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Willard


Overall Album Score: 9.7 out of 10

Though we will always love Love it to Death for its general tendency to be awesome, we're always going to have to look at Killer for its unmatchable solidness. The songwriting is absolutely brilliant from beginning to finish. Everyone with a prior idea of Alice Cooper probably thinks of him/them as a disgusting, underground group that's mostly unlistenable and strictly hard, sloppy rock. Get that notion out of your head immediately! These guys are artists! Don't believe me? Just listen to this album.

Naturally, they'll begin the album with two solid hard-rock numbers to get things started on the right foot. There's no sense in getting too weird before your audience is fully engaged! "Under My Wheels" and "Be My Lover" are excellent tracks that are not only drenched with catchiness, but they feature some excellent guitar work from good old Michael Bruce.

After that, there's the wholly mindboggling "Halo of Flies," which is more than eight minutes long, but I'd wager it has enough ideas to fill up an entire album. I'd say very few bands, even progressive ones, do not come close to matching that one for ideas. "Desperado" is also a great, dramatic song that was meant to be a tribute to the fallen Jim Morrison.

A huge highlight, and arguably my favorite track (I could be schizophrenic --- part of me says I am), is "Dead Babies." This track was apparently controversial in its day even though it's anti-child abuse! (I looked this up on Wikipedia, so it must be true.) I say, that's a great song because of the melody and the weird tones these guys use.

Nope, there's absolutely nothing shoddy about this album. Shock-rock does not mean it's trashy! These guys are as tasteful and artsy as can be. Off you go to hear this for yourself.


Overall Album Score: 9.7 out of 10 (Alice Cooper's solid classic. It's such a fantastic listen.)


Average Song Score: 9.6 (Not one weak moment.)

Album Tilt: 10 (This is such a consistent album that it's difficult to review. I like saying more negative things!)

Artist Rating: 9.5 (Cooper always manages to bring a certain level of artistic greatness to all his tracks. This is no exception.)


Track Reviews

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!

Desperado 9.5/10

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.

Killer 9.5/10

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.


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All reviews are copyrighted by Michael Lawrence. He says "yeah."