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Rock Is Dead (Marilyn Manson song)

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"Rock Is Dead"
Marilyn manson rock is dead.png
Single by Marilyn Manson
from the album
Released June 14, 1999
Format CD single
Genre
Length 3:09
Label Maverick
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Marilyn Manson singles chronology
"I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)"
(1999)
"Rock Is Dead"
(1999)
"Coma White"
(1999)

"I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)"
(1999)
"Rock Is Dead"
(1999)
"Coma White"
(1999)

"Rock Is Dead" is a song by American rock band Marilyn Manson, released as the third single from their third studio album, Mechanical Animals (1998). It was written by the band's eponymous frontman, along with bassist Twiggy Ramirez and then-guitarist Madonna Wayne Gacy, and was produced by Manson, Michael Beinhorn and Sean Beavan. A glam rock and heavy metal track with elements of electronic music and grunge, the song features electric and bass guitars, keyboards, and live drums in its instrumentation. The song was featured on the soundtrack of the Wachowskis' film The Matrix (1999).

In the song, Manson proclaims the death of rock music and asserts that "God is in the TV." The lyrics of "Rock Is Dead" inspired varying interpretations; some critics felt that Manson was correct in asserting that rock is dead while others felt he was toying with his listeners. The track garnered a mostly positive response from music critics, who found it infectious and praised its lyrics. A music video for "Rock Is Dead" was directed by Manson and Samuel Bayer and features the band performing the song in costume. A second version of the video features clips from The Matrix.

Background

"Rock Is Dead" was included on the soundtrack of the Wachowskis' film The Matrix (1999).

After the release of Antichrist Superstar (1996), an album which sparked controversy among Christian fundamentalists, Marilyn Manson didn't want to resume playing the role of a bogeyman. He feared that this would cause him to be "consigned to the one-note rock theatricality" of Kiss and Alice Cooper.[1] He desired to convince casual rock and pop fans who had previously dismissed him that he was "more than a cartoon." For his next album, Mechanical Animals (1998), he took inspiration from the glam rock music that David Bowie made in the 1970s, and adopted a wardrobe and hairstyle similar to Bowie's.[2]

Discussing Mechanical Animals with Lorraine Ali, Manson said that he was "bored" with the aggression he displayed in the music of Antichrist Superstar, elaborating: "Everything you hear nowadays is an offshoot of NIN, Marilyn Manson, [or] Ministry. There's just no great rock albums anymore. There's a lot of rock music out there, but it's very bland and disposable. A lot of people may say this record is over the top, pretentious and theatrical, but that's what rock music is supposed to be about."[3] Manson said in another interview that he believes that "Rock's not dead, it just needs a kick up the ass."[4]

Following the release of Mechanical Animals, Jason Bentley, a DJ and spokesman for Madonna's Maverick Records, asked the band if they would allow for the song to be included on the soundtrack of the Wachowskis' film The Matrix (1999). Prior to signing on for "Rock Is Dead" to be used on the soundtrack, the band was invited to see a rough cut of the film. Other artists whose music was included on the soundtrack were Rob Zombie, Rage Against the Machine, Rammstein, The Prodigy, Deftones, and Ministry.[5] The track appeared during the closing credits of the film.[6] Noisecreep's Chad Childers wrote that the track's inclusion on the soundtrack gave it an "extra boost."[7]

Composition

Madonna Wayne Gacy co-wrote "Rock Is Dead".

"Rock Is Dead" is a glam rock[8] and heavy metal song[9] with a length of three minutes and nine seconds;[10] it features elements of electronic music and grunge.[9] The track was written by the band's eponymous frontman, Twiggy Ramirez, Madonna Wayne Gacy, and Ginger Fish, and was produced by Manson, Sean Beavan and Michael Beinhorn.[11] Its instrumentation consists of electric and bass guitars, keyboards, and live drums.[11]

In the song, Manson sings "Rock! Is deader than dead!";[12] this assertion prompted various interpretations from critics. Writing for the Phoenix New Times, Jim Louvau said that Manson "was on to something in 1998's Mechanical Animals when he wrote 'Rock is Dead,' because the genre is in serious need of a make-over."[13] Critics from Vibe said that the notion that "rock is dead" is a cliché, but argued that the track was mocking that notion, adding that "maybe rock is dead if people like Marilyn keep recreating old styles [like glam rock] instead of doing something new and innovative."[8] Reviewing the song, James Oldham of NME said that the success of Marilyn Manson and similar artists proves that rock is not dead, but had merely embraced aspects of electronic music. He also felt that the track's lyrics about rock being dead are an example of Manson toying with his listeners.[12] The song also includes the lyric "God is in the TV," one of the few references to religion on the album.[14]

PopMatters' Lance Teegarden felt that the song's "layered buzzsaw guitar riffs" and Manson's shout-like vocal performance on the chorus made "Rock Is Dead" sound like the band's previous single "Long Hard Road Out of Hell" (1997).[15] On the track, Manson sings "whap, whap, whap, whap"; MTV's Evan Moore noted that Manson sang the same phrase on the band's cover of "Golden Years" (1975) by David Bowie, which was included on the Dead Man on Campus soundtrack.[14] NME deemed the track "a fierce fist-in-the-air polemic that suggests Sigue Sigue Sputnik butchering T Rex." The publication also compared the track to the music of Garbage, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972).[16]

Critical reception

Annalee Newitz of Salon said that the Mechanical Animals tracks "Rock Is Dead" and "Posthuman" are "Manson at his ironic, spiteful peak."[17] Eddie Trunk wrote in his book Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, Volume 2 that "Rock Is Dead" and another Mechanical Animals track, "Coma White", are some of his favorite songs in the band's catalog.[18] Chad Childers of Loudwire called "Rock Is Dead" a "thrusting rock song."[19] In Exclaim!, Liisa Ladouceur commented "Seems like if you're going to write angry industrial anthems, screaming 'Rock is Dead!' is far more palatable to the masses than 'I am the God of Fuck.' Go figure!"[20] Sputnikmusic's Simon K. described 'Rock Is Dead" and "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" as album highlights that "you’ll find yourself humming...for days."[21] Writing for the Houston Press, Kristy Loye deemed "Rock Is Dead" one of Manson's greatest hit songs.[22]

Alec Chillingworth of Metal Hammer described "Rock Is Dead" as one of the band's "certified classics, branded onto industrial metal's beating heart by one Mr Brian Warner."[23] MTV's Evan Moore praised the song, saying "It's catchy, fast, loud, heavy and crazy. What's most addictive about the song is not the words, however, but Manson's yelling-style singing."[14] Lorraine Ali of the Los Angeles Times said that in Mechanical Animals, "compelling melod[ies], foot-stomping rhythms, sing-along choruses and more relatable lyrics in such songs as 'New Model No. 15' and 'Rock Is Dead' are as infectious as the Sweet's "Blockbuster" or Alice Cooper's "School's Out."[24] For Spectrum Culture, Steve Lampiris praised the track for being "more subversive" than the music of Antichrist Superstar (1996) due to its "technicolor candy coating."[25]

AllMusic's Becky Byrkit commended Manson's "super-scale performance" on the track.[26] Matt Zakosek of The Chicago Maroon wrote "sometime in the midst of all that devilish preening and posturing, [Manson] found the time to make some pretty good music. I'm speaking specifically of songs like 'Rock is Dead' and 'The Fight Song,' each of which contain lyrics a lot more insightful than 'I'm a black rainbow,' thank God (or, in this case, thank Satan)."[27] Teegarden of PopMatters said that the track "adhere[s] to standard-issue, industrial shock-rock formulas" and fails to distinguish itself from other Marilyn Manson songs.[15] Drowned in Sound's Dale Price criticized the song for sounding "a little too much like a more upbeat Beautiful People."[28]

Music video

The music video for the song consists of footage of the band performing onstage in costume, and was directed by Manson alongside American director Samuel Bayer.[29] It features the vocalist in costume as his alter ego Omēga.[11] Another version of the video contains the same performance footage coupled together with clips from The Matrix.[30] The latter music video appeared as a bonus feature on both of the box set HD DVD releases The Complete Matrix Trilogy and The Ultimate Matrix Collection.[6] Jonathan Barkan of Bloody Disgusting found the "rather plain" clip reminiscent of "pop metal videos of the 80's, where a band would be playing on the stage but there wasn't any audience. Same thing here, except it's a big more polished, a bit more vibrant, and definitely more exciting. If this was meant to give a taste for what fans could expect in concert, it definitely set the right mood!"[31]

Formats and track listings

CD1 (Maverick: W486CD)
No. Title Length
1. "Rock Is Dead" 3:11
2. "Man That You Fear" (Acoustic Requiem for Antichrist Superstar) 5:21
3. "Television" (Radio Edit) (Performed by Baxter) 3:09
CD2 (Maverick: W486CDX)
No. Title Length
1. "Rock Is Dead" 3:11
2. "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" (Absinth Makes The Heart Grow Fonder) (Remix by The Black Dog) 5:29
3. "I Can't See Why" (Performed by Baxter) 4:50
4. "Rock Is Dead" (Enhanced Music Video) 3:10
UK-exclusive 10" picture disc (Maverick: W486TE)
No. Title Length
1. "Rock Is Dead" 3:11
2. "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)" (Every Day) (Remix by The Black Dog) 5:20
US promotional CD (Nothing: INT5P-0540)
No. Title Length
1. "Rock Is Dead" (Clean Radio Edit) 3:10
US promotional 12" single (Nothing: 497 200–1)
No. Title Length
1. "Rock Is Dead" 3:11
2. "Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes" 3:59

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Mechanical Animals.[11]

Marilyn Manson

Technical personnel

Charts

Chart (1999) Peak
position
Italy (FIMI)[32] 44
Polish Airplay (ZPAV)[33] 43
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[34] 23
Spain (AFYVE)[35] 34
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[36] 23
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[37] 28
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[38] 30

References

  1. ^ Boehm, Mike (March 12, 1999). "'Mechanical' Reaction". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 6, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  2. ^ Hochman, Steve (August 16, 1998). "Marilyn Manson Aims to Change Tide of the Mainstream". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 18, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  3. ^ Ali, Lorainne (September 2, 1998). "Marilyn Manson's New (Happy) Face". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 15, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  4. ^ Trendell, Andrew; Keeble, Ed (January 7, 2015). "Marilyn Manson: 'I am meant to be chaos'". Gigwise. Archived from the original on July 11, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  5. ^ MTV News Staff (March 3, 1999). "Manson, Prodigy, Ministry, Zombie, Rage, More Jump Into "Matrix"". MTV. Archived from the original on October 18, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Jacobs, Evan (May 22, 2007). "Breaking down The Complete Matrix Trilogy and The Ultimate Matrix Collection HD DVDs!". MovieWeb. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  7. ^ Childers, Chad (September 13, 2013). "Favorite Marilyn Manson 'Mechanical Animals' Song – Readers Poll". Noisecreep. Archived from the original on December 27, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "This Is An A/B Conversation". Vibe. December 1998 – January 1999. Archived from the original on June 15, 2018. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Chillingworth, Alec (November 14, 2016). "Every Marilyn Manson Album, Ranked From Worst To Best". Metal Hammer. Archived from the original on November 19, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  10. ^ "Marilyn Manson Rock Is Dead". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 15, 2018. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d Mechanical Animals (CD liner notes). Various. Interscope Records. 1998. INTD-90273.
  12. ^ a b Oldham, James (September 12, 2005). "Marilyn Manson : Rock is dead". NME. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  13. ^ Louvau, Jim (May 30, 2013). "Marilyn Manson: "I Like To Smoke and Hang Out With The Gangsta Rappers"". Phoenix New Times. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  14. ^ a b c Moore, Evan (September 11, 1998). "Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals Tamed With Pop". MTV. Archived from the original on December 27, 2017. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Teegarden, Lance (January 4, 2005). "Marilyn Manson: Lest We Forget: The Best Of". PopMatters. Archived from the original on January 27, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  16. ^ "Sweet Nothing". NME. September 12, 2005. Archived from the original on October 30, 2016. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  17. ^ Newitz, Annalee (1998-09-16). "Sharps & Flats". Salon. Salon Media Group Inc. Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
  18. ^ Trunk, Eddie. "Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, Volume 2". Archived from the original on January 6, 2018. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  19. ^ Childers, Chad (September 15, 2017). "19 Years Ago: Marilyn Manson Goes Glam With 'Mechanical Animals'". Loudwire. Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  20. ^ Ladouceur, Liisa (February 15, 2017). "An Essential Guide to Marilyn Manson". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  21. ^ K., Simon (December 1, 2014). "Marilyn Manson Mechanical Animals". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  22. ^ Loye, Kristy (August 26, 2016). "All Nine Marilyn Manson Albums, Ranked". Houston Press. Archived from the original on October 25, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  23. ^ Chillingworth, Alec (September 6, 2016). "The 10 most underrated Marilyn Manson songs". Metal Hammer. Archived from the original on September 7, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  24. ^ Ali, Lorraine (1998-09-13). "Marilyn Manson, Dressed to Kill". Los Angeles Times. Tronc. Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  25. ^ Lampirirs, Steve (August 28, 2017). "Revisit: Marilyn Manson: Mechanical Animals". Spectrum Culture. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  26. ^ Byrkit, Becky. "Original Soundtrack The Matrix [Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture]". AllMusic. Archived from the original on November 5, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  27. ^ Zakosek, Matt (October 17, 2004). "A shocking thing about Manson CD: It doesn't suck". The Chicago Maroon. Archived from the original on January 20, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  28. ^ Price, Dale (November 13, 2000). "Album Review: Marilyn Manson - Holy Wood (In The Shadow of the Valley of Death)". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on August 21, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  29. ^ God Is in the T.V. (Credit information derived from inlay). Marilyn Manson. Nothing Records. 1999. 4400538643.
  30. ^ Lest We Forget: The Best Of (DVD) (Information derived from inlay). Marilyn Manson. Interscope Records. 2004. 0602498638804.
  31. ^ Barkan, Jonathan (May 13, 2015). "Ranking Marilyn Manson's Music Videos!". Bloody Disgusting. Archived from the original on May 17, 2015. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  32. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: M" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  33. ^ "Lista Przebojów Trójki - Polskie Radio Online: Notowanie nr915 - 13 sierpnia 1999". Polskie Radio (in Polish). August 13, 1999. Archived from the original on June 20, 2017. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  34. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  35. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  36. ^ "Marilyn Manson: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  37. ^ "Marilyn Manson Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  38. ^ "Marilyn Manson Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
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