New Video “Revenge” premiered

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10/11/2017 by Gary Graff


(photo Amanda Bjorn Photography)

With a couple dozen recent tracks on hand, Louise Goffin has decided to take a new course to releasing her music.

Starting with the Oct. 20 drop of “Revenge,” a collaboration with North Carolina musician Skylar Gudasz that’s premiering exclusively below, Goffin is planning to release one song and video at a time, primarily through The Orchard and her official website, at six- to eight-week intervals.

“I’m going back to the age of 1965 and 45s,” Goffin, the daughter of legendary songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin, tells Billboard. “It’s really just a natural evolution. What we’re living with right now in the world is attention is a greater currency than ever, ’cause records aren’t making money. It’s a digital world and it’s a crowded world, so the last thing I wanted was to have to vie for attention within a company that would then vie for attention out in the world with an audience. I don’t want all these great tracks that you put a lot of time and energy into to fall by the wayside and not get their due attention. So I think this is the best way to go.”

Goffin definitely has material ready. Experiencing “greater productivity, more creativity and just feeling more inspired,” she’s worked with Dave Way to co-produce 24 songs, collaborating with the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Squeeze’s Chris Difford, Benmont Tench from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, Pete Thomas from Elvis Costello’s Imposters and others.

“Some people have been dropping into the studio, for sure,” Goffin reports. “I find it’s a climate where artist really want to be involved with other artists. Nobody wants to be isolated in just their own stuff. It’s very uplifting to cross-pollinate and work with other people.”

That attitude is what led to “Revenge,” in fact. Goffin was taking part in a Wild Honey Orchestra benefit tribute to The Band during the spring, which also included Gudasz. Talking in the dressing room they decided to get together at Goffin’s house, where Gudasz showed her a guitar riff that Goffin paired with some lyrics she’d been working on, inspired by a friend’s experience with binge-watching cable TV news. “It was just the perfect fit,” Goffin recalls. “The song kinda came out almost like an egg. It just showed up. It was written very quickly, and I said, ‘Look, while you’re here why don’t we go in my backyard, I have a little studio set up there — (Gudasz) called it the magic tree house — and why don’t we just make a demo?’ It all came super quick.”

The video was done right after that, filmed on the street by a friend as Goffin and Gudasz mugged for the cameras wearing wigs, with Goffin adding the pop art elements afterwards. “It was just a really, really productive day,” Goffin says with a laugh.

Goffin hasn’t yet determined which track will be her next release, but she’s looking forward to building a different kind of “body of work” — and doesn’t rule out the possibility of a more traditional album project in the future. “It’s a living thing,” he explains. “I will be creating more CD projects. I hope at some point to be able to have the demand to create vinyl. The important thing is to keep the music coming out and to get in the habit of constantly creating a contact and having an ongoing dialogue with your audience.”


Louise Goffin plays Carnegie Hall with Donovan

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Donovan and Louise Goffin rehearse for their upcoming Carnegie Hall surprise concert.  
Pictured here at the Park Lane Hotel
Photograph by singer/songwriter/producer and fellow surprise musician, Richard Barone.
What do you do if you’re a Beatle-level musical genius artist/writer/producer, who just played in front of 62,000 people at Hyde Park, London?  That’s just what Louise Goffin did back in August 2016, where she was trading guitar solo licks with world-famous guitarist and legendary music producer of Don Henley’s Building The Perfect Beast album (as well as being producer of Louise Goffin’s first solo album)–Danny Kortchmar.  Where she also performed her solo set as well as singing with iconic music genius and parent, Carole King.  So having just completed that epic performance as part of the first live performance in history of the entire Tapestry album in sequence–how can anyone follow that?  Well if you’re Louise Goffin, you follow it by performing at a tiny little NY city restaurant for your songwriting masterclass.  Then the next night on September 15, 2016, you perform onstage at the Zankel Hall venue at New York City’s Carnegie Hall.  With iconic music legend Donovan. That’s a whole lotta iconic music legends.  And as it happened, Donovan elected to sing with Louise Goffin and play guitar on a fabulous and very arty and jazzy song written by Louise Goffin in a co-write with songwriter/artists Craig Greenberg and Corinne Lee, called Deep Dark Night Of The Soul.  Donovan himself hand-picked this Louise Goffin original song for them to perform, as one of his favorites.  For any songwriter, getting music legend and close Beatles associate Donovan to sing and play on your original song–at his own concert–is quite an achievement, somewhat on a par with the universe exploding. At the Carnegie Hall gig with Donovan, they did the acoustic version with Donovan on guitar and vocals, and Louise Goffin on ukulele and vocals.  When Louise produced this track for the studio version on her brilliant 2014 album, Songs From The Mine, she had some very sultry trombone solos going on.  Corinne Lee also appears on this album.But it wouldn’t be the first time Louise Goffin worked with people at the legend level. She appeared in a music video harmonizing with another musical genius, Brian Wilson, as they performed with music geniuses David Gilmore and Kate Bush.  Louise Goffin toured with and performed a similar role playing acoustic and electric guitars and singing with Tears For Fears and it’s iconic music legend, Roland Orzabal.  What have we learned from all this?  Apparently, geniuses like to hang out together and perform with other geniuses.

And if you haven’t made it to NY City to catch the smash musical, Beautiful, the touring company has been taking it nationwide, and it just opened in Las Vegas for a few days only.  In this musical, Louise Goffin as a baby is represented by a plastic doll, in the middle of some momentous events in the music industry.  One way or another, Louise Goffin has been in a lot of places, influencing a lot of things.

So after Louise Goffin’s September 15th, 2016 Carnegie Hall performance  playing acoustic guitar and singing with the legendary Donovan himself, don’t be too surprised if she throws more surprises your way.  If you want ordinary–go somewhere else. We warned you quite some time ago. She’s a curveball.

Featured Tracks “New and Notable” for free on Noisetrade

Louise Goffin Featured Tracks

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The best collection of free downloads ever on offer from three of Goffin’s independent releases: Bad Little Animals, Songs From The Mine, and Appleonfire, plus several never-released rare demos: Girlfriend, from her band South of Venus, Idle Days, which appeared in ‘Glastonbury The Movie’, and the demo version of Good Life (a different version appeared later on her Songs From The Mine album). Also offered for the first time, Starfish Girl, originally released on vinyl, on Fish Of Death Records. Ms. Goffin, the heir apparent to a legacy of the richest body of work to emerge from New York’s fabled Brill Building, carries the lineage forward with a treasure of influences you won’t want to miss out on.


photo by Ben Steinberger Photography

Favorite Song Academy presents: Louise Goffin Masterclass


Louise Goffin has called her own first gathering of a songwriting Masterclass in Los Angeles. Venue TBA, date  May 7th, 2-4:30 pm. It’s set on the Saturday before Sunday Mother’s Day, and appeals to people from ages 14 to adults. No musical ability required. This is an introductory offer of $97.

Applications for enrollment are received by answering the question “What are your 3 favorite songs?” and emailing the answers to

You will then receive a link and special tips to get yourself inspired between enrollment and the actual Masterclass.

“Songwriting is my gift from God” – Smokey Robinson

we want to hear from you!

email your 3 favorite songs to



Unkovr – Music Curated By Top Industry Professionals…Bob Glaub recommends Louise Goffin


Everyday, Unkovr features one top music industry professional  – a “Tastemaker” (Producers, Engineers, Mixers, Mastering Engineers, Artist Managers, Session Musicians, Band Members, Songwriters.) and that Tastemaker selects a Musician (band or solo act), along with a few songs that they believe deserve recognition. Our viewers then vote, comment, and share that Music with the world, and we make certain it continues to be supported in all digital environments.

Featured today…Bob Glaub recommends Louise Goffin

Unkovr feels that incredible music often goes unrecognized because of lack of exposure. was founded by top music industry and technology professionals to create a vehicle that helps emerging Musicians reach millions of prospective fans.

It takes a few seconds to register your email and be introduced to new amazing music.

Meanwhile your RATING, FAVORITING and SHARING ranks up the exposure of the artist you vote on.

You can make a difference by casting your vote and favoriting artists you love! Shot 2015-02-10 at 8.03.21 PM

Louise Goffin honors her late father with ‘Appleonfire’ EP

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As the daughter of acclaimed songwriting team Gerry Goffin and Carole King, it should come as no surprise that Louise Goffin pursued a career in music. After middling success in 1980s, Goffin walked away from the business, got married and started a family. She returned with a vengeance in 2002 with “Sometimes a Circle” and then again last year with “Songs From the Mine.”


Goffin is back just a few months later with “Appleonfire,” a six-track EP that features lyrics written by her father — who passed away last June — on four of the cuts. “His instrument was a spiral notebook,” Goffin says of her late father. “And he played it masterfully with his brilliant mind and an ordinary pen.”

There aren’t any misfires to be found on “Appleonfire,” with Goffin soaring highest on bookend tunes “Everything You Need” and “It’s Not the Spotlight.” In between are keepers “Take a Giant Step” (featuring Jakob Dylan) and “If I’m Late” (with Joseph Arthur). She’s done herself — and her famous folks — proud. (Jeffrey Sisk)


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Huffington Post Entertainment: The Soundtrack Of My Life – Premiere

Premiere of “It’s Not The Spotlight” – EP Appleonfire will be released Feb 17th

A Conversation with Louise Goffin ♠ Premiere

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Huffington Post Entertainment: The Soundtrack Of My Life – Premiere

Mike Ragogna: Let’s talk about your Appleonfire EP. As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, you being the daughter of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. It seems like a logical approach to do a project of your parents’ recordings, but this goes beyond that. The EP also features a song you co-wrote with your father, a long lost Goffin/King composition and a couple of your own songs. How did the idea behind this project start?

Louise Goffin: It started with “It’s Not The Spotlight.” When my father passed away I was doing a house concert the next day. I always loved that song of his. He’s written so many great songs but that one really had his essence because he sang it. He didn’t really think of himself much as a singer but in 1973 he went to Mussel Shoals and made a double record and sung all of the vocals on it. Most of it was a political record, but there were some songs that later got covered and became hits and charted with other artists, and “It’s Not The Spotlight” was one of them. At his memorial gathering I saw his co-writer Barry Goldberg and I said, “Oh, I just played your song.” He said it would really be a great thing to go and record it, so that was the start of the whole EP.

MR: And then the thought got bigger, you recorded that song, and it snowballed.

LG: Yeah, that is what happened. There were all these fantastic musicians who I wanted to play with, and when he said, “Let’s record that song” I thought, “If I’m going to call all these amazing musicians who have expressed interest in working with me, it doesn’t make sense to record just one song.” So I played Barry a couple of brand new songs of mine, a few of them are on the record, “Everything You Need” and “Higher Than Low,” and he loved them.

MR: And then Jakob Dylan came in?

LG: Jakob Dylan guests on a Goffin/King song because at MusiCares a year ago he and I sang a Goffin and King song together and I mentioned to Barry, “Why don’t we ask Jakob to sing on a Goffin/King song?” So that actually happened, he came down and sang on “Take A Giant Step.” I love that song so much.  So that was the Jakob Dylan connection, and that was four songs we did in one day.  For it to really be a substantial EP I need two more songs. I was really asking the universe, “What should the other two songs be?” I went through a lot of obscure songs my father wrote. I didn’t want to do the heavily-covered songs that everyone had known, I wanted to find something more under the radar. That song, “If I’m late,” was on YouTube and I had never heard it. I also remembered that my dad and I had written the song, “I’m Not Rich But I’m Not Poor.” I’d always wanted to do something with it, he and I talked about making a demo of it last year or a couple of years ago, but I got really busy and we couldn’t do it. I thought those were really good choices for the other two songs.

MR: Yeah. So the expression behind the title “I’m Not Rich But I’m Not Poor” came from your grandfather, right? Gerry’s dad?

LG: Yes, it was something that he told me, that his father used to say to him.

MR: I love the concept of finding one of your parents rare songs on YouTube. It’s almost like the song reached out to you.

LG: I would be very aware of songs that my father sang lead vocal on because it was such a rare thing, but to find a demo of a song they wrote and he sings lead and my mother harmonizes throughout the entire song like an old Everly Brothers-style duet but with these really romantic lyrics… And I love the message, “If I’m late, say you’re gonna wait for me.” I often say that to people. [laughs]

MR: Louise, is it possible it was written for the Everlys?

LG: No, there’s really no connection, I just brought it up because of the style. That song was apparently written in 1969. ’69 was a very transitional, bumpy year because we had all moved to LA in ’68, so I’m sure there were separations and a lot of starting over again in a new place with two little girls. I’m sure they could’ve written that song and gone and demoed it and it could’ve ended up on some demo reel at a publishing company and then my mother went on to make The City or something. I think a lot of songwriters churn out so much stuff that sometimes things just fall through the cracks. It just ends up on a publishing tape somewhere. So that was amazing. Recording it with Joseph Arthur was also very synchronistic because I knew it needed someone who had a bit of my father’s style. In fact, I switched it so I was singing the lead on it and had to change a couple of gender-specific words here and there.

I was at Village Recording Studio asking around, “Who do I get to sing on this one?” Jeff Greenberg who owns Village said, “Oh, there’s this guy, John Alagia knows him,” John’s a wonderful musician and producer. I call John to ask who this guy was he was working with. It turned out it was someone he had worked with several years earlier. A few weeks later, John’s in one city, Joe’s in another and I’m in LA and John’s making introductions via text. It turned out that Joseph was on tour and was only going to be in New York for the one week that I was going to be in New York in October but he said he’d love to do it. I went over to his place in Brooklyn and we finished up that song. I’d already cut the track but we did all the vocals and some overdubs and made a video all in the space of four hours one afternoon.

MR: This is your seventh album?

LG: I think that’s right – my seventh solo record.

MR: What was the studio experience like for Appleonfire?

LG: It was one of those heightened experiences in life. I really was saying, “I can’t believe I’m here with these incredible musicians and awesome people.” Bob Glaub has been very supportive, when I did the Carole King record he was playing bass on that, and I forgot what a monster Bob is as a bass player. He’s amazing. We live around the same side of town, and he’s been  amazingly supportive, and played on all of the recordings that I’ve been doing since the Carole record, and at times playing on shows if the shows are in town. I hadn’t played with Jim Keltner since I was probably a teen. I called Jim I think within the last year asking him to play and he was booked that day. We had a great conversation and caught up and he said, “Call me again.” So this was the session I called him again. Val McCallum I saw play with his band Jackshit, have you seen them? He’s just an insanely talented guitar slinger. The whole history of soul and country and twang and all of it is in his fingertips. It’s all so accessible to him. And then Barry Goldberg himself, who was co-producing on that session of four songs, he’s one of the best B3 players out there.

MR: And you were given the studio gratis by Jackson Browne.

LG: Yes, and that’s another amazing story. My father passed away and I really wanted to do this thing, to cover his songs and make it celebratory in his honor. A lot of people felt that love and affection for him. I called Chris Aaron who I wrote “Higher Than Low” with, and I said, “Chris, you’re not going to believe it, I’m going to record our song, I’m just waiting to hear back from Jackson about whether the band and I can get any studio time. He said, “Jackson’s sitting right next to me. We just played a show together in Madison, Wisconsin.” I heard back soon from Ed Wong, who manages the studio and there was just this one Monday free. I swear to you, every single musician that I wanted was free only on that day we had a studio.

MR: [laughs] It was meant to be.

LG: The tragic thing is that Chris Aaron passed away a month later.

MR: Sorry about his passing, Louise. So Nathaniel Kunkel mixed the project, Niko Bolas engineered, and you recorded it in Jackson Browne’s studio. Nice.

LG:  A lot of the cats who were in the studio that day are people who I’ve known since I was eighteen. They knew me when I was young and just having fun making records. I didn’t have adult responsibilities, I was just a kid having fun in the studio, Danny Kortchmar was producing and all that. Now I’m taking the reigns and producing and being the record company and self-distributing and making the calls. Just to be in a room with all of those people who I love so much, I  feel so blessed, beyond blessed, to be able to have that continuity in spite of life having no continuity whatsoever. It’s really the people who you know and the people in your life who bring the continuity through all those different changes. To be here, so far down the path and be in the room with all of these same incredible musicians, and also realizing that they’re there for me, not because of a record company.

MR: These days, the role of producer is almost like a godfather or an advisor or a mentor compared to before when producers were totally hands-on.

LG: Yeah. The closest thing that I can think of is parenting. Yes, you’re in a room with musicians and musicians are like a bunch of kids, but I’m one of the kids too. Jim Keltner explained it perfectly. You can hire people like that, but they don’t guarantee that they’re going to make a great record or that things are going to sound great at all. What Jim said was “All artists command a song.” That’s where he looks for his view. That’s the horse leading. Fortunately I have played those songs. When I was at the guitar or the piano, I knew where the dynamics were. If you’re searching, if you’re not sure where it’s going to go, you can really lose yourself in a recording session, even with the best of intentions and the best musicians.

MR: True, but on the other hand, you as Louise Goffin had the exposure to the creation of music at a very early age.

LG: I don’t know how I know what I think I know, and it’s not to say I’m right in where I want to go, but where I want to go is old school. A lot of things don’t sound like that these days, so I’m just doing what makes my bells ring.

MR: It’s a culmination of what you’ve admired and seen in yourself and others over the years, and I think in some ways, it’s a nod to what Gerry represents, good songs.

LG: Yeah, I sure wish he could hear it, because he would really get a kick out of it.

MR: What is your advice for new artists?

LG: It’s very important to find what’s different about you, what’s uniquely you, and then amplify that by twenty. People tend to want to mask and cover what they think makes them stand out. They try to sound more like what they hear on the charts, but I think that’s the kiss of death, because really what’s interesting is the most unusual aspects of an artist. Whatever those things are, make them rhyme and repeat them. [laughs] Take your weirdness, make it rhyme, repeat it and put a beat on it. That’s my advice.

MR: Is that how you did it over the years?

LG: I think I’m going to get more relaxed in my writing and recording the less I feel this need to “catch up” with myself. I’ve had so many unrecorded songs for so long that in the last year I’ve just been recording songs that were on my hard drive and I thought, “This is really good, I should just do this.” There’s still plenty more of that, but I think at this point I have a lot of effortless creativity at my disposal that I don’t really run with as much as I could. The record I make when I’m not trying very hard might be interesting.

MR: Everybody loves recording, but I’ve heard a lot of artists lately tell me they love playing live more because they can express a lot more of their creativity that would be too difficult to record.

LG: I love playing live. It’s new for me because I never did a lot of it. I think I was too insecure and just too shy about my ability to do things, especially solo. I wanted someone backing me up all the time. I’ve gotten so much more confident in the last year and a half or so, just because I threw myself into water and made myself swim. I enjoy playing live a lot.

MR: So where’s the apple rolling from this point on?

LG: You have to be ready to believe in yourself whether other people are green-lighting things or not. Too much time goes by waiting for other people to notice. At some point, that gets exhausting. I love the camaraderie, my favorite part of music is the camaraderie, the community, the travel, the interweaving of other ideas. To me that’s where the excitement is. I like working with other artists, I would like to tour with other artists and write songs with them, maybe get back into producing with other artists again.

MR: In some respects, you couldn’t be making music at a better time because of advances in digital technology and marketing through social networking. You have the potential of not waiting for anyone to green-light anything, you can take everything into your own hands. You’re releasing this yourself, right?

LG: Yeah, I was going to release it and distribute it digitally and then on this record I decided to make hard copies on CD just because I like being able to hold something that you can look at. And when you do a live show people really, really love after they’ve heard the live songs to hold something and take it home. When I played the Bluebird in Nashville, because of the TV show “Nashville” there were people from all over the world who wanted to go to the famous Bluebird that they’d seen on TV. There were people from Italy, Australia, it was not just a Nashville audience. Everyone else had said, “You remember this famous song that this guy covered?” but I was going, “Here’s a famous song you never heard.” They were all songs no one had ever heard before that I was playing. It was really nice at the end because a lot of people wanted CDs to take back to wherever they were going. That felt meaningful to have people in the audience want to take it home with them.

MR: Yeah, I miss the physical aspect of music production, but we’re here now.

LG: Well, we live in a disposable culture. You’ll never get this far into the interview, for sure. I don’t even know if people read stuff on Facebook, they just “like” it. I wonder if eighty out of a hundred people have read the thing, or even opened it, when they click the “like” button. Do you know?

MR: I don’t know what the percentage is, but I know that a lot of people are winging it.

LG: It’s digital and disposable. You put a song out, another song out, a video out… I read this great quote, “In this age, you don’t want to be a genius, you want to be a ‘seenius.'” It’s all about being seen. If there’s one thing you do that’s amazing, it’ll be yesterday’s news yesterday. People just go to the next, the next, the next, the next and they consume and absorb and move on from things so fast that it almost makes sense to practically put out singles. I don’t know if people take time anymore. A lot of it is about how the younger generation is quicker with technology. I’ve always felt that you have to spend a little time to find out more about something that you’re going to love. That’s the key. There’s lots of things out there that you’re going to love, but how do we find out about it? That artist has to work really, really, really hard. I’ve been hitting it hard in this last year. I’m not raised that way. I was raised that if you do good work and raise the flag then people will come. That is not true anymore. It’s not a fact. If a tree falls and no one hears it…

MR: Sadly, there are a lot of trees falling that nobody’s hearing.

LG: It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

♠This is the abridged version of a longer piece with conversations the writer had with Rumor, Melissa Manchester and Donny Osmond

Transcribed by Galen Hawthorne

Louise Goffin Talks Marilyn Manson’s The Pale Emperor

News From Singer-Songwriter Louise Goffin

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A classic piece of television history is Marilyn Manson’s 1997 appearance on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher.  As part of the promotion of Antichrist Superstar, Marilyn (born Brian Warner and raised in Canton, Ohio) appears on the same episode as The Brady Bunch’s Florence Henderson, right-wing radio host and convicted Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy, and rapper, activist and self-proclaimed Christian Lakita Garth. Liddy interrupts Bill Maher before he even asks his first question and says, “I want to protest something… Now, here you’ve got a guy [i.e., Manson], as far as I know, has never been busted for impersonating a human being or anything. And I’ve got nine felonies for which I am totally unrepellent [sic], and he is supposed to be the bad guy. What’s going on? Where are the standards in this country?” To which Marilyn replies, “It’s the lipstick. If we put some…

View original post 1,251 more words

Louise Goffin Talks Marilyn Manson’s The Pale Emperor

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A classic piece of television history is Marilyn Manson’s 1997 appearance on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher.  As part of the promotion of Antichrist Superstar, Marilyn (born Brian Warner and raised in Canton, Ohio) appears on the same episode as The Brady Bunch’s Florence Henderson, right-wing radio host and convicted Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy, and rapper, activist and self-proclaimed Christian Lakita Garth. Liddy interrupts Bill Maher before he even asks his first question and says, “I want to protest something… Now, here you’ve got a guy [i.e., Manson], as far as I know, has never been busted for impersonating a human being or anything. And I’ve got nine felonies for which I am totally unrepellent [sic], and he is supposed to be the bad guy. What’s going on? Where are the standards in this country?” To which Marilyn replies, “It’s the lipstick. If we put some lipstick on him, I think everything will change.”

Those who have a problem with Marilyn’s views on sexuality and religion, people who need a church or a Bible to do their thinking for them, would do themselves a favor by listening to the perceived opposition the way Barnum & Bailey might improve their three-ring ensemble by learning from the Cirque du Soleil down the street.  The metaphor goes further than just the competing circus across town. Risk-takers are risk-takers, and there will always be the followers who chime in from the safety of their ringside seats. Followers feel inclined to define themselves by choosing one fearless leader over another — despite the blind spot that people rarely see: the only devil that can damn you is the devil within you.

No one out there is a threat, except those crazy people with guns who think some people out there are threats. You’d think that years of lipstick and gender-bending would have quieted the upset by now. Poised between two extremes of American culture — Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson — Marilyn himself seems to be caught on the edge between extreme concepts: love and fear.

In a career spanning more than two decades, Marilyn Manson at the very least pushes beyond the box of “it’s my turn for royal rockness” posturing. Imagine the early influences of the band, picture its lead singer listening to a lot of records (what else is there to do in Canton, Ohio?) with drive and ambition, mixing what he loved in a new way, throwing off what was oppressive. And while he was not Elvis, he brought the smarts of pushing the edge of comfort to the new industrial-goth-glam, and obviously is a thinking man, revealing his familiarity with classic literature and sharing the questions with his audience rather than giving them all the answers.

I’d be more likely to be baptized in icewater than be in the audience at one of Marilyn Manson’s stadium shows. I hate crowds, I avoid post-encore parking gridlocks, and the noise of collective fandom makes me want to lock myself in a room with ’70s movie classics to calm me down. But to see Marilyn Manson out of context in any of the many interviews with him (lots are available on Youtube), having to hold his own alongside people who have nothing in common with him, to observe his poise and calm, quickly earned my respect. Marilyn expresses his thoughtfulness in a myriad of ways — rock stardom being only the best paid of them.

Marilyn Manson’s ninth studio album is called Pale Emperor. The opening track “Killing Strangers” shows the band in top form. Marilyn croons, “We’re killing strangers so we don’t kill the ones that we love/We got guns, we got guns, motherfuckers better run” with all the pleasing invisible harmonics of the right kind of distortion, along with a sonically satisfying anthemic feel. Drummer Gil Sharone brings on a heavy in-the-pocket swing that shows us from the first get-go that they’re a rock band who knows what the fuck they’re doing. The guitars come in bendy and expressive and it’s a relief to listen to the life in a track that was confidently left alone and not overthought or overwrought. The bass part, with the distortion up on the amp, is the kind of bass part the teenager in you wishes you were playing.

“Deep Six” stays true to fist-pumping stadium-rock, but listening to it I suddenly pictured a kid singing along to the Cure, Patti Smith and the Smiths all in one afternoon, and turning the volume to 11 in a rehearsal room.  Sample lyric: “You want to know what Zeus said to Narcissus?/’You better watch yourself’” (As you remember from Greek mythology, Zeus was god of the sky, lightning and thunder, and justice, and Narcissus couldn’t part with the beauty of his own reflection in the pool, and drowned in his own self-obsession.)

I like the vulnerability of the opening lines in “The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles”: “I don’t know if I cannot open up, I’ve been opened enough/ I don’t know if I can open up, I’m not a birthday present.”  I remember Mephistopheles from reading Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe in high school. Is he corrupting or is he the companion to those who already feel hopelessly wounded? Like I said, the only devil that can damn you is the devil within you.

“Slave Only Dreams to Be King” has a lot to be mined in it. It starts with a recording of a man with a southern accent (actor Walton Goggins, Jr.) reciting from “As a Man Thinketh,” an early 20th-century essay by English author and poet James Allen:

The human Will, that force unseen,
The offspring of a deathless Soul,
Can hew a way to any goal,
Though walls of granite intervene. 

Be not impatient in delay,
But wait as one who understands;
When spirit rises and commands,
The gods are ready to obey.

Atop a groove reminiscent of ’70s get-the-party-going Gary Glitter, the conversational lead vocal swaggers in full goth-glamerama regalia. In the chorus, Marilyn sings, “There were men of brand-new parents didn’t know it yet/So we chanted work, work, work/but they didn’t know they were dead”; the song ends with a line from which a new world can be woven: “You are what you beat.”

Which brings me to “Cupid Carries a Gun.” Manson’s new collaborator Tyler Bates maintains a hypnotic mid-tempo groove on guitar and bass, but the song might have worked better for me if it had been framed as a third-party narrative instead of the singer putting himself in the story. The title is great but the lyrics sound like the outpourings of a Repressed Christian Upbringing, with metaphors of sex and religion prematurely sowing its seed like a hormonal 16-year-old on his first night on the town. I had a hard time with lines like “She… laid as still as a Bible” and “Keep your halo tight” while he sings to “Better pray for hell, not hallelujah.” It never hits me right when you’re identifying with the persona of a singer who has earned your trust, and then they sing from the point of view of someone you don’t want to hang around with, such as the mindless accomplice to a woman’s lack of presence or consciousness about her body.  I realize that actors pretend to be lots of different people, but I want a singer to be consistent in their point of view. Marilyn’s views on the Bible are way more appealing when he’s not lost in in a sex-zombie stupor, like when he said on the Maher show, “I like it [the Bible] as a book. Just like I like The Cat in the Hat.”

What I most love about Marilyn are the things he says that are not necessarily in his songs. Maybe it took rock stardom for people to listen, but I’m a fan of the way he mixes the elements of our culture the way a painter mixes colors. Maybe he’s cracked the Fibonacci sequence of lipstick, maybe he’s just a cool, smart dude too insecure to sit invisibly in a corner and not be the life of the party. But Marilyn Manson’s madness has a golden touch, and he has a way with pulling the pin of a grenade that dangles over our complacency, and it makes me interested in what he’s going to offer up from his music, acting and paintings yet to come.

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