Alice Cooper Song Reviews
Pretties For You (1969)
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Titanic Overture 8/10
Alice Cooper takes the moment to begin the album with a twisted, instrumental that's ... um ... kind of like Frank Zappa except not quite as crazy. It's basically some guy playing a mellotron like an organ. It was probably made up on the spot ... a piano comes in at the end, but it doesn't do much before the fade-out.
10 Minutes Before the Worm 7.5/10
Hey ....... I miss my guinea pig. I'm a little bit worried about the guinea pig sound effects. They used to do quite awful things to chickens ... yeah, I don't trust this band. This is structureless and melodiless ... like a Frank Zappa song except it's more sloppy! (And probably more fun too.)
Swing Low Sweet Cheerio 9/10
This is more of an above average psychedelic tune. It's kind of like "Journey to the Center of the Mind" by the Amboy Dukes except worse. But these guys really put forth a decent impersonation! The instrumentals are very sloppy again, but it's fun here. The cluttered but professional instrumentals have exactly what we're supposed to love hearing out of this type of music. Nice work.
Today Mueller 8.5/10
Almost reminds me of a show-tune! (Well, hey, there's at least a vague hint at the future here.) It's a weird and sloppy song. It seems like a song and dance routine a bunch of clumsy monsters would put on. Very fun. This comes off with a good tune and the wierdness doesn't detract to it, but adds!
This is pretty good! This is another psychedelic song that fits the era pretty well. Early Pink Floyd is what this reminds me fondly of. The song has a decent melody, and there's some dark, sludgy electric guitar solos to give it that atmosphere. I love it!
Fields of Regret 9/10
I'm waiting quite patiently for this band to totally screw up. Not that I want this group to screw up ... I'm just surprised it hasn't totally happened yet. Granted, all of this heavy acid-rock posturing gets pretty heavy handed here. But it's very enjoyable! Again, I'm seeing early Pink Floyd here. It's definitely a well structured song, and they do all they can to make it weird and cluttery. It's pretty interesting, especially the electric guitar duet in the middle of it! WEIRD. WEIRD. I also like those ghost howls. (I reviewed an independent band recently who did a similar thing. Awesome!)
No Longer Umpire 7/10
Less enjoyable here ... but it's still so weird that it wasn't a wasted experience. These guys are doing all they can to prove their psychedelic nutjobs! Well, they succeed! ... They also do a great job freaking out '70s Alice Cooper fans!!!!
Levity Ball 7/10
OK ... um ... this is a similarly "heavy" song as "Fields of Regret." Maybe they did a little bit too much drugs to prepare for this one. (Not that there's anything wrong with drugs other than it's bad for you and could land you in jail.) The vocals sound distorted to me ... and barely listenable. The structure of this song is weird... it's too liquidy. Well, I guess they prove once and for all they're no Pink Floyd.
B.B. on Mars 7.5/10
Back with their crazy Frank Zappa inspired structures. Hardly over a minute long, this kind of weirdness is easiest to take in small doses! In a way, this is less alien than much of Zappa's work. I can't say why.
...Wow, I hear "I WANNA BE ELEEEEEEEECTED!!!!!!!!!" in this (from Billion Dollar Babies). The melody is decent. That with the usual addition of psychedelic weirdness makes this another enjoyable track from these crazies. (But we know they're not really crazies... at least in the Syd Barret sense. They put on a good show at least!)
Apple Bush 9/10
This must be Kate Bush's daughter! ... Oh wait it was Gwyneth Paltrow that named her daughter "Apple." OK. The song structure seems a little more poppy here ... they have a chorus and section for the instrumental interlude and everything. The cluttery guitars and busy drums make the song another weird addition to the album, but ... hey there's almost a normal song beneath this! They get a little too carried away at times, but this is pretty enjoyable. Certainly not tiresome.
Earwigs from Eternity 7/10
The sooner this band gets away from that Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart weirdness the better. Granted, it's a short song and not too difficult to take, but .......... they're testing me here.
Changing Arranging 8.5/10
Oooooohhh... It's the last song. They appropriately choose to end it with another weird one! I appreciate this weirdness for some reason... The song is structured almost normally but with its own set of twists and turns. They sound like they worked on it long enough! The harmonic sequences are staggering, and the instrumentation is ever-creative with a few rip-roaring guitar passages and assorted oddities for good effect. They're 'changing arranging' my brain!!!
Easy Action (1970)
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Mr. and Misdemeanor 9.5/10
This isn't a far cry from the theatrics Vincent Furnier would take on his solo Alice Cooper days. This has the charming feeling of a rejected song from Welcome to My Nightmare. The melody is catchy (which is why I can give this a high rating) but I also like the show-tune pretenses! The instrumentation is fun although it features rather simple uses of a piano, electric guitar and drum. Furnier delivers a fun vocal performance that borders on "gruff."
Shoe Salesman 9/10
This is almost a pleasant soft-rocker .......................... that's surprising because that's not the sort of thing we're used to hearing from Alice Cooper. But anyway, the song is rather pleasant and well orchestrated ... a thoughtful guitar chimes in here and there ... the bass chugs along nicely. A double coating of creativity was mercifully thrown at it, and there's some really nicely crafted rhythm changes throughout.
Still No Air 7/10
Closer to their earlier album, but it comes off as more sloppy and nonsensical than it. The structure isn't very compelling nor is the melody. The only interesting thing is that Furnier quotes from The West Side Story which he would end up doing full-fledged in School's Out.
Below Your Means 7/10
This one's a little bit too intent on featuring their instrumentalists playing not-so-amazingly. (I mean, these guys are great instrumentalist, but ... they aren't doing anything so virtuoso.) This almost seems like an acid-rock tune from their earlier album but with all the weirdness stripped away from it. There isn't much of a melody ............. it drags on for seven minutes and it's not compelling for a second. It's not painful, though ... the instrumentalists are still good, and they keep it from getting too dull.
Return of the Spiders 8.5/10
... even the song titles resembles his Nightmares days! Hmm!!!! Although the hard rock song structrure seems to point pretty closely to Love it to Death. Those drums are pounded so frequently all throughout this song that it's very nearly a drum roll. I love those drums! The lead guitarist does some excellent "noodling."
Laughing at Me 9/10
The songwriting is quite strong here with some complex phrasing. The melody is usually catchy although there's a lot of 'instrumental interludes.' It's a mid-tempoed rocker with a few interesting turns in the instrumentation. There's a lot going on here ... in barely over two minutes.
Refridgerator Heaven 7.5/10
Wind sound effects and some audience cheers opens this one. Weird guitar effects pipe up throughout the song that I can't even describe. High on creativity, but I can't for a moment pretend that I enjoy this. The melody is alright and takes a few nice turns, but it's difficult to appreciate it here.
Beautiful Flyaway 8.5/10
Furnier's endless creativity has always been his strongest point ... it's interesting to see what he comes up with in these early albums, to say the least!!! Again, I love the fact that the melody is complex ... he can really put a song together well. The drawback is this song is kind of hit-or-miss within itself. The main instrument here is a piano ... it starts out pretty dull but then it gets pretty "flighty" at the end. I can't say I'm enjoying this effort but I also think it could have been a little bit stronger somehow.
Lay Down and Die, Goodbye 6.5/10
They're trying to get back at the psychedelic rock here, but it's not nearly as compelling as it was in their earlier album. The song is off-and-on, but it's mostly off. It goes on for seven minutes and it's mostly just a collage of meaningless sound effects. It seems like I accidentally triggered a bunch of car alarms under water instead of a true psychedelic experience. ... Well, it was 1970 anyway. Time to stop thinking like that!
Love it to Death (1971)
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Caught in a Dream 9.5/10
A tight, poppy opening tune. They're too cool to be heavy metal! This is an entirely accessible and catchy number that proves to be a solid almost "warm up" number to introduce the rest of the album. There's some fabulous guitar work here, too! I likeeeeeeeeeeeeee this!
I'm Eighteen 10/10
Ah, here's the big hit! It's funny that this track is shorter than the previous one! This one seems much more larger-than-life. The guitar chords are classic ........ a masterpiece. The melody is very catchy, and who can't also love Furnier's vocal performance? It's rough, he hits all the right notes and it's passionate! Yay!!
Long Way to Go 10/10
I'd have to say this "pub-rock" tune is my favorite of the album. Technically, it's probably worse than "I'm Eighteen," but ... that still doesn't account for taste. The inertia they pick up in this great rocker is undeniable. The guitars are delicious and bouncy--this song is so awesomely spirited! Granted, the melody isn't among their most original ("Come Together," anyone?), but ....... it's still a great song. When they bring in that piano in the latter half, it was the perfect touch.
Black Juju 12/15
After those three three-minute hard-rock songs, it's time for the Coop to go all 9-minutes-long on us and prove that he has tons of artistic integrity. The song begins with some awesome tribal drums and a quiet organ. Then the song gets pretty evil ... Alice gives one of those evil performances. The song gets quieter but still evil as Alice sings something about death. Hmhmhmh.... No wonder the parents didn't like him! Hey, great song, though! It's too lengthy for not really a great reason, but I like what they do. It's creepy and entertaining! That's Alice Cooper for ya.
Is it My Body 9/10
Back to the usual stuff ... it's not really close to three minutes long. Not as inspiring as the previous tracks, but that doesn't mean this isn't another great song from these guys. The melody continues to be catchy and those guitar riffs are wonderful. It's just the usual hard-rock song, but it's even different enough from all the others songs to give it needed distinction.
Hallowed Be My Name 8.5/10
Spooky but exciting! The time length is similar to the previous song. The melody isn't my favorite on here, but get a load of that crazy laugh! Baaaaaaahahahahahhhhhhh!!! The guitar work is really crazy, too ... those wobbles were a very nice touch.
Second Coming 8.5/10
Great melody they have here! It starts up a piano ballad, but then they bring in some sloppy guitars. No, that's not a bad thing. I'd have to say that the ending is my favorite. They bring in those military drums and go through a very excellent chord progression .... the piano eventually takes it over, which gives this song an unexpectedly pleasant end.
Ballad of Dwight Fry 15/15
...and they fade that in expertly with this song. Get a load of the piano!!! It's not Rick Wakeman, but it's very good work! This song is 6.5 minutes and easily the best piece of theater-rock on the album (but then again, all it had to compete with was "Black Juju"). The melody is soooo catchy! Not only that, but the theatrics are extremely enjoyable. Cooper, very goofy, speaks like a little girl at the beginning. Then he goes through some narrative that gets interupted by a rather intense chorus. This is a wonderful song!!!!
Sun Arise 8.5/10
Weird!! They're sounding like the early Stones here, if I may be so bold. I can't say this is my favorite song of the album. (Bluesy songs never seemed to resonate well with me ... I can't make any excuse for that.) It's obvious they're having fun with it and I do like that drum beat, at least! Confidence in rock 'n' roll means everything sometimes, and these guys have it.
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Under My Wheels 9.5/10
The solid hard-rocker gives this album a great beginning! The melodies are absolutely catchy (this, in fact, is what makes Alice Cooper music so appealing to me), and the instrumentals are just perfect. The guitar crunches are delicious. The instrumental build-up at the end gives it a bit of an epic feel, which means this was a perfect beginning. Absolutely solid, and brilliant songwriting.
Be My Lover 10/10
Here is a great rock song, and the melody is, again, very catchy. It's based on a rather catchy riff that sounds like he would repeat with "Department of Youth." Well, this track is better, methinks! He gets a little bit excessive at the end with that overextended coda with some Ethel Merman posturing (!), but it's these kinds of excesses that makes Alice Cooper great --- holy crap.
Halo of Flies 10/10
And a whopping eight-minute master-track enters in the contest. It starts out with some twinkling electric guitars that, I'm guessing, is supposed to sound like buzzing flies coming, one by one, to circle around your head. That produced a very unique sound. The song quickly comes out of that to deliver a few interesting sections --- it's interesting to hear this develop. It takes about the two-minute mark for Furnier to start singing! What he sings isn't necessarily hooky, but it's engaging. He even quotes Rogers and Hammerstein here. Oh, this song goes all the freaking over the place. There's some really neat, muffled guitars around the 4-minute mark! After that, you hear a bit of Arabic noodling --- strange, but appealing. Despite the length of this, you never once get the feeling that they are repeating themselves. It's a new string of ideas after a new string of ideas. (Those descending guitar scales at the end are especially worthy of mention!!) How freakishly wonderful!
This is, like, 1,000,000,000 times better than the Eagles composition of the same name. It begins with some rather ominous guitar strumming, and Furnier talking over it. He gets around to singing, don't worry. He's being dramatic. The section in the final half, with the instrumental build-up featuring a full-scale string section is beautiful. Ah, I guess one of his talents it to be ugly and beautiful at the same time --- not too many musicians can claim that one.
You Drive Me Nervous 9/10
Another enormously solid hard rock song. It's hard to argue with songs that contain such excellent guitar work. That seems to be the coming attraction with this composition, even though the melody is certainly good. The guitars go all over the place.... That's all I have to say about this one.
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah 9/10
This almost seems pretty minimal for this band. The beginning is rather bare, and I was expecting something a little more grandiose. Hey, who cares? If it's catchy, then it doesn't matter. The guitar melody is wonderful (and even outshines the vocal melody).
Dead Babies 10/10
It begins rather lightly --- almost as a creepy ballad. The tone they create, again, is the most ominous and creepy thing that you'll ever want to hear. Then, we hear a sound effect of a baby crying, and we hear Furnier start singing the chorus "Dead babies can take care of themselves!" This is an especially good song on this album, in my opinion. The lyrics are really weird (as if you didn't know that about him already), but the hooks are also incredibly strong. I also like the way this song is structured --- very excellent. This is my favorite song of the album but barely.
Aw, is the album over already? This is the seven-minute closing track. Again, this one prominently features the guitars over the vocal melody (which is still pretty strong). I have no problem with that whatsoever, because the guitar licks are both entertaining and creative. Furnier delivers his furious vocal performance!! Those ghoul screams in the middle are absolutely shiver-inducing. The end features a sort of death march --- it sounds like something that might belong in a Tim Burton movie. Alice Cooper are freaks. Especially that one guy who would change his name to Alice Cooper. Freak. For reals.
School's Out (1972)
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School's Out 10/10
Alice Cooper's ultimate anthem for youth. When I was young, nothing was better than school being let out for the summer. I would start counting the days 50 days away (Spring Break always instigated that). But anyway, Alice Cooper captures the exact same spirit I'd have... Elaborate chord progressions, development and wild passion... It's very over-dramatic in the way pre-teens and teenagers can get. College being let out for summers is completely different--- it takes me a week to actually realize it's over. Those sort of awkward days when it feels weird that I'm not studying anything. The melody is catchy and instantly memorable, and the glammy instrumentation is done precisely. Great guitar crunches, and everything!!!
Luney Tune 9/10
It doesn't quite come off as wonderful. It's a little bit breezier and less involving. Though I certainly like it. It's non-redundant structure proves these guys had a great sense of songwriting. (I mean, this song has at least four distinct sections --- it's not just one riff being repeated over and over.) The riff is quite good, and the vocal melody is sung quite well. That sort of Vegasy chorus in the middle is nice. It's kind of a shame he didn't elaborate that, but --- well, it's fine the way it is. I love the ending --- these guys were great.
Gutter Cat Vs. the Jets 9.5/10
As you probably know, Alice Cooper likes The West Side Story. He already used some snippets of that in his 1970 album, Easy Action. Even that album's title is derived from that musical. This recreates a different rumble. Apparently, the Jets have other rivals... This track begins quite softly with some guitar noodling. But then he starts to play a bit of a riff, and other instruments come in and join in the fun. What ensues is a highly spirited and captures that bad attitude in a showtune way. In the middle, it begins quoting some lines from The West Side Story. This is a gas.
Street Fight 8.5/10
Some sound bytes that recreates that confusion that resulted after the post-rumble in The West Side Story. People are running away, and you hear police sirens. An electric guitar loop and some excited drumming keep the spirit... This isn't even a minute long.
Blue Turk 10/10
Alice Cooper's getting a little jazzy. Who knows why parents were frightened of him back then. He's writing their music now! And it's quite good too. All that horn noodling is about as good as it gets. The beat is nice 'n' snappy, and the vocal melody (whenever it's here) is very catchy. This is excellent and professional songwriting, and still (above everything else) it's fun.
My Stars 8/10
Some nice twinkly pianos start up (though with solid bass counterpoint --- I don't want to give the impression that they got wussy all of the sudden). This turns into one of the more furious tracks of the album, and Furnier delivers another mean vocal performance! Kind of an ugly song for awhile, but again the development is varied and phenomenal. Their ability with that is very Beatles-esque, if I may be that bold. Though as far as melodies go, this one isn't so memorable. I think it's exciting enough to justify the six-minute running length, and as I said they certainly had a fountain of ideas that were seamlessly strewn together. Perhaps a step back from the similar-length tracks from Killer, but that's nothing to dwell over. This is fun to hear as always!
Public Animal #9 9.5/10
Yay! Alice Cooper goes Motown!! This track has those upbeat and soulful choruses, and even clapping. The groove is as infectious as the best from Motown in its heyday, and the melody is wonderful! Such great spirit! He never lets up the inertia. Plus, Alice Cooper were dead-set against keeping the same hook going throughout an entire song. That's one of the reasons I like them/him so much... This is art, dang you!! And it's really awesomely fun. ... I don't have to be articulate!!
Alma Mater 9/10
This sounds like something Paul McCartney would come up with. Funny... I like it of course! The melody is catchy and nice. The instrumentation is wonderful ... particularly at the end when they manage to make this thing capture the whole mood... (This song is supposed to be a 'goodbye' to his friends. Just as I used to countdown gloriously to the last day of school, I'd always feel a bit sad once it came. This is exactly what this song does.) The very end of the song plays Taps!
Grande Finale 9/10
I'd say "Alma Mater" is the real conclusion of the album. This turns out to have the same sort of effect as end-credits would to a film. It's an instrumental with distinctive cinematic qualities. It doesn't seem as conclusive as the previous track did. Oh, but this is really enjoyable to hear. The themes are excellent, and it's perfectly orchestrated. Weird guitar tones throughout this whole thing.... Great!!!! Thanks, Alice!!!!!!!
Billion Dollar Babies (1973)
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Hello Hooray 9.5/10
I was surprised to learn that this is an old folk song previously covered by Judy Collins. Alice Cooper isn't known for covers, so I had always just assumed that this was an original composition --- but it isn't! It's surely much different than the Collins version, and it's vastly superior. Collins version was pleasant to hear, but this sounds like that it's the whole reason for the original version to have existed. It's much more violent and passionate for a start--- Furnier sings it with conviction and, at the end, there's a bit of a holler in his voice. The arrangements are grandiose and glorious --- they just use the usual array of guitars and synthesizers, but it's wonderful. This is a really nice song to rile you up to take in the rest of the album.
Raped and Freezin' 8.5/10
Funny, but this sort of proves why this album can't be considered any better than Killer. Why? Just because it's not a spectacular composition. It's very tight and well constructed with a melody that's fine --- but it's just not totally inspired. Not that it isn't likable, and it's certainly not cheap. They certainly do some unpredictable things in here --- most notably, turning this into a bit of an upbeat Latin number at the very end. Yes, it's a good song, but --- it's not fantastic. That's only a pointed problem, because this is Alice Cooper, and Alice Cooper is usually fantastic.
Ah, super sweet! This is an absolutely THUNDERING song that tracks the journey of somebody running for public office who sings "I wanna be ELECTEEEEEEED!!!!!!!" Yes, I have many great memories blasting this baby out of my car stereo at full volume while driving down the highway. First of all, I'm going to mention that the arrangements are perfect. It's extremely loud and pompous and Furnier sings the vocals at the top of his lungs. But for once, I can get completely caught up in the spirit, which seems very appropriate for the fast paced and overblown energy of a high-profile political campaign. Way to go, Alice Cooper...
Billion Dollar Babies 10/10
Of course, no Alice Cooper album would be complete without its fair share of hopelessly catchy melodies. This does more, melody-wise, than I hear from most albums. This is a tune that gets caught in my head frequently --- I think of it every time I see the name of the song. So, needless to say it's extremely memorable. The arrangements are certainly unique, complex and well constructed. The drumming is wonderful, and you also have to love these great guitar licks. The chorus is spooky and the novelty value of having someone sing the lyrics and then someone else talking the lyrics in a sinister voice never grows old... Absolutely wonderful...
Unfinished Sweet 9/10
Don't think for one moment an Alice Cooper album wouldn't have a track like this in it! You'd think it's an experimental track, because this track does seem to be such a hodgepodge of different ideas. This track is six minutes long and it has many different, seemingly unrelated ideas. Sound effects of a dentist drill --- nods to the famous James Bond musical sequence --- and then space age waves of noise for no apparent reason. At that same time, all of this seems perfectly deliberate, and there's nothing rocky at all about the development. This turns out to be quite a treat, and it's truly amazing on the composition standpoint.
No More Mr. Nice Guy 10/10
What? Did I say "Billion Dollar Babies" was catchy? It's not as catchy as this one --- This is the big pop hit from the album. It's just a good pop-rocker that's destined to continue playing on classic rock radio for many years to come. That's all I really need to say about it. You know how the chorus goes --- "No more Mr. Nice Guy/No more Mr. Cle-e-e-ean..."
Generation Landslide 8.5/10
Creativity always wins above everything else in my book, and this is certainly creative. I bet you know what I'm getting at --- this isn't unequivocally enjoyable. Everything about it is solid, but it fails to capture any significant spirit or any hopelessly unforgettable melodic hooks. Again, I can only complain about these things because of the impossibly high standard they're set at. The development of the song is interesting, again, and I think it works. It's fun to hear what direction they're going to take this suite...
Sick Things 9/10
Here is an interesting track--- It repeats his idea to sing the lyrics and have a completely different voice whisper them. That creates a monumentally creepy atmosphere, and that's only amplified by the sort of death march going on with the drums. Geez, no wonder the parents were frightened of Alice Cooper! ... The arrangements create such an ominous atmosphere and mood. It's weird and effective.
Mary Ann 8.5/10
And that fades into this ... a regular jazz-era showtune. It's so normal that it's almost creepy. ... In fact you're lead to feel a little strange about it just because you're still a little weirded out by the previous track. On its own, is a nice catchy tune...
I Love the Dead 10/10
There's nothing like Alice Cooper's full-fledged foray into cheesy B-grade horror rock. I heard rumors that it was about necrophilia --- and it could be for all I know. Reading the lyrics for myself, you could also interpret that it's about an even nuttier version of Frankenstein. (OK, it's hard to ignore the panting you hear in that repeated chorus at the end of "I love the dead!") Alice Cooper doesn't consider it to be about necrophilia anymore, because he's a Born Again Christian now (something he doesn't talk about a whole lot). This song is completely devilish and so much fun to indulge in...
Muscle of Love (1974)
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Hello Hooray 9.5/10
Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo) 8/10
This is some riff rock, and the riff is OK. The melody is OK, too... but ... uh ... Well, this album strikes me in a negative light already. Not that this song is bad, but this is the weakest beginning of an Alice Cooper album ever since their debut album, Pretties for You, and that's --- well, disheartening. The instrumentation is a little sloppier and less focused. There's a piano pounding in the background, but it gets lost in the muddle. They bring in a violin, but its inclusion doesn't seem as purposeful as it would have in Billion Dollar Babies. Still, this is better than your average rock song and, well, it's entertaining. I guess you can't argue against that! Though the violin isn't as clean as I might have liked it, it's still nice that it's there... It makes it stand out above the generic stuff...
Never Been Sold Before 9/10
Much more solid this time and cleaner. The melody is fairly catchy, and you've got to like those brass sections! The riff is nice enough, and the spirit is certainly here. There's a great electric guitar solo during the interlude --- Indeed, the band sure seems to be enjoying their final time to rock out on an Alice Cooper album!
Hard Hearted Alice 8/10
They're working up a power ballad here, and it ain't bad. The melody is pretty catchy, and the instrumentation is alright, but they didn't give that much thought (expectedly). The five minute running length seems a bit long, but it turned out to be the perfect length for it. Its only flaw is that it's so middle of the road that I can't come up with much to say about it! It's entertaining but not very memorable.
Crazy Little Child 9/10
Alice Cooper goes jazz! Hey, the diversity is very appreciated! The melody and instrumentation are all good and solid though not spectacular enough to make them memorable. At the very least, none of this sounds cheap. The instrumentalists all get a chance to shine with some instrumental solos ... and that's kinda fun to hear.
Workin' Up a Sweat 8/10
This hard rock song is rather generic, but it's so solid that you'll probably find yourself tapping your toes regardless! The melody is OK but not memorable, but the instrumentation is pretty fun. You have a tight drum beat, and some great guitars flying around all over the place... Cool...
Muscle of Love 8/10
This is a nice hard rock song that uses heavy guitar. Why they couldn't have worked out more catchy riffs seems a bit of a disappointment, but it's OK. The spirit of the song is undeniable and I like listening to it.
Man With a Golden Gun 9.5/10
This is easily the most interesting song of the album. He's going for a James Bond theme here, and it comes off pretty weird. The melody is nice, and I really like his horn arrangements! Extra points for that singing noise that sounds right out of a B-grade '50s sci-fi film.
Teenage Lament '74 7.5/10
This song is almost boring to me... I mean, it's upbeat and has a few interesting bits of guitar, but ... wow, that melody isn't very interesting at all. They incorporate some gospel singers, which doesn't seem to add anything beyond an extra sound. It's more clear than ever that these guys were just treading water...
Woman Machine 8.5/10
And this middle-of-the-road album comes to an end with this OK hard-rock song. The guitars are much more involved here, and they sound like they're imitating oscillator noises or something! There are other sound-effects inserted throughout to give this an interesting though somewhat purposeless texture. Extra points for the instrumentation, but why couldn't the melody have been done better?
Welcome to My Nightmare (1975)
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Welcome to My Nightmare A
A lovely song to open the festivities, it begins quietly, but it slowly gathers up steam. Alice Cooper's showman goals were met with quite some success. It's not an especially unique song (something like this might easily appear on Broadway ... well if it was a rock musical) but the melody is especially catchy. Some funk guitars keep the rhythm going, and the brass section that pops up in the second half was an especially nice touch.
Devil's Food B
Back to basics, I say! Cooper turns up the hard rock knob and delivers a few nice hard-rock licks. Although this is probably where Michael Bruce is particularly missed. After a little bit of this not-particularly-tuneful section, Cooper starts in with the hilarious, B-grade horror movie dialogue (voiced by Vincent Price). He's apparently a museum curator lecturing about the horrors that surrounds him ... like the black widow...
The Black Widow A
This is a particularly good track! A great piece of riff-rock here that's reminiscent of Sabbath!! Not just that but the melody is remarkably hooky (coming in with that pompous call-and-response chorus, especially, which features a sort of Broadway choir). It's a ridiculously overblown and campy horror song, but that's the entire appeal of it! It's hardly worth demoting anything that's so utterly enjoyable!!
Some Folks B
More of a straight Broadway song and you might think about it as being somewhat throwaway and too cutesy for comfort. He's reverting to those West Side Story theatrics featured on School's Out with the swinging groove and even the snapping effects. But I suppose I respond well to these types of songs that I don't mind any of this. If anything, I enjoy Cooper's stagey antics and, of course, the melody is quite catchy! Luckily he changes the song up to a more fast-paced, rock 'n' roll bit a couple of times so that we're not always listening to the same groove!
Only Women Bleed A-
This is a real classic, I say!! Well a lot of people say that, but I say that, too. This is a rather pompous ballad, which might be difficult for a few audiences to take, but as far as pompous ballads ever go, this is just about as good as it gets. First of all, the melody is wonderful. Secondly, the instrumentation featuring a convincing blend of electric guitar and strings is fabulous. My only complaint is that there seems to be a moment in the middle that doesn't seem to do anything.
Department of Youth A+
It's hard to deny that I don't love this song! Well, I put it at the end of one of my favorite mix CDs. This pop-rock track is particularly hooky with crunchy guitar chords and a pompous chorus. Cooper vocal performance continues to sound like he's giving a show, this time describing childrens' sense of freedom. The song fades out with a sort of power chorus featuring kids choir singing "We're the department of youth / we've got the power." Cooper's screaming out over them "Who's got the power?" in which the kids hollar out "We do!" At the end, Cooper screams "And who gave it to you?" in which the kids respond "Donny Osmond!" Cooper screams out "What?!" in horror. Classic!!
Cold Ethyl A
This is easily the most convincing "hard rocker" out there with this shocker song that's about necrophelia. Well, who ever takes Alice Cooper seriously in these matters?? The important thing is that the guitars rock and the melody is very catchy!
Years Ago A
This is where the psychological horror trilogy begins. And bring on the minor chord sequences! It's done as a waltz, and Cooper inserts a number of sound effects to give it that creepy atmosphere. Notably the night sounds in the background! Some dissonant chords pop up. The last half of this features a crazy, out of tune synthesizer, and some nutter mumbling in the background. Here it's revealed that the narrator (Steven) has a double personality, one is a little boy and the other is a great big man. I love the end!
Wonderful! Cooper sounds like he was taking a bit of a hint from Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells sort of taking not only some of the instrumental ideas but also the structure. Of course that simple fact doesn't bother me, because it's still enormous fun! The song begins with a looping piano that is both frightening and beautiful at the same time, which sets the tone for the entire song. A ballad section pipes up with Cooper singing like a child. It picks up steam after awhile eventually evolving into a rollicking, thunderous section featuring repetitive choruses of "Steeeven!" with an utterly involved electric guitar solo. Really, this song is quite a work!
The Awakening B+
I guess this is Cooper's subdued horror song. It starts out with a creepy, somewhat avant-gardge piano loop. The calm instrumentation starts out seeming only partly interested in playing sometimes, but it organizes itself a few times to produce a nice effect. Overall, this isn't such a great work, but it's interesting and I like the atmosphere.
Cooper decides to close it with an upbeat hard-rock, pop-rocker, and I say that was a nice decision! Though I do think this is the weakest of all the hard-rock bits. The riff is quite nice, but the melody isn't extremely catchy. It doesn't have any sort of heart-pumping quality about it. The good news is that this continues to be a solid composition, and an enjoyable way to close the album.
Alice Cooper Goes to Hell (1976)
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Go to Hell A
This is a cross between hard rock and Broadway music. Thundering drums play amidst a heavy, distorted electric guitar riff. There are many, many voices singing the melody to this one, making me think it was an angry mob carrying torches and pitchforks. You wouldn’t suppose that Cooper had left his “classic” period at this point, because this song is so catchy and fun to hear.
You Gotta Dance B+
No… it’s not a Gene Kelley thing. It’s a tight, funky dance song, which seemed obviously influenced by disco. But it’s actually a well-done song… I suppose the melody could have been catchier, but it’s fun and snappy as it is. The guitars surely keep it punchy, at an rate. Keeping up with his Broadway aspirations, there are moments in here when it turns into a ballad… It’s a sort of theatrical style song development.
I’m the Coolest B
This song is basically a cool, reserved groove with some song odd song developments inserted in there to keep it fresh overall. This really isn’t a great song, though. The groove doesn’t strike me as being too memorable, thus this thing fails to catch fire. I like the overall atmosphere to this, though, and the bass-line is really ‘the coolest.’ And I mustn’t forget to mention that hearing Alice Cooper give a suave, half-singing half-talking vocal performance has its appeal.
Didn’t We Meet B
A lot more pompous than the previous song, but it’s not necessarily any better for that, I suppose. It’s a tremendously well-played song, though, and its whole appeal really lies in that instrumental interlude with some of the most wicked guitar licks ever. Overall, this is entertaining, but unremarkable.
I Never Cry A-
This is one of Alice Cooper’s ballads, and he’s always been known to be good for some of them! The melody is very hooky, and it’s memorable (though, to not be mistaken, he’d done much better ones in the past). Making it even nicer is Cooper’s incredibly heartfelt vocal performance. Oh yes, this is good!
Give the Kid a Break A
Definitely more of that Broadway stuff here… It’s one of those Broadway melodies like in Grease that borrows from boogie-rock… Having spent so much of my life watching comedy Broadway shows, this would have made one of the most memorable musical numbers in theater history. There’s more of that hilarious play acting, with a few characters and the back-up singers being the crowd. The lyrics are funny, but the melody is catchy … and these chord progressions are something to behold, especially for the genre. (If only Ray Davies would have written something like this!)
Yeah, so we don’t want Broadway stuff all the time! If you don’t have anything more pretentious to do, then just give us this straight pop-rocker. There are a lot of guitars playing good riffs, a catchy melody, and one of Cooper’s classic campy vocal performances. The lyrics are entertaining, too. You know you like it!!
Wake Me Gently A-
This is the one song that always seems to stick out at me for some reason. But I’m listening to it very closely now, and I’m somehow not getting quite the same experience. Ah well. It’s a very pompous ballad featuring some enchanting harmonies. This does sound pretty lame considering this is Alice Cooper… apart from that really cool electric guitar performance in the middle, this might have been recorded by Ringo Starr for all I could tell. It’s a good ballad, though, with a good melody… and I do like that thunderous coda.
Wish You Were Here A-
So, he must have heard my accusations of “laaaame” from the last track, and he decided to follow it up with something so heavy rocking that it might have appeared on Killer… except this one’s a little more funk-oriented. The hooks are strong, but they do seem a little dumb. The song eventually evolves into a jam, and that is also a highlight… They’re butt-whomping and fun to hear considering I don’t like jams all that much… but it does start to grow a bit cliché.
I’m Always Chasing Rainbows B-
This is similar to “Wake Me Gently” except this is way more overblown and messy. I will give him that the boisterous chorus might have been good enough to have made a nice Broadway scene, although the development of the song was sure misfired. (Taking out the Wizard of Oz “Over the Rainbow” references might have helped smooth it out a bit.)
Going Home B+
Here’s another one of his pompous ballads with a chorus that gets repeated all the time. It’s not bad, really… I guess Alice Cooper was given leave from Hell, and he can go back to earth with a fresh new face on life! He does succeed in getting that good-time feeling worked up, and he finds a fitful melody to sing and wonderful chord progressions. This wouldn’t have worked so flawlessly as a Broadway tune as “Give the Kid a Break” or even “Wake Me Gently,” but it’s still better than anything from The Kinks Present A Soap Opera. Not that that’s saying much!
Lace and Whiskey (1977)
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It’s Hot Tonight B+
And who exactly said this was a bad album? I’m listening to it right now, and this is just about the coolest pop-rock song ever. This being pop-rock, the guitars are still heavy enough to pack quite a punch... The riff they play is pretty wicked, and they do some really fun solos in the middle. Sorry, but any song with a cool riff like that, great sounding guitars, good vocal melody, nice harmonies in the chorus is an excellent song in my book. OK, let’s hear some more.
Lace and Whiskey A-
This is another one of his catchy songs, done in a tango style, but still using the same heavy guitars that were present in the previous one. The tango idea was a pretty fun one, and it has a cute percussion rhythm. Despite the heavier instrumentation, the song itself has far too intricate harmonies to be anything other than ordinary pop. And it’s a catchy song, too! The verses and the chorus are equally catchy.
Road Rats A
The guitars are even heavier than the previous two tracks, which makes it an especially powerful sort of song. It starts out sounding almost like a blues with the huge guitars playing a pretty neat riff, but a more pop-rock oriented chorus comes in. So, it’s a sort of combination between the two genres... and he had a really good idea how to meld them together. The final third has a really great guitar solo... This is nothing less than a terribly fun, hard rocking number.
Damned if I Do A-
Is this why people are always dogging on Lace and Whiskey? Yeah, I’ll agree with masses when I say about the last thing that I wanted to hear Alice Cooper do was country-western. (That’s right ... this is a country-western song.) But this is a real maaaaaaaaaaan’s country. It’s the way God meant it to be. Instead of a slide guitar, we have a gruffy electric guitar pretending that it’s a slide guitar. Instead of those stupid cloppy woodblock rhythms, this has a neat driving beat that’s sped up about 1.5 times faster. Instead of one of those stupid yodeling singers, we have Alice Cooper!!!! And he writes a melody that sounds like country-western but it avoids all those groan-inducing cliches. This is better than Willie Nelson!!!!! (Yeah, I’m being tremendously biased. AND I’M LOVING IT!!!)
You and Me B-
OK... I think I’m starting to see what people have against this album now. A little. This still isn’t bad, though. It’s a terribly corny ballad that it’s a far cry away from that Doris Day song she sang on that Alfred Hitchcock movie. ...It’s really not a poor composition, because the harmonies are fine and it has good flow. The orchestration is very cinematic and sappy (and the lyrics *PU*)... Trust me, I sat through worse. The main problem with it is that it comes right after those awesome four tracks, which were exciting harder rocking things. And then coming to this sappy ballad is like I’ve suddenly been ambushed by Barry Manilow bearing a bucket of high fructose corn syrup. If this were on a Manilow album, this would have been really good!
King of the Silver Screen A
The thing I like about Alice Cooper albums is that they’re entertaining. This is one of his Broadway suites, except it’s too good for Broadway. The first part has a thunderous, bouncy guitar riff with Alice Cooper taking the role of a depressed construction worker who dreams about being in the movies. In the middle, that overblown patriotic song flares up and a sweet little piano part, a sort of Broadway aria, pops up. That doesn’t last long, because the bouncy riff comes back, and it brought a heavy electric guitar solo with it. The end is really funny... Cooper goes completely nuts, screaming silly things like “I’m gonna eat my make-up for lunch today!!” Ohhhh man...
Ubangi Stomp B+
This is a ‘50s style rockabilly song that’s is utterly indistinguishable from the real thing. The guitars are lighter and tinnier, and Cooper’s vocals have those old Elvis intonations and they sound really great. He obviously took it very seriously and tried his best to put on a ‘50s style, crowd-pleasing vocal performance. I don’t know why this is funny, but it is. It’s played perfectly straight... uhhhh... I guess that’s why it’s funny. You wouldn’t expect him to do something so straight. Ha!! AND IT’S REALLY GOOD, TOO!!!
(No More) Love at Your Convenience C+
Man, this guy just wanted to do everything didn’t he? This is a quasi-Euro-disco song that would have had a comfortable fit on an ABBA album. Or... I guess ABBA would have had nicer hooks in it, so maybe ... er ... an Arabesque album? I’m surprised that I don’t like this song considering I am an open Eurodisco fan. But this just isn’t that good. It’s really just a repetitive power chorus with a disco beat in the background. There are some nice horn arrangements, I suppose, but the sound is just murky. Not too enjoyable.
I Never Wrote These Songs B
He’s writing confessional music now, which I suppose would point to how dark he was actually feeling in those days. (He would eventually turn to religion... he would cite these sorts of songs as how terribly he was feeling and what would lead up to it.) I find the lyrics to be very easy to take to heart and even treasurable. Though, you won’t get much of that if you’re just listening to the music and you’re not paying attention to the words. It’s a rather dull song... but at least there’s a really whacked out saxophone playing at the end. Oh cool!
My God B
This is another confessional song where he’s earnestly searching for something... It’s such a serious topic for an Alice Cooper album. I thought all of his songs were about necrophilia or something. This starts out with someone playing an organ... though it’s not a spook-house organ; it’s a church organ playing a hymn. Then, a huge angelic sort of chorus comes in, and it’s like we’re hearing music from heaven! It’s sort of a neat song to sit through... bombastic as hell, of course, but those angelic guitars mixed evenly with that organ are a novel thing indeed. But in the end, this song just doesn’t capture me. It goes on for nearly six minutes and my attention span always seems to wander off.
The Alice Cooper Show (1977)
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Under My Wheels A-
It's not nearly as powerful as the mega-classic that appeared on Killer... the instrumentation is a lot looser, and I sort of miss that horn section. On the other hand, these guys were very capable performers (even turning in a neat series of guitar solos in the middle), and Alice has a great growl in that vocal performance, which he was obviously doing to play to his audience. Even though it doesn't measure up to the original, this is terribly fun.
Once again, it's not as solid as the original, but it's still pretty darn good. It's hard to mess up a song like this, really... Everybody knows how awesome it is. Perhaps that extended guitar solos were too excessive, and Cooper's growl-singing is a bit much, but all of that is still fun in its own awesome way. I can't believe that anyone wouldn't love listening to this. It's his big anthem! And you can hear how wild this crowd is going...
Only Women Bleed B+
This is that nice Beatlesesque ballad from Welcome to My Nightmare, of course... and this is a fairly straight-ahead rendition though this is a much sloppier version and they replace the strings and brass with synthesizers. They weren't trying to do anything particularly new that wasn't in the original. It has Cooper gives a straitlaced vocal performance and the instrumentalists aren't trying to be flashy or anything. Since they don't do anything remarkable with it, I guess I can shrug my shoulders. But the melody is catchy, and it's still a great song to hear again.
Sick Things B+
Cooper's incredible snarl is back for this one-minute rendition of the campy horror piece from Billion Dollar Babies. The guitars are dark and pounding... much louder and sloppier than the original version. This live version is also missing those death-march drums. But anyway. You can tell in his enthusiasm that he loved performing for this screaming crowd!
Is It My Body A-
It's nice going to Alice Cooper concerts, because he concentrates mainly on his back catalogue, which is what everyone wants to hear of course. Five tracks into this live album and he hadn't played a single thing from his two previous (and less popular) albums. Here is that excellent pop-metal track from Love it to Death. It's not as tight or as spectacular as the original (of course) and part of that is probably because these are different players. But it's still utterly fun to hear!
I Never Cry B-
...But of all the songs that he could have played from his previous two albums, why did he choose this ballad from Goes to Hell? Wouldn't one of the more theatrical numbers have been better? Ah anyway, this is a very straight-ahead rendition of it. Cooper's not putting any sort of campy sneer to his voice meaning this isn't too terribly fun to listen to. Seems a bit amateurish. Ah well.
Billion Dollar Babies A-
I know I'm repeating myself, but I pretty much have to... If you're expecting these versions to be anything like the originals, then you're going to be sadly disappointed. It's much looser than the crispy original. But ONCE AGAIN, this is a fun rendition, and I love hearing it. Those layering guitar sirens still have that alarming aura... Geez, this is a good song...
Devil's Food/Black Widow A
Even in his 60s, Alice Cooper shows tend to concentrate on material from Welcome to My Nightmare. Obviously that's because he never made anything else that matched that album's popularity. This song has some of The Coop's most memorable riffs and incredibly catchy vocal hooks... and there are about a billion of them!
You and Me C+
Coming off of that incredible previous track, it comes as nothing more than a disappointment to hear this corny piano ballad that Frank Sinatra once covered? Had he chose virtually any of his other songs, it would have proved to be a more enjoyable experience. Sure, I still think it's an overall decent song apart from the lyrics, but it's not as well-written as “Only Women Bleed” and it comes off as groan-inducing. Bluh!
I Love the Dead/Go to Hell/Wish You Were Here A
That's quite a combination of songs! The first part is the classic from Love it to Death, and wow is he turning up the theatric up another notch. It was a little more heavy rocking originally, but now it has the feel of a creepy old Broadway show. The guitars sound lighter and more calculated. When he erupts into that “I Love the Dead” chant, you can hear the audience sing along with him most enthusiastically! (He also decided to forgo those racy panting noises, which I'm sure pleased all the parents in the audience...) That suddenly turns into “Go to Hell,” which was a song so great that it baffles me how so many people can dislike Cooper's 1976-1983 period. It's not as impactful as the beginning of the song, but I like it still. The “Wish You Were Here” bit is easy-to-miss... it's just an instrumental rendition they brought into showcase the guitarists, who are pretty darn good.
School's Out A
It's funny I'm writing this on one of the last days of my summer vacation... But I'm not too sad... I'm a nerd, and I like school! Anyway, he definitely chose the right song to end the album with! (Although, on second thought, I suppose I wouldn't want to celebrate the end of an Alice Cooper concert...) Anyway, they give it quite a very thunderous rendition with pounding guitars and drumbeats galore... and a very energetic coda with exploding guitar solos. Granted, this isn't the most amazing thing I've ever heard live, but it's verrrrrrrrrry enjoyable.
From the Inside (1978)
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From the Inside A-
Well, hello there! I'm listening to this very good song by Alice Cooper that sounds a little bit like disco, but it's catchy! The instrumentation seems a tad plain, but everything that's required is here. There is a minimal-ish guitar solo in the middle as well as a section of these silly, airy vocals. It's a solid composition through and through, and I enjoy listening to it. But does it pack the same punch as his classic songs? ...No! ... Eh, so it wasn't a radio hit, so what? I don't hear enough of Alice Cooper's big songs on the radio these days, anyhow.
Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills B+
I do get a feeling that Alice Cooper was on autopilot here. This is a hard rocking song with the usual pace, the expected guitar crunches, the usual snarl in his voice, sort of boring drum patterns, and a melody that probably could be worked into a cheesy country-western song. But I do like it! Alice Cooper on autopilot sounds a lot better than most things, and I also enjoy the (probably intentional) camp appeal here. The expected guitar crunches are cool, especially in the instrumental jam at the end.
The Quiet Room A-
This is another one of his ballads that he's had at least one of in all of his albums since Welcome to My Nightmare, but it's quite a few rungs up from “You and Me” both compositionally, lyrically and melodically. It starts off as a piano ballad, but the chorus gets beefed up with some electric guitars and a soaring vocal performance. The lyrics, about some poor guy in a mental institute who wants to commit suicide but can't. ...Weirdly moving.
Nurse Rosetta B
This is a little bit trashy with that simple guitar riff and a melody that was probably tossed off just like 'Beverly Hills,' but the lyrics are hilarious! It'll appeal to 15-year-old more than anyone else, but ... well, there's a little 15-year-old in us all. The melody, while simple, is at least catchy, and it goes into a few sessions of spacey, cinematic meanderings, which were composed nicely.
Millie and Billie C+
Blech. Alice does a duet with a woman with a fairly plain voice and a cheesy melody. The one main thing that saves it is when they break away from the main tune and bring in those darkly cinematic passages. This would have made a good song for an off-Broadway musical that's worse than The Little Shop of Horrors. Sorry.
After making that bad off-Broadway musical comparison in the previous track review, I can't get that feeling out of my mind ... even though this is, by all accounts, a very good song. The heavy guitars and driving drum beat are here to give body to the very catchy vocal melody. It's not the best song in the whole world, but it's got '70s metal guitars and you can tap your foot with it.
How You Gonna See Me Now B
This is a ballad in the same vein of “The Quiet Room,” but it's not nearly as memorable. The melody is not even particularly better than “You and Me,” which I think was slightly richer. There are a few highly redeeming qualities to this song (there always seems to be one) is it has a nicely developed dramatic push thanks to an earnest vocal performance and nicely placed strings. And these lyrics are surprisingly good.
For Veronica's Sake A-
Well, this is something! He's actually pulling off a real guitar rocker and not some show-tune dressed up as a guitar rocker. This is more along the lines of those early '70s recordings that I remember so well. Guitar, attitude, and a tiny bit of inventiveness. Granted, they wouldn't have nodded arena-rock like they did briefly in the middle here, but that doesn't matter. This is enjoyable!
Jackknife Johnny B-
More or less a throwaway tune, but it's a little too lovely to actually want to chuck it. I mean, all of this guy's ballads have been “nice,” but ... geez, is this *another* ballad? I might be going insane, but the ballads have been running terribly rampant in this album. They start to sound alike after awhile, but at least these are better than, um, Styx ballads. That's not much of a compliment, but there you go.
Inmates (We're All Crazy) A-
This is the traditional sort of anthem that we've been getting at the end of every Alice Cooper album, and it's definitely a good one. It's uses more of those dark, dramatic string arrangements that would have sounded appropriate for a late-career Beatles composition. Cooper sings very dramatically, very convincingly. The way he works in those various nursery-rhyme intonations give it an extra twisted feel, which goes along nicely with the lyrical intentions of the song.
Flush the Fashion (1980)
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Talk Talk A
This album opens with one of his most solid openers in years. What ought to please his longtime fans, at least, is that it's basically a heavy rocker at its core. Cooper's campy-vicious vocals are as familiar as ever! What's different about it is the '80s sounding synthesizer that comes in occasionally as well as a generally robotic feel to the guitar riffs. At any rate, this is the Coop at what he does best.
Clones (We're All) A+
Ah, a massive classic. It's been called one of his lost gems in his discography, and that's for good reason. This song is so much fun! Yeah, you can hear those Cars synthesizers and those robotic rhythms, but Cooper brings in a catchy melody and a number of interesting touches throughout. The robots talking in the middle was a particularly amusing touch. This is easily one of the catchiest songs in his discography. (And I know this is a cover... Well, being able to recognize a great melody is a decent enough of an indication that you can also write one!)
This song with the strange groove reminds me, for whatever reason, of that ABBA-esque disco thing “(No More) Love At Your Convenience,” but this is approximately 20,000 times better. Both songs essentially consist of a single groove being repeated over and over again, but this one has much more stamina to it. The pounding drums are really crisp in the mix and fun to listen to. The synthesizers are crunchy and well chosen, but never for a moment overpower the drums, piano, and the electric guitar. Perfectly mixed. The hooks aren't great or anything, but it's a fun song to hear anyway just for the textures.
Leather Boots A-
This is a cute rockabilly throwback, similar to “Ubangi Stomp” except this one sounds more serious. It's also very crisp and fun to hear. Again, The Cars producer shows that he was an excellent producer just by how great this arrangement sounds! It's not a 'substantial' song at all, but this isn't a substantial album! Let's enjoy it while it lasts...
Aspirin Damage A-
The way these songs have been flowing into each other sounds like he was trying to create an Abbey Road-like medley, and I can't say this hasn't been interesting! This one seems like it should have been one of the album's centerpieces considering the only original composition previously to this was “Pain,” and that wasn't much of a “composition.” Well, this song has a chorus anyway. Unfortunately, I don't get substantial joy out of listening to these Cars-like guitars and synths for some reason. The hooks are good, but not great. Hm.
Nuclear Infected A-
Oh, hello guitars! Not that there haven't been guitars all throughout this album, but this is a tight riff rocker closer to his classic sound. And it's not bad at all. In fact, it's pretty darn good. The riffs are memorable, and Cooper gives one of his classic Broadway-esque vocal performances. How can you say no?
Grim Facts A
This is even closer to his classic sound than the previous track... so close that I might have trusted that it was originally written for From the Inside but kept off because that album was awesome enough. The guitars are kinda slow-paced and loose (compared to the previous track, anyway), and sound like they belong in a smoke-filled club somewhere. The barroom piano addition also shows nothing of this “new wave” we've been speaking of.
Model Citizen A
This is more classic Alice Cooper in the Billion Dollar Babies sense. It features tighter, polished, trashier riffs with Alice giving one of his more enjoyable and showy vocal performances. In fact, he doesn't even sing very much in here... he's talking while a chorus of back-up singers provide the vocal melody. The hooks are very solid in this one, which is the most important thing, after all.
Dance Yourself to Death B+
Also a lot of guitars in this, but it has more of a country music flavor to it. Once again, the crunchy quality of the guitars are extremely tasty. Even the melody is catchy, although it seems more derivative in a sense. The lyrics are pretty entertaining, though. (For whatever reason, I always think he's imitating Lou Reed in the fade-out.)
A weakish closer for the album, but it's so much fun that you can tell how utterly solid this was. This song is as solid as the vocal hooks contained within, which are good enough to be called 'memorable.' On the other hand, nothing about this song particularly stands out above the rest. The instrumentation is one of the main culprits, which seems weirdly weak for this album. Although I will say that synth-poppy rhythm guitar was a nice touch.
Special Forces (1981)
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Who Do You Think We Are? A
Ah yes, the glorious early '80s. Alice Cooper had dug himself so deeply into that era's pop music that he begins this with an extended synthesizer intro. But at least it's a very simple intro and has a little bit of helicopter noises. ... And frankly, I don't know why I'm talking about this. I love Alice Cooper's early '80s albums, and to be perfectly frank I love that Starship song, too. But that intro is take it or leave it. What I like about this track is the actual song. Alice sings in his classic low-pitched 'evil campy dude' vocals with some pure electric guitars and an ultra-clean drum thwop. Other than the intro, things don't sound blatantly '80s until the final third when Cooper undergoes an amusing “robotic chorus” that sounds extremely similar to the robo-chorus in Madonna's 1984 hit, “Material Girl.”
Seven & Seven Is A
Yes! That extremely rapid drum beat and dark synthesizer is really cool... Again, it's very '80s, but it doesn't sound nearly as dated as you'd think. Some really dark-sounding guitars wailing off in the background lends this quite an alarming texture. Cooper again sings in a dark, evil growl. The melody itself might not be catchy, but I'm drawn into this atmosphere entirely. This is an evil song!
Prettiest Cop on the Block A-
That ultra-rapid drum beat is kept here, leftover from the previous track, and he creates yet another fun song with it. Even the melody is pretty good, although I don't immediately get caught up in it. The fast pace guitars and dark, bending synthesizers in the background keeps the texture interesting. He's really likes using his dark, evil growl! Seriously, if he's singing like he used to, then I don't know why all the old fans would have gotten this album in droves...
Don't Talk Old To Me A-
Ouch, Alice is on fire! It's amazing how he's able to come out with good song after good song, and this album was a commercial failure. What's wrong with everybody? This starts out as a rather violent song with loudly pounding drums before he goes into a rather nice and tuneful section. It's a little bit crazy, but that's what makes it so interesting!
Generation Landslide '81 B+
Hey, what have I been saying about inserting live songs into studio albums??! It's usually not a good idea. And bringing in something so famous from your back catalogue makes it seem even cheaper... On the other hand, this is a great song and I can never actually be upset about listening to it again. But all the same. Alice Cooper, you're on notice!
Skeletons in the Closet A+
For some reason, I think this song is the cat's meow. Alice Cooper has now completely jolted away from the evil-sounding songs of the first half of the album, and now he's indulging in some of the campiest, corniest horror movie songs that could possibly be mustered up. And what can I say? Nobody does it better than Alice Cooper. Given the guy's incredible melodic talent, you're probably going to have this song running through your head the rest of your life. I know I do! That ultra-catchy synth-bass line is one for the ages, and Alice's vocal performance is hilarious. This is the perfect song for a Halloween mix, if you're into that. It beats “Thriller” by a mile.
You Want it, You Got it A
Another corny song that's about as fun as a barrel full of ninjas. He's really into the cheesy '80s stuff now, especially with that drum machine sound and synth-pop groove. And yet this groove is great primarily because he's having fun with it and not taking it seriously. The lyrics consist of repeating the song title over and over, but Cooper comes out with a number of creative ways to say it that it never gets boring.
You Look Good in Rags A
Yet another massively enjoyable song... Man, once again, I have to wonder why this isn't a more popular album. Alice Cooper might be meddling around with '80s musical styles, this time with a distinctly pop-metal vein, but this thing is catchy as hell. The ultra-polished riff is great, the song has a very toe-tapping pace, and Cooper's vocal performance is completely fun. This guy was absolutely on fire.
You're a Movie A-
OK, is it time to stop being impressed with all the excellent songs in here? I'm restraining myself, too... This could easily have been an A. This is a bouncy pop-rocker with a fun ascending riff. Cooper's having fun with the vocals, singing it as though he was an upper-crust snob who speaks with a pretend-British accent. The back-up vocals are like he's writing a Broadway musical, but it's a little more effective than his attempts in late '70s to write music in that vein. Most importantly, this song is fun as hell, and I love songs like that of course.
Vicious Rumours A-
Possibly close to a B+, but as I've mentioned in the previous tracks I could very well be rating these things higher considering how much fun I have with this album. This song is a little darker like the songs from the first half of the album, and Alice sings with his trademarked evil growling vocals. The fast-paced electric guitars probably mean you could label this song as 'punk' or 'post-punk' if you really wanted to. Anyway, everything about this song is fun and catchy, and it's dark and menacing. Obviously geared more toward the '80s crowd than the '70s crowd, but the quality of the guy's '70s stuff wasn't all too far removed from this, despite what some people might have you believe.
Zipper Catches Skin (1982)
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Zorro's Ascent B-
Hello, drums 'n' guitar! Apart from a funny whipping noise and other Zorro-appropriate sound-effects that occurs every once in awhile, Alice is just giving us the bare basics in the instrumentation. If he wasn't giving us such a play-acting vocal performance, I would think that he was trying to go completely back-to-basics. I suppose this isn't too far removed from Muscle of Love, the similarities between the minimal album covers being just the first hint. The bigger hint is that this isn't very interesting melodically, and the blander instrumentals just make it worse.
Make That Money (Scrooge's Song) A-
This one's loud and hard rockin', which further gives me the impression that he was going after another Muscle of Love. Although, he's still doing some play acting in his vocals, this time taking on the greedy, money-hungry spirit of old Scrooge before that fateful Christmas. The melody is fine, and the riff is good. The middle, interlude section is also easy to get caught up in.
I Am the Future B-
Oh, hello synthesizers! Although they're certainly used in a more minimal sense than they were on any of his previous few albums certainly. This isn't a terrible song or anything, but again I'm having trouble getting caught up in it. The melody has a few hooks in it, but not great ones. The instrumentation is solid, but also nothing too great. Hm.
No Baloney Homosapiens C
Yeesh, I guess this wasn't one of Alice's finer moments. I'm not so addicted to the keyboards that I hate songs that only use pure drums and guitars... It's just this thing doesn't work for me. Very loud, very clunky, and the melody is flat. I will give Alice credit for that really bizarre chorus when he brings in a strange choir and the drums are really loud. ...But as a whole, I can't say I'd ever want to hear it again.
Adaptable (Anything To You) B+
This one's better with tighter, faster paced guitars and a much more memorable vocal melody. The instrumentation is nothing but guitars and drums as usual. Considering how tight and polished these guitars are, there's still a distinct new wave feel to it, but that's basically a good thing, right?
I Like Girls B
And they like you too, I'm sure! These guitars are even more tight and polished than the previous song, so this resembles his earlier work even less. But again, there isn't a keyboard to be found here, so I suppose some of his fans might still find this to be likable. Some of the riffs are pretty good. Cooper's vocal performance again does some play acting, this time interacting with a female who argues against all the self-involved things that he's singing about.
Remarkably Insincere B-
Getting sick of the guitar sound? I am a little bit. ...OK, maybe I am addicted to the keyboard sound, after all. I hope that's not a crime! At least the guitars continue to be tight and polished. The riffs are good but not great. The song has a nice pace to it. Cooper's vocals are fine. ...Well, this is just fine then!
Tag, You're It B
What a strange song... Musically, this is something close to a punk song albeit rather slowly played. A thunderous drum rhythm and a semi-memorable guitar riff plays while Alice speaks the lyrics instead of sings them. The lead guitar make everything rather dreary although the pulsating rhythm keeps it on its toes. There are funny scissor sound effects playing around, too. This is evidently a slasher movie parody.
I Better Be Good A-
Ah, yes, he's bringing the punk out of himself here with this extremely quick riff. The vocals are still very Alice-Cooper-ish, though. That is, instead of screaming them at the tops of his lungs as the genre usually demands, he still sounds like himself. Toward the end of the song, he even overdubs himself in a polished way. At any rate, this is a fun song, one with a good pace and nice spirit. Really good electric guitar solos, too.
I'm Alive B
This song has a really long subtitle, but I don't feel like copying it down! Anyway, the lyrics are certainly amusing, and I do enjoy these guitars. Another punk-centered song with its tight riffs and ultra-clean drums. Cooper's vocal performance is another good piece of play-acting. Quite enjoyable, but not great.
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I don't know if this makes sense, bit this is a piece that illustrates the glory of insanity. That's something of particular interest to me (that's why I'm a huge Terry Gilliam fan). This is an electronic instrumental piece with a lot of bells and a squeaky doll sound repeating the word “dada” intermittently. It was written solely by the album producer Bob Ezrin. He finds this glorious chord progression, and those electronic rhythms are positively pounding. Alice Cooper can be heard muttering some schizophrenic babble about his family. Freaky and funny!
Enough's Enough A+
This is easily among his most deliciously sinister songs ever. The atmosphere is deep and engaging, and Cooper's vocal performance terribly moving. Reverting back to the style in some of his earlier albums, this is geared toward synth-pop, but he isn't afraid to let some murky electric guitars into the mix. The production is fantastic, so thanks Mr. Ezrin! Most importantly, I say, Cooper wrote a really catchy melody (especially the chorus, which features some really odd but appealing chord changes). These lyrics are freaking brilliant, and they send shivers down my spine every time I hear them. (When my mother died, she laid in bed and cried: "I'm going to miss you, my brave little cowboy" I saw my father smile (a smile he tried to hide) He told me "Son, I've really got you now, boy." Come on, little cowboy). On another note, my dad was a big Alice Cooper fan in the '70s, and he never heard Dada before. I would like to give him a copy of the CD, but ... I'm afraid to because of these lyrics. Just an unfortunate side-effect, I guess...
Former Lee Warmer A+
Well, this is quite an amazing album already! Cooper follows that up with this terribly moving ballad. It has a ponderous melody line and, to my delight, instrumentation is wildly creative. It's a little bit like a normal rock ballad, but he uses pianos, full orchestras (with synthesizers). The instrumentation helps the song shift moods around dramatically throughout. It's sort of Kate-Bush-ish, which is always something I like to hear in music! The lyrics are also extremely moving and they're weird, this time telling the tale of a cannibalistic kid being kept locked in an attic. Could you have imagined such a song? It's brilliant!
No Man's Land A- Still quite good, but obviously pales next to the opening two songs. But outside of that context, this is another excellent song. The groove again is based on synth-pop, but he uses some heavy metal oriented guitars throughout. The vocals are really nice, he sings in a sort of robotic way, but he has some real passion in that chorus! The melody isn't as fully wonderful as the previous two songs, but there are still plenty of hooks in it to keep it going.
This is sort of synth pop that's been turned on its ear. A horn-synth plays a disjointed groove and a nice bass-line keeps things trudging along. Cooper's melody isn't too catchy, but the composition here remains pretty interesting throughout. This obviously isn't the album's shining moment, but it's crazy enough to keep the overall album exciting and interesting.
Scarlet and Sheeba A
Now, he's trying something even more daring. It begins with a dark atmosphere and a synthesizer whizzing around in a sort of Middle Eastern way. After that, a really hard heavy metal riff begins pounding away, and Alice gives us one of his finer power-ballad melodies ever. Not to sound like a fan-worshiping bastard, but once again, he created a tremendously interesting composition that not only features a deathly catchy melody but also a well crafted atmosphere.
I Love America A
Cooper tried doing a tongue-in-cheek parody of American life, and it's pretty amusing. He speaks all the lyrics in a sort of cliched blue-collar American accent, spouting out some of the more ridiculous things Americans believe either out-loud or subconsciously. Well, these lyrics are freaking hilarious! Plus, I like the heavy metal guitar licks off in the background even though they're cheesy... Well, the cheesiness makes it even more fun, I guess! The chants of "I love America" throughout the song have a goofy Frank Zappa vibe about them. Part of me thinks he repeats that riff a little too much throughout this track, but I can't forget about that moment in the middle where he goes in a sort of American Indian tangent. Another good piece of creativity from Cooper.
Fresh Blood B
This was a bit of a cult hit for kids who are into vampires, but I swear it is by far the dumbest thing on here. Among all these other songs that can be called “art-rock,” this is a dumb '80s rocker with a quasi-boring synth groove and a vocal melody featuring female back-up singers. It's cheesy, and not in a good way. That said, the melody is still quite catchy. It just doesn't seem to fit in this album.
Pass the Gun Around A+
And the final bow of Alice Cooper in this album is a mini-masterpiece called. The few enlightened people in the world who consider this a good album identify this song as the finest of the album. I can't quite agree with them, but this is still a bloody excellent song and it fully deserves that A+. It has an epic, orchestral quality that makes David Bowie's "Loving the Alien" look like piddle in comparison (and I love that song, too, by the way). It's capable of grabbing your attention and taking it on a flight. There aren't that many songs on this planet that can do that I'm afraid. Also, there's “Hey Jude,” and ... um...
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Teenage Frankenstein B-
I know I'm supposed to feel disgusted by Alice Cooper's blatant commercialism and be abhorred that he would write a cheesy hair metal song... But I guess I'm just not. I mean, the melody is dumb and obvious, and the guitars couldn't sound lazy and cheesy, but it's not a terribly unlistenable song, is it? Nah. I heard worse. A lot worse. The riff has something to it, and the overall experience doesn't annoy. Of course I don't like the song, either. Its greatest sin, by far, is that Alice forgot to inject some more pulse to it. Furthermore, we all know that he would write better melodies than this...
Give it Up D+
Come to think of it, I think I know why I wasn't offended with the previous song. Through the dumb melody and lazy guitars, I still had the vaguest idea that was Alice Cooper singing there. This song, however, could have been recorded by anybody. The only reason I know this is “Alice Cooper” is because he's eating a toy snake on the album cover. In fact, it sounds exactly like what I would expect to hear when I sit down in front of the TV set and watch a cheesy '80s movie. Sure, I like watching cheesy '80s movies occasionally, but I don't want to listen to those types of songs without the MOVIE. Bluh.
Thrill My Gorilla B
I have a confession to make: I like this song. True, it's a very dumb hair metal song with a nothing melody and a lot of aimless flashy guitar, but I like that riff! It sort of has a funny, sort of synth-pop rhythm to it. It's a shame that Alice couldn't have come up with a more interesting melody than this... So, while I sort of like this song, it needed to be injected with more JUICE.
Life and Death of the Party C-
This song isn't necessarily *bad* as it is *boring*. Once again, Alice Cooper proves that he was interested in nothing more than delivering boring radio music in 1986. Sure, it was a great money-maker for him, but was he having fun writing this? I doubt it. This is a terribly bland mid-tempo hard rocker with a melody that's unmemorable and even Alice sounds bored singing it. I don't know what else to write about it? We've all heard a billion songs like this. There's only death in this party...
Simple Disobedience D+
This one also has a herky-jerky quality to it that could have turned this into a funny industrial-type of song, but Alice decided to continue taking this completely lifeless approach to songwriting that this is much less interesting than actually going to a factory and listening to all those regular sounds. Zzzzzzz... The melody is so unmemorable that it might not even be there.
The World Needs Guts C
The world doesn't need more generic '80s songs... Seriously, dude. The only reason I find listening to this song vaguely enjoyable is because it reminds me of the montage music from cheesy '80s Rocky clones. Alice sings in such a convincing, cheesy tough-guy voice that I can just picture watching some guy with a hair-do build up his skills. But once again, this isn't the type of song that we wanted Alice Cooper to write! It's such common music, with a melody and lyrics that are so freaking generic... Yeesh... I remember in the not-so-distant past, Cooper was far from Mr. Bland Generic.
Trick Bag D
Man... I'm so bored that it isn't even funny. I'm neglecting studying for finals right now, and this definitely isn't a fun way to spend my time. This is another mid-tempo heavy rock song completely bereft of life with a dumb, stupid melody. What else do you want me to write? It's a much less interesting version of “The World Needs Guts.”
The reason this song gets a 'C' is because I enjoy listening to it for the first minute, but it doesn't present any new ideas after that point, so I'm not exactly thrilled about listening to this one, either. The electric guitar riff is very dry, but at least the vocal melody has enough of *something* to it that it vaguely prompts me to remember that Alice Cooper used to have real melodic talent!
The Great American Success Story C-
This was written for the movie Back to School (one of those '80s movies that is genuinely good!), but it never made it into the movie. Perhaps that's because this song *sucks*, and Oingo Boingo didn't want it even vaguely associated with them. The only thing that's vaguely good about this mid-tempo heavy rocker is the rhythm of those guitar crunches. ... Seriously, I hate listening to this song.
He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask) B
Ah, here's a song that actually *was* in a bad '80s movie. It's the theme song to Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives! I haven't seen that movie; I haven't seen any of the Friday the 13th movies for that matter and probably never will. But that's the sort of movie that you can tell is bad without actually watching it. I can probably make a bold enough of a proclamation that this song that Alice Cooper penned for it is probably the best thing about that film. I could personally see the film myself and confirm that, but life is too short. And when I say this song is “good,” I mean that it's not as terrible as these other songs. It's an electro-groove sort of song that sounds exactly like those songs Michael Jackson would release a year later with Bad. Yeah! It's not that bad!
Raise Your Fist and Yell (1987)
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Well hey! He might be doing more of this dumb hair-metal stuff, but if every hair metal song sounded this good, then I'd probably end up becoming a fan of it. First of all the guitars sound a lot better than they did anywhere on Constrictor. Instead of sounding cheapish and boring, they put some real umph in them. Secondly, the melody is actually pretty good. Thirdly, Alice Cooper brings back the campy play-acting vocals. I mean, it's all still derivative hair metal stuff, and stuff like that can only be *so* good, you know. But at least Alice Cooper is starting to remind us why he doesn't usually suck.
Lock Me Up A-
FUN! It's a stupid song meant specifically to please permanently stoned metal heads, but I can sort of see where they get it after sitting through a song as enjoyable as this. Plus, I think I heard Alice Cooper sing this when I went to his concert that one time. I might not have been paying too close attention to the songs at this point, because he was about to get his head chopped off. I might not care much for the fact that he's doing HAIR METAL when it's a well-known fact that that genre of music sucks, but at least the melody is catchy. Oh, and the flashy metal guitar solos are STUPIDLY good.
Give the Radio Back B-
Yeah! Give the radio back, so Alice can start composing more art-rock songs like he used to! ... Ah, just a pipe dream! Of course he's going to continue doing this dumb heavy metal stuff for a few albums now, and I guess I have to put up with it. I still think this sounds nicer than the vast majority of the stuff on Constrictor, but this is still awfully banal. The problem with this compared to the previous two is the melody isn't nearly as good.
Step On You C
I don't like that rhythm! It's all chompy and clompy! It's probably the weirdest thing on the whole album, but instead of delighting me with its weirdness, all I get is a splitting headache. The guitar solos are terrible, squeaky heavy metal doodie. The melody is dumb. I don't like it. Get off this heavy metal stuff! SERIOUSLY!!
Not That Kind of Love C
OK, he's never going to stop it with the heavy metal, so I should get off that topic! At the very least, I still don't get the feeling that this song belongs on a bad '80s movie like I was thinking constantly through Constrictor. The bad news is that I don't feel this is much of a step up. Once again, the melody is banal and uninteresting. The guitar solos are cliché and unexciting. My life is unexciting... though not cliché... I hope...
Prince of Darkness B
If you weren't convinced that Alice Cooper turned into a Christian, this song gives you a pretty good indication that he has. I know most of the mainstream pastors out there would turn their heads away from anyone who writes heavy metal songs glorifying the Epitome of Evil like this, but if you read the lyrics it's just a literal interpretation of what the Bible has to say about this character. Actually, these lyrics are pretty boring!! Musically, this song is OK. The melody is better than average for heavy metal. The guitars are good 'n' crunchy. For some reason, he starts singing “Only Women Bleed” at the end, which only goes to remind me of an album that I would much rather be listening to right now.
Time to Kill B+
I used to read John Grisham books! This one is about a lawyer from the South. That's all I remember. Hey, I can be similarly descriptive about this Alice Cooper song. It's hair-metal song from a middle age rock star! Yeah, I actually enjoy listening to this as much as I probably enjoyed that John Grisham novel. If I ever want to listen to banal '80s hair metal, I guess I would put this on my playlist. It's mostly forgettable, but it makes for fun listening if you want to crank up the volume. The guitars? I like the guitars!! Alice Cooper's vocals? They're fun! OK then!
Chop, Chop, Chop C
I'm noticing that either these songs are fun/banal or they're boring/banal. This one clearly falls on the latter. What can I say about it? It doesn't have enough stamina to give me the urge to get up and air-guitar with it. The vocal melody is bad. Alice's vocals are trying to sound too “evil” for their own good. He used to be *funny* when he'd adopt that evil growl. Those were the days.
What is this that curious din that maketh contact with mine eardrums? A harpsichord? Oooo! I remember when I used to hear harpsichords in Alice Cooper albums! Those were the good old days, right? Yeah... Don't get too excited. This song is boring. The disappointing vocal melody isn't catchy whatsoever, and Alice is singing in this semi-annoying squeaky voice. Bringing in the Phantom of the Opera style organs occasionally was a nice sound, but they're just contributing to empty musical ideas.
Roses on White Lace B
Yeesh! What is this? Van Halen? ... Yeah. Maybe. I never listen to Van Halen, because they didn't release a lot of awesome art-rock album in the '70s. This song has all those lightning-speed, thrashy electric guitar riffs that I guess I'm suppose to drool over! BUT I'M NOT!! I find them to be capable, but they're sorta like everything else. The anthemic melody is OK, but it would need more hooks in it for me to be impressed. HmHm!
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Dumb! Catchy! Here's Alice Cooper's classic metal anthem song. I think I remember him sing it when I saw him in concert that one time. I hadn't heard a single note from these pop-metal albums at the time, so I could only have vaguely recognized it. A lot of reviewers don't seem to like this one, and I wonder why. THE MELODY IS CATCHY! I also like his chord progressions, but again I have the sneaking suspicion that I'm the only person in the world who actively pays attention to those (while routinely ignoring the lyrics). The chorus is really good in that power-anthem sort of way. In fact, I might be known to want to sing along with it if I pump up the volume really high. But I don't right now, because it's late at night and the normal people in my household have entered their restful slumber. The guitars sound OK in that cheesy, generic metal way. Yes, I like this song.
Spark in the Dark B+
I'm going to have to be careful awarding these pop-metal songs such high ratings; I might lose my dignity. Do I care about my dignity? ... Um ... I guess so. THIS SONG SUCKS! ... OK, this song doesn't suck. I don't have dignity. It has another catchy power-anthem chorus. I like those back-up vocals he brought in there. Quite fun. The riff is OK, but it's only good enough for about two minutes. After that, I get tired of it for repeating so much.
House of Fire B-
The one thing I wish Alice Cooper would refrain from doing (apart from the overarching wish that he wouldn't do pop metal) is saying “baybuh.” It's like he's not sure if he wants to say “baby” or “Bubba.” Bill Clinton wasn't in office yet, so I don't know why he was doing this. ....Anyway, this is another pretty good pop-metal song, and it would have been a straight B if Alice just sang normally. The chorus again is pretty catchy. It's more predictable than the last two, because I don't care much for the chord progression this time!
Why I Trust You C
Why does he insist on singing like he's some sort of miserable jerk? I can take his corruption of the word “fire” into “fyah!!!” than what he was trying to pull off in the previous song! But still... I don't like it. Compositionally speaking, there isn't much to like out of this song. It's an average bar rocker ala Huey Lewis and the News except it's not as respectable.
Only My Heart Talkin' D+
Oh man... I was alive in 1989, and I can still remember hearing ballads like this play on the radio. Is it no wonder that I completely shunned rock music until 2001 when I was about to graduate high school? I have a policy regarding ballads. One: The melody has to be good. Two: It has to be sincere. “Only My Heart Talkin'” marginally passes in the first priority, but fails miserably in the second. And it really doesn't help that he insists on singing in that strained way. Maybe all that booze he guzzled over the years made him forget how to pronounce words or something... The worst thing about this song doesn't happen until the end where Alice duets with somebody in hyena calls. I slap them both in the face!
Bed of Nails B
Neat intro! He's still doing that cheesy metal stuff, but he's talking in a very low growl, and undergoes a huge, flashy sequence reminiscent of Phantom of the Opera. He also does a pretty nice job with this chorus, which is marginally catchy. Although it would have been better if he didn't make it sound so freaking radio-ready. The overall development of this song is pretty good, though, having quite a few different themes inserted throughout. Not bad! ...for pop-metal.
This Maniac's in Love With You D+
OK, Alice. Let's have a talk. ...When are you going to quit it with the pop-metal? This is the third album I've had to bear through this stuff, and you're really beginning to ware-out my patience. This synthesizer-led composition is “Thrill My Gorilla” all over again, except the production standards are better. But at least “Thrill My Gorilla” had a funny rhythm... This song doesn't have a funny rhythm. The melody is terrible. It repeats too much. I don't like it.
Why is he singing like this? He's ruining what was otherwise a perfectly good heavy metal song. This one in particular has a decent riff and a nicely catchy melody, but this flashy, trashy way he's singing it makes it all seem very fake. Just sing in your normal voice!!! At least the guitars sound excellent here. They sound more '70s than they do '80s, which is a step in the right direction. The '80s guitar sound has its good examples, but none of those are found in Alice Cooper albums.
Hell is Living Without You B-
This falls under the category of a decent pop-metal song that's nothing more than mildly likable. Sure, that's a nice enough standard from famous bands that I hate such as Bon Jovi, but I can't stress this point enough: ALICE COOPER IS NOT BON JOVI. Grrrr... This is another one of his attempts at a power-ballad. It's not nearly as embarrassing as “Only My Heart Talkin',” but it's not too exciting either. I like the introduction, though, and the back-up vocals do a few nice things. The chorus is nicely written without sounding too cliché. The morose atmosphere is good, too. Even though he's writing heavy metal pap, he's proving that he at least starting to care slightly about songwriting...
I'm Your Gun B
At the beginning of this song, he says your father thinks he's scum! ... Pushing it! I think a lot of the fathers out there still had Love it to Death in their collection! ...Well, maybe they still thought he was scum. I don't know. They sure didn't want to listen to this album, I can tell you that.. But this is a pretty decent song as far as they've been going on this album. The guitars are quick and tight—the way they're supposed to be. The melody is OK, but nothing that anybody else in the era weren't also writing.
Hey Stoopid (1991)
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Hey Stoopid A-
Hello, melody! This song might be very much stadium-rock, but it's actually a decent example of that genre since Alice decided to give melodies a higher priority! This is also a complex one, and all the themes are equally as catchy. I thought the melodies on Trash were fine enough, but none of them really compare to this one. It's a melody that I could listen to with the volume turned up and sing boisterously to it. And, plus, it wouldn't have a tendency to get caught in my head and torture me while I'm taking linear algebra finals. The guitars sound crunchy here without so much adhering strictly to heavy metal cliches. The lead guitar does a few nice interchanges with the vocal melody. Good opener!
Love's a Loaded Gun A
I'm going to have to be careful awarding such high ratings... I technically don't like this sort of music. That highly polished hard-rock from the '90s is a disgusting sound normally. But what else can I say? If the melody is good, and the song actually picks up some steam, then I can't do anything less than enjoy it. And when I say that this is a good melody, I mean that this is a GOOD melody. Surely, most pop bands would never come up with something this good. I even really like the arrangements even though they're very plastic. The huge, bending synthesizer is excellent. The lead guitar actually rules. The small choir brought in for the chorus was perfectly executed. My only main complaint is he says “baybuh.” THAT'S NOT A WORD!!!
Still good! After giving two As right away, I'm more pressured to come up with good excuses to give the subsequent songs lower ratings, but I can't do it here. I actually really like listening to this hard-rock song, too, and the melody is wonderful. Cooper's growling performance is remarkably exciting, and the guitar is loud and powerful. It's ugly and gritty. It's fun. I love those howls of “Snake biiiiiiiite!!!!” at the end of every chorus. The riff is bouncy and catchy. God, what isn't to like about it?
Burning Our Bed C+
...Not that good. Passable, but it's not an A-level song even in its wildest dreams. It's a B-level song in its wildest dreams, but I ain't giving it that. This is a power ballad, and the melody isn't very captivating. So, all the '90s-styled polished instrumentals and fake-sincere vocals and whiny delivery of the vocals are going to bite him in the buttocks. It's pretty comparable to those songs I remember hearing from that Alanis Morrisette classic that I don't like very much.
Dangerous Tonight B
Forget the power-ballads! Hard rock is what Alice Cooper was put on this earth to create, even if it's the miserably slick '90s variety. I'm also glad that his guitarist decided to add a little grit instead of that plastic slickness that he's been dishing out in the previous albums. This song has a good pace to it, so it makes a nice listen. The melody is good, but hardly impressive.
Might As Well Be On Mars B+
Wait! Don't forget the power-ballads! This is a good one! It's a powerfully sung one with an epic length, progressing to a huge string section toward the end. This one has a good melody and a chorus that's uplifting enough to nearly launch me into outer space. That's a good goal for a song that wants to go to Mars. Again, the polished '90s instrumentals are a major drag, but that's only a minor perturbation when the song they're backing up is decently composed. The only thing keeping it out of the A-range is the melody. It's catchy, but not catchy enough. (Am I going insane, or do I hear him start to sing an R.E.M. song not released yet? He says the phrase “man on the moon” eerily similarly to how R.E.M. says it in their 1992 hit. Weird coincidence?)
Feed My Frankenstein A-
Once again, I should technically hate this song. It's a super-polished hard rock song with plastic guitars and synthesizers, and it has the early '90s written all over it. Alice Cooper sings in this overly flashy voice. But what else can I say about it when it's actually well-done? Also, this song is featured on Wayne's World, so I also can't hate it for that reason. I don't care much for the guitar sound, but they're playing a nice riff. The chorus is loud and memorable. Bringing in that little phrase “he's a psycho” at the end of the chorus was a nice touch. The extended guitar solos were a little bit much, but at least they have some verve to them, which is more than I can say about the solos in his previous metal albums. (Ah, some famous axemen were brought in for duties!)
Hurricane Years B-
Less notable this time, but at least it doesn't suck. Luckily, that's the new moderate standard for this Alice Cooper album. The main problem with it has to do with the melody not being that great. Hm. And it still sounds too much like the '90s, but the guitars don't sound all that terrible. This might have sounded decent on the radio if people weren't too busy listening to those Seattle guys.
Little By Little C+
One day, the early '90s will be over, and he'll stop doing songs like this. That's what's keeping me sane through this! This is another one of those stadium-rock songs, but the melody doesn't achieve anything higher than blandness. The chorus has an audience-participation thing going... but I think the similar song from Trash was a little better. And when I say something from Trash was better, then that's not a good thing.
Die For You C-
*Gritting teeth* YEAH!!! ONE DAY HE'S GOING TO STOP WRITING SONGS LIKE THIS!!! ... Ballads have never been very good to Alice Cooper, and this plastic adult-contemporary thing is positively ravaging. Once again, it's the bland melody that keeps it from being any good. But the plastic, dated instrumentation makes it practically unbearable to listen to by my ears.
Dirty Dreams B-
Basically mediocre. I feel like I'm repeating myself when I talk about these songs, but ... well that's what happens when I review albums like this. THE MELODY IS FLAT AND I DON'T LIKE THE SOUND! The electric guitar solo is very flashy and not that interesting. Cooper's vocals are loud and convincing, but they would have worked better if he found a better melody.
Wind Up Toy A-
A good closing song! The very opening of it is a tinny jingle from a jack-in-the-box-like toy, which is a cute play on the theme. The verses are a little jangly, contains bongos and a number of unpredictable sound effects! (Now, if he only axed the overly loud snare drum, then we would have been in business.) The chorus sounds right out of the radio, but it actually picks up its momentum properly with a juicy melody and some real passion in that vocal performance. The play acting at the end is creepy. Nicely done! ... ... ... Are the early '90s over yet?
The Last Temptation (1994)
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Straightforward pop music, eh? No more of those silly heavy metal overtones, hmm? Catchy melody, and solid instrumentation, yah? ........ Me likey! Alice Cooper, the songwriter, has returned to us, it seems! He was also feeling more elbow room with the new CD format that had taken over the world at this point, so he was unafraid to write a six-and-a-half minute song with only three-minute's worth of ideas. But luckily, these ideas were breezy and likable enough to only slightly run out of steam by the end. The instrumentation consists of nice acoustic guitars, bouncy electric guitars and punchy drums. Fun song!
Nothing's Free A-
See, this is what his heavy metal albums should have sounded more like. Good heavy riffs, a druggy atmosphere, and a catchy vocal melody. I also like how Alice sings this, halfway talking the lyrics in a creepy voice. The creepy B-movie horror movie voice is this guy's specialty, you know! Plus, the electric guitar solo is actually good and doesn't rely on metal cliches. The theatrical way he brings in n those background vocals, singing a completely different melody, in the last half was very clever. That's a pleasant change-of-pace. The best thing of them all is this song doesn't seem to be aiming to be anything other than a good song. So what if it doesn't sell a million copies released as a single? It's a song that you might actually want to listen to!
Lost in America A
That's a great movie! And this is a great song! The funny thing is this song sounds a lot like his previous heavy metal; the only major difference is this is actually good. He brings in some grittier sounding heavy metal guitars that play a catchy riff. Cooper's trademark growl-singing is as awesome as it has ever been. I also like that pounding chorus, featuring a number of singers joining in those busy, bouncy lines of “lost in America, lost in America, lost in America...” The instrumentation sounds great, by the way, even adding in subtle touches like a tiny horn section in the chorus at the end. Terribly good fun! He even pulls a Jimi Hendrix and performs a line from “The Star Spangled Banner” on his guitar at the end.
Bad Place Alone B-
This is a very confused song! It goes back and forth between a dumb heavy metal riff and a West Side Story-ish Broadway tune. It's like he has schizophrenia, and the 1994 and 1972 are duking it out with each other! It's sort of a crazy idea, and I like crazy ideas, but the transitions always seem to be too jarring I hate to say. The individual parts are OK, though. The heavy metal riff is pretty dumb and not all that catchy, but I those razor-blade guitars tones he uses. The very end of the song, he builds up the Broadway portion of the song into something more dynamic, bringing in exciting guitars, Jerry Lee Lewis pianos and even a harmonica.
You're My Temptation A-
My jaw dropped when I saw who was credited as songwriter for this alongside Alice Cooper. ...Get this. Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades. (Blades, if you're fortunate enough to not know who he is, was a member of Night Rider before joining Damn Yankees with Shaw and Ted Nugent.) That's a little strange, to say the least, because I also happened to have reviewed Tommy Shaw solo albums extremely recently. This is one of those weird, weird coincidences I guess. ...I'm also a little frightened to discover that the three of them actually turned in quite a decent heavy metal song. This is so much more guitar heavy than the other songs, but the guitars actually pack a punch. The riff is engaging and catchy, and so is the melody. I get the feeling that's Tommy Shaw playing the lead guitar... he's fluttering that wa-wa-ing instrument all over my speakers by the end! This could very well be the greatest thing Tommy Shaw was ever involved in.
Stolen Prayer B
This is a power ballad, but it's far from those terrible things we've heard from Trash; this is actually listenable! Alice Cooper the songwriter has returned, indeed! Though this melody is fairly unremarkable, the instrumentation keeps the experience overall nice. The song presents a nice mix between acoustic guitars and electric guitars, and there's a mightily decent guitar solo in the middle. He brings in a small children's choir at parts, which was charming. My only real complaint is that electrocuted hair-metal vocalist that pops in every now and then. Someone should've shot him.
Unholy War A-
Oh, here's something that we seriously haven't heard in awhile. At certain parts of this song, he's really packing on a dark, evil atmosphere. And it's not like one of those plastic, hair-metal atmospheres that he was so fond of. I actually start to feel, in the slightest sense, mentally violated by this track. At the opening, those guitars play a very dark riff as those bouncy (doom-day) drums come in and Alice sings in his famous evil voice. The chorus is slightly brighter, but it still gives off a dark vibe. But he returns to the complete darkness in the middle where I swear I hear some sort of ghoul howling in the background. It's very subtle. The drums are upbeat enough throughout this song that you could probably dance to it.
Sort of a cool song! It's sort of unremarkable, but he's again trying out these weirdly structured songs similar to “Bad Place Alone” except this one flows a lot better. He could have been going for something that could have appeared on Welcome to My Nightmare, but it's missing Bob Ezrin's fancy production touches and the instrumentation is much rawer. The verses section is more light and sweet, and that dark chorus where Alice sings (with overdubs of him whispering) is cute and spooky at the same time. The melody is even not bad, although it probably could have been hookier. Still, though... this song is all around good. You have no idea how relieved I am that I'm reviewing consistently good Alice Cooper music, now. I was getting ready to hang myself in those earlier Cooper reviews...
It's Me A-
Wow, I really like this ballad. I thought of this as an A+ at first, but listening to it more and more I realize that the melody is sort of dumb and it drags on for a bit too long. But, heck, it's still a good melody. The very clean instrumentation standards concentrates more on an acoustic guitar sound with the electric guitar filling in some of the void. Yes, that's a much lighter and better textured sound than all that crappy heavy metal he was doing in the past. The vocal performance sounds like Alice actually means what he's singing.
Cleansed By Fire A-
Really, all this shockingly excellent songwriting is overwhelming me! ... Not that I forgot that Alice Cooper used to be a genius songwriter, but I've been listening to his 1986-1991 albums so much that I think they've hurt my brain. The melody is extremely catchy, and his serious and dramatic approach to this is surprisingly engaging. Cooper's vocal performance, again in performance-mode, is excellent fun to hear. The textures are excellent and somewhat complex, even to the point of bringing in a wild saxophone very subtly in the background and some carnival sound effects toward the end. Really, this song is excellent. Not quite as unbeatably ball-busting like his classic stuff, but it's still very well-written and enjoyable. NICE TO HAVE YOU BACK, ALICE COOPER!
A Fistful of Alice (1997)
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School's Out A
Alice Cooper in 1997 was absolutely one of the ultimate classic rock acts still touring around. How do I know this? I saw one of his live shows in 2005, so I have a firsthand account of this! I only wish that I could have went back in time and smacked my 1997-self around a bit so that I could have recognized this fact earlier! (Oh, all the things I could do if I could only turn back the hands of time!) Alice Cooper begins this concert set with one of his greatest songs, the after-school anthem I always get stuck in my head after finals week. It's a great song, as I'm sure you know, and he performs it with as much youthfulness and vibrancy as he did in his younger days. I sort of wish I could see what was going on the stage. Based on the school-bell sound effects we hear throughout, he had props!
I'm Eighteen A
I should mention that the guitars sound very good, but that's not really a good reason to get this album. They solo around occasionally, but they're more like filler noise than anything. Not too special. You'll get this album if you want to hear what Alice sounded like in concert or—alternately—you want to relive the time that you saw him in concert! Myself, I do remember Alice singing this song in concert, and I'm sure everyone in the audience would be disappointed if he didn't play this. Great song!!!!
As far as Alice Cooper set-lists go, “Desperado” isn't essential, but I think listening to this you'll note that it deserves its place among his monster-classics. Lest you forget, it's from Killer! He mentions at the beginning that he wrote this for Jim Morrison! ...Weird, I didn't see that before, but I come to think of it I can picture Jim Morrison singing the melody. The chorus is a little heavy-metal for him, though!
Lost in America A-
The guitar player with a top-hat makes a guest appearance on this song! (Aw! I don't remember seeing Slash at the Alice Cooper concert I went to!!!) But anyway, Lost in America might be off of one of his '90s albums, but it surprisingly holds up well against its big brothers. The melody is rather catchy, and his extremely spirited vocals helps launch it to outer space. I can't say I care much for Slash's band, but the guy could definitely play a wicked old guitar.
Teenage Lament '74 B
Wow... I forgot this song existed. I had to shuffle through my previous Cooper reviews to remember where this one is from! It's from Muscle of Love, which explains why I don't remember it! I originally gave this a C+. I think I like it better than that, but this doesn't have near the amount of hookiness and energy as anything else on this album. I guess I was hoping that Alice would have forgotten about Muscle of Love ... slightly.
I Never Cry B
I guess I was hoping that Alice would have forgotten about this song, too, but I still think this is a generally well-written song. It's lame in a live setting, though. This must've been the intermission music for the bathroom break! (...Sorry. That was mean, wasn't it?)
OH NO, NOT THIS SONG AGAIN!!!!! That linear algebra final was more than a month ago, and I'm still haunted by the fact that I was haunted by this song while taking that test. Oh god, I can't wait to get out of college. I think all these endless tests that I've been taking are the reason I'm losing my hair! ...Well, despite it, I still think this is a generally good song. I don't understand exactly what so many people have against this. It has a catchy melody and it's probably one of the better stadium rockers out there.
Billion Dollar Babies A
This isn't as essential as “I'm Eighteen,” but I would be equally as disappointed if I didn't hear Alice sing this monster classic on stage. Who wouldn't be? It has one of the most heart-pounding, memorable glam riffs of all rock 'n' roll! And Alice performs it with as much verve as you could possibly expect him to.
Welcome to My Nightmare A-
Considering he didn't have Bob Ezrin at the stage show, supervising every single sound, I think they did a mightily good job at the beginning of this... bringing in bell noises of all things. Of course, it's not as polished as the original stage incarnations were, but you'd have to expect that you know! This is fun to hear, particularly for Alice's signature theatrical-style vocal performance, which this song wouldn't be half as enjoyable without. Naturally, I wish I could see it. You really only get half of the story just hearing it, I fear.
Only Women Bleed B+
This is arguably Alice Cooper's best ballad. (I say “arguably” because I'm not even sure about that myself.) It's a *great* ballad, of course, but just like the excellent “I Never Cry” I get the nagging feeling that this is just a little bit *lame* for a live concert. That said, when I saw him in concert, I remember him sitting on a stool and giving a more intimate, soul-bearing take on this. Well, I remember being tremendously engaged by it. At any rate, he spent the whole evening jumping around on stage, and the guy needed a break!
Feed My Frankenstein B
Wayne's World! The greatest movie ever, sans Citizen Kane! That's weird, because his guest vocalist happens to be the worst film director of all time: Rob Zombie. I never actually saw one of his movies, though. I subject myself to a lot of pain: See my Styx solo album reviews. But there's only so much I'm willing to suffer through! ...Well, “Feed My Frankenstein” is a very good song from his '90s career—indeed one of his very few good ones from the decade! And this does pack quite a punch. Not as much of a punch as it did in the studio incarnation, though, and that's basically all the original had going for it. This is very fun to listen to, though, particularly if you're in the audience!
Yay! This is another one of my personal favorites from Alice's classic career, the song that I get stuck in my head every time election season rolls around. (I'm a bit of a news junkie, so I've gotten this suck in my head quite a lot!) I just wish a politician would have the cojones to use this as a campaign theme song! Ah, it's too blunt I guess. Well, I really like Alice's incredibly spirited vocal rendition again. The huge guitar glam chords are great arena-rock fare, and this it's a total blast from beginning to end. Yes...
Is Anyone Home? B+
...Uh, what is this? This ain't live; it's a new studio recording! AND HEY, IT'S A GOOD SONG! Let me, once again, express my relief that Cooper was going in more of a pop direction in the mid-90s, completely abandoning that lame-o heavy metal stuff he was tinkering with in the last part of the '80s. (OK, he'd go heavy metal again in 2000, but it's the awesome kind of heavy metal!) This is more Beatles-inspired, I guess, with an upbeat pop melody, pleasant wobbly guitars and even some strings halfway through. It's very flooded, but pleasant in spite of that. It honestly doesn't sound very Alice-Cooperish for that reason, but ... hey, I strictly remember bits of his 1976-1983 catalogue not sounding very Alice-Cooperish and he got away with it. This song has a catchy melody. That's all you really need to know!
Brutal Planet (2000)
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Brutal Planet A-
Yikes, this is actually good. I know, it's surprising I say that since this is basically nu-metal, which is a genre of music I abhor usually. But thanks to Cooper's knack for melodies and genuinely good instrumentation standards, we basically have a hit here. He lets some good female singers take over in the chorus, and it reminds me a little bit of an early grunge song. I don't know why! The very dark and gritty guitars are appropriate for the genre. They give some good textures, I guess...
Wicked Young Man A
Very convincing for a nu-metal song. The riff is actually catchy, and Cooper's evil and growling vocal performance packs enough of a punch to be convincing. The vocal melody also has its deathly hooks, something that I wish more of the regular nu-metal-types probably don't do as well. (Oh, I should mention that this is officially my 946th review, and the first nu-metal one. I'm pretty sure.)
Dark, dark, dark and fast guitars. Very nu-metal-ish. Cooper remembers that he has a witty, sarcastic sense of humor, as he brings in some spoken word lines in here that reminds me of “I Love America.” Although the instrumentation sounds awfully serious, but still well-arranged and played. The best thing about this is that it has an interesting melody. I really don't think the regular nu-metal types cared that much about melody.
Blow Me in the Kiss B+
The melody is still good but I fear it took a slight dive compared to the previous three. The guitars once again create a nice, dark atmosphere, although I'm not going hog-wild over this. Give me the instrumentation standards of Dada any time of the day! But, seriously, if you must do this nu-metal stuff, then this is a good way to go about it. Just let the guitars rip, and don't forget to write a good melody! Is there growl in his vocal performance? Yah! He's the guy who pretty much invented it you know!
Eat Some More B
More of that nu-metal stuff. ...I guess I don't really have to announce anymore that these songs are nu-metal! This really goes to show how non-diverse this album is, and I think that's a rather significant weakness. Particularly since I'm not a fan. I don't get the feeling, either, that this melody is very interesting. Sure, the guitars sound fine for the genre, but they're getting tiring.
Pick Up the Bones A-
I was only complaining about the overload of nu-metal because I was looking forward to hearing this power-ballad! Do you know how relieved I am to hear the beginning of this song when the acoustic guitar arpeggiates amidst a creepy background soundscape? Yeah! I like it!! This song is very super-serious, though. I think it's been since Dada that one of his albums have sounded so stone-cold serious. Anyway, this is a song with a good melody. The verses build up to a harder chorus, which was well-earned. The rhythm section sounds very modern, but even that's done pretty well. Nice work!
This starts out rather similar to the previous song. It's not quite so loud, and it concentrates mainly on a less-intrusive atmosphere. The chorus is very guitar heavy, though, bringing it back to the modern-metal style! The chorus is very disconnected, though, and I can't quite latch onto it. I also get a tad bored with this. I'll give it props for the atmosphere, but ... eh, I just wish it wasn't so ugly!
The melody is good, and that's what makes me happy! The instrumentation is also smashingly done for the genre, and Alice turns in another one of his trademarked growl-singing performances. I might not care much for this nu-metal stuff, but there's always room for his growl-singing.
It's the Little Things A
I'm actually able to effortlessly get into this one. The beat is faster and the guitars take on a crunchier sound, so it's not so purposefully ugly as many of these others. What's more, the melody is excellent further promoting the argument that this album really *is* his best since Dada. Masterful comeback! He quotes a few of his older hits here, which I guess means that he officially considers himself an old rocker.
Take it Like a Woman B-
This is only real ballad on here, and why did it have to sound so overblown? Couldn't it have just been a little less pretentious? And where are the hooks?? ...OK, I guess this shouldn't come to a surprise, since he's had trouble conquering ballads ever since he started in the biz. This resembles “Only Women Bleed,” about the only ballad he's ever done to any masterful degree. Keep on tryin' dude.
Cold Machine A
Yeah... He should have put that ballad earlier in this album just so that I'd learn to appreciate the nu-metal songs more! This definitely sounds more up his alley, and the riffs are quite dark and rather catchy. The drums create a really thunderous beat. The best thing, of course, is the MELODYYYYYYYYYY. It's been a long, long while since he's come out with melodies this solid. This is a good, captivating song to end the album with. It's not too depressingly ugly, either.
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Basically picking up where the last album left off, this is a heavy metal song with loud and dark electric guitars and Cooper delivering the lyrics with a snarl. As with most of the previous album, what sets this song apart from others of the genre is that it's actually catchy. See? The melody could have worked perfectly well as a hippie-folk song, which is a genre that basically relies on melody, so you know that this has got to be good! The instrumentation is polished and heavy, but it also doesn't get too depressing. Good song all around!
This is a lot darker and depressing than the previous song, and somehow I don't care. (As I've mentioned plenty o times, dark and evil '90s and '00s metal tends to bug me... I'd much rather listen to Barry Manilow. Disturbing but true.) BUT when it comes to a song like this, I can actually enjoy the genre for once. Cooper's vocal delivery is perfect, for a start. It sounds evil, but he's not resorting to evil vomiting noises. The atmosphere, while dark and depressing, is still engaging and well developed. There's a guitar solo in the middle from someone who knows what he's doing. The pounding riff is actually a bit ear catching. I know, imagine that!
Seriously, this feeling I have is so severe that I feel the need to mention it for the umpteenth time: If all nu-metal-type song were this good, I would seriously consider being a fan of the genre. This song not only has a catchy chorus with a very convincing “death-filled” vocal performance from Alice, but an engaging verses section with weird, Middle-East styled instrumentation more subtly in the background. The guitars sound good 'n' gruff, and I actually enjoy listening to this.
Sex, Death and Money A
Ah yes, the three things we all live for. ...And this is yet another big hit for the album. The thing I want to highlight about this song is the drum and bass-line, which are both menacing and fun to hear at the same time. It's not as loud and flashy as the previous song, this is more evil and sinister in creepy, crawly ways. In many ways, this is much more serious in its horrors than Welcome to My Nightmare was.
Fantasy Man A
I'm not kidding; these songs are really this good! This melody is about as catchy as anything Alice Cooper has ever written, and he was responsible for his fair share of catchy tunes! The gruff guitar is back, and it's playing quite a catchy riff. Cooper's vocal performance, again, is an evil sneer... although it's certainly cuter than some of these other songs. But Alice Cooper is quite a cute character, you know.
Somewhere in the Jungle A
Yet another excellent song. This one not only has a catchy melody and dark guitars that play an ear catching riff, but it has a really good flow to it. It's such an enjoyable song to listen from beginning to end that you might be surprised! The atmosphere is also convincingly dark and sinister, which helps give it that extra dimension. Nicely done!!!
This is a funny and surprisingly convincing take on Elvis Presley, as you might have surmised from the song title! Despite it being fashioned from '50s music, he still uses those dark, nu-metalish guitars, so I guess this is a song quite unlike anything anyone's ever heard before. (Of course, most run-of-the-mill nu-metal artists probably take themselves too seriously to do anything like this!) This is a fun song to listen to, and the melody is pretty good too.
Sister Sara A-
This starts as much more run-of-the-line sort of nu-metal with its extremely dark riff and the lack of an engaging atmosphere. Although this still makes a good listen, partly because of that really, really, really weird sweet girly singing interrupting the dark nu-metal at times. I get the idea that this was fashioned after Lee Hazlewood's “Some Velvet Morning!” ...Hey, this has got a 3/4 meter change, too! I might be onto something!
Every Woman Has a Name B+
Alright... I've got to ask Alice Cooper something personally: WHY do you need to rewrite “Only Women Bleed” for EVERY FREAKING ONE OF YOUR ALBUMS????? ...To be fair, I think this is one of his better rewrites. It's a lot better than the one that appeared on Brutal Planet anyway. I know, that's not saying a whole lot. ...Seriously, this song isn't bad!! The instrumentation sounds a little too much like a Michael Bolton song from the late '80s, but ... Well, Michael Bolton's instrumentation wasn't bad 100 percent of the time! ... OK, it was bad 95 percent of the time, but this is one of the good 'uns.
I Just Wanna Be God A
That's it. This album completely rules. If songs are still rocking this awesomely when the album is almost over, then we know we've got a great album on our hands. This not only has a truly kickin' nu-metal riff that, no doubt, blows most other bands away, but it also has an engagingly dark and dense instrumentation standards. Most importantly, this is terrifically fun to listen to! Cooper's vocal performance with these, I guess, spiritual lyrics are terribly engaging.
It's Much Too Late A
Wow, this is another excellent tune, which isn't really nu-metal at all. Rather, this is a heavily melodic song more in a Bealtes-esque sense. Really nice arrangements helps keep the song engaging, and once again it has a very nice flow to it. It's not an evil-sounding song at all, which is nice because I sorta get sick of hearing evil song after evil song.
The Sentinel A-
Of course, Alice wouldn't be doing his nu-metal makeover justice, and what can I say? He nails this just like he nailed everything else here (except for the ballad). The atmosphere is dark and sinister, of course, but it also has yet another mostly good melody and convincing, evil delivery from The Coop. While I continue to say that this sort of music isn't my favorite sort of thing to listen to, I will say that this is exactly the sort of way that it should be done: Dark and evil, yes, but also fun! Top-notch work.
The Eyes of Alice Cooper (2003)
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What Do You Want From Me A-
Awesome! Nothing against Alice's nu-metal, but I'd much prefer to listen to the sort of hard-rock music that he's most famous for. Why? Because he does it so dang well! He knows exactly how to write excellent melodic hooks, and the guitars inserted throughout sound just like a '70s hard-rock song ought to. Apart from a bit of a strange and rather misfired interlude in the middle where Alice growls over a dark soundscape, this is an excellent, fun and unpretentious album opener.
Between High School & Old School B
Alright, as I was listening to this album, I never had a problem with this song until just now when I noticed that this song would be perfectly at home in a Hilary Duff album. Just replace the vocals, and you have Hilary Duff. Naturally, knowing about Duff's albums (not that I actually listen to those ... much), this would be one of the main highlights, but that doesn't forgive the fact that this is a cutesy modern pop song. Bluh. The melody ain't bad, though.
Man of the Year B-
Yeah, the Hilary Duff parallels aren't going to escape me now. This is basically the same sort of thing. Of course, her producers would have had to rewrite that thing in the lyrics about the prostate, but ... really. What bugs me about this song is surprisingly Alice Cooper's vocals. I really don't care much for that disgusting whine he comes up with for the chorus. Other than that, the melody is OK. It's not too memorable. The lyrics are hilarious, though.
This is still a little bit too cutesy for its own good, but at least Alice isn't trying to sound like some sort of teen pop singer with this! He's singing normally, thank goodness! The songwriting on this one's quite good with a few solid hooks here and there. He's definitely done better than this, though, and the guitars unfortunately sound rather cheapish.
Bye Bye, Baby A
Ah yes, finally a song that's really worthy of the Alice Cooper brand name. Yeah, he's still writing pop music, but that's good in this case, because the riff is catchy and I like his vocal melody. His vocal performance concentrates on his trademark growl-singing, which is the guy's forte, after all. The horn section provides some added drive to the snappy rhythm and also gives it a Vegasy vibe, immediately recalling his Welcome to My Nightmare days.
Be With You Awhile B+
Alright. I'm through complaining about Alice Cooper's ballads. He's going to have at least one of 'em in his albums just as sure as fish breathe water, and it's getting tiring spending every review complaining extensively about them. Besides, this isn't the worst thing about the album! Cooper's melody is quite hooky and good. His vocal performance is OK, and the instrumentation standards aren't bad either. They remind me of a cross between Radiohead and The Beatles “The Fool on the Hill.”
Detroit City A
This is a hard-rock nostalgic song about Alice Cooper's place-of-birth. It's quite good, too, featuring a catchy melody and some really, really fun growl-singing. The guitarists redeem themselves fully for their cutesy transgressions they committed earlier in this album with some truly dizzying licks here and there. The lyrics are pretty charming, too. It's always nice to hear someone reminisce about their youth... even if it was in a city as miserable as Detroit.
Spirits Rebellious A-
You don't know how freaking ecstatic I am that Alice isn't continuing to write those cutesy pop anthems, and instead writing hard-rock anthems along the lines of what he was doing in the '70s. Really, if everyone would just pretend there haven't been any new musical developments since the '70s, the world would probably be a better place. This song has a pretty nice vocal hook, and the guitars sound very gritty in the '70s sense. It's not a great song by any means, and it's not even particularly memorable, but it's fun to listen to!
This House is Haunted B+
Here, Alice Cooper briefly revisits the spooky, atmospheric theatrical stuff that he had previously done with Bob Ezrin on Welcome to My Nightmare and Dada... although without the actual assistance of Bob Ezrin, Alice wasn't able to come up with a compelling instrumental soundscape of any kind. ...Well, he does a nice enough job with the arpeggiated acoustic guitars, a clarinet (?) playing ghoul noises, and a little bit of twinkling sound effects subtly in the background. The second half of this is very suddenly grows much louder, darker and scarier. Quite a good and surprising song development... it reminds me of what Pink Floyd did throughout The Wall. ...Except that album had, of course, Bob Ezrin.
Love Should Never Feel Like This A-
Oh no, back to the pop music that sounds suited for a Hilary Duff album (apart from the lyrics of course)! Why is he doing this???? ...Oh, but I actually like this song. The melody is very catchy in this instance, and the guitars sound quite good. Cooper's vocal performance is very engaging here, and the song has an overall smooth flow to it. So, yes, I like it.
The Song That Didn't Rhyme A-
Wow, this is a ballad that's actually pretty good! If Alice Cooper continues improving his ballad writing skills like this, he might actually start writing excellent ballads one of these days! It's a rather simple song, but I like it anyway. The instrumentation is laid back and pleasant with a cute accordion and jangly guitars providing an engaging back-up texture.
I'm So Angry A
What are you so angry about???? Alice Cooper doesn't need a reason. He just needs to have a growl in his voice when he's expressing it. That's quite a growl, too! Lucky us, he returns back to hard rock, which he intrinsically does better than any of the other genres he's been dabbling in on this disc. The guitars are fast and furious, and he also manages to come out with a mightily decent melody for the genre. It's fun to listen to. That's all.
Backyard Brawl A-
Yup, he ends this album on a high note, giving us another one of the album's more enjoyable numbers. It's sounds much more like modern heavy heavy metal, sort of like the nu-metal stuff he had done in his previous two albums. Cooper's slobbering vocal performance is really fun, and just about as violent and crazy as contemporary hard-rock musicians have tended to be. It's not bad. I like the energy, and it's fun to listen to.
Dirty Diamonds (2005)
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Woman of Mass Distraction B
I know what you're thinking. You're reading that song title and asking to yourself: “Is this yet another remake of 'Only Women Bleed?'” Thank god for us all, this is just a riff-rock song! It's a pretty good one, too, with nice sounding guitars, an OK riff and some spirited lead vocals from Cooper. I can't really say this is up there with some of his classic riff-rockers, because I don't think it's catchy enough. It certainly would have fit well on Muscle of Love. That's not really a glowing endorsement, but that album was ... OK.
It's a catchy pop song, and that's all I want. Lucky me, it's more of a '70s style pop song with a crunchy guitar and a good chorus, and not that sort of teen-beat crap I was accusing him of doing in his previous album. It's not a terribly complex song—it's not supposed to be. But it seems to hit just the right chords.
You Make Me Wanna B+
Another good, simple pop song with pure, simple guitars and a catchy melody. Gosh, I guess you don't need anything more than this... This is pop-rock in its purest form. It's totally generic, but it's fun to listen to. Those frequent falsetto calls of “woo-woo-woo” in the chorus might be fun to sing along with if I was in the habit of listening to this album very frequently. I don't think I ever will listen to this very frequently, though...
Dirty Diamonds A
This is definitely odd, and much less straightforward than the previous three. It starts out sounding like a cinematic jazz song, as though he were channeling Henry Mancini. Pretty soon, this really fast, droning and computer-aged metal riff starts to play while Alice basically raps over it. The jazz themes continue to pop up throughout the song. ...God, what a weird combination. It's a lot of fun to listen to as well. I give it an A- for being fun to listen to, and I boosted the rating for the originality.
The Saga of Jesse Jane A-
This isn't bad at all. It's a country-western song with a good melody and some terribly amusing lyrics about a transvestite trucker who goes on a murderous rampage. (Well, I guess that was the final straw / I pulled a pistol from my Wonderbra / I killed him dead. I killed 'em all / And they finally caught me in the bathroom stall / And now I'm doing ten to life / But I'll tell you one thing, Bubba / Someday I'm gonna make someone in here / A hell of a wife) Cooper's vocal performance through this is much deeper than his usual tone, which makes it even funnier.
Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies) B+
The weirdo speed-metal jazz of “Dirty Diamonds” and the comedy rock of “The Saga of Jesse Jane” were just fine, but this straight-up rock 'n' roll song is another song that would have sounded perfectly at home in Muscle of Love. It's very simple and generic, and it suffers a little bit for that, but it's also an enjoyable unpretentious toe-tapper.
Pretty Ballerina A
This is a cover of one of my favorite songs! When this album came out, the first thing that I thought about was how bizarre it was that he'd cover a '60s pop song. If you've ever heard the original song before, I think you probably realize that it's one of the most beautiful songs from that decade. ...Well, Alice gives a surprisingly sincere rendition of this, and it sounds nice. It doesn't sound quite as lush as the original, but he does pretty extensively use a harpsichord and what sounds like a flute Mellotron. (Yeah, you read that right. It sounds like a MELLOTRON!) ...This doesn't really fit the album to well, but I really appreciate Alice digging up something like this. I'm sure many of his fans have never heard of Left Banke.
Run Down the Devil B+
Yeah, you can tell how out-of-place the previous song was after you hear the beginnings of this darker metal song pipe up! ...Well, just like everything in this album seems to be, this is a rather simple song, but Alice manages to make it catchy and fun to listen to.
Steal That Car C
...OK, he's losing me with this one. Really losing me. This is one's based on a rather fast riff that sounds very tinny and uninteresting. The chorus picks up a little bit of steam, but not enough. The Chuck-Berry-style guitar solo in the middle has its moments... That's probably the best thing about this song.
Six Hours C
So, I re-listened to some of the tracks I was giving an A or A- to just to make sure there was some reason other than this sucky blues song that was putting me in such a grouchy mood. ...I'm sorry, Alice, but this thing just is no good. It's a very slowly paced song with a terribly bland vocal melody and some neutered guitars that are attempting to play blues music. Yeah... Music like this shouldn't sound so spineless and wimpy.
Your Own Worst Enemy B-
This seems too stiff, but it's a lot better than the previous two songs. If it wasn't for that very dark guitar playing that riff, this might have sounded too much like those teen-beat songs from his previous albums! ... Well, luckily, this only marginally comes off like that! I'd say that this song is still basically a misfire thanks to its only borderline interesting melody and instrumentation that just seems overcooked. ...Just stick to the bar-rock stuff, Alice.
Zombie Dance A-
Oh thank god. I thought he was going to continue to bring us sucky songs after those previous three, but this one has a little bit of life to it. This is a mid-tempo pop song with a pleasant and light percussion section, good guitars crunching along sweetly, and a chorus that soars pretty dang well. There's even a harmonica wailing around in the background... I'm not sure if I really like that harmonica, though. It seems like it was overused. ...All in all, this is a nice song to sit back and soak up.
What's a bonus track doing in an album that was just released? I'll never understand that!! ...Well, this is what I suppose is a hip-hop song. Alice comes up with a pretty decent melodic hook, and some gangster with an extra-terrestrial name ('Xzibit') very annoying talks throughout it. Rap music is the devil. The reason this was a bonus track is so that you won't feel guilty for deleting this from your iPods. I have a strict no-hip-hop policy when it comes to my iPod. ... But Michael Bolton's Everybody's Crazy is A-OK!
Live at Montreux (2006)
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Department of Youth A-
Wow. Do you know what's awesome about this live album? I saw Alice Cooper live in 2005, and this live album starts exactly the same as that show did. There's a little snippet of Andrew Lloyd Webber's “Phantom of the Opera” theme followed by a blood curdling scream. (I actually thought that scream was someone standing behind me, but I guess that it was actually part of the show.) What ensues after that is a rather short rendition of Alice's great pop song from Welcome to My Nightmare, and he of course gives it the best growl-singing performance that he could, which is more convincing now than it ever was considering Alice Cooper was an old man. The rhythm section is loud and hella pulsating. Luckily, it's not deafening me this time, because I have the sound turned up only to a reasonable volume.
No More Mr. Nice Guy A
I'm pretty sure this was the song Alice followed-up with at his concert I went to, and of course it's an absolute must for any one of his concerts. It's a fairly sloppy rendition with the guitars sounding a little more garagey than they did originally and he has some rather weak back-up singers, but who cares? Alice's growl-singing is in top form, and it's a terribly fun song to listen to!
Dirty Diamonds A+
Yeah, he performed this song at the concert, too. I wasn't actually familiar with this song, but I could tell it was from this album based on the lyrics. He put on a lot of jewelry and was playing with it all throughout the performance. Now that I am familiar with the studio cut, I actually think this live rendition is a little better. The original version was rather clean and calculated and had all these weird saxophone bits strewn throughout. This version concentrates exclusively on its menacing riff, which is much dirtier and sloppier... That's much more suitable if you ask me. The guitars sound great, and Alice seems to have had a lot more fun singing this than the previous two tracks, which he had been performing for at least 30 years!
Billion Dollar Babies A
Yup, he sang this one at the concert I went to as well. I was particularly excited to hear this one, because I was an established Billion Dollar Babies fan by then. In fact I had listened to that album on the way to the concert. Obviously, this is one of his great songs, and it's an absolute treat hearing these wild and raunchy guitarists give it their best and sloppiest shot. (God, there's even some significant feedback noise in here... this is about as unpolished as it gets.) Alice is singing passionately as ever. Man, that old coot still had it!!
Be My Lover B
I can't recall if he performed this one or not, but this is of course a great riff-rocker from Killers. I almost think that the band's ultra-rough treatment went a little too far with this one, because this is more of a free-for-all that detracts a little bit from the foot-stomping power of the original. But you definitely can't complain about hearing another great Alice Cooper song!
Lost in America A-
I can't remember this one, either, but I wasn't familiar with any post-1983 Cooper albums when I went to the concert. I know it's a little bit weird of me to give a higher score to “Lost in America” than “Be My Lover,” but this is genuinely a better performance of the said song. Alice's scary growl-vocals seem much more engaged in the process, and its catchy riff is just better handled here. The guitars playing together better, which helps!
I Never Cry B+
Now is the part of the concert where Alice Cooper slows down and sings one of his many ballads. His ballads are cheesy as hell and usually not too good, but this is one of his better ones. ...I don't know what else to say about it. There's nothing particularly special about his rendition.
Woman of Mass Distraction B
Well, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I just uncovered the actual set-list of the concert I went to, and so now I have a complete inventory of what's supposedly contained in my memory! It seems that some of it contradicts with my memory, though. I seem to remember much more from Welcome to My Nightmare than the list seems to indicate... But then again, I only had about half of Alice's classic albums memorized at the time, and that album wasn't quite one of them yet. Well, anyway, I love the Internet...You can really tell that Alice preferred performing his recent material just based on how excited he sounds, and the fact that his band sounds like they rehearsed it more. I've got to say that this song sounds pretty weak compared to everything else. It just ain't that great of a song. Sorry!!
I'm Eighteen A
Ah yes, but I remember this song extremely well from the concert (and the set-list confirms that, yes, I did witness Alice Cooper sing this song). The audience in unison punching their fists in the air and helping Alice sing “I'm eighteen!” Ah yes, good times! ...Honestly, I'm also noticing that the band seems looser here than the previous song. I would wonder if the reason the recent songs sound more rehearsed is because Alice himself had to learn it! Of course, he sang this song a billion times and counting... Anyway, the loose guitars actually suit this song, and they turn in some pretty cool solos in here. I actually find that these guitarists sound better than all those mega superstars that surfaced on A Fistful of Alice.
Between High School & Old School B
This is a hell of a lot better than the original from The Eyes of Alice Cooper precisely because the rough and raunchy guitars don't give it a chance to sound so much like a teen-beat song. I still don't think it's a particularly special song, though. The riff isn't very good as far as Alice's classic riffs have been throughout his career.
What Do You Want From Me A-
Here's another song from The Eyes of Alice Cooper, and he's really picking up the pace for this performance. Once again, these guitars sound great... They're very exciting, and so is Alice Cooper's vocal performance who seems to be picking up a Southern accent like he does occasionally on some of his songs. This decidedly doesn't belong alongside Alice's most songs, but it's pretty fun to hear.
Is it My Body A-
Yup, a great song from Love it to Death, and you can really tell how much catchier it is compared to the previous two songs. And, yes, it's really nice to hear him do one of his great songs from his back catalogue. Despite the greatly improved melody, my only complaint is that it doesn't pick up quite the momentum that the previous song did. (Of course when I heard him play this in the live showing I was as hopped up as it could possibly get to hear him sing this!!!)
Even though I wasn't familiar with this song from Brutal Planet when I went to the concert, I think I remember what I was thinking when Alice performed it: WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING SOUNDING LIKE MARILYN MANSON???? In fact, I'm still wondering that, particularly since he had just come off singing one of his great classic-rock songs... Geez, who needs music written after the 1970s anyway? ...I don't think this is one of his best examples of nu-metal songs considering the riff ain't that interesting... Alice gives it a nice growling performance though, as usual.
Feed My Frankenstein B+
Oh I definitely remember that one. One thing that was running through my mind before I went to the concert is if I'm going to see him do the Wayne's World song, and ... HE DID! This is a pretty raunchy sounding rendition of it, too, particularly Cooper's extremely growling vocal performance where he sounds like the dirtiest old ghoul that he possibly could.
Welcome to My Nightmare A
Actually, this appears to be an exception to what I kept on saying earlier about how Alice's classic songs didn't seem as well-rehearsed as the new ones. This is very polished sounding, and Alice gives a terrifically comical vocal performance with it! I wish I remembered what went on at the concert at this time (I guess I could always just rent the DVD), but I'm sure it was hilariously horrific.
School's Out A+
Oh god, can you think of anything better than Alice singing this at a concert? Mannnnnnn, this great teenager anthem gets me every time, and his vocal performance is more rebellious sounding than usual. The drum beat is POUNDING as hell, and could singlehandedly explain why I left the concert with an intense numbness in my ears. Even that back-up singers get in the act in a good way this time, turning in more childish-sounding performances, which fits in with the theme of the song perfectly! There's a rather extensive guitar soloing section in here, and those guys are really cool.
I'm fairly certain this is the encore section of the set list... Partly because Alice screams “thank you!” at the end of the previous track, and ... seriously, what a better song to end a set-list with? ...Even though this song tortures me, I still think this is a good song. I mean, I probably overrated it in my review of Trash, but it's still a good song for the most part. The melody is catchy and it's fun to hear. The reason I gave this a B- is because of Alice's vocal performance veers out of tune at times. Though I can't really blame him for that. It takes quite a soul to spend an hour and a half constantly growl-singing like that.
Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills B+
This wasn't the greatest song to begin with, but it's definitely nice hearing Alice Cooper performing something out of his overlooked From the Inside. This song has a really good riff that these guitarists handle with grit, and Alice's growl-singing, again, sounds a little tired, but I certainly can't blame him for that!
Under My Wheels A-
GREAT SONG!!! I think the rendition could have been more pounding and terrifying, but they still do a pretty good job of it. ...Of course I can't demand too much from a live showing, particularly one that was so freaking energetic as this one when they're at the last show of the evening! This is undoubtedly one of the best songs that Alice Cooper had ever written, it proves to be a fantastic thing to hear him perform it once more. (...Ha! He made the same joke about his daughter when I saw him do this live. PUT SOMETHING ON!)
Along Came a Spider (2008)
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Prologue / I Know Where You Live B+
It starts with a tiny synthscape while someone delivers a monologue about a serial killer who was very meticulous in his planning and exact in his execution. After that fades out, a hard-rock song starts out, and Alice seems to take the main role as the serial killer, who doesn't like anybody, but he watches people. Yup, this guy is a creep! ...The melody is pretty good; it has a nice hook. There isn't any instrumentation here other than guitars and drums (What? No keyboards?), and they play mostly the right notes, but it all seems a little too bare somehow.
Vengeance is Mine A-
I must say, there's something satisfying about Alice Cooper taking on the role of a serial killer and singing “Vengeance is Miiiiiine!” Surely, he could have hammed it up a bit more, but this album seems to be wanted to be taken seriously. The guitars are dark and serious as ever... Although probably not as mind-gnashingly dark as they were on Dragontown. There's a good solo guitar noodling around throughout the whole thing, which I like listening to almost as much as the central vocal melody. And that melody is well-written with a pretty solid hook that Alice sings over and over. I suppose there could have been more to this, but I ain't gonna complain about nuttin'.
Wake the Dead A
Awesome. Cooper comes out with a pretty nice little groove for this one. It's not a very loud song, but it's more quiet and calculating. It sounds like they used a drum machine to create that rhythm, and a really fuzzy guitar wobbles around in the background. The multi-part vocal melody is a peach this time, giving us plenty of fresh hooks upon every corner. The lyrics are menacing... the serial killer is on the rampage.
Catch Me If You Can A-
This sounds a lot like an Alice Cooper classic from the days of yore—it's nothing more than a three-minute hard-rock song with a nice pop melody. It's fun to listen to, and the heavy guitars are rhythmic and well-executed. I'd say the only thing that's missing is that added spark... Apart from the general fact that it has a good melody, there's nothing particularly memorable or special about it...
(In Touch With Your) Feminine Side B+
It's hard to deny that Alice Cooper has his way with melodies! (I guess I should mention that I'm pretty much ignoring that there are other people who have songwriting credits, but... Well, Alice has always been good with melodies and I haven't any reason not to believe he's responsible for these ones, too.) This is another nice guitar-centered song without a keyboard anywhere in sight. Obviously, some of Alice's fans are going to greatly prefer this style, and despite my professed love for the keyboard, I think I do, too. (At least it's better than those teen-beat songs in disguise he was dishing out at us in the previous album!) At the same time, every song having the same instruments make them all sound the same... That's a major hit against this album. Now, speaking of the general merits of this song, it's about as good as any of 'em. The melody is good and so are the guitars. The lyrics are creepy about the serial killer stalking women!
Wrapped in Silk C+
The instruments of course sound exactly the same as the other songs, but the melody of this one is quite a bit less captivating. It's just not that great of a melody; there's nothing else to explain! I also don't think this song has such a good pacing; it seems clunky and limp, and I have a harder time becoming drawn into it. Geez, the lyrics continue to be creepy... although that's the major plus of this song. (Although lyrics usually don't have a lot of bearing on my song reviews...) Alice Cooper plays the role of a serial killer pretty well!
Killed By Love B-
You know there's at least something out of whack, when I get a tiny feeling of relief when I first hear that this is a ballad! As you probably gathered from my previous reviews, Alice Cooper's ballads have generally been much lamer than everything else... and this one's pretty dang lame. But at the same time, I love hearing an acoustic guitar for a change! Unfortunately, Alice couldn't have made this melody a little more captivating, because this is pretty dang boring.
I'm Hungry B
Well, it's official... I'm bored with this album. Sorry, but all these electric guitar-centrist pop songs are just too samey... Of course there's a lot of people in the world who want to listen to nothing else but pop-metal songs, so you might not get tired of this... But, taking a step back, this is an all-around well-written song. The melody has its bright spots, although it's not particularly memorable, and of course I always like hearing Alice's singing voice.
The One that Got Away A-
This song begins with the line “You look like you fit in the trunk of my car!” ...Brrrrr! I'm pretty sure these creepy lyrics are the best thing about this album! There's a little play acting in the middle of this featuring Serial Killer Cooper trying to lure a female into the back of his van... She didn't go for it. She was smart! As you probably surmised, this is another guitar-centrist pop song with a really good melody, and it's a lot of fun to listen to. As I'm listening to this, it doesn't feel as though I'm tired by all the saminess... So, this is a good thing.
What is this holy instrument that doth make contact with my ear drums? .... A PIANO!!!!!!!!! Hey!!!!!!! Of course, a theatric song about salvation is going to have to have a piano in it, I mean that's pretty much necessary when you think about it... And there's synthesizers, too!! Sorry electric guitar fanatics, but it's about freaking time that we got some sort of power ballad in here. That said, I wish this was a better one. The lyrics center around the serial killer who doesn't feel like killing anymore and he's looking for salvation. ...I don't know. I would have hoped this album would have ended with him getting the electric chair! But even for a song about salvation, I hear very little of that in the music apart from established cliches.
I Am the Spider / Epilogue A-
He gives us a much better song for the conclusion, a hard-rock song with a cinematic flare. The overall tone of the song is dark and menacing. That pulsating guitar at the beginning of the track puts us in the right mood. Alice's growl-singing vocal performance is of course, very fun, as he tells us in the lyrics that nobody knows who this serial killer is, and he could be anywhere! At the end of the song, the serial killer gives a closing monologue where he revels in his gory deeds.
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