The Beautiful People (song)

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This article is about the song. For the single, see The Beautiful People (single).
"The Beautiful People"
The Beautiful People cover
Song by Marilyn Manson
Album Antichrist Superstar
Released September 8, 1996
Recorded 1996 at Nothing Studios in New Orleans, Louisiana
Genre Alternative rock, Industrial metal
Length 3:38
Label Nothing, Interscope
Writer Marilyn Manson
Composer Twiggy Ramirez
Producer Trent Reznor, Dave Ogilvie, Marilyn Manson
Media

"The Beautiful People" is the first single and the second track of the second album Antichrist Superstar. Its lyrics discuss two major themes: what Manson refers to as "the culture of beauty", and that culture's connection to Friedrich Nietzsche's theory of master-slave morality — the song's "weak ones", who are "always wrong", are oppressed by and exist solely to "justify the strong"; the kratocratic beautiful people whose power is "relative to the size of [the] steeple". It remains known as one of Marilyn Manson's most famous and most successful original songs.

Contents

[edit] Appearances

[edit] Albums

[edit] Singles

[edit] Versions

[edit] Demo Version

 


[edit] Background information

"The Beautiful People" was written in 1994 by Marilyn Manson (lyrics) and Twiggy Ramirez (music). The original four-track demo version was recorded in a hotel room while on tour, by Manson, Ramirez, and drummer Ginger Fish.

THE BACKGROUND
"I write phrases constantly and I have about 15 different notebooks going at the same time. I'll write lots of different things in each book. I have to lay them all out in the same place and pull things from each of them to write a song. I was on tour and I remember recording it on my four-track with Twiggy and my drummer Ginger in a hotel room. It was somewhere in the South, which is ironic. I remember playing the drum beat on the floor and then having my drummer duplicate that on the drum machine. It happened in one day pretty much. It happened maybe two-and-a-half years before 'Antichrist Superstar' was released, and if I played you that four-track recording, it would sound identical.

THE INSPIRATION
"The term 'The Beautiful People' was inspired by a book that came out in the mid-'60s. It was about the Kennedys, politics and fashion at the time. The whole culture of beauty as being created at the time. We live in a world where the culture of beauty is taken for granted, but it didn't exist in the same way in the '60s. Then Charles Manson and his 'family' took that culture, hated it and reacted against it. In many ways his reaction is the same as mine, but I'm playing with it from both sides. I make things glamorous as a revolt to glamour."

THE LEGACY
"I wasn't thinking about it in terms like, 'Is this a classic?'. But I knew we'd arrived at our defining sound when we wrote it. Even now, when I go back and listen to it, it sounds big. I hear things in it that I didn't hear before. I'm still very happy and proud of it. I don't get sick of playing it live and I don't think I will get tired of it."


The title of the song comes from Marilyn Bender's 1967 book The Beautiful People, which exposed the world of scandal within the "jet-set" lifestyle of the 1960s, and the culture of beauty as it pertained to fashion and politics. The phrase itself was popularized by Vogue magazine in the early 1960s and was often used to describe the Kennedy family, a frequent source of inspiration in Marilyn Manson's work.

[edit] Themes

After a few seconds of backwards-guitar feedback and electronic noise, the track begins with a heavily-distorted spoken sample of Tex Watson declaring "[We would] swoop down on the town...[and] kill everyone that wasn't beautiful". (An undistorted version of this sample was also used in the Spooky Kids track "Dune Buggy").

The song is written in drop D tuning and is built primarily out of the notes of a diminished triad, each made into a power chord. It also incorporates extensive guitar distortion, and the use of palm muting creates a highly rhythmic, driving style which is amplified by a heavy percussion track. The song's characteristic element is its repetitive drum track, a five-beat common time pattern played on floor toms, in which swung notes create a jazzy, triplet feel.

Hard rock producer Sean Beavan, a musician with a close connection to jazz guitar, also appears on the track. Credited with "descending horn guitar", Beavan can be heard playing a repeated descending figure using a guitar effect which produces a brass instrument-like tone.

Lyrically, "The Beautiful People" is intertwined with the Antichrist Superstar album's overarching theme, a semi-narrative examination of the Nietzschean Übermensch. Within this context, the song deals explicitly with the destructive manifestation of the Will to Power: "There's no time to discriminate", sings Manson, "hate every motherfucker that's in your way". A strong anti-capitalism sentiment stems from exploration of Nietzsche's view of master-slave morality ("It's not your fault that you're always wrong / The weak ones are there to justify the strong"), along with its connection to Social Darwinism.

[edit] Music video

Manson in his "grotesquely tall" form with the crowd.

Directed by Floria Sigismondi, this music video has been described as "the creepiest of creepy videos". Filmed in the abandoned Goodenham and Worts distillery in Toronto, Canada, the clip depicts the band performing the song in a classroom-like setting adorned with medical prostheses and laboratory equipment. Intercut with performance footage are scenes of Manson on stilts, wearing a long gown-like costume, aviator goggles, and prosthetic makeup, making him appear bald and grotesquely tall. After being placed in this costume by similarly-attired attendants, he appears at a window to a cheering crowd in a scene reminiscent of a fascist rally, and later stands in the center of a circle while people march around him performing the Hitler salute. Other fast-cut scenes include extreme closeups of crawling earthworms; mannequin heads and hands; the boots of people marching; shots of the individual band members in bizarre costumes; and Manson in back and neck braces and a dental device that retracts the flesh of his mouth with hooks, exposing metallic teeth.

The video premiered on MTV on September 22, 1996 and was nominated for three 1997 Video Music Awards (Best Rock Video, Best Special Effects, Best Art Direction) although it did not win any of these awards.

The video is available on the Lest We Forget – The Best Of bonus DVD, as well as on the VHS compilation God Is in the T.V..

[edit] Behind the scenes

[edit] Lyrics

  I don't want you and I don't need you
  don't bother to resist, I'll beat you
  It's not your fault that you're always wrong
  the weak ones are there to justify the strong
  the beautiful people, the beautiful people,
  It's all relative to the size of your steeple
  you can't see the forest for the trees,
  and you can't smell
  your own shit on your knees 
  hey you, what do you see?
  something beautiful, something free?
  hey you, are you trying to be mean?
  if you live with apes, man, it's hard to be clean
  there's no time to discriminate,
  hate every motherfucker
  that's in your way
  the worms will live in every host
  it's hard to pick which one they eat most
  the horrible people, the horrible people
  it's as anatomic as the size of your steeple
  capitalism has made it this way,
  old-fashioned fascism
  will take it away
  hey you, what do you see?
  something beautiful, something free?
  hey you, are you trying to be mean?
  if you live with apes, man, it's hard to be clean
  there's no time to discriminate,
  hate every motherfucker
  that's in your way

[edit] Trivia

  • In censored edits of the song, the line "hate every motherfucker that's in your way" is changed to "hate every other hater that's in your way" and the word "shit" is eliminated
  • The single peaked at number 26 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and remains one of Marilyn Manson's most famous and successful original songs. In a 2004 review, Richard Banks of the BBC declared the track "still the most impressive" in the band's catalogue, and it was ranked in 2006 at number 28 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs.
  • "The Beautiful People" is featured in the video game Brütal Legend.
  • The clean version of "The Beautiful People" is available as downloadable content for Guitar Hero 5.
  • When played backwards, the line "the beautiful people" sounds a lot like the phrase "I'm evil, believe it".
  • "The Beautiful People" is the most well known Marilyn Manson track, alongside "The Dope Show".
  • Played forwards or backwards, the main guitar riff is the same.
  • The song was announced to be included in Rock Band 3 at Comic-Con in July of 2010.
  • The song was used as WWE SmackDown's official theme from 2001 - 2003.
  • The song was featured in the next to last episode ("Vegas") of the sci-fi series Stargate Atlantis.
  • The song has been performed live on every tour since the Dead to the World Tour in 1996/1997
  • Part of the inspiration for the title was the song "Baby You're a Rich Man" by the Beatles, a song composed by John Lennon. In the live version from "The Last Tour on Earth" Manson sings a verse "How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?"
  • The main drum loop and the guitar riff of "The Beautiful People" are used in Christina Aguilera's song of the same name that appears in the recently released Burlesque soundtrack.
  • Included in the promo version of Bowie's 1997 album "Earthling" is an extra press kit booklet that documents Bowie's random thoughts and ideas during the period, and on the brief chapter discussing the "Little Wonder" music video, Bowie mentioned he was so impressed with Manson's video, that he instantly seeked Floria Sigismoni to work with him.
  • The song was recently used in a television ad for company Footlocker, featuring Eastbound and Down character Kenny Powers. After his golf cart is tipped over, it cuts to the company logo, with "The Beautiful People" playing in the background.
    • Johnny Depp joined Manson onstage to perform this song on guitar during the April 11th, 2012 performance at Revolver's Golden God Awards. In which, Manson changed the lyrics on the final verse to "How does it feel to be one of... Us?" while singing to Johnny Depp.
  • Famous German industrial band; Rammstein joined Manson in Berlin for a performance of "The Beautiful People".

[edit] See also