The Beautiful Decadence Of Love In 6 Songs By Marilyn Manson

The Beautiful Decadence Of Love In 6 Songs By Marilyn Manson

By: Andrea Mejía -

What does the Antichrist Superstar have to say about the decadent and addictive side of love?

Love is, perhaps, the theme that has inspired most of the songs we listen to in our everyday life. Falling in love, getting your heart broken, hoping that the relationship lasts, and all those variations that nuance the complex process of loving someone can inspire romantic ballads and songs to think of that person that makes our life a little more magical or, on the contrary, turns our whole world upside down. A theme as this one, which can even be thought of as corny, isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of Marilyn Manson and his music, and indeed, he isn’t really a composer of the prettiest love ballads you’ll want to dedicate to your crush or partner. However, it is worth taking a look at the way he explores this multifaceted emotion.


Manson’s lyrics are characterized by a critical and nihilistic view of society, our behaviors, and emotions. That’s why when the Antichrist Superstar talks about love in his music, you won’t find your typical love song referring to butterflies in the stomach, the hope to be with someone, the nostalgia we feel when they’re gone, or how they’re the best thing that ever happened to us. Instead, he explores a side of love that isn’t spoken about that much with appealing and striking metaphors. His heavy and dark melodies talk about a love that’s nuanced by our imperfect humanity, about how our personal demons can taint the purest feeling and lead to its decay, or how it can become a drug we surrender to as it slowly burns us. Here are some of the best songs that show Reverend Manson’s view on that dark yet mesmerizing side of love.






I wrapped our love in all this foil

Silver tight like spider legs

I never wanted it to ever spoil

But flies will always lay their eggs


Take your hatred out on me

Make your victim my head

You never ever believed in me

I am your tourniquet


Antichrist Superstar, the album that established Manson as a subversive artist, conveys a nihilistic view of the world through symbols that allude to pestilence, famine, and the decadence of humanity. At first, “Tourniquet,” the second single from this album, doesn’t sound like a love song. Nevertheless, if we pay close attention to the lyrics we’ll see that this song depicts the frailty of love and how, when a romantic relationship is decadent, it usually withers over time. Even the bizarre imagery of the video highlights the flies, spiders, and other insects that are part of the lyrics to represent the ease with which our dark side can “lay eggs” on that romance and consume it.



“The Love Song”


"I got a crush on a pretty pistol

Should I tell her that I feel this way?

Father told us to be faithful"


"I got a crush on a pretty pistol

Should I tell her that I feel this way?

I've got love songs in my head

That are killing us away"


"Do you love your guns?" Yeah

"God?" Yeah

"The government?"


I've got love songs in my head, killing us away

I've got love songs in my head, killing us away



Don’t be misled by the title, since this “love song” isn’t your typical ballad. It is the second song from the album Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), inspired by the Columbine Massacre and the fact that he became a scapegoat of the tragedy in the news and other media. This song is a conversation between a bullet and a gun and how this “romance” becomes a destructive element. More than a love song, it is a critique against the gun culture that prevails in American society.


“Tainted Love”



Sometimes, I feel I've got to run away

I've got to get away

From the pain you drive in the heart of me


The love we share seems to go nowhere

And I've lost my light

For I toss and turn, I can't sleep at night


Once, I ran to you, now I run from you

This tainted love you've given

I'll give you all a boy could give you

Take my tears and that's not nearly all


This cover of Ed Cobb’s song represents the addictive nature of a toxic love and the difficulty of letting go. With a heavy and rhythmic tune, he explores the contradiction that is part of those relationships, both the knowledge that the relationship is destructive and the ironic yearning of being part of it. In this song, the decadent side of love is reflected in that need to surrender to a relationship that doesn’t do us any good.


“Heart-Shaped Glasses”



Don't break

Don't break my heart

And I won't break your heart-shaped glasses

Little girl, little girl

You should close your eyes

That blue is getting me high

And making me low

That blue is getting me high

And making me low


She reminds me of a one I knew

That cut up the negatives of my life

I couldn't take my hands off her

She wouldn't let me be anywhere but inside


Perhaps his most “romantic” album, if we could call it that, Eat Me, Drink Me was inspired both by his divorce from burlesque artist Dita von Teese and his new romance with actress Evan Rachel Wood. The latter actually appears in the video for this song, which caused a scandal not only because she and Manson engage in explicit acts throughout the video, but also because in the lyrics and the video he alludes to one of the most controversial novels in history: Lolita. With that reference in mind, Manson talks about his new partner alluding to Humbert Humbert’s views of Lolita as a girl who reminded him of a childhood sweetheart and it refers to the end of innocence that implicitly comes with love and sex. Ironically, as Manson stated in an interview with the BBC, he was also inspired by the fact that he was much older than his girlfriend, and to make fun of the situation, she visited him wearing Lolita’s famous heart-shaped glasses. Sadly, this relationship didn’t last either.



“Deep Six”



Love is evil

Con is confidence

Eros is sore

Sin is sincere


Although Manson’s new songs don't seem to be as scandalous and nihilistic as they were back in Antichrist Superstar or Holy Wood, he still knows how to shock his audience with implicitly sexual videos and irreverent lyrics. This song refers to the lustful side of love, the link between sex and sin, and how these emotions and behaviors are so appealing because they are an honest reflection of our human desires. To do so, in the music video he recurs to phallic imagery and disguised allusions to sexual intercourse that, despite not being that obvious, still manage to convey the themes of the song in an effective way.


“Threats of Romance”



A girl is a man's sweet nest

We all know the way it ends

No matter how many times we film it

The audience thinks they've seen it for the first time


Things that pretty are always kept behind glass

Someone like me, someone like me can't make it last

I like you damaged, but I need something left

Something for me, something for me to wreck


You are my sickness

We all know the way it ends

No matter how we film it

the audience thinks that they saw it for the first time


In a pessimistic and even sarcastic tone, this song from Manson’s latest release, Heaven Upside Down, pokes fun at the common hope for romantic, happy endings. More importantly, he points out that, when we fail in love, it might be because we are the ones who indirectly hurt the relationship or look for people that do us more harm than good. Sadly, as he says in this song, we keep falling for the same mistakes as if it were the first time.



It would be easy to be fooled by Manson’s scary façade and to think there’s no way he deals with love in his songs. Although they’re not the average songs to dedicate to your significant other, he sheds light on the unexplored sides of love that, as confronting and ugly as they may be, are very real and help us understand our humanity even more. As these songs show, love can be the most beautiful emotion, but it can also be blinding enough to lead us to a downward spiral of decadence from which mesmerizing works of art can be born.



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