The human fascination with death and murder takes us all down strange rabbit holes. It’s hard for some people to resist watching Law & Order, some of us have libraries with Helter Skelter or Zodiac, and some of us spend most of our work day listening to murder podcasts. With a demographic that can sometimes skew down the darker path of life, it’s not difficult to see an audience for Charles Manson’s Lie album. Manson’s relationship with music is one of the largest parts of his legacy that will surely be discussed for years to come.
Admittedly, Manson isn’t the influential songwriter he thought he could be, but it’s not surprising that different musicians with a more evil sneer would still find his albums enjoyable. Lie has obvious influence from The Beatles and Bob Dylan. His simple acoustic songs mirror Dylan’s early work, but his production is reminiscent of The Beatles’ “Revolution #9.” Some are catchy and have decent melodies, so it’s unsurprising that Marilyn Manson, The Beach Boys, or Guns N’ Roses would cover his songs. It’s also not such a surprise that another enigmatic figure like GG Allin would cover a Manson song.
“Look At Your Game Girl” is the easiest highlight to find. It’s the most subdued, and Manson sounds tender, but most of his songs definitely sound darker. “People Say I’m No Good” and “I Once Knew A Man” are unsettling sharing some production sounds with “Revolution #9,” and the erratic drumming makes it seem like something the Manson family would dance along to. “Garbage Dump” sounds almost like a parody of a folk song. This is the type of album that is chilling, even without hindsight. The cheap production, shaky vocals, and tinny guitar tones make this sound like the inside of a madman’s mind. His lyrics are sometimes insightful, but mostly, they’re the type of nonsense that makes you realize the author isn’t all there.
Manson’s death won’t propel him to a musical icon, but it was surprising to see that he’d released a few albums from prison. The production is better, but equally frightening. They have the same mix of Manson’s personal storytelling and personal dogma spewing. Lie isn’t a classic album, but it’s sure to influence many more depraved individuals to hopefully explore darker walks of life and keep exploring the human obsession with the macabre.