Ghost-like electric-guitar moans, ominous piano and a mesmerizing acoustic blues-guitar line open “Cupid Carries a Gun,” the latest song from Marilyn Manson‘s forthcoming LP, The Pale Emperor, to be released. The singer croaks lyrics about witch drums and how you “better pray for hell, not hallelujah,” before invoking snakes, spiders and “black crow eyes” as the song unfolds around the titular chorus. It’s a slow-burning, bluesy number that shows a new side to the record, which comes out on January 20th.
The last April, a portion of the song has serves as the opening-credits music for WGN’s fantasy series Salem. Like the other songs on The Pale Emperor, Manson co-wrote the tune with Tyler Bates, who is best known for scoring movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Rob Zombie’s Halloween, as well as TV shows like Californication and, as luck would have it, Salem.
“Manson and I wrote a draft of ‘Cupid Carries a Gun’ shortly before I began working on the score for Salem,” Bates told The Hollywood Reporter last year. “A couple weeks later I saw the title sequence and the song immediately came to mind. I showed it to Manson for fun more than anything, and it inspired us to finish the song that night.”
“The song ‘Cupid Carries a Gun’ was the last track we just finished for my new album,” Manson said to THR at the time. “The occult and witchcraft [are] so often used in cinema with a heinous disregard for even researching its origins. However, I liked the themes of Salem. It looks at the witch trials without being cliché like most modern films.”
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Manson revealed that many of the songs on The Pale Emperor were recorded in a single take. “It’s dirty,” he said happily “like the dirt under my nails, like someone who has dug a grave.”