Smells Like Children- Marilyn Manson

Release Year: 1995

Rating: 6.5/10

This strange EP is definitely not for every Manson fan. This is the most experimental album in the band’s catalog and some people may enjoy it, but others may find it a bit too weird. While there are some awesome covers found here including the excellent “Sweet Dreams,” there are decent remixes and weird sound clips. This collection sounds more like something the band released for their own pleasure.

The album begins with the track “The Hands of Small Children,” which is nothing but weird demonic sounding noises playing over a distorted baby crying. There really seems to be no point to this track besides introducing the listener to what they will find on the album. The next track “Diary of a Dope Fiend” is a super slow remix of “Dope Hat.” It’s actually a pretty cool remix that manages to make the song creepy and sinister. And the way Manson is singing gives the song a dark, jazz undertone. It’s a good remix, but it may move too slowly for some people.

The other remixes are pretty interesting as well. They include two remixes of “Cake and Sodomy,” including one with a country feel to it and two versions of “Dope Hat” plus a remix of “Organ Grinder.” Some of the remixes make the songs more intense and aggressive than when originally recorded. While they are interesting to hear there is nothing super or standout about these remixes. On “Dance of the Dopehats” the music is awesome, but the vocals just don’t fit well. If anything the remixes are worth checking out, even if it’s just to temper curiosity. It would’ve been better if there were remixes of different tracks from Portrait of an American family, rather than the same three songs.

This album is full of strange noise experiments, such as clips from the Phil Donahue hue show remixed in some manner to a four minute track featuring a conversation about someone taking their medication. With this kind of material my first thought is what is the point? Why put a part of a conversation on the album? It’s not even a very interesting one at that. There is also a track called “Fuck Frankie,” which has what sounds like two people having sex while constantly repeating “Fuck Frankie.” A lot of it just seems pointless. It seems like you have to be high to be entertained or understand these clips.

The best part of the album are the cover songs. The best and most popular one is “Sweet Dreams” a cover of the Eurythmics classic. The band manages to make this song a nightmare and shows how dark the song really is. The vocals here are awesome. They’re aggressive and violent, which Manson knows how to pull off well. And the guitar playing is great too. The guitar sounds as if it’s playing underwater and the solo sounds sleek and sexy. Definitely one of the band’s best tracks of all time.

The next cover “I Put a Spell on You” turns this already creepy track into a dark infested hell. The bass and guitar riff also manages to make the song sound trippy as if you’ve eaten some mushrooms and are trapped in a hellish fun house. Again, Manson shows off his violent and aggressive vocals. Any fan of the original will appreciate how Marilyn Manson manages to make it their own.

The last cover, the controversially named “Rock and Roll Nigger,” takes this rock classic from Patti Smith and gives it some attitude. It’s filled with hatred, aggression, and so much energy. I think this is one of the best hidden Manson gems. This song will get you moving and headbanging with just the first notes. And the way Manson proclaims “I am the all American Antichrist, I’m invading America” not only shows off Manson’s ego, but it also acts as a foreshadow for the band’s second album Antichrist Superstar.

Overall, I give this album 6.5/10. Most of it is just plain weird; something you don’t want to listen to on a regular basis. And while the remixes aren’t bad, they aren’t anything that really catches you’re attention, especially since there are several remixes for the same song. If the album was comprised of remixes of different tracks from their first album, then maybe it would’ve been better. Though the cover songs are the best tracks on the album, they aren’t enough to make this release better. One thing the album shows is how the band had balls. They had the gall to release an experimental noise album without caring what anyone would think of it. I can’t imagine the band releasing anything like this today. It just shows the kind of attitude they had back in the day. I would only recommend this album to fans who are interested in collecting all Manson releases. Otherwise, go with something else.

What do you think about this EP? Do  you actually dig the sound clips? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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