Saturday, 15 June 2013

'The Beautiful People' - The music and its relevance

'The Beautiful People' is a song written in 1997 about the '60s - STILL RELEVANT (to me) TODAY.

The song incorporates extensive use of guitar distortion, and the use of palm muting creates a highly rhythmic, driving style amplified by a heavy percussion track. The song's characteristic element is its repetitive drum beat: a five-beat common time pattern played on floor toms.

Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People

I heard this song when I was in school ... only once. 

And true to its reputation - it has stuck in my head for over two decades. And I still don't own the album or track... 

While I am no longer a fan of this genre of music (I've got old*) But each time, I see rank commercialism and sexual objectification in our media and culture - this song invariably starts playing in my head.

To me, it has come to symbolise a rant and a paean simultaneously to what is viewed as "acceptable decadence" - the cult of the superficial.  

Here's the artiste's own explanation - 

MARILYN MANSON was featured in last week's Kerrang! magazine as part of a feature called "How I Wrote...", talking about the inspiration behind the song "The Beautiful People".

The Background:

Marilyn Manson: "I write phrases constantly and I have about 15 different notebooks going at the same time. I'll write lots of different things in each book. I have to lay them all out in the same place and pull things from each of them to write a song. I was on tour and I remember recording it on my four-track with Twiggy [Ramirez, bass] and my drummer Ginger in a hotel room. It was somewhere in the South, which is ironic. I remember playing the drum beat on the floor and then having my drummer duplicate that on the drum machine. It happened in one day pretty much. It happened maybe two-and-a-half years before 'Antichrist Superstar' was released, and if I played you that four-track recording, it would sound identical."

The Inspiration:

Marilyn Manson: "The term 'The Beautiful People' was inspired by a book that came out in the mid-'60s. It was about the Kennedys, politics and fashion at the time. The whole culture of beauty as being created at the time. We live in a world where the culture of beauty is taken for granted, but it didn't exist in the same way in the '60s. Then Charles Manson and his 'family' took that culture, hated it and reacted against it. In many ways his reaction is the same as mine, but I'm playing with it from both sides. I make things glamorous as a revolt to glamour."

The Legacy:

Marilyn Manson: "I wasn't thinking about it in terms like, 'Is this a classic?'. But I knew we'd arrived at our defining sound when we wrote it. Even now, when I go back and listen to it, it sounds big. I hear things in it that I didn't hear before. I'm still very happy and proud of it. I don't get sick of playing it live and I don't think I will get tired of it."


Additional Reading:

Here's the Video (not recommended for viewing) -

* Old - “To know what you like is the beginning of wisdom and of old age. Youth is wholly experimental. The essence and charm of that unquiet and delightful epoch is ignorance of self as well as ignorance of life.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

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