Shock is all in your head
Your sex and your dope is all that were fed
So fuck all your protests and put them to bed
God is in the TV."
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 (1996) 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.
Mechanical Animals is the only album in the triptych to revolve around two characters instead of one, 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, growing distraught with how few emotions humans (or, as he sees them, mechanical animals) feel
The album was 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 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)
"We're all stars now in the trope show":
- 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.
- MTV airings of the video for "The Dope Show" edited out the words "drugs" and "queers".
- BSoD Song: The entire album follows the decay of the antichrist superstar.
- Concept Album: It continues the story of the antichrist superstar from Antichrist Superstar.
- 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.
- Hidden Track: An untitled one.
- 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.
- New Sound Album: With 'Antichrist Superstar' being more industrial, this album has a strong leaning to glam rock.
- Nightmare Face: Omega's stare to the viewer on the cover.
- Six Fingered Hands: Manson has six fingers on each hand on the album cover.
- 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.
- 15 Minutes of Fame: A reoccurring theme throughout the album, but it appears most in 'Dope Show' and 'I don't like the drugs (but the drugs like me).''"We're rehabbed and we're ready for our fifteen minutes of shame"
- 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"
Pitifully predictable, correctly political
- "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
- Brainless Beauty: "New Model No. 15" is about the dumbest model imaginable who is still successful at what she does. Also has traits of a Valley Girl.I'm the new, I'm the new, new model I've got nothing inside
Better in the head and in bed at the office \\ I can suck it and smile.
- Blasphemous Boast: "I Want To Disappear"Look at me now, I've got no religion
- 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
- Chemical Messiah: Very much the theme of 'The Dope Show', drugs and celebrity go together to religious levels.
- Counting to Potato: Invoked in 'Posthuman':God is a number you cannot count toYou are posthuman and hardwired
- Crapsack World: "Great Big White World" describes Manson as looking down on Earth, which is a destroyed world and everybody is hollow, empty and "mechanical" and instead of doing something about it, they wait for someone (god?) to change everything. Also the themes of race and drugs ("white" as cocaine) seem to be present:Because it's a great big white worldAnd we are drained of our colorsWe used to love ourselvesWe used to love one another
- Dead Artists Are Better: Most evident in 'Coma White', where the assassination of JFK plays a big role. Manson assumes that part of the legend around JFK is because JFK was shot on camera.
- 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: Played with in "Coma White", no matter how many drugs you take, there's always a fate worse than drugs: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
- Drugs Are Good: "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)"There's a hole in our soul, that we fill with dopeAnd we're feeling fine
- 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
- 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
- Hollywood Hype Machine: Parodied throughout the whole album but especially in 'The Dope Show':They love you when you're on all the coversWhen you're not then they love another
- 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"
- Mechanical Abomination: 'Mechanical Animals' pictures human beings as this - mechanical in every way.
- Metallic Motifs: In 'Mechanical Animals', human beings are associated with metals or more specific weapons:And I was a hand grenade that never stopped exploding.You were automatic and as hollow as the "o" in God.
- Non-Appearing Title: 'Coma White', the title doesn't appear anywhere in the song and can be seen as metaphor. It has also been suggested that this is the name of the girl in the song.
- Obsessively Normal: Deconstructed in 'I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)':Norm life baby [...]You and I are under dosed and we're ready to fallRaised to be stupid, taught to be nothing at all.
- 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...
- Orphaned Etymology: In 'Mechanical Animals' Manson uses the word "neurophobic". While this is not a Neologism, it's used completely differently than what the dictionary says as being phobic against all brain functions and is applied to a world where people are "mechanical".
- 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
- Playing Card Motifs: In 'Mechanical Animals', the "suicide king" is the king of hearts.This isn't me, I'm not mechanical. I'm just a boy playing the suicide king.
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.
- "Posthuman" references John F. Kennedy's assassination:
- Special Guest:
- Dave Navarro performs on "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)".
- Rose McGowan provides vocals on "Posthuman".
- Stepford Smiler: "Coma White"There's something cold and blank behind her smile
- Sublime Rhyme: 'Great Big White World': "all my stitches itch".
- Title Track: "Mechanical Animals", though the title isn't mentioned in the lyrics. The hidden track does provide an Album Title Drop.
- Unlikely Hero: In 'Mechanical Animals': The hero doesn't believe he will turn the tables for the better:I am never gonna be the one for you.I am never gonna save the world from you.
- "Untitled" Title: "Untitled"
- Vocal Dissonance: Manson uses distorted voices in 'The Last Day on Earth' for dramatic effect, just like in 'Cryptorchid' (Antichrist Superstar).
- Watch the World Die: In 'Last day on earth':I know it's the last day on Earth, we'll be together while the planet dies.
- Lyrics/Video Mismatch: Notably 'Coma White' - the song is about drugs and how they can or cannot save you from yourself, the video is a reenactment of the Kennedy Assassination. There are many theories how this will go together but neither the lyrics nor the video give a clear answer.
- Shout-Out: The music video of "Coma White" is a shout-out to John F. Kennedy's assassination with the band assuming the people involved, very much following the Zapruder film.
- Special Guest: Billy Zane has a cameo appearance in the music video of "The Dope Show".
- 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.
- "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)": Manson runs around with a blonde wig being crucified to a cross made out of TV sets. This comes with many other surreal and bizarre lightings and images.