The Golden Age of Grotesque  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Golden Age of Grotesque is the fifth full length album by Marilyn Manson released in 2003. It incorporates themes from the glamorous Swing era of the thirties, as well as from the Weimar Republic of pre-Nazi Germany. It was the last Marilyn Manson album with guitarist John 5.

These themes were primarily drawn from Mel Gordon's 2000 book Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin. Concerned that Gordon might take issue with use of the book's material, Manson called Gordon, who said he couldn't imagine a greater compliment than a popular CD based on an academic book. The Album artwork is also influenced by the illustrations found in Voluptuous Panic.

The album met with modest commercial success. It debuted at #1 in the United States, selling over 120,000 copies in the first week, but was the lowest selling #1 album of the year. As of November 2008, the album has sold 526,000 copies in the United States. The album drew a mixed critical response. Although ending up in many critics' 'best of' lists for 2003, other critics consider this Manson's weakest album, arguing that it lacks originality and thoughtful lyrics compared to its predecessors.

Instrumentally, this album is more beat-driven and electronic than previous albums. This is perhaps due to Tim Skold's presence — some believe this album's sound is at times reminiscent of KMFDM, with whom Skold had collaborated prior to recording with Manson.

Lyrically, this album is full of historical and pop references, much like Holy Wood. References include Mickey Mouse, Adolf Hitler, and Oscar Wilde. As in many of his other works, he makes use of word play and double-meanings, coining words like "gloominati", "scabaret sacrilegends", "vivi-sex symbol", "cocaingels", "Mobscene", "vodevil" and "para-noir".

The Austrian-Irish artist Gottfried Helnwein collaborated with Manson on this album. The cover and the artwork inside the album sleeve was created by Helnwein, and this artwork was also shown in his exhibitions.

Also included with some copies was a DVD titled Doppelherz (Double-heart), a short film directed by Manson.

The album follows the evolution of Manson himself ("Thaeter") through to "Obsequey (The Death of Art)", or "art into a product". This album takes on dual layer storylines, first as a punk rock ballad spouting the notion to live life to its fullest in presumption that there is no future. The second storyline takes a parody to the idea that living life to the fullest has led us into a nihilistic stupidity, hence the "rebel to sell" references within 'The Bright Young Things' and the transformation into a commercially acceptable "happy" icon, Mickey Mouse (Manson posed as Mickey Mouse throughout the album's publicity.) In the song Obsequey there is a dialogue in the background. This dialogue can also be heard on the Japan Bonus Track Baboon Rape Party. It was revealed in a 2007 edition of the British rock magazine Kerrang! that this was intended to be Marilyn Manson's departure from music.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Golden Age of Grotesque" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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