When most people hear the name Marilyn Manson, they tend to picture a controversial, somewhat androgynous, psychologically disturbing, heavy metal superstar -- and they'd be exactly right.
In the early 1990s, Manson developed a cult following as the lead singer of the band The Spooky Kids and the release of their EP entitled Smells Like Children, which was produced by Trent Reznor. A few years later, with the release of his album Antichrist Superstar in 1996, Manson became an even bigger success.
Now, over twenty years later, Manson is set to release his tenth studio album, tentatively entitled Say10, on February 14, 2017. In honor of that achievement, we're ranking the top 10 best Marilyn Manson songs to date. That said, this is Marilyn Manson, and his work often features violence, horror elements, drug references and adult themes. Therefore viewer discretion is strongly advised.
10. "Deep Six"
The most recent song on our list, "Deep Six", was released digitally as the second single on Manson's 2015 album, The Pale Emperor.
The song's lyrics make heavy reference to Greek mythology, especially the myth of Narcissus, in which a hunter sees his own reflection in a pool of water and falls madly in love with himself.
The mainstream success of "Deep Six" is often credited as having a key role in Manson's return to prominence following a string of largely unsuccessful albums between 2007 and 2012.
The song was a big hit on mainstream rock stations, and peaked at number 8 on Billboard's U.S. Mainstream Rock Chart.
9. "This is the New S***"
"This is the New S***" was released as the second single on Marilyn Manson's 2003 album, The Golden Age of Grotesque, and serves as a direct mockery of the mainstream music industry. The song's lyrics insinuate that modern mainstream music is nothing more than babbling nonsense about sex, materialism, and partying.
One of the most defining elements of the song, however, is its unique use of pseudo-electronic/industrial rock beats which were added by bassist Tim Sköld when he joined the band in 2002.
Although "This is the New S***" never charted in the U.S., it did peak at number 29 on the UK Singles Chart and at number 25 on the Germany Singles Chart in 2003.
8. "The Dope Show"
"The Dope Show" was included as part of the 1998 album Mechanical Animals. The song's lyrics and video call attention to the music industry' perceptively generic ideas about fame, success, and consumerism.
Twiggy Ramirez, the main musical composer for the song, has described it as "ripping off Iggy Pop's song 'Nightclubbing'" as well as "a mixture of Oasis and T. Rex." The combination of classic rock style guitar and electronic elements gives the song a hybrid feel.
Although "The Dope Show" never charted due to its limited release, it was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 41st Grammy Awards in 1999. Barry Walters, writer for the The Village Voice, stated that "'The Dope Show' was the first Manson single as memorable as its video."
7. "The Nobodies"
"The Nobodies" was the third and final single from Marilyn Manson's 2001 album Holy Wood. The song gained notoriety due to its references to the Columbine Shooting of 1999, a tragedy that activists accused Manson himself of causing (though this theory was debunked, as it was revealed the perpetrators were unfamiliar with Manson's music).
However, the song's lyrics refer directly to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and also condemn the media for the way it responded to the tragedy, stating, "You should have seen the ratings that day." In an interview that appeared in the 2002 documentary Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore asked Manson what he would say to the students at Columbine. He responded, "I wouldn't say a single word. I would listen to what they have to say, and that's what no one did."
Although the song never charted in the States, it peaked at number 8 on the Spanish Singles Chart in 2001.
"Tourniquet" was released as the second single for Marilyn Manson's groundbreaking concept album Antichrist Superstar in 1997. Like many songs on the album, the lyrics are based on a dream Manson had.
According to Manson himself, the song conveys an image of the main character in a world of sorrow and self-pity. "Tourniquet" also concerns concepts such as vulnerability and the desire for companionship. The song also has roots in a poem that Manson wrote prior to his career as a musician.
Though "Tourniquet" never charted in the U.S., it has cult appeal, having appeared as the entrance music for professional wrestler Jeff Hardy while performing with Ring of Honor and having been performed as a cover by the cello rock band Rasputina.
5. "No Reflection"
"No Reflection" was the first single released for Marilyn Manson's 2012 album Born Villain and is one of Manson's most positively reviewed. Loudwire hailed the song, stating, "We could call 'No Reflection' a comeback single, since it’s reminiscent of some of the Antichrist Superstar’s best work."
Manson himself has stated that the album which "No Reflection" appears on "has the ambition and determination of how I started making music in the first place." Grade Music World claimed that the song is "dark and brooding" and "has Marilyn Manson stamped all over it, from the dissonant industrial scraping and head-nodding riff, to his announcement of 'something violent coming'."
"No Reflection" peaked at number 26 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Chart and number 6 on the Argentina Rock & Pop rankings.
4. "Disposable Teens"
"Disposable Teens" was the first single on 2001's Holy Wood album and is considered one of Manson's best original songs. The song is often considered an anthem of sorts, due to its references to teenagers who act violently in retaliation against authority of all types.
According to Manson, the song's lyrics are directed at contemporary youth, "particularly those that feel like accidents" due to the ideals of their parent's generation. The lyrics are also heavily influenced by The Beatles' song "Revolution", especially the chorus.
The song rose to number 24 on the U.S. Modern Rock Chart and number 22 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Chart in 2000.
3. "Coma White"
"Coma White" was a promotional single and the last track released on the 1999 album Mechanical Animals. It is one of Marilyn Manson's most gentle songs and one of the band's most critically acclaimed tracks of all time.
The song's lyrics seem to concern themselves with drug addiction, specifically that drugs alter one's mind, feelings, and perception, but they do not solve problems nor prevent them from happening.
In reference to "Coma White" and other song's that use similar imagery, Manson stated, "The color white comes up a lot. It kind of represents to me the numbness I had. That numbness is manifested in drugs ... in all the people who want to suck the life out of you when you become a rock star."
The song has never been released to radio stations and, thus, has never charted, but it remains a fan favorite.
2. "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
Though Manson has done covers of several popular songs, including "Tainted Love" and "You're So Vain," perhaps none have ever gained the kind of mainstream notoriety that his cover of Eurythmics' 1982 hit "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" did. Manson's version was included on his 1996 EP Smells Like Children.
This version became a staple on MTV through the late 1990s, and its music video was rated "the scariest music video ever made" by Billboard in 2010. In Manson's cover, the musical elements are far more dark and foreboding, and the song features an added lyrical verse.
Manson's cover of "Sweet Dreams" peaked at number 26 on the U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks and at number 12 on Canada's RPM Alternative 30 in 1996.
1. "The Beautiful People"
Released as the lead single on Marilyn Manson's iconic 1996 album Antichrist Superstar, "The Beautiful People" is arguably Marilyn Manson's signature anthem. Like the Smells Like Children EP, Trent Reznor was responsible for producing, along with Dave Ogilvie and Manson himself.
Musically, the song is recognizable for its unique blend of power chords and guitar distortion, as well as an iconic five-beat drum line. Lyrically, the song discusses what Manson calls "the culture of beauty" and admonishes other societal elements such as discrimination, prejudice, morality, and Social Darwinism.
Despite being Manson's most well-known song, "The Beautiful People" peaked at just 26 on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1996. Still, critics continue to give the song positive reviews. In a 2004 review, BBC reporter Richard Banks called the track "the most impressive" in the band's history, and it was ranked number 28 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs in 2006.
Marilyn Manson's tenth studio album Say10, is currently scheduled for national release on February 14, 2017 and is sure to continue the artist's long-running commentary on politics, social norms, shock-media, and the musical industry.