The album was met with mixed reviews, some happy that Ramirez was back and the music was more upbeat than on the previous record and some negative about that the music and lyrics not being up to standard.
In my own opinion The High End Of Low is actually an enjoyable album and there are some great moments on it. It is however let down by a few problems, and also in comparison to some of his other albums. The main problems are track sequencing, album duration, stylistic inconstancy and some of the same lyrical misfiring that has been present on every album after Holywood.
For the most part, the album feels a little confused and overlong. For one; the track order seems a little too scattered, as though the songs were hastily rearranged out of the correct order at the last minute and consequently several tracks don’t seem really to fit well between the songs the follow or precede.
Secondly, the album is 72 minutes long and the copious material within is in a wealth of different styles to the point where it almost feels as if it is trying too much at once. Variety is usually a good thing and it is often nice to have an album that doesn’t end too early, but The High End Of Low unfortunately doesn’t get the balance just right.
For example, there are a few up tempo heavy tracks in ‘Pretty As A Swastika’ ‘We’re From America’ and ‘Blank And White’ which sit alongside dark pop like ‘Devour’ and ‘Unkillable Monster’ as well as ballads like ‘Four Rusted Horses’ ‘Into The Fire’ and ‘15’ and even a trippy hypnotic number called ‘I Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies’ that lasts for nine minutes and feels like an album closer but bizarrely sits at the halfway point.
After a hypnotic nine-minute album closer the rest of the album seems a little bit like a drag, especially when thereafter tracks are generally slower and less dynamic. This makes the album difficult to digest and it almost feels as if you need to take it in across two separate sittings each time.
Despite these problems, there are quite a few highlights and there is a lot to enjoy on the album. Some of the tracks are very enjoyable, it grows on you with repeat listens and despite taking it too far, the variety on offer does give the album a much less one-dimensional feel than the two albums which preceded it. Should you wish to only listen to the best moments or to take it in across two sittings then you will find enough moments to enjoy without risking being overwhelmed in an avalanche of conflicting ideas.
In summary, The High End Of Low is a flawed album but ultimately it is still a decent album despite these flaws. It may seem a little lacking on first listen, but closer inspection will reveal hidden quality. While it isn’t up to the extremely high standards of the band at their absolute peak, it is still of a high enough standard to be worth a listen for both die-hards who like everything Manson does and casual fans who don’t just care about the three best albums.