Marilyn Manson's 'No Reflection' Latest to Mirror Images of Violence Against Women

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As agent provocateur Marilyn Manson prepares for the May 1 release of his latest album Born Villain, a recently released music video "No Reflection" by the rocker is ghoulish and controversial. The scene is a dinner party and Manson plays host to women clad in white. Something goes terribly awry as everyone toasts and imbibes on a toxic drink. The women begin vomiting up blood and turning violent. The one closest to Manson throughout drinks again from a cup as he tries in vain to stop her. Once the fate is sealed, a gooey kiss is given and the rocker proceeds to drown her head in toilet water. The dinner party literally turns dead as all but Manson lie motionless.

Is the whole music video a metaphor for addiction, as some have interpreted? Or the latest in a series of releases fetishistic of violence against women?

Five years ago, Manson gave comments as to the reasons why he turned down an earlier offer to collaborate with Eminem telling Spin, "He asked me to sing on his first record, and I would have, except that the song he asked me to sing was... too misogynistic." In the track in question, the rapper's rhymes were a boastful fictionalized tale of killing his ex-girlfriend. At the time, the rocker made, on the surface of it, an admirable, principled decision.


A roundabout, it was, then, when Manson ruined a perfectly good song when he released his first post-Interscope Records music video for "Running to the Edge of the World" off 2009's The High End of Low which went from bad (singing for too long behind a curtain in the beginning) to worse (bludgeoning an ex-fiancee Evan Rachel Wood look-a-like to death at the end). The effort was condemned as essentially a loathsome wannabe snuff-film and torture porn.

With the album and major label obligations behind him, Manson took to readying his 8th studio album Born Villain off the indie Cooking Vinyl Records. Early blog posts on his website and a teaser video showed a rocker returning to his roots railing against organized religion and making allusions to Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. What came next, though, was a long-form music video for its title track. Spin described the Shia LeBeouf directed "Born Villain" as "horrifically sadistic/misogynistic." What is Manson really trying to say anyway when he dresses up in Surgeon scrubs and inserts an eyeball into a vagina? I'll leave that for others to ponder.

Which brings us back to "No Reflection." Like "Running to the Edge of the World" before it, the final scene mirrors pervasive images of violence against women in media and the reality of it in society at large. Manson is at his best when a scourge to institutions of the religious right and the rigidness they seek to impose on culture, art and governance with provocative symbolism and angst-driven rock.

But, in a strange irony, with his last couple of music videos, he's exhibiting an attribute richly shared by his arch-nemeses: misogyny.

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6 comments
Adam Hill
Adam Hill

I think the song and video are pretty lame, truthfully. That being said, I think labeling it misogyny is a bit presumptuous. Nobody is more into double-meaning than Marilyn Manson. And besides that, this is the guy who gave himself tits and hid his dick for a naked album cover. Most likely, he's blowing off steam over his love life. And I don't think you can hold it against a guy if he admits that he wants to beat his ex to death. So he's moody. If it helps him to depict it, so long as nobody's getting hurt, what's the problem?

909Jeff
909Jeff

Would you have liked it better if it featured Skrillex or David Guetta... That seems to be the Genre du jour over there at the weekly... 

Bhavana Pardeshi
Bhavana Pardeshi

This article reminds me of a documentary "Half Value Life" which explores the life and work of the first female Afghani-Hindu women's rights activist working for elimination of violence against women, highlighting the investigative cases of two 14- and 17-year-old girls who have been raped.

To watch the documentary online visit:http://www.cultureunplugged.co...

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

People could say, "well nobody is getting hurt when a rapper only rhymes about 'grabbing a bitch by her weave'" but few(er) would bat an eyelash at a critique of it. There's always a huge double standard.

If Manson got dinged for his last video and followed it up with drowning a woman's head in a toilet, maybe he really is running, not to the edge of the world, but out of worthwhile ideas.

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

Nah. Don't really go for that stuff.

What I can say is that I did expect more from a Manson free of major label control. If this is what he wants to do with more artistic freedom, it's a let down.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Agreed,

 but then again I've been let down by marilyn manson since 99... 

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