Summer is Boring
Overall Album Score: 9.1 out of 10
This album is unrelentingly enjoyable. Sure, Killer is a much better album. It's seamless, wonderful, tuneful and complex. School's Out is looser around the edges, a little less consistent and much less serious......
But as it turns out School's Out is unrelentingly entertaining, and I'm much more likely going to be caught listening to this rather than Killer. That's just the way I am. (P.S. Much of the music I listened to in my childhood up until my last year of high school were showtunes ... or classical music. I still like them, so that probably explains it.)
So let's talk about this monumentally entertaining album. Gosh, I like every single one of these songs. "School's Out" has got to be my favorite although a few other tracks vie for that position. That one's his famous anthem that's not only hugely catchy and interesting in the artistic sense, but spirited. It captures the attitude of school-ridden youngsters perfectly who are counting down to that glorious day that is the last day of school. He even matches the 'mood' with "Alma Mater," which helps me recall vividly the moments as youngsters would leave the school for the last time --- you know, happy but sort of sad and sentimental at the same time.
Of course, this isn't a concept album about school. That's just two songs. The rest he uses to elaborate on the showtunes that Vincent Furnier was more interested in than his serious, harder albums as Love it to Death and Killer. He frequently quotes The West Side Story and creates a more glitzy image for himself and his songs. A certain fan base felt betrayed by that move, but I like it!! Again, that's my personal taste speaking there. I'm too much of a Monkees fan to like hard-rock anyways...
"Blue Turk" is a hugely impressive song and arguably the greatest display of songwriting on the album. It's done in Vegas show-tune style, and it even gets a bit jazzy (with some excellent horn noodling!!!). Most importantly, the melody is catchy, and it's just fun. FUN!!! I like fun music. You know that, right?
This is a great album! I found it to be an accurate statement of youth... and the showman posturing is hugely entertaining.
Overall Album Score: 9.1 out of 10 (It might be a step back from Killer, but it's a wholly enjoyable step back and a great album in its own right!!)
Average Song Score: 9.2 (Every moment is memorable. Just "My Stars" is a weak spot --- but even that one's pretty good.)
Album Tilt: 9.0 (It's consistent and enjoyable the whole way through...)
Artist Rating: 9.0 (This isn't anything particularly unique, but it's fresh and enjoyable. They do a great job creating those youthful moods I remember from my school days...)
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!!!!!!!
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