The song “The Beautiful People” is an ironic critique of American culture’s obsession with physical beauty. The song was written by Marilyn Manson and Twiggy Ramirez and was released as the lead single from his second studio album, Antichrist Superstar in September 1996.
Lyrically, the track is influenced by the semi-narrative examination of Nietzsche’s Ubermensch on the album, along with an exploration of social Darwinism and capitalism. In addition, the song features a short speech sample from Tex Watson, who was part of the notorious Manson Family that terrorized California in the 1960s and 1970s.
Musically, the track is a riff-heavy metal anthem that is heavy on drums and guitar. It also features an electronic noise component, with distorted voice samples from Tex Watson being used at the beginning of the song.
In the lyrics, the song focuses on how society’s obsession with beauty is detrimental to self-esteem and morality. The chorus, in particular, encourages people to look beyond appearance and focus on values that matter.
The music video, directed by Florida Sigismondi, was nominated for the 1997 MTV VMAs and is notable for incorporating an old alcohol distillery into the production. The video was also accompanied by a clean radio edit of the song, removing any curse words. This version was later featured on the band’s Brutal Legend video game, which was released in 2009. The song is also featured on several popular music-based video games, including “Guitar Hero 5” (2009) and “Rock Band 3” (2010).