Charles Manson Air

How does one even begin to assess this album? Charles Manson, murderer, was also an aspiring singer-songwriter ― some have even claimed a brilliant one ― during the late '60s when he and his "family" terrorized Los Angeles. Air is the first of a proposed four-album series of Manson prison recordings, just him and an acoustic guitar, but the fascination with catching a glimpse inside his twisted mind wears off pretty quickly. While he does possess an interesting knack for melody, Air's eight tracks are rambling, and those that start off with a promising idea, such as "Brother Gun" and "East Bound Train," degenerate into improvised nonsense. The only proof that it's even Manson is in spoken word pieces "World Perspectives" and "Air is the King," on which he pontificates in his well-known style. It's hard to recommend Air wholeheartedly, but there's no denying Manson will always touch a certain societal nerve that demands further investigation. That said, this album won't inspire repeated listens, which erases some of the mystique, thankfully. (Magic Bullet)