Grand cross illusion

Marilyn Manson lives under a microscope in every music publication known to man. Except this one.

Nope. This site isn’t going to explicate any deeper meanings or extract any autobiographical parallels from the lyrics Manson screams from track to track on Holy Wood.

Why not? ‘Cos (1.) it’s already been done (2.) it’s not hard to glean the general gist of Manson’s tirades (3.) it’s not anything we haven’t already heard before from the same person.

God is dead, if he ever existed, and the downtrodden becomes the oppressors’ undoing. Et cetera. Ad infinitum. Pax Nabisco.

Why listen to Marilyn Manson in the first place? Aside from being an excellent showman — which last year’s live album The Last Show on Earth failed to demonstrate — Manson makes some decent rock ‘n’ roll.

Sure, a lot of the shock has worn off since 1996, but what’s left is a good 19-tracks of full-on guitars, spooky synthesizer effects and Manson’s sprechstimme scream. That, and it’s good for some licks. (The guitar kind, please — not any other.)

As Rolling Stone and other music mags have said already, Holy Wood isn’t the White Album Manson claimed it would be. But it’s certainly a lot louder and heavier and more interesting than Mechanical Animals.

Nor does Holy Wood feel like the completion of a trilogy, but that says more about the accompanying works than it does about the album itself.

Antichrist Superstar had its own thematic workings within itself. Musically, it employed little tricks — repeated motif here, recurring lyrics there — that made it more than just a concept album.

But on Holy Wood, Manson would like you to think there’s something bigger going on — categorizing the track listing under parts of headers that spell the name, “ADAM” or writing an accompanying novel which has yet to be published. The music doesn’t reflect it.

Not like that detracts from anything. Holy Wood is still a good rock album, but that’s all it is. It’s not Manson’s great creative achievment, nor is it a grand dramatic gesture.

And that’s enough in and of itself.