Mechanical Animals is Marilyn Manson's third studio album, released in 1998. This album is the second part of a trilogy/"triptych" that started off with Antichrist Superstar (1998) and would be concluded with Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) (2000); much like those albums, this is a Rock Opera/Concept Album. However, since the triptych's narrative is told in reverse order, Mechanical Animals bridges the gap from Holy Wood to Antichrist Superstar.
Instead of looking through the eyes of one character, we get two characters who each have seven songs (half of the album) told from their perspective:
- Omega, a gender-ambiguous alien that falls from Earth and is captured and turned into a rock star with a band called the Mechanical Animals that abuses drugs to cope with their reality as a product of a corporation
- Alpha, who acts as Omega's foil as well as an Author Avatar for Manson and is beginning to grasp the idea of emotion and is distraught with how few emotions humans (or as he sees them, mechanical animals) feel
It's unique since it showcased the band briefly foraying into Glam Rock and straying away from their Industrial Metal roots; this was a move that wasn't greeted with ample enthusiasm, leading the band to return to their original sound in future works.
It was the band's first #1 debut on the Billboard 200, and it spawned several hit singles: "The Dope Show", "Rock is Dead", "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)", and "Coma White".
- "Great Big White World" (5:01)
- "The Dope Show" (3:46)
- "Mechanical Animals" (4:33)
- "Rock is Dead" (3:09)
- "Disassociative" (4:50)
- "Speed of Pain" (5:30)
- "Posthuman" (4:17)
- "I Want to Disappear" (2:56)
- "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" (5:03)
- "New Model No.15" (3:40)
- "User Friendly" (4:17)
- "Fundamentally Loathsome" (4:49)
- "The Last Day on Earth" (5:01)
- "Coma White" (5:38)
- "Untitled" - (1:28)
The Trope Show:
- Added Alliterative Appeal:
I want to wake up in your white, white sunI want to wake up in your world with no pain
- "Fundamentally Loathsome"
Mother Mary miscarry
- "Great Big White World"
- "New Model No. 15"
Sampled and soullessWorldwide and real webbed
- "Rock Is Dead"
She's pilgrim and pagan
- Alter-Ego Acting: Manson plays a gender-ambiguous alien named "Omega" and his evil counterpart "Alpha".
- Ambiguous Gender: Omega, who is seen on the cover and in the music video for "The Dope Show" with a naked body containing breasts and androgynous genitalia.
- Anti-Love Song: "User Friendly"She says: "I'm not in love, but I'm gonna fuck you 'til somebody better comes along"
- Arc Number: 15.
- Manson's name is altered on the cover to swap some letters out for numbers; specifically, the numbers 1 and 5 are added.
- The Omega-head logo contains 15 squares on the forehead.
- The track "New Model No. 15".
- In the pre-verse of "User Friendly", Manson harmonizes with exactly fifteen "doo's" each time it is sung.
- Marilyn Manson's birthday is January 5 (1/5)
- Counting the computer-only hidden track, the album has 15 tracks.
- The Devil's tarot card is XV (15).
- The album's release date was September 15 (or 9/15, which is 9+1+5=15).
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Manson's genitalia on the album cover.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: "Posthuman"This isn't God, this isn't God, this isn't GodGod is just a statistic(...) God is a number you cannot count to
- Blasphemous Boast: "I Want To Disappear"Look at me now, I've got no religion
- Bowdlerize: Some stores refused to store the album without hiding the album cover in a brown paper bag.
- The original album cover itself had a slight example of this; Omega originally had nipples on their breasts, but they were removed at the record company's demand.
- BSoD Song: The entire album follows the decay of the antichrist superstar.
- Capitalism Is Bad: "The Dope Show"We're all stars now in the dope show(...)We love your face, we'd really like to sell you
- Concept Album: It continues the story of the antichrist superstar from Antichrist Superstar.
- Contemptible Cover: Omega in the nude, but without genitals and the nipples from the fake breasts hidden behind the title. More than enough for K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Target to refuse carrying the album, but also enough for it to be deemed as some of the greatest cover art of all time.
- Crapsack World: "Great Big White World"Because it's a great big white worldAnd we are drained of our colorsWe used to love ourselvesWe used to love one another
- Deal with the Devil: "I Want To Disappear"I wanna die young and sell my soul.
- Downer Ending: Given the hidden track is only heard on computers, the album closes on "Coma White", an incredibly sad song about trying to attain a feeling of perfection through drug abuse and always failing due to being your own worst enemy.
- Driven to Suicide: "Fundamentally Loathsome"Shoot myself to love youIf I loved myself I'd be shooting you
- Drugs Are Bad:
There's a hole in our soul, that we fill with dopeAnd we're feeling fine
- "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)".
A pill to make you numbA pill to make you dumbA pill to make you anybody elseBut all the drugs in this worldWon't save her from herself
- "Coma White"
- The End of the World as We Know It: "Last Day On Earth"I know it's the last day on EarthWe'll be together while the planet diesI know it's the last day on EarthWe'll never say goodbye
- Extra Digits: Omega has six fingers on each hand, according to the cover.
- Face on the Cover: Manson as Omega in the center of the image.
- Fake Band: The album concept revolves around the band led by Omega, which even got its own album cover◊.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Alpha and Omega.
- Gratuitous Panning: In contrast to the rest of the album, "Fundamentally Loathsome" pans pretty much every instrument entirely to the left or to the right.
- Heavy Meta: "Rock Is Dead"Rock is deader than deadShock is all in your headYour sex and your dope is all that were fedSo fuck all your protests and put them to bed
- Hidden Track: An untitled one.
- Humans Are Cthulhu: Omega the alien sees humans as "mechanical animals", unable to show emotion to other people's feelings.
- Hurricane of Puns: "New Model, No. 15"And I'm vague and I know that I'm homopolitan note(...) Correctly politicalI can choke and diet on coke note(...) That I'm stoned and rolling note
- If It Bleeds, It Leads: One of the themes of the album is the media's obsession with violence. The music video of "Coma White" re-enacted the John F. Kennedy assassination, albeit in a stylized manner to bring the point home. Manson's criticism became even more true when one year after the release the Columbine High School shootings and death of JFK Jr. took place, which caused a similar media frenzy.
- "I Want" Song: "I Want To Disappear"
- Letters 2 Numbers: "Marilyn Manson" is portrayed as "MAR1LYN MAN5ON" on the album cover.
- Lighter and Softer: It's less dark than Manson's previous works, being influenced mostly by David Bowie-esque glam rock, although the lyrics are still just as dark.
- Nightmare Face: Omega's stare to the viewer on the cover.
- Ode to Intoxication: Many of the drug-related songs.
- One-Word Title: "Disassociative", "Posthuman", "Untitled".
- Only Sane Man: Manson is this in the "I Don't Like The Drugs" music video. And he's not even that sane...
- Parental Obliviousness and Sucky School: "I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)"Raised to be stupid, taught to be nothing at all
- Self-Parody: Manson parodied his own demonic public image on this album.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: This is the hedonistic lifestyle of the Antichrist Superstar.
She's got eyes like ZapruderAnd a mouth like heroinShe wants me to be perfect like Kennedy(...) In all of her dreams she's a saint like Jackie O. note
- The album was inspired by The Man Who Fell to Earth and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie, which share a similar theme in which an alien comes to Earth.
- "The Dope Show" was inspired partly by The Holy Mountain.
- The music video of "Coma White" is a shout-out to John F. Kennedy's assassination. "Posthuman" als references Kennedy's assassination:
- Six Fingered Hands: Manson has six fingers on each hand on the album cover.
- Special Guest:
- Stepford Smiler: "Coma White"There's something cold and blank behind her smile
- Surreal Music Video: "The Dope Show", directed by Paul Hunter, shows Manson in the androgynous costume he wears on the cover and being examined in a lab, after which he performs on stage.
- Title Track: "Mechanical Animals", though the title isn't mentioned in the lyrics. The hidden track does provide an Album Title Drop.
- "Untitled" Title: "Untitled"