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Music / Smells Like Children

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"I've always liked the Peter Pan idea of being a kid in mind if not in body, and Smells Like Children was supposed to be a record for someone who's no longer a child, someone who, like myself, wants their innocence back now that they're corrupted enough to appreciate it."
Marilyn Manson

Smells Like Children is the first EP and second release by American rock band Marilyn Manson, fittingly released a week before Halloween 1995.

Similar to the band's previous output, their debut album Portrait of an American Family, the EP was produced with the help of Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor; however, while Portrait enlisted several assistant producers, the EP was produced exclusively by Reznor.

The EP began life as a remix single for "Dope Hat", but throughout the touring cycle for Portrait, enough music was produced to warrant another release between personnel contributions and new material. The EP was also the first work by the band to feature several longtime members: bassist Twiggy Ramirez and drummer Ginger Fish.

The EP with album length was notably censored before release: "Abuse" (Part 1 and 2) didn't make the cut, however "White Trash" has been censored form the beginning.

Several years following its release, Manson summarized the EP as "an album that looks like an album for children that is not for children", with a thematic center in the concept of abuse that he felt appropriately prefaced the band's next release, the album Antichrist Superstar.

The EP was certified Platinum, spearheaded primarily by the smash success of the band's cover of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams", the music video of which became a MTV staple and helped to establish the band in the mainstream.


  1. "The Hands of Small Children" – (1:35)
  2. "Diary of a Dope Fiend" – (5:55)
  3. "Shitty Chicken Gang Bang" – (1:19)
  4. "Kiddie Grinder Remix" – (4:23)
  5. "Sympathy for the Parents" – (1:00)
  6. "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" – (4:53)
  7. "Everlasting Cocksucker Remix" – (5:13)
  8. "Fuck Frankie" – (1:48)
  9. "I Put a Spell on You" – (3:36)
  10. "May Cause Discoloration of the Urine or Feces" – (3:59)
  11. "Scabs, Guns, and Peanut Butter" – (1:01)
  12. "Dance of the Dope Hats Remix" – (4:39)
  13. "White Trash". Remixed by Tony F. Wiggins – (2:47)
  14. "Dancing with the One-Legged... "– (0:45)
  15. "Rock 'N Roll Nigger" – (3:31)
  16. (Bonus Track) – (8:19)

Diary of a Trope Fiend:

    The EP as a whole 
  • Call-Back:
    • Some tracks are remixes of earlier songs from Portrait of an American Family (1994). "Diary of a Dope Fiend" and "Dance of the Dope Hats" are remixes of "Dope Hat", "Kiddie Grinder" of "Organ Grinder" and "Everlasting Cocksucker", "White Trash" and "Dance of the Dope Hats" recycle lyrics of "Cake and Sodomy".
    • The EP makes several references to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Earlier, on Portrait of an American Family (1994) Manson had already referenced this scene during the track "Organ Grinder", where a sample from the Child Catcher's speech can be heard.
    • The track "Diary of a Dope Fiend" references Aleister Crowley, who was referenced earlier on Portrait of an American Family in the line "We're gonna ride to the Abbey of Thelema" in "Misery Machine'" , a reference to his Abbey of Thelema.
  • Central Theme: Manson confirmed that all songs deal with abuse in one form or another.
  • Children Are Innocent: Several lyrics use Creepy Child imagery.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Already present on "Portrait of an American family", but this album plays the creepy part up even more, to the point of downright disturbing.
  • Concept Album: According to Manson most tracks deal with the concept of abuse and its most common target: innocence.
  • Content Warnings: The album warns us:
    May Cause Discoloration of the Urine or Feces.
  • Face on the Cover: Manson seen through a Fish-Eye Lens.
  • Fish-Eye Lens: The album cover.
  • Little Green Men: Manson is seen in green skin on the album cover.
  • Nightmare Face: Manson on the album cover.
  • Remix Album: The album mostly consists of remixes from "Portrait of an American Family" songs, with some new material.
  • Sampling: "Dancing with the One-Legged" and "Sympathy for the Parents" both showcase distorted sound clips from an appearance by the band on The Phil Donahue Show. This also counts as a Mythology Gag, as it's sampled from one one the most famous early public appearances by the band.
  • Shout-Out: Manson is dressed as the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on the album cover. The album title itself is also a reference to dialogue from the same character.
  • Spiking the Camera: Manson does this on the album cover.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Deliberately invoked In-Universe. Manson called this "an album that looks like an album for children that is not for children". This reflects the themes of Subverted Innocence and introducing juveniles to behavior that society says are bad.
    Individual songs 
  • Album Filler: A phone conversation between Marilyn Manson and his mother about medicine can be heard on the album.
  • Alliterative Title: "Fuck Frankie".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The title "Scabs, Guns and Peanut Butter" provides an example of this trope.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: "Does this music cause you to do what you do?" is uttered in "Sympathy for the Parents". Manson gives a snappy answer, as he always has said that the idea that art and music causing real-life crimes is absurd.
  • *Bleep*-dammit!: "White Trash" is censored in a very strange way that doesn't make the EP more family-friendly. All negative references to the black community were removed indeed, however the rest of the lyrics (which are disturbing) of the song was untouched, as was the many creepy remarks on the album and the cover song "Rock'N'Roll Nigger".
  • Broken Record: "Dancing with the One-Legged" repeats one line over and over and over...
    My sympathy to the parents.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: "White Trash" is a cover version of "Cake and Sodomy" (presented as a remix on this EP). It does change the lyrics and makes it even more disturbing: it does away with the critique of the moral hypocrisy of the Deep South and focuses more the woman character to say the least. If you know about Tony Wiggins, you might draw parallels to his real character.
  • Cover Version: "Sweet Dreams", a Eurythmics cover, "Rock 'n' Roll Nigger", a Patti Smith cover from her album Easter, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins' I Put A Spell On You is also adapted.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The title: "Abuse, Part 1 (There is Pain Involved)".
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: "Kiddie Grinder" alludes to this.
  • Harmful to Minors: Many songs make references to child abuse. Also it makes references to the fact that Manson said the EP looks like it was made for children but definitely wasn't.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title:
    • "Rock 'N' Roll Nigger", a cover of the Patti Smith song of the same name.
    • Also many of the other tracks have traits of this, with "Shitty Chicken Gang Bang" being probably the most awkward.
  • Irony: "White Trash" is an acoustic country-remake of "Cake and Sodomy". Very fitting as "Cake and Sodomy" was to attack the Deep South, as Manson noted.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Many examples here but the most obvious here is "White Trash": a nice acoustic country song with lyrics that are even more unsettling than the one it covers.
    White boy tryin' to get some behind,
    "who says date rape isn't kind?"
    Who's he gonna goad? Who's he gonna please?
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Sympathy for the Parents" does not feature the titular line, it does however appear in "Dancing with the One-Legged".
  • Pun-Based Title: "Shitty Chicken Gang Bang" is this on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
  • N-Word Privileges: Subverted in "Rock N Roll Nigger", a cover of Patti Smith from her album Easter, who is also white and therefore subverted the trope.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Special Guest: Tony F. Wiggins was a guy the band knew when they recorded the album. According to Manson and Twiggy Ramirez, he was the most degenerate, perverted and crazy guy they have ever met and this is saying something. He's billed as big star here.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Some tracks feature spoken parts and intervies bits, such as "Sympathy for the Parents", "May Cause Discoloration of the Urine or Feces", "Dancing with the One-Legged..." and "Fuck Frankie"
  • Stock Sound Effects: Distorted crying baby sounds during the intro.
  • Surreal Theme Tune: "Shitty Chicken Gang Bang" is this in song form, note that there's also another less-surreal version of this song.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: "Sympathy for the Parents" is an allusion to this Rolling Stones song.
  • Take That!: "Fuck Frankie" is a diss to Frankie Proia, their former tour manager who embezzled $20,000 from the band during their tour for their previous release, Portrait of an American Family.
    Music Videos 
  • Surreal Music Video: The video of "Sweet Dreams", directed by Dean Karr, depicts Manson and his band in an abandoned building, intercut with scenes where walks around in a tutu in the street and rides a pig wearing a cowboy hat, covered in mud.