Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Marilyn Manson, "The Love Song"

I've written about gun sense songs here before (including Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Saturday Night Special" and Nine Inch Nails' "Big Man with a Gun"), but I'm revisiting the topic today for National for National Gun Violence Awareness Day, the birthday of Hadiya Pendleton. You can learn more about her story, and why many people are wearing orange today, in this video here, put together by Everytown for Gun Safety (full disclosure: I'm in the video).

"The Love Song" is Marilyn Manson's second anti-gun violence song, after the more blunt, albeit more ham-fisted, "Get Your Gunn". He liked it enough to put it on one of his best records, Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), and to name his corresponding tour Guns, God and Government after the song's lyrics. This was eight years before then-candidate Barack Obama's similar, widely criticized "they cling to guns and religion" remark, which was incendiary enough for Paul Ryan to reword it in pandering to voters in 2012. And watching gun activists fight President Obama's efforts to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers this week, it's clear that Manson's "Love Song" is more relevant now than ever.

Musically, it is effective less for its lyrics than the "Venus in Furs" riff it swipes, but I like hearing "The Love Song" as an early sign that Manson could slow things down and still unleash his unmistakeable seethes and screams on the world. Coupled with Manson's best non-musical moment, his appearance in Bowling for Columbine, it serves as a reminded that most of the world would be better served by listening to Marilyn Manson.

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