Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget cover
  • Release date: September 28, 2004
  • Genre: Rock, Industrial Rock, Glam rock
  • Length: 65:58
  • Label: Interscope
  • Written by: Marilyn Manson, Twiggy Ramirez, John 5, Tim Skold, Daisy Berkowitz, Gidget Gein, M. W. Gacy, Trent Reznor
    Cover songs by: Martin Gore, Eb Cobb, David A. Stewart

Track List

Marilyn MansonMartin GoreEd CobbDavid StewartMarilyn MansonTwiggy RamirezJohn 5Tim SkoldDaisy BerkowitzGidget GeinM. W. GacyTrent ReznorMartin GoreEd CobbDavid Stewart
The Love SongXXX
Personal JesusXX
The Fight SongXX
Tainted LoveXX
The Dope ShowXX
This Is The New ShitXXXX
Disposable TeensXXX
Sweet DreamsXXX
Rock Is DeadXXX
Get Your GunnXXX
The NobodiesXXX
The Long Hard Road Out of HellXX
The Beautiful PeopleXX
The Reflecting GodXXX


Lest We Forget was conceived as a farewell album due to Manson's intention to take a hiatus from music and focus on different forms of art. Although Manson did say at the time that this wouldn't be the last Marilyn Manson album, there was no set date for when the hiatus would end, and it seems that even Manson himself didn't know how long the hiatus would last. It was later revealed that the decision to quit music had a lot to do with pressure from his then wife Dita Von Teese to rein down his chaotic rockstar lifestyle, as well as his growing dissatisfaction for the way his record label was constraining his creativity and meddling with his art for commercial reasons. For more information on that, see the article about "Eat Me, Drink Me", and "The High End of Low". Reflecting on this period a few years later, Manson admitted in an interview that his desire to focus on different kinds of art forms was essentially his attempt to run away from himself.

The album was a greatest hits compilation, consisting of studio versions of the band's most popular songs, with some mild remastering in select tracks. The only new material that appeared on this album was a cover of Depeche Mode's song Personal Jesus, which Manson described as the kind of song he would have written today if he were to write a song. A limited edition of the album came with a DVD that contained most of the band's music videos up to that point, and an even more limited edition came with an uncensored version of the music video for the song (s)AINT, which was self-funded by Manson and essentially banned by the label for its provocative content. Also on the limited-edition DVD was the Holy Wood era video Autopsy, a making-of featurette for the mOBSCENE video, and the performance-only version of the Disposable Teens video. All three were hidden as easter eggs in the DVD menus.

Despite being a farewell album, the album did have its own tour.

About this (lack of) analysis

Since this is a compilation album, all the songs are covered in the articles for the albums they originally appeared on. Also, since this article is about Marilyn Manson, I will not be doing analysis for lyrics that weren't written by Manson. This leaves us with nothing to give commentary on. I will however provide commentary on the choice of the cover song, since the decision to cover the song is in itself a creative decision (and the only musical one on the whole album), and also analyze the artwork and beyond-the-record content as I do in other articles.

Song Analysis

Personal Jesus

Regarding to his decision to cover Personal Jesus, Manson had this to say:

I wanted to sum up everything I've done so far. That's the reason I covered Personal Jesus, it wrapped up everything in one slice of pop culture. It was first released in the same year I started the band and recording it now closes one chapter and opens a new one. It's a farewell to the past. When I took the words Marilyn Manson and put them together, I was summing up pop culture in two words. Now "Personal Jesus" says something more than anything I could say myself right now.

Reach out and touch faith

Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who cares
Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who's there

Feeling unknown
And you're all alone
Flesh and bone
By the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I'll make you a believer
Take second best
Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess
I will deliver
You know I'm a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith
Reach out and touch faith

Your own personal Jesus...

Feeling unknown
And you're all alone
Flesh and bone
By the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I'll make you a believer
I will deliver
You know I'm a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith
Your own personal Jesus
Reach out and touch faith


The artwork contains a collection of pictures from the various eras of the band, some stills from the video for Personal Jesus, and some of Manson's paintings. In this article I shall only focus on new artwork, so for information related to photos from previous eras (if any) see the relevant era articles.

Experience Is the Mistress of Fools

Experience Is The Mistress of Fools painting

This is one of Manson's many self-portraits, used for the album cover. The painting title is an English proverb that means "good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from poor judgement".

The horn-like protrusions on his head are a stylized version of the jester hat, also known as a fool's cap.

Fool's cap

For God So Loved the World That He Gave His Only Begotten Son (Father's Day Gift for Hugh Warner)

Father's Day Gift for Hugh Warner

This is a mixed media picture that- as the name implies- was a Father's Day gift for Hugh Warner, Manson's father. The picture's name is a biblical reference (John 3:16). In this chapter, Jesus has a conversation with Nicodemus, a Jewish leader, explaining to him that God sent his son into the world so that humanity could see the one true way and thus not miss out on eternal life in heaven.

The pages of text that serve as the picture's background are from the bible, and include pages from Chronicles and Revelation.

The bloody hand is a reference to stigmata, a supernatural phenomenon in which wounds spontaneously appear in locations corresponding to where people think the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ were (the idea that Jesus was crucified through his palms is a pop culture misconception, since nails through palms could not have supported the weight of the body, so if he was nailed to the cross at all [there's some debate on whether he was nailed or tied], it was probably through his wrists, not hands. Nevertheless, wound in palm is how stigmata is often represented). The wound is covered by a cross made from band aids. Since both the wound and the "cure" are Christian symbols, one way to understand this combination is that Christianity is an attempt to address problems that it itself created.

The Death of Art

The Death of Art painting

This painting depicts a building with twin towers, burning. The façade of the main building looks like an angry howling face. It's not known for sure what this building is supposed to be, but a likely theory is that it is the Dome of Berlin, which was bombed in 1944 with combustible liquid that set its roof on fire and resulted in the destruction of many books and works of art. This theory is based on actual similarity between the painting and the building, as well as Manson's comment in an interview, saying:

We set forth to the Dome of Berlin at dusk and I felt like I was in my own painting, 'The Death of Art'.

CD art

CD artKabaret poster

The album art is reminiscent of the poster for the 1972 movie Kabaret, a period film set in Weimar Republic Berlin, an era and location which served as inspiration for the album The Golden Age of Grotesque.

Beyond The Record

The Lest We Forget era yielded one single, one music video, and a tour-limited remix EP.

Personal Jesus single

Personal Jesus single

The cover for the Personal Jesus single features a Christogram in place of the letter P. A Christogram is a monogram (a combination of letters into one symbol) that forms an abbreviation of the name Jesus Christ. This particular Christogram is a combination of the Greek letters Chi (X) and Rho (P), which are the first two letters of the Greek χριστός (Christ).

The Nobodies: 2005 Against All Gods Mix EP

Crop Failure painting

This was a remix compilation EP limited to the Korean leg of the Against All Gods tour. The artwork included a painting by Manson called "Crop Failure". It depicts Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two students who executed the Columbine school shooting that the media blamed on Manson's music. They are depicted on the fingers of a hand showing a victory sign. The victory sign represents the idea that Eric and Dylan achieved victory. In an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, Manson commented that:

When you have things like Columbine and you have these kids that are angry and they have something to say and no one's listening, the media sends a message that if you do something loud enough and it gets our attention then you will be famous for it. Those kids ended up on the cover of Times magazine, the media gave them exactly what they wanted...

This painting appeared in the Rolling Stone essay that Manson wrote about the Columbine shooting, called Columbine: Whose Fault Is It? In an interview for MTV, Manson explained that:

I was making a statement about America, and it was definitely part of my reaction for being blamed for something like Columbine. I thought the title 'Crop Failure' was appropriate for several reasons. Columbine, some people might know, is a flower. And, obviously, ['Crop' represents] raising up your children and harvesting them properly. Something did go wrong here, and I think the farmers should be blamed, not the entertainers.

The Nobodies (2005 Against All Gods Mix) track

The title remix of the EP is notable for having some new content. During the break, this speech by Manson is included:

I don't know love, I never cared to and I'm not sure if I ever will.
I'm a student of hate. I know now that god is a medium.
Whatever I expected to save me from this life is no longer the one I can hate.
It is the people that made me; it is the people I wanted so much to be.
I may only find love in their destruction.

This remix was also used in a re-release of The Nobodies music video, also present on the EP. The music video is the same as the original, except that all shots featuring the band members were removed.

Personal Jesus music video

The music video features the band performing in front of projections of famous leaders, such as Joseph Stalin, John F. Kennedy, Mahatma Ghandi, Adolf Hitler, and George W. Bush. Manson has wounds in his hands patched by band aids in the shape of the cross. As discussed in the artwork section, the wounds are a reference to stigmata, the supernatural phenomenon of wounds spontaneously appearing in locations on the body where people think Jesus was nailed to the cross. Since both the wound and the "cure" are Christian symbols, one way to understand this combination is that Christianity is an attempt to address problems that it itself created.

The video also includes 4 scantily clad women riding mechanical horses. In an interview for French magazine Rock Mag, Manson commented that the women are a reference to the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse from the Book of Revelation:

It was also a challenge to make the video for a song containing the word 'Jesus' without falling into obviousness and cliché. I just spent three days for the shooting and even got a bit sick from it. There were giant walls of fire, mechanical horses, and half-naked horsewomen of apocalypse running after me...

Perhaps the most complex imagery in the video is the scene with the baby. Manson commented on it in an interview for Hit40 UK, stating that:

Baby from Personal Jesus music video

The baby worked perfectly in so many ways because it fit into pop culture, it fit into religion and politics all in one because it really represented how we exploit and market things to young people and we're conditioned from birth to buy into whatever thing it is that America in particular decides [...] it also applies to the nativity of Christ and to the politician with the baby.

The nuns who hand the baby over to Manson are wearing cornettes on their heads. The cornette headwear is a distinctive feature of the Daughters of Charity, a Catholic society of apostolic life that specializes in taking care of the poor through works of mercy.

Nuns from Personal Jesus music videoDaughters of Charity