Sunday, September 18, 2011

Manson's Music Videos

So, I have a confession to make: I am a complete music video junkie...and my latest obsession is Marilyn Manson videos. While I realize that he might not be the most loved person in the music industry, I have immense amounts of respect for him for speaking his mind, and the combination of shocking (but most often, true) lyrics and images in his videos. His videos always manage to be incredibly interesting, often not only telling the story of the lyrics, but somehow managing to tie in commentary about current issues, and past issues that he himself has dealt with.
My personal favorite has to be, "I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)." The first time we see Manson, he is pinned up on a cross made of televisions, dressed in all white, in between shots of people with huge eyes peering out of falling-apart buildings. This is all going on while he sings the lyrics:

"Norm life baby,
We're white and oh so heater
And our sex is missionary...

Norm life baby,
We're quitters and we're sober
Our confessions will be televised..."

Next, the camera switches between Manson on the cross and the people inside, huddled around a television and learning simple words from flashcards, indicating societies isolation of children and teaching them a narrow range of subjects. This is all while these lyrics are said:

"You and I are underdosed and we're ready to fall,
Raised to be stupid, taught to be nothing at all,
We're taught to be nothing at all..."

At this point, Manson finally gets off the cross, and is being chased by headless police officers, portraying that the law has become less about what is right and wrong, and more about doing as you are told. He runs from the officers into an emergency room, complaining of a hurt arm, while he sings:

"Norm life baby,
Our God is white and unforgiving
and we're piss tested and we're praying...

Norm life baby,
I'm just a sample of a soul
made to look just like a human being..."

While he continuously talks about "norm life," the video shows flashes of different scenes, all in white. Two more verses of "norm life" later, Manson finds himself armless, trying to represent being forced to live without an essential part of himself. He runs into a Jerry Springer-ish talk show set, where looking around, he sees the madness of the entertainment industry, touching on everything from doe-eyed pageant girls being primped by their mothers to the sexualized fights that occur nowadays on "trash TV." In the midst of all of the chaos, the lyric, "Raised to be stupid, taught to be nothing at all," in sung.
As the video concludes, Manson finally "escapes" from the insanity, only to find himself wandering around aimlessly, all while still being chased by the headless officers. Law enforcement seems to be a common subject in almost every Manson video, which could be attributed to the amount of issues he has had with it in real life. Just like he has said in many interviews, at the end of the video, Manson is faced with a decision to surrender himself and face silence, or death. In the end, he chooses death over silence, and jumps off the building that he has been cornered on top of.
Once again, I realize that Marilyn Manson's music may not be everyones cup of tea, but I encourage you to at least check out some of his videos. They all hold a staggering amount of symbolism pertaining to not only the lyrics and the tone of his music, but issues that he (and many other people) are facing in everyday life. Below is the link for, "I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)," be sure to check it out!

Molly Boekenheide

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