“Don’t Chase the Dead” by Marilyn Manson
“Don’t Chase the Dead” features the type of dark lyrics one would expect from Marilyn Manson. But that being noted, the wording is very, very open-ended. It was intentionally designed so by Manson, who “wanted… listeners to have their [own] version of the story”. So in the first verse when he speaks of “angels in exile” and “an ice cream truck in your inferno”, one is free to take it as he or she will.
However, both of those scenarios read as instances where perfection or joy is interrupted by less-than-ideal elements. For instance, an ‘angel in exile’ would then have to deal with the evils of man’s world as opposed to the idealness of heaven. Or on the other hand we have “an ice cream truck”, an overall symbol of happiness or even innocence some would say, being caught in an inferno. And between it all, the singer also acknowledges the presence of “the dead”.
Meaning of “don’t chase the dead”
The pre-chorus is a bit easier to understand. Telling someone “don’t chase the dead” reads a lot like a popular expression, i.e. chasing death. Said term alludes to the idea of someone doing something dangerously reckless. And the way the titular phrase is used in said passage connotes a similar meaning, i.e. if you seek death, then death will also seek you. It almost reads as if Marilyn is acknowledging the concept of reaping and sowing, or perhaps more realistically in his case we can say karma.
But then the chorus takes us back not the realm of more-challenging interpretations. Here, Manson makes a statement which reads really deep, “If tonight lasts forever it won’t matter if there’s no tomorrow”. In terms of what that actually means, the listener is once again tasked with coming up with their own interpretation. But if it helps any, the singer/songwriter has also stated that, in this song, ‘what he was really trying to capture’ is a ‘sound like the end of the world’. So perhaps we can go out on a limb and also say the concept of their being “no tomorrow” is also related to that of the end of the world.
In the second verse, the singer puts forth that he is hellbound. And he is also aware that the addressee(s) of the song “wanna be there too”. So this short segment apparently points back to the overall theme of ‘chasing the dead’.
And conclusively it can be said that the primary matter at hand isn’t the addressee possessing a desire to die but rather a desire to go to hell – a realm which it can be argued that artists like Marilyn Manson have an affinity for. But at the same time, the vocalist also seems to be advising individuals under such a disposition not to play this game unless they are prepared for what it entails.
Facts about “Don’t Chase the Dead”
Fans were officially introduced to this track on 11 September 2020. That is the same day the album it is featured on, “We Are Chaos”, came out via Loma Vista Recordings. And “Don’t Chase the Dead” acted as the second single from that project. The first was “We Are Chaos” (which shares the same name as the album).
The origins of “Don’t Chase the Dead”, according to Marilyn Manson, trace back to a tune Shooter Jennings put together on his guitar. Shooter Jennings is the artist who wrote and produced the song with Marilyn Manson (the singer). And they also both play guitar during the chorus of the tune.
Also just to note for those who don’t know, Shooter Jennings is a musician in his own right. Indeed both of his parents, Waylon Jennings (1937-2002) and Jessi Colter, are well known in country music circles, with his dad being akin to a music legend.
This track made it onto four different Billboard charts, faring most impressively on the Hot Hard Rock Songs list, where it peaked at number five.
And “We Are Chaos” has been pretty successful itself, topping the UK Rock & Metal Albums chart as well as the Billboard Top Rock Albums listing, in addition to reaching number 8 on the Billboard 200.
The music video to “Don’t Chase the Dead” came out relatively late, i.e. 24 September, about two weeks after the song itself. The delay was apparently due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. And in the clip Marilyn Manson is joined by his wife, Lindsay Usich and Norman Reedus. Norman Reedus is a long-tenured Hollywood actor who plays a major role in the clip and is known to many as Daryl Dixon from the ultra-popular The Walking Dead TV series (or to others as Scud from Blade 2).
The director of the music video is Travis Shinn. And the visual itself has been described as featuring plenty of depictions of blood.