Album reviews: Marilyn Manson, Pink Floyd, Fall Out Boy

Posted: February 16, 2015 in Odds and Sods

Making a concerted effort to get my blog back up and running on a more consistent basis (I had gone a full year between posts before last night’s Mets post). I’ll try to play catch-up with some of the recent albums I’ve purchased. So instead of more in-depth single reviews, I’ll try to sum them up in capsule format.

Marilyn Manson: The Pale Emperor

I kind of lost interest in the shock rocker’s career about a decade or so ago. Think the last album I owned by him was 2007’s Eat Me, Drink Me, and I wasn’t too impressed. The last album I really enjoyed from him was 2000’s Holy Wood (In the Valley of the Shadow of Death). But I read some positive advance reviews and sampled a couple tracks, deciding to give it a whirl. I’m glad I did. It’s a concise 10-song effort. Extremely raw (some of the vocal tracks were done in one take, giving the album a live feel at times). Not a bad track here and some great ones (Deep Six, The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles, Worship My Wreck, Cupid Carries a Gun). A welcome return to form. Sod rating: ****

Pink Floyd: The Endless River

Billed as the final album of the mighty Floyd, the album’s genesis came from the sessions of the band’s previous effort, 1994’s The Division Bell. While working on that one, the band recorded hours of unreleased ambient instrumental tracks. At one point, they considered releasing some of that material as The Big Spliff, a kind of companion piece to The Division Bell. That idea was ultimately rejected, and the music sat on the shelf for years. Following the death of keyboard player Richard Wright, remaining band members David Gilmour and Nick Mason revisited the material, hoping to use some of it for a final album, a kind of tribute to Wright. They also recorded some new music for the project, and a new Pink Floyd album was born. The album is mostly instrumental (as The Big Spliff was intended to be) with several keyboard pieces where Wright is showcased. There are spots where the majesty and excitement of the old Floyd shine through (the bouncy Allons-y reminds me of Run Like Hell from The Wall). Gilmour always shines on guitar, and the album has a pleasant flow. Definitely not one for the download generation, it needs to be listened to start to finish. Still, I felt it would have benefitted from a few more fully fleshed-out songs (the album closer Louder than Words is the only song with a lead vocal from Gilmour, only a few of the tracks have any vocals at all). Even 3-4 vocal tracks would have been nice and made it feel more like a Floyd album than a movie soundtrack of some kind. It’s not their best work, but it’s a pleasant listen and a fond farewell. Sod rating: *** 1/2

Fall Out Boy: American Beauty, American Pyscho

Fall Out Boy has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, at least until recently. They never rocked all that hard, and were too poppy to really be considered punk (they made Green Day look like Sex Pistols), but they always had an ear for pop songcraft and created some memorable tunes (and song titles, who else could write a hit song called This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race?). After 2008’s Folie a Deux flopped in comparison to some of their earlier albums (I thought it was a fine effort), they took a five-year hiatus. They returned with 2013’s Save Rock and Roll, which spawned the comeback single My Songs (Know What You Did in the Dark). That was an ok effort, liked the single and a couple other songs, but not much stuck. The new album keeps swinging them into a contemporary pop direction (guess that may be the only way rock bands can be played on the radio these days). And while there are a few catchy tunes (the lead single Centuries and it’s sampling of Suzanne Vega’s Tom’s Diner gets stuck in your head), there’s not a ton of originality here. The song Uma Thurman is built off the riff from the Munsters theme song. The title track samples Motley Crue’s Too Fast for Love. I’ve listened to the album four times, and I’m just not all that fond of it. Not bad, but not memorable. Sod rating: ** 1/2

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