I recently stumbled across the rarely mentioned Charles Manson album, (dare I say masterpiece?) Lie. While many, I'm sure were already well aware of the cult leader's musical talents, this discovery was somewhat of a surprise to me. Comprised of 14 short, poetic songs, about cultural/cosmic despair and distrust, the album is deeply routed in the folk hippie movement of the late 1960's. I think it is fair to categorize the album in what Gram Parson's referred to as "Cosmic American Music" that is, music that depicts the outsider, freedom loving hero's vision of America as it was intended to be (a land of free thinking rebels, antiheros, and lovers). Naturally, I am not alone in my admiration for Manson's musical talents, both Neil Young and Dennis Wilson (of whom you should check out his new reissue, Pacific Ocean Blues) were active supporters of Charlie's brand of psychedelic folk tunes. For me the real stand outs on the album are "Look at Your Girl," "Ego," "Home is Where You're Happy," "Arkansas," "Garbage Dump," "Big Iron Door," and my personal favorite "Sick City." His music seems to explore themes of disallusionment and skepticism of follow-follow-the-leader society, distrust of government, loneliness, diffidence, and the freedom that poverty, or at the very least, a break from mainstream capitalist culture can provide.
Manson's music on Lie is very charasmatic, idealistic, and thought provoking. Coupled with his good looks (despite what most photos would have you believe) it hardly seems surprising that Manson would become one of the most infamous and intoxicating cult leaders of the last century.
In accordance with today's theme of artistically inclined cult leaders, Guess today's mystery artist!
I hope that wasn't too heavy handed a hint.