Marilyn Manson, Kanye and the art of the giant
It’s been a long period of time since the Kanye West Experience was mostly about the music.
And there’s been a lot of music.
This weekend, at the newest model of his gospel music Sunday Service events, West (now lawfully known as Ye) advised everybody via a set of Twitter posts that his primary thing of late has been trolling.
Flanked by the normal Sunday Service crowd of choristers wearing all white, he was likewise signed up with by Justin Bieber, Roddy Ricch, and … Marilyn Manson.
The cumulative online world, excitedly dissecting Ye’s constant provocations, was baffled.
Here was Manson, implicated of sexual attack by several ladies, an honorary priest in the Church of Satan, subject of among the more unusual urban myths, named after a cult leader … at what is, basically, a musical Christian praise service.
Nobody blinks by this time at the existence of Bieber, who has appeared at Sunday Service events before– and has been progressively open about his own Christian faith. Bieber makes good sense. And videos showing him performing along to one of the Christian-infused tracks from Ye’s current album “Donda” suggest somebody there to enjoy singing some Jesus-y tunes together with a lot of people better at singing than he is.
Rich, the most current hot rapper to appear at a Sunday Service, had a feature on “Donda.” True, his most famous song isn’t exactly church fare, but he’s no Manson.
There’s a charitable read here, that Ye was trying to involve the metal rock hero in a Christian message of grace, sin, repentance, and holiness– and that Manson is seeking solace in some type of religious conversion, as Manson himself has considering that intimate.
It’s a lot easier to think that a man implicated in sexual assault, who once taped an album called “Antichrist Superstar” dressing up like Marlon Brando from “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” may be attempting to launder his reputation via gospel tunes.
The concern remains: What did Ye get out of it?
Manson was very first connected to Ye at a “Donda” listening party at Chicago’s Soldier Field football stadium shortly before the album was released. On a phase set designed to appear like Ye’s childhood house (which would eventually be set on fire, along with Ye himself, after a scene in which he weds his now-ex-wife, Kim Kardashian), Manson postured alongside rap artist DaBaby.
And simply stood there.
The key for both of Manson’s appearances depends on DaBaby. At the time of the Soldier Field listening party, the rapper had made some truly toxic comments, which led to canceled festival dates.
Welcoming DaBaby and Manson to the occasion wasn’t about the art. It wasn’t about the music. It wasn’t even due to the fact that they looked cool (they didn’t).
It was a giant, one that severely damages the Christian message Ye states he’s been attempting to get across.
It would be easier to be charitable if this wasn’t a pattern for Ye. Since the release of 2013’s “Yeezus,” his albums have been accompanied by an endless baiting of fans, media, and the general public. The chaotic rollout of “The Life of Pablo” featured wild guidelines for the models at the listening celebration, and a notorious line about Taylor Swift (and subsequent video) that spun off a whole story of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and probably motivated Swift’s weakest album.
The Wyoming recording sessions that caused 2018’s “Ye” were marked by a visit to TMZ where he appeared to suggest that slavery was, uh, a choice. Even his release of “Jesus Is King” was victim to many false starts.
Ye has actually always courted controversy, from his 2006 Rolling Stone cover dressed as Jesus, total with a crown of thorns, to the “Imma let you complete” moment at the 2009 VMAs, to the “George Bush doesn’t appreciate Black individuals” line at a live telethon.
The last few years have actually felt various. The music hasn’t been great enough anymore to sidetrack us from the other things. Previous albums apparently beamed in from the future, made Ye’s grand claims of genius noise almost reasonable.
And now, regardless of the uptick of “Donda,” his albums are mostly small blips on the radar. All his press is for the dumb things he does.
It’s tough not to think that’s by design. If he has absolutely nothing in particular to state, he understands he does not need to– as long as he can troll us.
So he uses Manson’s infamy. Of Bieber’s sincerity. And the image that stays is Ye: standing calmly, hoping to be baptized by the music, doing whatever and absolutely nothing to remain in front of the video cameras.