Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Marilyn Manson, the Antichrist Superstar himself, shock-rocker extraordinaire and Nineties America’s Public Enemy No. 1. Manson has so many great songs to his name (and a few great covers, too), but in our opinion, the following five are his most crucial cuts. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.
“The Reflecting God”
Album: Antichrist Superstar
There’s a reason why Slayer’s Kerry King has said of this Antichrist cut: “That song fucking rules!” And that’s ’cause it does fucking rule.
Sample lyrics: “Scar, scar, can you feel my power?/One shot and the world gets smaller”
album: Mechanical Animals
Raw, real and very emotionally heavy, if not sonically so, “Coma White” shows Manson at his most vulnerable, stripping away the shock-rock pageantry for just a moment.
Sample lyrics: “A pill to make you numb/A pill to make you dumb/A pill to make you anybody else/But all the drugs in this world/Won’t save her from herself”
Album: Portrait of an American Family
On his debut album, Manson came out of the gates swinging — swinging his lunchbox, that is. A crunchy metal anthem through and through, the song isn’t about guns, as some critics have interpreted it — according to Manson, it’s about “being picked on and fighting back with my KISS lunch box, which I used as a weapon on the playground.”
Sample lyrics: “I got my lunchbox and I’m armed real well ”
“The Dope Show”
Album: Mechanical Animals
Manson went glam with Mechanical Animals, and the LP’s lead single is a glitzy, stomping celebration of the chemically-enhanced life that the singer envisioned as “‘We Are the World’ for drug addicts.”
Sample lyrics: “We’re all stars now in the dope show”
“The Beautiful People”
album: Antichrist Superstar
Simply put, it’s the Manson song. Fun, evil, smarter than it might seem, and harmed with hooks that dig into the listener’s brain just as deeply as do the nightmarish visions in the tune’s music video.
Sample lyrics: “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/You can’t smell your own shit on your knees”