Although I knew some of the band's earlier music like "The Dope Show," I was a little too young at the time to really get into them. That and the fact I discovered Madonna in junior high. Ironically, I really became interested in Manson's music through the WWE, who used "The Beautiful People," as their opening song. The sheer wierdness of the track caught my attention (Like A Prayer it wasn't), and I knew I had to get Anti-Christ Superstar.
It may sound crazy now, but at the time I was little scared to buy the album. Manson's stuff isn't exactly mainstream, and the Columbine tragedy had given his persona an almost sinister, forbidden aura. When I finally got the nuts to purchase the album, I meekly slid the cd case to the cashier, careful not to make eye contact, lest they think I was a demon or was planning a night of black magic.
As I listened to the album, one thought kept popping up: What the HELL did I just buy? It was a bizarre mix of eerie samples, thunderous guitars, creepy background voices and of course the stylings of Manson himself, which alternated between piercing screams, hissing and whispering.
Part of me wanted to throw off the headphones, but part of me wanted to keep listening. It felt like a journey I had to see through the end, no matter how scary, like a horror-movie version of Alice in Wonderland.
Well I fell headlong into the rabbit hole and haven't been back since. For months afterward, I listened to album over and over again, understanding more and more of its concept of the its protagonists' transformation from a weak, passive follower (Wormboy) to a superhuman, megalomanic (Anti-Christ Superstar).
Anti-Christ Superstar marked the beginning stages of my spiritual evolution, as I started to think critically about religion and Christianity in particular. Although it would take years for these ideas to grow, the seeds had been planted.
My fascination went beyond the music. From the album's cover art, to the Dead to The World Tour stage show (thank God for the Internet:), to the music videos for the singles, the entire thing was Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art.
Although my Manson mania has subsided a bit since then, I can still see how the album has had an influence on my life.
After last week's conversation with my mother and the feelings it aroused, a line from "Man That You Fear," the album's closing track, came to mind: "The boy that you loved is the man that you fear."
Anti-Christ Superstar served as my spiritual re-awakening. Funny, it took a self-proclaimed Anti-Christ to make me discover God for myself. Get into some video clips below:
marilyn manson - the beautiful people
Marilyn Manson Tourniquet
Here's a funny clip with Manson from Clone High (Remember MTV before reality shows took over? *sigh*)
Marilyn Manson - The Food Pyramid