Nathan's Pick of the Week: The Pale Emperor

Nathan Waddell - he of Nathan's Laserium fame - stepped in to provide the Pick of the Week today.  And let me say, this is a pick that both he and I are truly thankful for.  Thanksgiving isn't just being grateful for the blessings of friends, family, health and home, you know.  Sometimes we can be grateful for the myriad of other delightful things in our lives too!  Like Marilyn Manson.

For a few years there I was sure Lady Gaga was going to reach up to her face and pull off a Mission:Impossible style mask and reveal that she had actually been Marilyn Manson the whole time. Could still happen- has anyone ever seen them in the same room?

But it turns out Marilyn has been quietly going about his business all along, even if the rest of the world has been largely ignoring him. Or worse, making fun of him. Which stings me a little, because I adore Marilyn Manson. But even I slowly lost track of him after he followed up my absolute fave album Golden Age of Grotesque with Marilyn Manson Has A Sad And Reads A Lot of Lewis Carroll. I think that's what that album was called. Anyways, by the time The Pale Emperor was released he had fallen off my must-buy list.

Luckily the VampireNomad was still paying attention. She asked if I was going to his concert and I had to admit that I didn't even know he was in town. Well, she said, at least get his new album. It's amazing. So I did, and she was right. So right. Always listen to her!

People always compared Marilyn to Alice Cooper, but I think the more accurate comparison is to David Bowie. Or Lady Gaga! A performance artist provocateur leading a demented swing band. The Pale Emperor is a rolling, groovy, hook-laden triumph. Is it a concept album? The soundtrack to a seven day drinking binge? At least two of the songs are about that, so yes. It's full of classic Mansonisms, some of which are brilliant (you wanna know what Zeus said to Narcissus? You better watch yourself) and some of which probably sounded brilliant while high (no one is exempt from the odds of even).

It's hard to pick a standout because it's all perfect but Walton Goggins is on "Slave Only Dreams To Be King" so just give it a million grammies right now. I like to imagine Manson and Goggins met on the set of Sons of Anarchy and immediately became besties. Walton gave Marilyn tips on playing an erudite neo-nazi criminal mastermind and Marilyn confided all his deepest secrets to Walton. "Hey Walton, did I ever tell you that Lady Gaga is actually me in disguise? Don't tell anyone ok."

- Nathan Waddell