the giant hats and gowns.

DT: What’s next for you?

SJ: I have a collection all planned out in my head that’s just black. It’s definitely not the softer side of me. This is still my learning year, but next year I plan on come out with balls blaring. I still don’t know everything, and I’m kind of still finding my freak factor.


WHAT: Sabra Johnson
WHERE: Aces Lounge
WHEN: Friday at 9 p.m.
WHO: 18 & up