Mechanical Animals (album)
|Studio album by Marilyn Manson|
|Released||September 14, 1998 (Australia) (25 years ago)
September 15, 1998 (France, Germany and the United States)
|Recorded||1997–1998 at the White Room, Westlake Recording Studios in West Hollywood, California and Conway Studios|
|Genre||Glam rock, post-industrial rock, electronic rock, space rock|
|Producer||Michael Beinhorn, Marilyn Manson, Sean Beavan|
|Discogs||View at Discogs|
|Marilyn Manson chronology|
Mechanical Animals is the third full-length studio album by Marilyn Manson. It was released on September 14, 1998, in Australia and on September 15, 1998, in the US, Germany and France through Nothing and Interscope Records and marked the beginning of the band's brief foray into glam rock, a sharp contrast to the harsh and abrasive Industrial rock and metal sound of their earlier and succeeding efforts.
It is a rock opera concept album and the second instalment in a trilogy that includes Antichrist Superstar and Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death). After the release of Holy Wood, Manson revealed that the over-arching story within the trilogy is divulged in reverse chronological order. Holy Wood, therefore, begins the story, followed by Mechanical Animals, and concluding with Antichrist Superstar.
It debuted at № 1 in its first week of sale, making it the first Marilyn Manson album to do so. It spawned four singles ("The Dope Show", "Rock Is Dead", "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" and "Coma White").
- 1 Recording and production
- 2 Concept
- 3 Composition
- 4 Promotion
- 5 Release
- 6 Reception
- 7 Mechanical Animals and Rock Is Dead Tour
- 8 Track listing
- 9 Alternate Vinyl Tracklisting
- 10 Album credits
- 11 Cover gallery
- 12 Charts, certifications and procession
- 13 Trivia
- 14 Credits and personnel
- 15 See also
- 16 References
Recording and production
|“||"If 'Antichrist Superstar' was sort of my comparative fall from grace, Lucifer being kicked from heaven, this next record is about what happens on Earth now, (It's about) sort of trying to fit into a society that thinks it's full of emotions and that you're a callous person, when in fact you're the one that actually has all these feelings and it's the world that's kind of numb to them. It's almost the antithesis of what I just did."||”|
|—Marilyn Manson discussing the then unnamed album's principal motif with MTV News.|
Aborted sessions with the Dust Brothers
Following the conclusion of their year-long Dead to the World tour in September 1997, the band relocated from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Hollywood, California. Work on Mechanical Animals initiated soon after. By early December of that year, their frontman began opening up on the then new and unnamed record's development, sitting down with MTV's "Year In Rock" special (which aired on Friday, December 12 at 7:30 pm). Early on, there were also reports that the new album would be produced by the Los Angeles-based production team, the Dust Brothers. According to MTV News, "[They] have completed work on a few tracks on the next effort from Marilyn Manson..." However, nothing came of this reported collaboration and none of the reported completed tracks have surfaced.
Manson's friend, The Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, also served as an unofficial music consultant to the band during these early development stages. After playing a few of the early songs for Corgan, he advised the band that "This is definitely the right direction, but if you're gonna do this, go all the way with it. Don't just hint at it."
Sessions with Michael Beinhorn and Sean Beavan
The band subsequently employed Michael Beinhorn as principal producer, co-producing the record with Marilyn Manson. Sean Beavan was also brought in to supply additional production work. By May of that year, having just completed his obligations for Hole's then-new album, Celebrity Skin, Beinhorn's camp confirmed that the nascent Manson project was halfway complete and on course for a late summer or early fall release. Manson, for his part, spent the early part of the year on break from the studio to promote his autobiography, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell.
During his February 24, 1998 interview on National Public Radio's Fresh Air radio talk show to promote the book he divulged that, having exhausted the topic of organized religion in the previous album, the upcoming release will see a major shift in thematic focus: "After going through what I just did in the past two years, it's almost like Edward Scissorhands or E.T.—someone who feels like they're in a place where they're not accepted or don't belong [...] It's more from that perspective. It's much more vulnerable music that I'm making on this new album. Both sonically and lyrically it's about the depression of alienation, rather than the aggressiveness of it. It's about the emptiness." Guitarist Zim Zum divulged that in one instance the band recorded a song a day for two weeks straight during a particular spree of creativity.
Final mixing and post-production took place in a studio in Burbank, California. In July 1998, after having contributed guitar work to 12[N 1] of the album's 14 tracks, Zim Zum left the band under amicable terms to pursue his own solo project. He was replaced by the former guitarist of English industrial metal band 2wo, John Lowery (rechristened by the band as John 5).
- for a complete overview of the Trilogy see Triptych.
In the album, Manson takes on two roles, being a substance addicted glam rocker and a gender ambiguous Alien called Omēga (pronounced oh-mee-gah) who, much like David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, falls down to earth, is captured and then turned into a rock star product with a band called The Mechanical Animals. He has become numb to the world, either lost or high in outer space or the Hollywood Hills, through excessive drug use as a coping mechanism with his life as a product of his corporate masters. Manson's other role is that of Alpha who is based on himself and his experiences around this time. Acting as Omēga's foil, Alpha is only just beginning to feel emotion for the first time and trying to learn how to use them properly. He begins to despair about how little emotion most humans feel, observing them to be "mechanical animals". Both are looking to come back into the world - looking among the mechanical animals for the thing they need to make themselves whole. They call it Coma White, unsure if she is real or simply a drug induced hallucination. Subsequently, seven of the fourteen songs are from the perspective, lyrically and musically, of Omēga and his fictional band The Mechanical Animals, while the other seven are by Alpha (Marilyn Manson). The Omēga songs are typically those most nihilistic and superficial lyrically, such as "The Dope Show", "User Friendly" and "New Model No. 15". The album artwork features a dual liner note book, in which one half has lyrics for the Omēga songs, and when flipped over, has those for the Alpha songs.
Marilyn Manson later noted in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that "Mechanical Animals was to represent the point where the revolution got sold out, a hollow shell of what the essence of Marilyn Manson was. It was a satire, and a lot of people interpreted it as 'This is what he really is.' I was making a mockery of what I was, taking a shot at myself."
Manson on the concept of the album
Unlike Marilyn Manson's previous work, Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals is, on an aesthetic level, far less dark. In both image and music, Mechanical Animals is inspired by 1970s style, Bowie-esque glam rock (Manson has often cited David Bowie as his biggest influence). Most songs contain lighter melodies, however, this 'lightness' does not necessarily extend to the lyrics. The music is also far more complicated than most of his work.
The song "Great Big White World" raised concerns, among some groups, of possibly being a racially-motivated reference until Manson himself cleared up the rumors by stating that it was about cocaine.
Unlike its predecessor, Mechanical Animals featured more promotional techniques to raise sales. Five days before the album's release, the band performed "The Dope Show" at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards. The "Ziggy-in-Vegas" performance saw Manson strut into the stage in a blue vinyl coat with a faux-fur collar before stripping down, mid-way into the song, to a blue skin-tight costume with cut-outs that revealed the prosthetic breasts and androgynous genitalia of his Omēga character. The performance also included a trio of "besequined" back-up singers that harmonized with the frontman as he sang along. Rolling Stone remarked that "[i]ncontrovertibly, Marilyn Manson stole the show." Several adverts were also used to promote the album, including,
Television Promotional Commercial
Mechanical Animals Billboard featured in Times Square In New York City (courtesy of The Nachtkabarett).
At a time before the ubiquity of peer-to-peer file sharing, the first singles from both Beinhorn-produced albums were leaked three weeks before their intended release dates and played "nearly a dozen times" on New York radio station WXRK (92.3 FM) and its Los Angeles-based sister station, KROQ (106.7 FM), on the weekend of July 31 to August 2, 1998. Interscope neither confirmed nor denied that the leak originated from them but joined Hole's label, DGC Records, in issuing a cease and desist order to WXRK on August 3.
In spite of this the Manson single, "The Dope Show", was subsequently recorded and converted by a fan into a near CD-quality MP3 and made available on an unofficial fan site for download soon after. The following weekend, San Francisco radio station Live 105 (105.3 FM) played both singles again.
Arguably, this album's most successful song is "The Dope Show", which fared extremely well on both video and single charts in the United States and abroad. It continues to reign as the band's most commercially successful song. The music video debuted the band's controversial new, androgynous glam rock sound and image to the world. It is inspired by Alejandro Jodorowsky's controversial art film The Holy Mountain as well as the David Bowie film, The Man Who Fell to Earth. Again, Bowie's influence has been enormous on this album, with both influences noted publicly by Manson himself.
Cover and packaging
|“||"The shock of the image was increased because it looked like a real photograph.."||”|
|The Greatest Album Covers of All Time|
The controversial album cover, believed to rank among the greatest cover art ever, has won critical acclaim and numerous awards. The infamous photo depicts Manson as an androgynous naked figure with breasts, six fingers and airbrushed genitalia. It is the brainchild of New York City-based longtime Manson photographer Joseph Cultice. Designer Paul Brown has said of the cover, "I'm extremely proud of it. I said more in one of his covers than any novel could. It made people think and cringe." The Greatest Album Covers of All Time explains that "The shock of the image was increased because it looked like a real photograph," which Manson claimed to represent "sexlessness and vulnerability," in addition to his own "affection for prosthetic limbs." In 2003 VH1 declared that Mechanical Animals had the twenty-ninth greatest album cover of all time, It is also featured in Grant Scott's book "The Greatest Album Covers of All Time."
The prosthetic breasts Manson adorned for the cover shot were manufactured specially by George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic. Interestingly, Manson has stated in interviews that Johnny Depp is the current owner of these prosthetic breasts, while Manson himself owns Depp's strawberry-blonde wig worn in the film Blow. Manson is in reality, naked, and covered head to toe in latex paint, provided by the same movie make-up company. His genitalia are covered by a thin cup of plastic to create the androgynous appearance of the newborn character he calls Alpha. The hips were photoshopped onto the picture, and were taken from a photograph of Elle McPherson, although others claim they are Heidi Klum's.
The album also features an alternate, less graphic cover which is contained on the reverse side of the album liner notes. It is coincidentally, the cover for an album of the same name by Omēga and the Mechanical Animals, a fictitious band comprised of characters played by the members of Marilyn Manson. The photo featured on this alternate cover art is a prime example of dissimulation, or the psycho-artistic method of distributing knowledge or ideas in plain view, but in a way that only certain members of the mass public can comprehend, often with multiple meanings present; one meaning for the select few who understand, and another meaning for the masses. An example from this image is the haunting, still unsolved symbolism of the numeral 15; Manson quite cunningly hides the figure 5 in plain view, including the five syringes edited into the background behind him, the number of fingers he holds up, the number of visible buttons on his suit, et cetera. The cover art text is also an anagram which, when rearranged, reads 'Marilyn Manson Is An Alchemical Man'.
Joseph Cultice stated in an interview that the original Omēga had nipples on their breasts, but due to record company's demand they were removed.
When released on vinyl, the record was split into two separately sleeved albums on opaque white and transparent blue colored vinyl; the first credited to Marilyn Manson, and the latter to Omēga and the Mechanical Animals. The Manson album dealt with songs of love and alienation, while the Mechanical Animals disc contained anthems of sex and drug use.
In the liner notes of both the CD and vinyl pressings of the album, a graphic is used to illustrate how to read numerous messages hidden throughout the packaging. This instructional graphic differs between both versions of the album: the liner notes of the CD display a blue jewel case overlapping green text, while the liner notes of the vinyl display a blue circle (used to represent the disc itself) overlapping green text. When viewed through the original blue CD packaging or the transparent blue LP, one can read hidden messages in yellow text in the booklet, which becomes green (such as "www.comawhite.com," "I no longer knew if Coma White was real or just a side effect," and "now children it's time for recess, please roll up your sleeves"). Regarding the many other purported hidden meanings contained in this epic album (and there are many, many hidden things, supposedly), is the influence and presence of the number 15. One blatant example is the band's new logo on the controversial album cover, it reads "MAR1LYN MAN5ON" with a figure 1 for the 'i' in Marilyn and a figure 5 for the letter 's' in Manson, the Omēga-head logo contains 15 squares on the forehead, another obvious instance being the track "New Model No. 15", and "User Friendly", in the pre-verse of which, Manson harmonizes with exactly fifteen "doo's" each time it is sung. Other notes of interest on the number 15 include the fact that Marilyn Manson's birthday is January 5 (1/5), 15 tracks appear on the album, The Devil's tarot card is XV (15), and the album's release date was September 15 (or 9/15, which is 9+1+5=15). Also, throughout the CD booklet, there are simple multiplication facts accompanied with letters. 3x5=15 and "ma," which are the initials for "Mechanical Animals". There is a 15th track that plays when you insert the CD into a computer. Two scales of measurement often used in TBI diagnosis to determine a patient's level of consciousness. They are the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and the Ranchos Los Amigos Scale (RLAS). The GCS is a simple 15-point scale used by medical professionals to assess severity of neurologic trauma, and establish a prognosis.
A limited tour edition of Mechanical Animals was released in the UK (including other locations like Australia and even Mexico, where only 100 copies of this edition arrived) with an illustrated hardcover sleeve by Marcus Wild. Though limited edition, the album is easily attainable in certain regions. The packaging is identical to the original version except for the bonus eighteen page comic book by Wild, illustrating scenes from "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" music video.
Mechanical Animals features a hidden, fifteenth track, playable only on a computer; it is untitled and experimental, further playing on the album's theme of the character Omēga and conformity. Upon entering the album into a computer, an autorun file starts a program that displays two of Manson's paintings while the song plays in the background.
When viewed through the original CD's transparent jewel case or the transparent blue LP, one can read hidden messages in yellow text in the liner notes, which becomes green. The following is a list of all instances of hidden text in the booklet of the CD version:
- On the page with the lyrics to "The Speed of Pain", a blue message written in broken lines reads 'SPEED OF PAIN' in yellow, the 'SP' is replaced with an 'FR'. The new message reads 'FREED OF PAIN'
- On the same page of the color equation the yellow text embedded between the big "a pill to make you numb" (above the lyrics to "Coma White") says upside-down in yellow: www.comawhite.com, which is an early promotional site for the album.
- On the same page as the lyrics to "User Friendly", right under them is a diagram of washing your face in airplane facilities. Behind it, in yellow and again reversed, says "I NO LONGER KNEW IF COMAWHITE WAS REAL OR JUST A SIDE EFFECT".
- On the page with the lyrics to "Fundamentally Loathsome" and "I Want to Disappear", at the top, in yellow is the Omēga logo, the words "A SUN WITH NO PLANETS burning in circles". Also on the same page is "NOW CHILDREN IT'S TIME FOR RECESS, ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES".
- On the following page to the previous one above, the page with the album credits, is found the lyrics to the hidden track "Untitled" that plays when the CD is inserted in a computer and the autorun program loads: IN THE END I BECAME AND I LED THEM / AFTER ALL NONE OF US REALLY QUALIFIED AS HUMANS / WE WERE HARDWORN AUTOMATIC AND AS HOLLOW AS THE "O" IN GOD / I REATTACHED MY EMOTIONS CELLULAR AND NARCOTIC / FROM THE TOP OF HOLLYWOOD IT LOOKED LIKE SPACE / MILLIONS OF CAPSULES AND MECHANICAL ANIMALS / A CITY FILLED WITH DEAD STARS AND A GIRL I CALLED COMAWHITE / THIS IS MY OMĒGA.
- On the cover of the "OMĒGA & The Mechanical Animals", a prelude to Manson's fourth album is shown when turned upside down. The phrase ADAM5 appears right above mansons arm. Adam may be a biblical reference to the first man, or 1, creating yet another "15" in the mysterious series. As of now there is no deciphered meaning behind this.
- And finally, on the page with the lyrics to "The Dope Show", in yellow text says, EVEN MACHINES CAN SEE THAT WE ARE DEAD.
As early as August 14, 1998, a month before the release, the three largest retailers in the United States—K-Mart, Wal-Mart and the Target Corporation—refused to stock the album citing the obscene cover and the expectation that it will carry a Parental Advisory sticker for violating their policy of not selling material with explicit lyrics or content. In an attempt to appease some of the retailers Nothing and Interscope discussed plans to cover the "breasts" with a sticker and enclose the entire package in blue cellophane—similar to the brown paper bag tactic employed exactly 30 years before by distributors on the explicitly nude cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins. Wal-Mart still refused to sell the album, and consequently pulled all previous albums by Manson in light of the Columbine tragedy on April 20, 1999 (after the release of Mechanical Animals, and after the cover controversy). To this day, Wal-Mart's corporate website states that Manson's work, among the work of other artists, will not be sold in their stores, but 2003 saw the mass sale of Manson's fifth LP, The Golden Age of Grotesque in nearly all Wal-Marts; representatives claimed they chose to sell the album because it was "commercially viable" and was "on the Top Ten charts."
|Entertainment Weekly||(A-) link|
|Los Angeles Times||link|
The album received general acclaim. Analyzing the album's intentions, Barry Walters of The Village Voice commented, "Mechanical Animals celebrates sexy celebrity in a typically Mansonian bacchanalia of contradictions. He's said all along that dirty media dominance is the cleanest and closest thing to divinity in a world that crucified the god in itself and replaced it with blind faith. Now he understands first-hand that stardom sucks, yet while he lifts a platform boot against its phony fat ass he still can't help reveling in the excess. Antichrist Superstar critiqued fame in order to make him famous. Having been there/done that, Manson wants more because more is the American way he's hell-bent on subverting—even as he's soaking in it." Of the record's musical direction Walters noted "Flexing far more range than rage, Manson's feminization shifts his vocal power center from a diseased gut to a broken heart. You'd think the puppet couldn't dance without Daddy NIN pulling the strings, yet Mechanical Animals is melodic, catchy, even soulful in a flagrantly soulless way...Guitars roar and whine, bass booms, drums race, and synths twitter with a tweeness that's gonna turn Durannie grannie Nick Rhodes's gray roots green." USAToday commented "Manson and producer Michael Beinhorn have rediscovered the adrenalin in '70s glam-rock, sprinkling Gary Glitter and Ziggy Stardust over Gothic theatrics." Jon Wiederhorn of Amazon.com commented "Mechanical Animals is a brash, decadent, and glittery display of self-indulgent hooks and melodramatic vocals that sounds like Aladdin Sane-era David Bowie and T. Rex at their most boisterous crossed with the more modern sounds of today's industrial nation." Ann Powers of Rolling Stone commented "Mechanical Animals gets its cavelike spaciousness from [goth] influences and tweaks them with an industrial crunch [...] He and his band approach its terrain the way a 1960s rocker like Eric Clapton approaches the blues, with respect and a sense of entitlement." Annalee Newitz of Salon commented "With "Mechanical Animals" Manson is softening up, turning away from his dour preoccupation with religious fascism and toward space-age genderfuck chic. The creamy synth sound and drugged-out lyrics that dominate Manson's latest CD prove that two antithetical '80s musical genres—heavy metal and new wave—can indeed be fruitfully combined [...] "Mechanical Animals" is a far better album than the recent "Antichrist Superstar," taking Manson in new directions without turning the volume down on his magnetic weirdness."  David Browne of Entertainment Weekly commented "Looking back in mascara'd anger, Manson and [producer Michael] Beinhorn have fashioned music steeped in glam rock and concept-album bombast but updated with a crunching intensity [...] He layers the songs with cooing backup singers, electronica burbles, skulking guitars, and synths at their most decadently new wavy. The effect is often spectacular." Lorraine Ali of Los Angeles Times commented "songs swagger with lipstick-wearing attitude, have fun with sleazy subject matter and actually convey some (gasp) human emotion [...] This album is the first time we actually experience Manson as a band, not a phenomenon filtered through Reznor's mixing board wizardry or a freak show accompanied by a soundtrack. An album that's powerful from start to finish is far more surprising than any controversial Manson high jinks [...] this record ensures his further infiltration of teenage America and earns him a new spot in the annals of great, big, pompous pop albums." According to New Musical Express "[...] Mechanical Animals, MM album number four, marks a total shift in Manson's assault. Where the Antichrist Superstar game plan was about gaining notoriety through outrage, rather than winning souls over on musical grounds, Mechanical Animals aims straight for the singalong heart of stadium-land. And rips it out, and holds it aloft in triumph [...] Of the 14 tracks here, ten could be singles. On this evidence alone, 'Mechanical Animals' is an unashamedly crass bid for total world domination [...] they already have the goth kids. Now, their sights have turned on everyone else."
Not everyone gave the album a glowing review. Music critic Robert Christgau commented "If only the absurd aura of artistic respectability surrounding this arrant self-promoter would teach us that not every icon deserves a think piece, that it's no big deal to have a higher IQ than Ozzy Osbourne, that the Road of Excess leads to the Palace Theater [...] Its strategy is to camouflage the feebleness of La Manson's vocal affect by pretending it's deliberate—one more depersonalizing production device with which to flatten willing cerebella whilst confronting humankind's alienation, amorality, and failure to have a good time on Saturday night." Spin magazine commented "Manson may appeal to mopey eighth graders, but he's essentially mining the same agitprop territory and "premillenial" confusion that hipster, highbrow heroes such as Alec Empire and Tricky take for granted. Manson shares with Empire a preference for destroying the master's house with the master's tools. Like Tricky, Manson uses gender confusion as a coping mechanism, less identity politics than identity evasion."  Joshua Klein of The A.V. Club commented "Really, who is supposed to buy this sudden transformation from self-proclaimed "Antichrist Superstar" into Ziggy Stardust? Surely not his fans [...] Surprisingly, those most likely to appreciate Manson's change in spirit may be honest-to-goodness rock 'n' roll fans. Mechanical Animals is first and foremost more musical than anything Manson has done [...] His music packs both industrial muscle and anthemic conviction, even as it playfully steals from the Bowie songbook. What it lacks, sadly, is any sense of wit, as songs doggedly hammer at safe taboos like drugs, sex, drugs, stardom, drugs, and death. And drugs [...] But even Manson must realize that with this release, people actually have a reason to line up in the first place." Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic commented "With pal Billy Corgan as an unofficial consultant and Soundgarden producer Michael Beinhorn manning the boards, Manson turns Mechanical Animals into a big, clean rock record [...] It can make for a welcome change of pace, since his glammed-up goth is more tuneful than his clattering industrial cacophony, but it lacks the cartoonish menace that distinguished his prior music. And without that, Marilyn Manson seems a little ordinary [...] Manson should have remembered—demons are never that scary in the light." Despite this, Greg Burk of LA Weekly would go on to call "Mechanical Animals one of the greatest albums of its decade."
In the United States, Mechanical Animals debuted with a Soundscan-confirmed first week sales of 223,000 units. Propelled by both the first single's heavy rotation on the radio and on MTV as well as the band's attention-grabbing main show performance at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, the record briefly displaced The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill for the № 1 position on the Billboard 200. By the second week, sales had dropped to 98,200 units and the album slid to the № 5 spot.
Although critically acclaimed, Mechanical Animals was initially not too well received by long time fans who complained about the willfully radio-friendly sound of the album and surmised that Marilyn Manson had "sold out".  The album was the lowest-selling № 1 album of 1998. Regardless, the album would go on to achieve platinum certification.
Despite its later success, the album was marred by controversy. It was virtually blacklisted when Manson became the main scapegoat for the Columbine high school shootings of 1999, (despite the lack of evidence that the shooters were fans of the band or even that music causes violence) with unit sales halting very close behind the figure for its predecessor, Antichrist Superstar.
According to Acclaimedmusic.net Mechanical Animals is the 44th best album of 1998, the 426th greatest record released during the 1990s and the 2209th greatest of all-time. SPIN Magazine ranked Mechanical Animals the 7th Best Album in their 1998 End Of Year List. Online music magazine Addicted to Noise ranked Mechanical Animals 25th in their 1998 list of Albums of the Year.  The Village Voice ranked Mechanical Animals 40th in their 1998 list of Albums of the Year.  Kerrang! ranks Mechanical Animals 2nd in their 1998 list of Albums of the Year. Q Magazine listed Mechanical Animals among their picks for their 1998 Recordings Of The Year. Dutch magazine Muziekkrant OOR ranked Mechanical Animals 18th in their 1998 Albums of the Year list. The record ranked 2nd in the Critics Top 50 and 10th in the Popular Poll of German magazine Musik Express/Sounds in their 1998 Albums of the Year. In 1999, American music journalist Ned Raggett listed Mechanical Animals 78th in his The Top 136 Albums of the Nineties.  Also in 1999, Australian magazine JUICE ranked Mechanical Animals 84th in their 100 Greatest Albums of the '90s.  In 2006, sister British magazines Classic Rock & Metal Hammer included Mechanical Animals in The 200 Greatest Albums of the 90s.  Also in 2006, Dutch public radio broadcaster VPRO included Mechanical Animals in their 299 Nominations of the Best Album of All Time. The French edition of the British magazine Rock Sound ranked Mechanical Animals 56th in their Top 150 Albums of Our Lifetime (1992-2006) and 2nd in their 1998 Albums of the Year.
Mechanical Animals and Rock Is Dead Tour
Following the release of Mechanical Animals, Marilyn Manson staged two worldwide stadium tours, titled the Mechanical Animals Tour and the Rock Is Dead Tour.
A concert film was recorded depicting both tours, titled God Is in the T.V.. It was released on November 2, 1999 in VHS format by Interscope Records and features live concert footage of 13 songs culled from various concerts across the world as well as backstage and behind-the-scenes clips.
Mechanical Animals Tour
After declining a headlining slot at the failing Lollapalooza summer music festival (along with numerous other bands) in early 1998 due to delays in Mechanical Animals' release, the band launched the first of their own headlining tours in support of the album. It was originally intended to start on June 25, 1998, with a series of 6 festival dates in Europe lasting until July 12, 1998. However the planned summer European leg was scrapped and the tour's launch date was rescheduled to October 25, 1998 after drummer Ginger Fish became ill with mononucleosis.
Beginning on October 25, 1998 and lasting until January 31, 1999, the Mechanical Animals Tour included two legs spanning a Fall to Winter World Tour in Europe, Japan, and North America and a 6 show headlining stint at the Big Day Out tour in Australia. In total, the band completed 46 shows out of the 52 originally planned.
Beautiful Monsters/Rock Is Dead Tour
Beginning on February 28, 1999 and lasting until August 8, 1999, the tour included three legs spanning Europe, Japan and North America with a total of 9 completed shows for the Beautiful Monsters Tour and 43 completed shows (out of 46 planned) for the Rock Is Dead Tour.
The tour is particularly notable for a number of incidences that plagued its progress. Following the conclusion of the Mechanical Animals Tour in January of 1999, the band was once again offered a headlining slot by the organizers of the Lollapalooza festival for the 1999 summer season (as part of an attempt to resurrect the by-then-defunct festival) which they declined. Instead, the band struck a deal with Hole to co-headline the latter's Beautiful Monsters Tour. Immediately, the joint venture began experiencing problems due to dispute between both group's leaders. After only 9 shows (spanning a total of two weeks) the tour imploded, resulting in Hole's departure on March 14, 1999 and the tour being renamed Rock Is Dead. Monster Magnet, who were already opening for Manson, assumed Hole's place on the tour's playbill. A minor controversy erupted surrounding the tour's revised nomenclature as Korn and Rob Zombie were already in the middle of another tour with the same name.
The first two performances of the Rock Is Dead Tour were canceled after Manson suffered a hairline fracture on one of his ankles during the final show with Hole at The Forum in Los Angeles. The tour was resumed on March 17, 1999. The tour, however, would stagger yet again following the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999. In the ensuing aftermath, the band was pointed out as a cause of the tragedy in Littleton, prompting the group to cancel the remaining North American engagements out of respect for the victims, explaining, "It's not a great atmosphere to be out playing rock 'n' roll shows, for us or the fans."
- "Great Big White World" – 5:01
- "The Dope Show" – 3:46
- "Mechanical Animals" – 4:33
- "Rock Is Dead" – 3:09
- "Disassociative" – 4:50
- "The 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" (Multimedia track) – 1:21
- "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" (A George Hamilton IV cover) – 2:18
- "Coma White" (Acoustic Version) – 5:33
- "Get My Rocks Off" (A Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show cover) – 3:05
Alternate Vinyl Tracklisting
Alternatively, Mechanical Animals is considered to be a dual album containing seven songs from the perspective of Alpha, and seven by his alter-ego Omēga. This was reflected in the album's initial vinyl release in 1998, where the first LP, pressed on white wax, presented the Alpha songs, and the second, translucent blue LP presented the Omēga songs. The hidden track, Untitled, is not included on non-CD releases (except 2007 Ukrainian CD re-release which does not contain the multimedia part), nor recognized on either side of the album. However, the song itself provides the storyline that appears throughout both Alpha & Omēga's album. Interestingly, the 2001 vinyl reissue on Simply Vinyl was pressed on 180 gram black vinyl in its regular CD tracklisting, while the 2012 Universal Music UK 'Back to Black' reissue retains the original, alternate tracklist below (pressed on regular black vinyl).
ALL TRACKS: dinger & ollie music, administered by dinger & ollie music, BMI ©1998 all rights reserved / MANSON: all tracks, songs of golgotha music / RAMIREZ: all tracks except 12, blood heavy music / GACY: all tracks except 2,3,8,9 & 10, DCLXVI music / ZIM ZUM: only tracks 1,3,5,6,9,11,12 & 14, violent delight music
DISASSOCIATIVE (lyrics:manson/music:ramirez,gacy,zum) vocals: manson, rhythm guitars and bass: ramirez, lead guitar: zum, keyboards: gacy, live and electric drums: fish / THE SPEED OF PAIN (lyrics:manson/music:ramirez,gacy,zum) vocals and vocoder: manson, background vocals: john west, lynn davis, nikki harris, alexandra brown, acoustic guitar and bass: ramirez, keyboards,shaker and mellotron: gacy, arp synthesizer: manson, beinhorn, lead and synth guitar: zum, drums: fish / MECHANICAL ANIMALS (lyrics:manson/music:ramirez, zum) vocals: manson, bass, acoustic and rhythm guitars: ramirez, ryhthm and lead guitar: zum, piano and other keyboards: gacy, drums: fish / ROCK IS DEAD (lyrics:manson/music:ramirez,gacy) vocals: manson, all guitars and bass: ramirez, keyboards: gacy, drums: fish / FUNDAMENTALLY LOATHSOME (lyrics: manson/music:gacy, zum) vocals: manson, bass: ramirez, piano and other keyboards: gacy, lead and rhythm guitar: zum, drums: fish / THE DOPE SHOW (lyrics:manson/music:ramirez) lead and background vocals: manson, bass, rhythm and lead guitars: ramirez, piano: gacy, syncussion and electric drums: manson / I WANT TO DISAPPEAR (lyrics:manson/music:ramirez) vocals: manson, all guitars and bass: ramirez, drums: fish,samples: gacy / POSTHUMAN (lyrics:manson/music:ramirez,gacy) vocals: manson, rose mcgowan, bass and rythm guitar: ramirez, electric percussion and keyboards: gacy, drums: fish, additional lead guitar: zum / NEW MODEL NO.15 (lyrics:manson/music:ramirez,manson) vocals: manson, background vocals: kobi tai, dyanna lauren, guitars, bass and bass synth: ramirez, keyboards: gacy, drums: fish, pitifully predictable guitar solo: zum / USER FRIENDLY (lyrics:manson/music ramirez, gacy, zum) vocals: manson, pornography: dyanna lauren, guitars, bass, bass synth and noise: ramirez, piano and keyboards: gacy, scratching:dj neil strauss, drums: fish / GREAT BIG WHITE WORLD (lyrics:manson/music: ramirez, gacy, zum) vocals: manson, acoustic, rhythm guitar and bass: ramirez, keyboards: gacy, drums: fish, lead guitar: zum / COMA WHITE (lyrics:manson/music:ramirez,gacy,zum) vocals and piano: manson,lead and rhythm guitars and bass: ramirez, keyboards and mellotron: gacy, acoustic and leadguitar: zum / I DON'T LIKE THE DRUGS (BUT THE DRUGS LIKE ME) (lyrics:manson/music:ramirez, zum) vocals: manson, background vocals: john west, lynn davis, nikki harris, alexandra brown, rhythm guitars and bass: ramirez, clavinet, strings and programming: danny saber, keyboards: gacy, outro guitar solo: dave navarro (spread entertainment, inc.), additional lead guitar: zum, drums: fish / THE LAST DAY ON EARTH (lyrics: manson/music:manson, gacy, ramirez) vocals and vocoder: manson, bass synth and all keyboards: gacy, lead and acoustic guitar: ramirez, lead guitar: manson, drums: fish / management: tony ciulla / nothing: john a. malm, jr. / special thanks to: danny saber, billy corgan, dust bros., jeff anderson, tom whalley, john ciulla, alex kochan, jay sendyk, david codikow, zepp, aaron and everyone / engineered by barry doldberg and sean beavan / programming & digital engineering by sean beavan / recorded at the white room, westlake and conway studios / westlake: michael parnin, charity lomax / conway: rob brill, wes seidman / record plant: jan fairchild, gordon fordyle / mastering: ted jensen, sterling sound / make-up: devra kinery, angela garcia / hair: alex dizon, jay / gold suit: jason farrer / reconstructive plastic surgry: dr. sm george / portrait photography: joseph f. cultice - one @ 212.925.1111 / john5 & coma white photography: marilyn manson / object photography & digital illustration: email@example.com / art direction & design: firstname.lastname@example.org [bau-da design lab, nyc]
Produced by Michael Beinhorn and Marilyn Manson
Additional production by Sean Beavan
Mixed by Tom Lord-Alge
Marilyn Manson Is:
Marilyn Manson: vocals
Twiggy Ramirez: all guitars & bass
M.W. Gacy: keyboards & synthesizer
Ginger Fish: drums
John5: live guitarist for mechanical animals
AOL Keyboard: marilynmanson
© 1998 Nothing/Interscope Records. All rights reserved.
Charts, certifications and procession
|Charts (1998)||Peak position|
|Belgium (Flanders) (Ultratop 50)||22|
|Belgium (Wallonia) (Ultratop)||45|
|Finland (Mitä Hitti)||6|
|Germany (Media Control)||7|
|New Zealand (RIANZ)||3|
|United Kingdom (OCC)||8|
|United States (Billboard 200)||1|
|1998||"The Dope Show"||Australia (ARIA)||20|
|Mainstream Rock Tracks||12|
|Modern Rock Tracks||15|
|New Zealand (RIANZ)||28|
|United Kingdom (OCC)||12|
|"I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)"||Australia (ARIA)||45|
|New Zealand (RIANZ)||35|
|1999||Mainstream Rock Tracks||25|
|Modern Rock Tracks||36|
|"Rock Is Dead"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||28|
|Modern Rock Tracks||30|
|United Kingdom (OCC)||23|
- Manson later traded the prosthetic breasts he wore in promotional photographs for the album with Johnny Depp, for the wig Depp wore in Blow.
- The idea of Omega having breasts came from Manson poking fun of at rumors that he had undergone breast implant surgery.
- The album's working title was "Great Big White World".
- To promote the album in Italy, a promotional CD-ROM called Mechanical Manson was released to the country in 1999.
- The entire album was written in Manson's old Laurel Canyon residence. The house is famous for actor, Mary Astor, using the home for secret romantic rendezvous with her colleagues.
Credits and personnel
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