In some ways, each new Marilyn Manson album is a reinvention of what he means as a performer and band. Throughout his career, he's collaborated with everybody from Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor to film composer Tyler Bates, each record ranging in sound as his evolution from Florida dirt-punk to pensive, goth elder statesman continues. Manson's well on his way to hitting pretty much every genre out there, "Burning Flag" on Holy Wood sounds like an all-out hardcore song, whereas Mechanical Animals' "Speed of Pain" dives into Bowie-esque space rock. (Who knows what wild version of country he has in store with his forthcoming "Southern" record with Shooter Jennings.) All said, there's a lot to sort through in his discography, so we turned to you to decide which 5 songs rank as his greatest of all time. See what you picked in the list below.
Antichrist Superstar just might be Marilyn Manson's best record (but we'll save that argument for another fan poll), and it hits a climax with "The Reflecting God," which showcases every member of the band firing on all cylinders. It opens with an ultra-thick bassline that's heavy as fuck, slowly building tension as Manson gives some of his harshest vocals when the chorus drops. The song takes a bunch of detours, seemingly ending with an acoustic bridge performed live, before one final dive down to hell for the crushing outro.
Another cut from 1996's Antichrist, "Angel With the Scabbed Wings" is impossible to ignore. From the grinding guitars to the pervasive tambourine, a bevy of strange elements come together in disharmonious union to form a classically catchy Manson metal song with pop likeability underneath all the discordant cacophony.
While a lot of people applaud Manson's heaviness, his discography is full of a ton of heart-rending ballads that aren't corny. "Coma White" strips back all of Mechanical Animals' sardonic drug glamorization to something extremely raw, with the literal interpretation of its chorus being Manson angrily reflecting on someone's drug use and how it's going to end their life. The guitar solos are sinister and uncaring about Manson's revelations, instead going for high-level noise and chaos that drive the song's tension. Manson manages to peel back the mask of his album persona a tiny bit, while still keeping the entire song in character.
Also taken from Antichrist Superstar, the album that made him a household name, "Tourniquet" is a harsh, sexy track that conveys the rough-around-the-edges feeling of Manson's early music and the emerging nu-metal sounds endemic of the time. Despite its dour rasp, the song has an emotional, almost ballad-like quality that holds its integrity now, 23 years after its release.
"The Beautiful People" is the perfect mid-Nineties industrial-rock song with lasting appeal that's yet to fade. Buzzing, choppy guitars and war-ready drum beats set off Manson's particularly acidic vocal performance on the track while compelling hooks sink deep into the listener's brain. And who could forget the gorgeously horrifying video that haunted an entire generation's favorite nightmares? Pure maniacal Manson perfection, top to bottom.