Alice Cooper

Influential (Brian) Warner Brothers Recording Artist
*special introductory paragraph
*Pretties For You
*The Freak Out Song
*Easy Action
*Love It To Death
*Killer
*School's Out
*Billion Dollar Babies
*Love It 'Til The End
*Muscle Of Love
*Welcome To My Nightmare
*Alice Cooper Goes To Hell
*Lace And Whiskey
*Battle Axe (by Billion Dollar Babies)
*The Alice Cooper Show
*From The Inside
*Flush The Fashion
*Special Forces
*Zipper Catches Skin
*DaDa
*Constrictor
*Raise Your Fist And Yell
*Trash
*Hey Stoopid
*The Last Temptation
*A Fistful Of Alice
*The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper
*Brutal Planet
*DragonTown
*The Eyes Of Alice Cooper
*Dirty Diamonds
*Along Came A Spider
*Welcome 2 My Nightmare


Republican. Avid golfer. Alcoholic. Dundering Old Man. Yes, Gerald Ford is all these things and more. But even more appropriately to the subject at hand: through every phase of Alice Cooper's 35+-year career -- from psychedelic vomit manufacturer to hard rock God to Broadway showtunesmith to New Wave zany zapper to '80s hair metallist to modern heavy rock kingpin -- he never stopped applying make-up to his face, hanging himself on stage or writing some of the most wonderfully sick rock songs that man has ever deserved to enjoy. Don't ever stop rockin', Mr. Furnier! (For your real name is Vincent Furnier!) (Unless you had it legally changed!)


Pretties For You - Warner Bros. 1969
Rating = 6

Everybody has this image of Alice Cooper up there onstage hanging himself and flying around in a balloon with a skull and crossbones on it, but what most people don't realize is that not only did the band not create their macabre image until the third or fourth record, but Alice NEVER flew around in a balloon with a skull and crossbones on it! This image has been imprinted in all of our brains by a savvy bloodhungry media out to create controversy where none previously existed, but they'll have to try again because now we all know the truth. That's important in moderntimes America - knowing how to separate the truth from the fibbery. Everyday we're inundated with corporate lies, government lies, media lies - LIES!!!! But no more. As Robert Daltrey once sang, "We Won't Get Fooled Again."

Long before Alice Cooper donned his scary facepaint and flew around in a balloon with a skull and crossbones on it, his band was a bunch of Mothers Of Invention-stylized freaks with hippie clothes and really long hair. But not just the visuals were different from the Alice Cooper you have on your wall -- the MUSIC was completely different too. This may be the same line-up that would later bash your head in with a rock on hit singles like "I'm Eighteen," "Is It My Body?" and "Under My Wheels," but at this point their music was essentially a multi-personalitied split between 1966y British pop/psych rock and fucking AWFUL experimentation with unnatural note and chord progressions. And by "Fucking Awful," I do in fact mean that the songs are poor lovemakers. At first, "Changing Arranging" was very sensitive in bed, tickling my special tickly places and calling me its 'cherished pussycat,' but after about a month I was lucky if its dick went in the right hole. You see, when you let in a song from a

This music is UGLY music. The guitar tones are messy, scraggly and unpleasant, the production is flatter than a waffle, and regardless of the bright pink album sleeve, most of the songs revolve around dark, unpleasant, brown minor-key skrank. Songs that are weird for the sake of being weird, without being memorable or enjoyable in any way. Plus, what's up with all those really short songs interspersed with all those epics that drag on for far too long? What's up with that? Man, that ain't right!

But still - there are some splendidly great songs on here, once you trollop through the shit and trash. The best tracks find Alice singing like a young fey British hipster (though he's originally from Arizona, and at the time of recording lived in Los Angeles) over some wonderful pop rock melodies and/or brilliant song constructions. In this context, the strange production and uncuddly guitar tones sound less like a bad drug "trip" (or "experience") than an old Who record!

No no, THE Who. As far as I know, the "Who" that Horton found in that Dr. Seuss book never recorded a solo album.

Well yeah I know, but he had Art Garfunkel backing him up on that one, so I hesitate to call it a "solo" album.

In the subjective mind of Mark D. Prindle, the most enjoyable tracks to be found on this LP, aside from the dramatic organ intro (which RULES!) include:

(1) "Living" - A catchy major-chord mid-60s hit single! Harmony vox and catchiness! Great lil' guitar rock and gorgeous harmony vox, especially in the chorus. You'd NEVER guess this was Alice Cooper. It sounds like a Nugget! A BUTT Nugget!

(2) "Fields of Regret" - This minor-key rambler at first threatens to suck but soon wheels its way into a workable depressing bluesy hard rocker. There's a cool middle part built around a repeated guitar string noise too!

(3) "Levity Ball" - The Flaming Lips totally ripped this one off. I can't remember the name of the song, but it was on either Telepathic Surgery or Oh My Gawd!. It's not on the album where they ripped off Can's "Mushroom" though, so don't check there. Great Doppler-style volume pick-up and settle in the intro: bass, catchy and psychedelic! Creepy goth middle part too, so if Robert Smith of The Cure comes over, this might be a good song to play for him.

(o'clock) "B.B. on Mars" - Like an inverted fucked-up early Who song! Great bass/guitar slides at end too! And at barely one minute long, it's perfect background music for a little of the old 'in-out-squirt'!

(4 o'clock rock) "Reflected" - Borrowing another bit of inspiration from the Who, not only does "Reflected" feature a crazy crash-smash Moon-style drum line, but remember how the Who back in the 60s kept recycling old music to make better songs? Like "Rael"'s themes were later worked into Tommy and crap like that? Weeeeeelll, THIS song ("Reflected") was later sped up and converted into the hit single "Elected"! This early version is much more subdued and druggy, but still worth a chin and a grin.

Most of the other tracks are either disappointing attempts at mainstreamity or, more often, assaultingly atrocious attempts (or "AAA" - call us if you need an atrocious attempt at a car repair!) to emulate Frank Zappa's "freak music" without the musical training. Thank God they got better! Otherwise, nobody would even know who Alice Cooper IS, let alone that he flew around in a balloon with a skull and crossbones on it.

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
I've tried for years to make sense of this debut, but it's impossible. Some of way outest music I've ever heard! I think the 6 is too high - there is indeed some really good stuff here, but you have to run the aural equivalent of the gauntlet to get there. You're dead on when you say that a great deal of the music is just OOOGLAY.

Even just a few minor changes could have made this album a lot better than it turned out. For example, why is "Levity Ball" here the live version, which sounds absolutely horrendous, when they recorded a far better studio version (which wasn't released until the box set came out 30 years later)?? And the biggest mistake of all is that for some strange reason they didn't include the best song they recorded during that time, "Nobody Likes Me", which is very much in the style of what Alice Cooper became once Bob Ezrin came on board a few years later. When I first heard that song on the box set, I was flabbergasted as to why it was left off Pretties For You! It's so much better than anything on the album , and should certainly be a live staple to this day.

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
Unfortunatly I bought this album after Billion Dollar Babies, thinking it would rock , but I was shocked when I played it the first time.So I gave it a second,third, and even a fourth try and it still sounded awful.At the time i purchased this album,I was a sixth grader in the mid-70's, and was used to the harder edged sound of the previous albums I had purchased(Killer.Love it to Death,Schools Out,B.Dollar Babies), not realizing that this was the first studio Lp for the band,it stunk like shit when compared to the others I mentioned.Needless to say, i gave Pretties For You away,during my hard rock youth.Now i wish i had this one back so I could give it another try.Maybe not.

I'll be generous and give it a three.

Peter Morgan
This is my favourite Alice Cooper album, it's not great but it's as good as they ever got, after this (I can't comment on the second album as I have never heard it) it was just boring mainstream seventies hard rock.

Add your thoughts?

The Freak Out Song - Bootleg
Rating = 3

Say! What's your opinion of bawdy goodtime sexual innuendo boast hard rock songs? Are you as fond of them as I am? Because I'll be fucked up the pipehole if I didn't just come up with the greatest bawdy goodtime sexual innuendo boast hard rock song this world has seen in quite the lengthy year. The patent office put me on hold, so I thought I'd share it with you here on the Internet. Please observe the honor system and don't record this song and have a huge hit with it. Thanks!

TRANQUILIZER DART OF LOVE
Words by Mark Prindle
Music by Mark Prindle

Verse One
Tranquilizer dart of love
I got a tranquilizer dart of love
I stick it in you and
you don't feel a thing
That's my tranquilizer dart of love!

(guitar solo)

Verse Two
I got a tranquilizer dart of love, sweet mama!
A tranquilizer dart of love
I stick it in you and
you fall asleep
That's my tranquilizer dart of love!

(han solo)

Verse Three
I got a tranquilizer dart of love, good baby!
A tranquilizer dart of love
I stick it in you
Ten seconds later, 'Good night!'
That's my tranquilizer dart of love!

(convex lens of 6.0-cm focal length solo)

Man, I am fucking EXHAUSTED after rocking out so hard! How am I supposed to review an album now!?

(16 hours later)

I don't support or approve of bootleggers. What they're doing is wrong and I go out of my way to avoid purchasing their ill-begotten wares. Besides, it's easy as hell to steal tons of music off the Internet so why pay the high prices? However, somehow, about five billion companies either bought the rights or stole the rights to release a shitty little recording of an early Alice Cooper concert at the Toronto Rock Festival (or something like that). It was a famous show where Alice picked up a chicken and threw it up in the air thinking it would fly away. It didn't - it fell into the crowd and died a tragic death in the slam dancing pit. But you can't even HEAR that exciting Faces Of Death moment on this CD so what's the use?

Don't be fooled! This one single show can be found on CDs bearing many different titles, including The Freak Out Song, Freak Out, Snorting Anthrax, Nobody Likes Me, Science Fiction and probably other things as well. Don't be had! Although it appears to include a whole bunch of rare, unreleased material, that's how they SCREW ya! "Painting A Picture" and "Science Fiction" are actually "No Longer Umpire" and "Fields Of Regret" from Pretties For You, "I've Written Home To Mother" and "Instrumental" are in fact two different parts of "Lie Down And Die Goodbye" from Easy Action, and "Goin' To The River" and "Ain't It Just Like A Woman" are NOT BY ALICE COOPER AT ALL!!!! Stories vary on this one -- some say that the Alice Cooper Band (or one or two members of it) actually do play on these songs; others say the tape compiler simply fuct up and put two rockabilly songs on there by a completely different artist that performed at the festival. Either way, that's how they DICK ya!

So once you scrape through all of these lies and malarkey and having them PLOW ya, you're left with two rare tracks: the catchy driving rocker "Freak Out Song" and the cute shady waltz-timed nursery rhyme "Nobody Likes Me" (it's not that "Think I'll Go Eat Worms" song; it's one where Alice keeps accusing the band members of not liking him, while they all in unison sing back to him that they do; it's adorable!; how many semi-colons is one grammatically allowed to use in one parenthetical phrase?; does anybody know?;) HEY! By placing a hilarious comedy semi-colon next to the close parenthese, I've inadvertantly created a winking smiley face!!! Do today's top graphic artists know about this time-saving shortcut???!?!?

But just when you think the bootleggers are done BALLIN' ya, listen here as I tell you how they really truly royally NAIL ya!!!! You know those songs I mentioned? The ones on the CD? Well, they're all pulled directly from a WARPED, SLOWED-DOWN cassette tape!!!! The band is out of tune and wavering in and out, Alice sounds raspy, awful and much more bassy than he actually is, and the entire recording sounds like somebody's idea of a joke (or limerick). If you're a huge Alice "Donut In Chains" Cooper fan, it might be worth getting cheap just for a lousy copy of one rare song ("Nobody Likes Me" is now available on Alice's box set). Otherwise, leave this stinker in the bin, osama laden!

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Call me crazy, but even though so many people insist that the 2 studio tracks on this fraudulent sham of a release have nothing to do with Alice Cooper, the vocals sure sound like him!

poorroyschieder@hotmail.com
The 2 mystery tracks on this much bootlegged bootleg are performed by none other than the legendary Ronnie Hawkins and his 35th version of the Hawks. It was a fuck up by the guy who put together this piece of shit. Glad I could be of assistance....have a day!!!!

jamesagardner@yahoo.com
You weren't kidding when you wrote: "This one single show can be found on CDs bearing many different titles" ... mine's titled "Live at Toronto."
And I've seen it on cassette, also called "Freak Out Song," only the last track is called "Science Friction." Which is actually an improvement on the actual title.
When was the demand for Alice Cooper product so great that it led so many bootleggers to issue so many variations on the same piece of crap?

sacicc@yahoo.com (L. Stephen Kelly)
Live In Toronto 1969 (aka a million other names) is not technically a bootleg. Those who produce it legally purchased the rights to do so. It is still an exploitative piece of shit, though.

Genuinely illegal bootlegs that are actually pretty good:

One is called, "Trashes the World" which is pretty much the audio ripped from the "Trashes the World" DVD. It makes for a good live album, as it happens.

There is a bootleg floating around called "Alice Cooper Goes to Chile" which was a live performance in Santiago in 1996. This one is actually quite well produced as far as bootlegs go.

Add your thoughts?

Easy Action - Warner Bros. 1970
Rating = 6

Alice Cooper's back!

But enough about the album cover. Easy Action nudges Alice and his glam-dressed group of filthy hippies another step closer towards the macabre/rock and roll hybrid that would propel them to superstardom in the early '70s. This one dumps the exterior ugly aspects of the debut, boasting stronger production, normal hard rock guitar tones and tons of wild dual-axe interplay. Unfortunately, it's still hindered by plenty of unutterably BAD 'experimental' passages and pseudo-philosophical bullshit lyrics.

Lyrics! I didn't mention those in my review of the first album because I hadn't read them yet. Man, they SUCKED! Just a bunch of acid-soaked nonsense about "becoming one" and how living is just one part of life and all this weirdo religio-psychological mumbojumbo. This one's a little lighter on that front, but the words are still completely bland -- devoid of the sick humor and intriguing subject matter that would characterize Alice's best work. Only one song shows us where his head was REALLY at, and it's an instant classic -- "Refrigerator Heaven," a bizarre proto-metal 'workout' (as they say in them fancy big-city record reviews) whose protagonist is having himself cryogenically frozen until a cure for cancer is discovered. Since we're talking about music in this paragraph, how about that creepy guitar noise the one guy's making in the left speaker? THAT'S no note or chord! (Incidentally, please let me know if the weird noise is actually coming out of your RIGHT speaker. My speakers might be hooked up wrong since I did it in the dark and mostly with my testicles.)

Music! The fuller, louder and more traditional mix definitely makes this an easier record to listen to than the debut, but they unfortunately still haven't given up on their goal to impress Frank Zappa (their label owner and earliest industry champion) with grating weirdness and constant tempo shifts designed to drive listeners up the wall and out of the auditorium. They DO find some great hooks on here, but far too often they lurch and shift into something ugly almost immediately. The brain likes to be impressed by songs with lots of changes, but when half of the parts are cool and the other half suck dicks, the brain gets a bit agitated. Plus it doesn't exactly coat the pill with cherry topping that the two longest songs on here (7 minutes each) are also by far the WORST songs on here. "Below Your Means" drags on and on and on with this boring jazz rock crap before turning into an unlistenably noisy guitar jam halfway through (and continuing to drag on and on and on), and "Lay Down And Die, Goodbye" might be the least interesting collage of noise, riffs, jams and samples I've encountered this side of everything John Cage ever recorded (if I can -- and WILL -- judge his entire career by the one cheapy used CD I bought six years ago and listened to once). Fuckin' John Cage! Yeah, he BELONGED in a John Cage!!! (a cage with a toilet in it). John Cage? More like "TRAPPER John Cage, MD," if you ask me!!!!! (Because he sucks, like that show did) Mix up the letters in his name and you get "Go Jac Hen." Don't you get it!?!? He's MASTURBATING CHICKENS in all those "songs"!!!! And now you sit back and call him a GENIUS!!!! Who's the fool now???? Who's "Been Fooled Again" now, as Roger Dalton once sang!???? I'll tell you who -- YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!th. That's right, Youth, the former bass player of Killing Joke. I'll give him a call and correct him though, so don't worry about it.

Another thing of note on this release is that Alice is starting to develop his trademark American vocal style -- slightly raspy/gruff and snide, but extremely likeable and rockin'. Especially in "Mr. And Misdemeanor," he just sounds like a funny, sarcastic guy that would be fun to hang out with. That's a big part of his appeal actually. No matter how macabre his lyrics get, he always sounds like 'one of us.' Just a normal guy with a normal range, singing like a human being sings. This wasn't the case on the debut, and he's strayed from it on occasion throughout the years, but for the majority of his lengthy career, he's had one of the most naturally charismatic (and whiskey-scraggled) singing voices in major-label rock. A bit rough around the edges, but that makes it all the more real! Who the hell would want to hear some power metal jackhole wailing "Dead Babies" across 8 octaves? Roger Ebert? Is that who? Well, FUCK YOU, Roger Ebert!!! Fuck you right on up the ASS!!!!

Oh, you didn't actually say "Roger Ebert"?

I guess I just wanted so strongly to believe that you were going to say Roger Ebert that I convinced myself that you actually HAD said it. But I won't cry. I WON'T cry. I understand your feelings and I would never ask you to say something that you don't really feel. Please go -- I need to be alone for a while.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Alright - the coast is clear, Roger! Crawl on out from under the bed so I can fuck you right on up the ASS!!!!! And then when I'm done, how about you fuck ME right on up the ass???? And after that, we can

Oh hell, I'm sorry. Customer research findings indicated that my record review readers would quite enjoy the addition of occasional gay porn scenarios. That's the last time I use Tool's fan base as a focus group!

In conclusion, Easy Action has a beautiful Paul McCartney-style bouncy piano tune called "Beautiful Flyaway" that'll leave your ears cheering for more. And dig that propulsive drum line in "Return Of The Spiders"!!!

There. That was my conclusion. My ultimate, definitive summary of this record was brief descriptions of two songs, neither of which were mentioned anywhere else in the review.

The End

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Kinda weird that you gave Easy Action the same score as the debut. I'd say this one is a significant improvement in every category, though if you dig surreal, experimental stuff, you won't find nearly as much of it this time! A couple of the songs still kinda suck though!

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
After I bought Pretties For You,I bought Easy Action.When I put this album on the turntable the first time, I noticed a vast improvement over the previous Lp.The first song,Mr. & Misdemeanor had that Alice Cooper sneer and swagger that i was accustomed to hearing.A memorable line that I'll try to remember seems to go like this"Stand beside the ocean,land sake's alive a gotian?, who put all of this in motion" da da da da am am am am, damn"I gave this album away also, but it made more of an impression on me than the previous one.Also there was this song that had a line"Easy action,gotta rocket in your pocket",and i think it was on the first side.After that I couldn't stomach the rest of it.

If i'm not mistaken, the producer on this album was David Briggs who produced Neil Young for years.But I may be wrong.

I give this one a five, because you can see the band heading in a somewhat right direction, but still abstract.

Years later I found out you could buy the first two Alice Cooper disc together, packaged as one, for a discount price. I think it was entitled "Schooldays".

Imperialjg@aol.com (Jay)
all this talk of "easy action" and no mention of the brilliance of "shoe salesman"? damn all you earless fuckers to hell.

Add your thoughts?


* Love It To Death - Warner Bros. 1971 *
Rating = 10

One of the larger mysteries in the history of rock is what exactly happened between 1970 and 1971 to make the Alice Cooper Band so goddarned good. Was it their sudden move to KISS's fabled Detroit Rock City? Was it the guiding influence of their new producer Bob Ezrin? Or was it just a feeling that, now that the band had made the leap to Warner Bros. proper, they actually had a chance of radio success if their new songs were commercial instead of infuriating? Whatever the reason, they hit a touchback with this one, creating a classic early '70s hard rock album that'll make you shout, "I 'love it to death'! It's 'killer'! I'm sure glad 'school's out' so I can sit here and play with my 'muscle of love' while --- GGGGAAAAHHHOOOOOWWWWWW!!!! I hate when 'zipper catches skin'!!!"

Conservatives and businessmen will be pleased to see that they've given up on the hippy nonsense. They're still a bunch of long hairs, but now they look like a vampire motorcycle gang! I'd describe them as looking "like early Aerosmith" but Aerosmith's first record didn't come out for another couple of years so instead I'll say that they look "like early Dave Clark Five" but with long creepy hair and gypsy clothes like Aerosmith. On the makeup tip, Alice isn't quite Mr. Skary Klown yet, but he HAS started putting creepy eye mascara around his eyes, making each one look like a little tarantula. Oh wait -- those ARE TARANTULAS!!!! OH MY GOD, SOMEBODY WARN ALICE COOPER!!!! THEY'RE GONNA CHEW HIS PUPILS OUT!!!!!!

Oh, pupils are holes?

THEN WE'RE TOO LATE!!!!!! OH GOGOGGGDDDD WWHYYAYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Basically this is an album full of unforgettable guitar-driven hard rock, but boy oh boy does it get shadowy as it goes. Things start off on a happy Rolling Stones choogle-rock vibe (granted, this was before the Stones became a choogle-rock band -- damn you Alice Cooper for pioneering looks and sounds that I can only compare to that which came afterwards!), but by song 2, they're already hardening and darkening up the riffery to somehow make it sound threatening that some guy is 18 years old (oh no! Ahh!), then there's a little more upbeatery and crunchiness, but from track 4 through track 8, it's just sinister, dark, blackness! Not heavy metal - just really pissed-off-sounding and creepy guitar lines, bass hooks, piano/organ licks and drum... things. You've heard Van Halen's Fair Warning, right? It's THAT kind of darkness. ASS-KICKING no-sugar no-light tough streets hard rock (though Alice Cooper's guitar tone was much less metallic than Van Halen's, understand. So don't buy this expecting Fair Warning II: The Prequel!)

I've never been smart enough to figure out what a poem or lyric is about, but as far as I can tell, these five tracks find Alice portraying (a) a zombie, (b) a sleazy sex guy, (c) God, (d) Jesus Christ and (e) a man who has gone insane. If these interpretations are wrong, please let me know - I'm just reading into them as much as I can! At any rate, the words are as threatening and freaky as the music (which is mighty much of both). Hilariously, the record then comes to a close with a really happy Rolf Harris song called "Sun Arise." After all that darkness, can you believe those guys? Those nuts? Those silly American people? Ha!

Mood aside, an album is only as good as its hooks, and every track on here is full of great, nightmarish hooks. And faster than a man can sing, "Zippity-doo-doo! Zippity-doo! My oh my what a wonderful shoe!," these very same hooks sent the Alice Cooper band rocketing up the charts of stardom. "I'm Eighteen" and "Is It My Body" lit up rock radio ("Is It My Body" is that one that goes "Have you got the time to find out who I really a-a-a-a-a-am?"), but the most powerful track on the record is probably the heartbreaking "Ballad Of Dwight Fry," a cyberrealistic portrayal of a poor man whose stress has pushed his sanity to the brink of the edge and into the ether of the netherworld. Actually, that's another question I have for all you Cooper fanatics out there -- does Dwight STRANGLE the guy in the street at the end? Is that what's happening? At any rate, if you've ever feared that your sanity was hanging by a shoestring, this might be a song to avoid.

On the other hand, if you've ever feared that your shoestring was hanging by a sanitary napkin, this song doesn't touch on that topic but why the hell are you hanging your shoestring by a sanitary napkin? Are you afraid your foot's gonna have its period? HA HA! FOOT PERIOD!!!! HA HAHA!!!

In later news, every s- HA HA HAH! FOOT PERIOD!!! CAN YOU IMAGINE??? HA HA!!!

Every song on here rules until I hear otherwise. And that's the key. No blues licks, no folk rock, nothing corny, no novelty tunes, no Broadway show tunes - just gritty, dirty trips through Rock and Roll City and Haunted House Plantation. BUY IT!

Oh no, my heel is bleeding! I hope my FOOT isn't having its PERIOD!!! HA HA HAH AH HA!!!! FOOT PERIOD!!!! HA HA HA HA!!! CAN YOU IMAGINE??? YOUR FOOT WOULD HAVE TO SUCK POLE FOR A WEEK!

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
The breakthrough! Not surprised that you gave this the coveted 10 - it's definitely a highly regarded classic and favourite for many Alice fans. I honestly can't say I disagree since I love this album *insert cliche fanboy statement devoid of wit* to death! There are a number of well known classic songs here, and even the obscure songs, such as "Second Coming", "Hallowed Be My Name", and the awesome "Black Juju" deserve to be as well. I'm not too fond of the hippie cover at the end, "Sun Arise", but I can see the humour in what they were trying to do with it.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
This is Alice's first true album, and a classic. The sound is a little more raw than the following albums, but by no means this is a bad thing. You cannot wrong with an album that has anthems such as "Caught In A Dream", "I'm Eighteen" and "Is It My Body". Another highlights are "Black Juju" and "The Ballad Of Dwilight Fry", although the former is a little overlong. I cannot give it a total 10 though, because the closer "Sun Arise", while not bad, seems too out of place and "Hallowed Be My Name" is like a kind of self-parody to me. But in general, excellent hard rock album. I'd give it a 9/10.

OSLANE@student.gvsu.edu
agreed, excellent, like its follow-up, but you didn't mention anything about how "Eighteen" is a pre-punk classic of teen angst or the overall garagey sound... Alice Cooper has actually called himself "the first punk" in the Prime Cuts video because of his torn clothes and whatever snotty attitude. Johnny Rotten auditioned for the Pistols by singing along to "Eighteen" on Malcolm McClaren's jukebox and admits to being a huge Alice Cooper fan. either way, good review and good album.

toddwise@cbgb.net
This was one of the first albums I ever got as a kid. My Dad and I went to a local record store that was closing and they were auctioning off entire sections of records, known back then as "lp's" that you played on your "hi-fi." We totally made off with a bunch of records in the "B" and "C" category. Dad let me have Badfinger's "Straight Up," The Beach Boys' "Greatest Hits," Bloodrock "2," the first two Joe Cocker albums, and this baby. When you consider the Alice Cooper and Badfinger albums, I think I made off pretty good. Right now, Mark is screaming "What about Bloodrock?! They are awesome!" Well back in the day, I'll admit, I thought Bloodrock was pretty cool too. Then I learned "God in heaven, teach me how to die" was a really retarded lyric.

But for some reason, "Love It To Death" stayed with me. Even as I got older, such lyrics as "Oh I like it, love it, like it, love it, 18, 18, 18, I'm 18 and I like it" were acceptable. A lot of that toleration comes from the plain fact that these guys flat out rock. As a fan of the Stooges, it would be easy to describe Alice Cooper as perhaps a hair above their incompetence, which means that they can actually play their instruments better than most people.

At this stage, Alice Cooper were still Alice Cooper the band and not Alice Cooper, the owner of the image and a sports bar in Phoenix, AZ. Why he chose to dismiss a band of this caliber is beyond me. From what I gather, he was drunk half the time, but even loaded Alice Cooper's "Love It To Death" sounds like angel wings compared to, say, "Flush The Fashion." Indeed, "Whiskey & Lace" has even been known to cause dry heaves in some listeners. Hey stoopid: call these guys out of retirement and consider a reunion tour with them.

Bob Ezrin sounds like he's finding his production legs on this one two, as the album is a nice blend of dirty Gibsons and studio gimmicktry. Thanks to his part, "Love It To Death" may be the only record Alice did that was actually scary. It certainly warped my mind enough to warrant additional listening over 30 years later. A perfect ten, or damn close to it.

jkolak@sbcglobal.net
Are we on the same planet? Alice Cooper sells artistic integrity to commercial rock and we are calling teeny bop stuff like Eighteen an improvement? At least the epic trilogy sounds authentic.

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
The first time I saw this album, my sister and one of her friends were holding it with the center of the jacket open and the photo of spider legs mascara on Alice's face,around each eye freaked me out so much that I had trouble going to sleep that night.Over time I listened to this Lp and fell in love with it.I would get home from school and put it on my sister's turntable and enjoy the opening guitar licks of "Caught in a Dream" and kick back while the sound of a harmonica played along with guitars and drum at the beginning of "I'm Eighteen". It shifts into the dual guitar attack of "Long Way to Go", which also features some of the best soloing of lead guitarist Glen Buxton, while he was in his prime. "Black Juju" is a Doors influenced song that has the listener in a trance until Alice screams "wake up! wake up! wake up! wake up"!. You and I know that "bodies need their rest".

Side two kicks off with "Is it my Body" and then "Hallowed Be thy Name"mentions something about laughing at trasvestites until one picks up her Sonny. "Second Coming" is really a great lyrical piece with lines such as "Time is getting closer. I read it on a poster" and the fading drum at the end is perfect with the crossfade into "The Ballad of Dwight Frye" and its piano intro. The small voice saying"Mommy, where's Daddy" and so on.The sound of the explosion("Blows up in my face") is an Alka-Seltzer being dropped into a glass of water with a microphone placed over it,while the tape is slowed down a few ips during the final mixdown.

Bob Ezrin played a major role in molding this band as a unit.His keyboard contribution took the band to greater heights I doubt they would have reached without him.He taught them how to stay in tune with each other,which was definately missing from the previous two albums. Out of all his albums,this is the only Ten I will give, even though "Killer is close to it.

threegtrz@hotmail.com
Re: Dwight Frye

Yep, I do think the storyteller was "Strangling the Pedestrian" as referenced in the "....I saw a man that was choking there..." lyric.

I am still looking for lyrical contect referring to the following:

Choking the Chicken
Bopping the Bishop
Shaking the Snake
Jerking the Turkey
Polishing the Purple Pleaser
Fisting the Mister
Squeezing the Salami
Doing the Hand Solo

Hang on! This was all ground covered in the semen-infested tune "Muscle of Flubber".

Which reminds me, did you hear the one about the Energizer Bunny dying? Yep! Someone put his batteries in backwards so he just kept on coming and coming and coming......

Add your thoughts?

Killer - Warner Bros. 1971
Rating = 9

Michael Bruce and Glen Buxton were a couple of hard rock guitar players, using dirty crusty early-'70s distortion to make young heads bang and old ears fall off. Each loved to solo of course (as we all do in this, the genre of smooth jazz), but they also wrote freaky-ice guitar riffs both belligerent and cathartic. Bassist Dennis Dunaway was one of those "frustrated guitarists" you read about in books about Chris Squire, writing full-fledged melodies on his machine and up-down plugging away at the strings as if they were skinny. His tone was also fairly high-pitched for whatever reason. Maybe he played higher on the neck than many players? Or perhaps he just set his knobs on "trebly" the way most bassists set my knobs on "fire." And then were was "Stinky" Neal Smith, the little drummer with the crazy flappy arms. Innovative he too, creating new-fangled beats to keep his mind occupied while supporting his guitarists' 4/4 compositions. Either Keith Moon was an influence or somebody influenced by Keith Moon was an influence, because this guy played lead drums half the time! So how could an instrumental juggernaut of such energy, smarts and first-rate ideas possibly fail? Well, I'll tell you exactly how they could -- and DID -- fail. They DIDN'T!

(*congratulates self on EXCELLENT ending to first paragraph*)

Whether it was intended as such or not, Killer is a concept album about various sorts of killers. The negligent parent babykillers of "Dead Babies," the Old West desperado of the awkwardly and confusingly titled "Desperado," the espionage agent saboteur murderer of "Halo Of Flies," the remorseful armed robber bad seed of the title track -- (and I admit that this next part is bullshit, but I developed this "concept album" theory all by myself so I fully intend to see it through) and don't forget the, uh... the "hope killer" of "You Drive Me Nervous," who destroys his overbearing parents' dreams by ending up in prison. And how about that ladies' man -- or "lady killer" (eh? EH???) that Alice portrays in "Under My Wheels," "Be My Lover" and "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah"? See? Isn't my theory as 'on-the-money' as that one about Sillystring or whatever? It's for this reason that the scientific community oft refers to me as "possessing greater motor skills than Stephen Hawking himself."

Musically speaking, Killer repeats the light/dark formula that made Love It To Death such a treat for an ear. There's no not-smiling at the goodtime Stones boogie (with horns!) of "Under My Wheels," beer-soaked lovey-dovey country-rock strumming of "Be My Lover" (for extra fun, enjoy the gigantic, bombastic and blatantly WRONG final chord!!!), flanged-drum pre-punk guitarically flammable "You Drive Me Nervous" or (if you're a KKK-loving redneck) the boisterous Southern Rock cow turd "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah." However, the other half of the album will pummel the very souls of your shoes with its evil, wily grimness and blood-drenched splatter licks. It all begins with the introductory Halloween guitar notes, trembling Satanic high-pitched "vip vip vip" noise and twisted chord changes that introduce the psychotic, galloping epic "Halo Of Flies." Moments of light shine through (like Alice's vocal reference to "My Favorite Things"), but the song's about blowing up an occupied submarine so don't expect too many positive vibes! The fun continues with the death's-head spaghetti western warning of the mostly-spoken, un-Alice-sounding "Desperado," the INCREDIBLY ominous and counterintuitive bass chords driving "Dead Babies" (doesn't it just sound like he's playing it WRONG? Like the low note should hang on a little longer instead of immediately popping up higher as soon as the high note does? It sounds wrong, but BETTER than the right way of playing it would have sounded! This is just my head here - you might think it sounds perfectly right and acceptable.), and the sick grinning uptempo tippy-toe and stereo guitar trembles and vacuum noises dragging you down into the macabre, swaggering, evil, rotten title track -- complete with dramatic Bloodrock-style church organ solo! Not only is this a great album - it's a great soundtrack to Alice, Sweet Alice starring Brooke Shields as "the murdered little girl"!

This rock and roll is SMART. The pleasers and the darkers all develop logically and dramatically to their individual climaxes, as does the overall album itself. So get outside today and purchase this guitar-driven pot-smoking pentagram album with the snake on the cover and the 1972 calendar of Alice hanging himself onstage inside. I wasn't born until 1973, but I sure hope that Alice Cooper was popular as all hell after releasing back-to-back two of the greatest goddamned hard rock records the world has ever known. The filthy drunks were at the top of their game plan!

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Another astoundingly good album! I remember in an interview Alice once said that this was their most "musical" album, and what he meant with that was that it has the least amount of vocals of all the albums, and it's true, there are a lot of long instrumental passages. I think that purely in terms of songwriting and arrangements, this is the most musically insteresting album of Alice Cooper's entire career. It was still a band consisting of a bunch of high school buddies at this point who were hungry for success, which gives the album a unique personality that never occurred again. After this, Bob Ezrin started going a bit overboard in the production department, session musicians were brought in to cover Glen Buxton's drunken ass, more and more emphasis was placed on showtunes rather than dark, creepy, rock 'n roll, and then the band broke up.

A shame, really. The other band members really deserve more attention than they get. All of them were really creative musicians - in fact, I don't think they were even capable of playing anything in a generic way. Dennis Dunaway was always all over the place with that bass! He never just lazily held the low end without any imagination the way most bassists do. Neal Smith's drumming was incredibly inventive too, and catchy! How many drummers are catchy???

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
After the brilliant 'Love It To Death', we have another winner from Mr. Cooper. The music has become even more sinister and the lyrics even more crazy! From where do I start? "Under My Wheels"! "Halo Of Flies"! "Desperado"! (possibly my all-time favourite Cooper song ever) and of course the last two songs, "Dead Babies" and "Killer". The other songs are okay, with "Yeah Yeah Yeah" being close to do nothing to me. But that can be forgiven, since the album has the ultimate ballad "Desperado", a tribute to Jim Morrison. Another 9/10.

bstoller@gmail.com (Barry Stoller)
I remember when this record came out - blammo, homerun, the big career breakthrough (which required years to undo). Speaking as someone who was there, AC were really great on the road, that was a big part of what sold these albums. (The first time I ever sexed the wife, side one was roaring through the night. Marvelous!) Now, the last thing I wanna do is hoist the AC flag down ...but... recall June 11, 1971 at the Fillmore East and we see AC opening the show for (you guessed it) Bloodrock, who were still hot with 'DOA.' I'm sure the young guns were watching the headliners slay the audience with that one, saying to themselves: 'Hmmm, how 'bout a whole show of that kinda stuff?' That's my theory and I think it's safe to say the rest is rockin' history.

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
After Love it to Death made the band some money, they were finally able to headline venues and buy equiptment to help them expand their sound.The evidence of sound expansion is witnessed on the first song"Under My Wheels" with the horn section backing up Alice and the band."Be My Lover" is a basic three chord number tailored made for radio, but I think that Alice drops a low volume f-bomb after the famous Neil Smith fumbling his drumstick onto his shell of the bass drum part.I think Alice drops it on the verse "and I'm still on my own"," fucking".at least that 's what it sounds like.This song is followed by the multi-chord changes and tempo of "Halo of Flies".Check out "she really came as no surprise, but I still did destroy her and I will smash Halo of FLIES!"The guitars drive full steam ahead with a blitzkrieg of sound that gives way to added symphony strings followed by bass soloing from Dennis Dunaway and some kick-ass tom -tom drum work from Neil Smith.After the dust settles from "Halo", the lone guitar intro of "Desperado" begins and the vocal style reminiscent of Jim Morrison is performed by Alice as an ironic tribute to The Lizard King. One of the hardest rock songs by the band."You Drive Me Nervous" starts side 2 of the vinyl format and for some strange reason I can see Guns' and Rose's covering this song during their Appetite for Destruction "days . Anyway the next cut,"Yeah Yeah Yeah,starts out like an ode to the Beatles, but the band goes into a jam section of the song with Alice contributing some damn good harmonica work, before returning back to the lyrics of the song "This is Alice speaking, suffer" Then the mood shifts dramatically from fun to doom and gloom with the song "Dead Babies".Even though the song is about child neglect, the media and the parental listening audience portrayed it as sick gratification and thus the band's publicity was overwhelmingly negative by adults, so the kids used it as a way of rebellion, making Alice and his band martyrs for the angry youth of society.In short,albums would sell briskly and tours that followed would sell out in every city and country the band would play in.Bad publicity is better than no publicity!

Back to the album, the final track "Killer" rocked while Alice told of his crime and finally his solemn sigh "someone handed me this gun and I, I gave it everything,I gave it everything" as he is led to the gallows. I love the effect at the end when the door opens and the siren type noise which indicates death, is played then suddenly stops.

I believe this album made Alice Cooper, the character, and his bands music, every parents nightmare, and in turn made the group superstars in the world of Rock-n-Roll.

I'll give it a Nine because it just didn't have as much an effect on me as "Love it to Death" did.

Add your thoughts?

School's Out - Warner Bros. 1972
Rating = 7

This Phallus Pooper album has gone down in cinematic history as a "concept album" about high school, but that's a bunch of bogusry - there are only three songs about school on the whole damn album! Of the other six, three are based on West Side Story (which does NOT take place in a high school), and the remaining three are unrelated Cooper sickolalia. So why the "rock opera" tag? Because you can fold out the album cover into a school desk? Well whoopdeedoo. I can fold out my penis into a school desk too, but you don't see me calling it a "cock opera." Who's the braggart now?!

One thing that School's Out IS is it is theatrical. Although it's not quite the fakey Broadway song-and-dance material he would be doing in a few years, the fact that a full THREE of the nine tracks reference "When You're A Jet" bullcrap should tell you something about what really set Vincent Furnier's heart aglaze. He was an entertainer! Sinister hard rock? Not in the live context -- there it was all converted to harmless black humour and coumedy! Guillotining his head off, walking around with a snake around his neck going "I've got a snake around my neck, so fuck you!" -- gimmicks and thrills, that's what ALice COHOLICooper was really into.

As such, don't be surprised when this album doesn't spook you even for a heartwinkle. Wiping its hands clean of the amazing hard rock of the last two albums, School's Out is a big diverse pishposh of goodtime nostalgia, butt-humpin' rock and roll, sci-fi prog, swingin' jazz, funk bass and r'n'b soul, all presented with lots of pianos, horns and violins -- and perhaps a touch too much of Alice's "precious" ("goofy") theatrics. The title track is of course a world-famous guiter licker ass kicker, but it's also by far the hardest track on the record! "Luney Tune" has a tough little riff too, but after that it's Sunshine City (Sun City, for short) til the cows return: circus organs, Sha Na Na-styled 'street fight' horsegallops, 50s guitar licks, Doorsy organs, Stonesy Exile-style soul-rock, boring acoustic memories and bombastic organ prog. Hardly the kind of album expected or desired by a Kill It To Death or Lover fan, I'd say!

But toot sweet, the band itself is still playing dirty, raw, filthy music. They haven't forsaken their individual playing styles a bit (the bass player in particular kicks some serious butt all over this record, if you listen closely); they've just added lots of extra fancy instruments to it and placed an emphasis on lighter and more Variety Show-ready material.

Not that it's ALL light. As I said, three of the tracks are vomitous Alice at his best (even if the music isn't as intimidating as the lyrics). "Luney Tune" presents a fable of a streetwise badass who winds up in an insane asylum slashing his wrists by the end of the song ("I'm swimmin' in blood/Like a rat on a sewer floor/No longer insane/Just part of this crazy dream"). "My Stars" -- possibly the best song on the album -- combines classically dramatic up-and-rising bass/piano flourishes with lyrics about either the devil or some evil supernatural space being destroying the Earth. It's probably Satan doing it, but he keeps referring to his stars so it's possible he's some giant space being. Actually, no wait! It might be God! He talks about being banished - maybe it's God destroying the Earth for forsaking him!!! Well, whoever he is, he's a scary fictional space being and the songwriting/composition of this track is ass smart and butt powerful. And "Blue Turk" -- though I hate the song immensely, with its sub-Tom Waits crap jazz and chorus completely stolen from "Ballad of Dwight Fry" -- appears to be about nailing corpses with a dickwang! Am I wrong? Possibly so, yes! But then what IS it about? I'll tell you EXACTLY what it's about!!! Stuffing stiffs with stiffies!

I'm not spitting on a band's desire to grow and branch out into larger musical areas; I just don't see the need for Leonard Bernstein references and songs that use cats fucking as a metaphor. But dump the dumbass nostalgia crap ("Hey, remember the time - 'member the time we took that snake and put it down little Betsy's dress?/ Now I don't think Miss Axelrod was much impressed!" -- That's great, Alice. Now have you ever known a high school student who referred to a fellow student as "little"...anything? NO! That's obviously you AS AN ADULT describing a child as "Little Betsy," and it's impossible to believe that you are a high school student getting ready to graduate! Your language gives you away!!! Also the fact that you're in your late 20s.) and you get an album that's too short. As such, a 7 and desire for better hookage results next time roundabout.

These words will make you out and out. (Supposedly. Sounds like BULLSHIT to me.)

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
This album has always confused me, and it continues to do so. It blasts off right at the start like a firecracker with the fucking amazing title track, whetting your appetitite for what you eagerly anticipate will be an entire album full of similarly intense, rocking barnstromers, only to be disappointed that nothing else rocks! In that sense School's Out has always been a big letdown for me. Just when the band was peaking creatively and commercially, they should have hit a home run instead of just the bunt that this album is. That's not to say it's a bad effort at all though - if anything, there is a hell of a lot of great, innovative music to be found here, but it just isn't as edgy as it should have been. It actually sounds more like the solo Alice Cooper albums of the late 70's than the work of the Alice Cooper Group.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
With 'School's Out', the sound of the band has changed a bit. If 'Love It To Death' was his "rocking" album and 'Killer' was his "crazy" album, this one is his "carnival" album. But that's not a bad thing! I dig the sound of this album! You all probably know the self-titled anthem, but there are some other gems as well. "Blue Turk" is an amazing cocktail of jazz and rock and it has a very cool horn riff. "My Stars" has a great piano line and some good screaming from Alice. And if you want a pure rocker, what about "Public Animal #9"! It's fun! The record loses a bit near the end, but that doesn't prevent it from getting a strong 8/10 from me.

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
I bought this album,, and the "The History of Eric Clapton", for my sister as a Christmas gift. It was the first time I had seen a record as a novelty item. The album jacket would fold out into a desk and the sleeve that covered the vinyl was a pair of paper panties. Needless to say,the panties were torn by some teenager friend of my sister who was trying to put them on. Legend has it that Warner Bros. had to quit making the panty sleeve due to some kind of fire hazard. Later copies of the album had the regular square shaped plastic sleeve.My mother had to buy this album,since I was only in the second or third grade, but I had an ear for good rock at a very early age.

Side one starts with the title track and the song that I would definately play every year, as a ritual, when school let out for Christmas or summer vacation. And about a thousand times in between. The second cut entitled 'Luney Tune"was a rocker that was also the B-side to the single"Elected", which was later released on the album 'Billion Dollar Babies". The West Side Story inspired "Jets vs. Gutter Cats" was another rocker that ended with the sounds of a gang fight and police sirens.

"Blue Turk", the fourth song on the album. was another Doors inspired song with some groovy bass lines and jazzy trumpet and trombone riffs alongside an electric piano reminiscent of Ray Manzarek, keyboardist of the Doors. My favorite song is "My Stars",which starts of with some beautiful piano from producer Bob Ezrin, and moves into a hard rock guitar riff that is soon accompanied by some driving drumming and then settles into a patterned groove by the time Alice starts adding his vocals. This song would remain a live concert staple through the bands following three tours until the band broke up. "Public Animal # 9" is another swingin' cut that has a memorable line for me that goes something like "I'd give a thousand cigarettes for just a couple of lousy beers", but I'm not sure since I haven't listened to this album in over twenty years. I forgot the title of the next song, but it had something to do with leaving town after graduation, and recalling fond memories while in school. I'm recalling this review of School's Out from distant memory, but I do know that the last song on the album is entitled "Grand Finale" and it incorporates parts of the previous songs together for a true grand finale of the record. I like this album because of the variety,but saddly it was also the last album where original lead guitarist Glen Buxton made any significant contribution to the band's recordings.I'll give it an eight.

Add Your Thoughts?

Billion Dollar Babies - Warner Bros. 1973
Rating = 9

Oh, first he wants them dead and now they're worth a billion dollars? Make up your mind about their PRICE, VINCENT!

Heh heh. Ah yeah that's good stuff. The horror movie jokes are "where it's at" as far as today's teenagers are concerned, and that's where I come in. Let's look at some of the song titles on here. "Raped And Freezin'"? Yeah, like that woman in I Spit On Your Grave!

(*today's teenagers laugh and play with their Rubik's Cubes*)

"I Wanna Be Elected"? Yeah, like that guy in The Dead Zone!

(*today's teenagers fall over with laughter, shout "23-Skidoo!"*)

"Unfinished Sweet" is about a tooth cavity? Better not let Corbin Bernson of The Dentist hear that one!

(*today's teenagers roll the aisles with laughter, get boner at African boobs in National Geographic*)

Yes, we could go on like this all day, but all we'd be proving is that I'm hilarious and everybody already knows that. For example, check out this joke I just made up.

Man: "Say, what's that in your hair?"
Woman: "It's cum. I'm a prostitute."
Man: "Gum? Why, I'd love a stick of gum!"

See? There's no battling the fiery steel of my whippingly hot charity of dopamine! Move over, Red Fox!

There are those who insist that a record review should at some point actually get around to discussing a record. It's to those narrow-minded Luddites that I dedicate this next section.

Billion Dollar Babies isn't just a great album -- it's a FUN album! Fun like School's Out tried to be, but with catchier hooks, hotter guitar rock action and less of the fattogy Broadway nonsense. Fun with major chords, big guitars, bombastic choruses, witty lyrics, and all macabre elements converted into harmless '50s-style monster movie thrills. And be aware: just like "School's Out," the gritty, angry title track ("Billion Dollar Babies") sounds nothing like the rest of the album, so if that's all you've heard, don't judge this book by standing on its cover!

On the topic of covers, this one is made up to resemble a big snakeskin billfold with a giant dollar bill inside. It's not legal tender though and doesn't even look like a real dollar bill, so if you want to spend it be sure to go to a place that hires retards (ex. a retard charity thrift store).

On the topic of covers, the album begins with a gigantic anthem that defines Alice's stance and foreshadows the exciting over-the-top rock approach of the rest of the album. "Hello Hooray" may be a Rolf Kempf composition, but its majestic themes and "Please love me! I'm a star!" lyrics were made by a tailor for good old entertainment hound Axl Cooper.

On the tropic of cancer, the sun is directly overhead at noon on June 21st. Alice Cooper did this.

Hit singles? Hells yeah, and got 'em good! The huge, shiny, horn-filled "I Wanna Be Elected" both rejuvenated "Reflected" from the band's debut and influenced Joey Ramone to write his own classic "I Wanna Be Sedated," followed by "I Wanna Be Well," "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," later to became a huge hit for the Beatles in 1964. "No More Mr. Nice Guy" pairs a classic opening riff with tragicomic lyrics about how everybody hates Alice because of his image (even his minister punches him in the nose! And he's a RELIGIOUS man!)(then he ass fucks him, but Alice left that part out). Fans of the band "Sparks" often point to this song and Sparks' own "No More Mr. Nice Guys" as having influenced each other in some way, but fans of the band "Sparks" can suck a dick because the cliche "No More Mr. Nice Guy" has been around for fucking ever. It's not like Alice Cooper or The Sparks suddenly made it up in the early '70s. Also, I'm a fan of the band "Sparks" and I don't want to suck a dick, but other fans can if they want to. I offer them the freedom to do just that if they so desire.

In other news of this album, fans of drum lines will dig the daydirt out of the title track, which was written entirely around Neal's awesome, instantly recognizable "boom-chip-chip-a-bip-bip-a-dibba-dibba" rhythm. And fans of recycling will enjoy how he pretty much plays the exact same drum line in "Generation Landslide."

I'm under no obligation to describe any of the songs for you, but for the record, "Raped And Freezin'" has an enjoyable Mexican breakdown near the end that you might want to take note of. Also, if you're wondering "Goodness, with a title like that, has Alice taken his black humor too far?" Nope -- he's talking about HIMSELF! He, the narrator (a man), has been sexually used by a strong today's woman! She was so rough, he jumped out of the car and is now freezing in Mexico! She may have smelled like honey, but she swallowed like brine!

Actually no, if that were the case, she would have accused him of raping HER. That was a shitty, worthless comparison to make. FUCK! (*angrily drills hole in face with jackhammer*)

Otherwise, I don't owe you SHIT. But for the record, "Unfinished Sweet" was written solely so Alice could have a giant toothbrush chase him around during the live show, which explains the long dentist drill solo and Mission: Impossible theme they play in the middle. Also, take careful note of that crazybutt bass tone! I'm not positive how he's making it, but I think it might be run through a wah-wah pedal that he pushes down to the bass setting every time he plays a note. So it's like "WHISSSHHHoommm WHISSSHHHOooooommmm" etc. So check that out next time you listen!

Also, "Sick Things" is either from the point of view of a vampire or a Manson-like cult leader, and "I Love The Dead" is about fucking a corpse. Good night!

(*sleeps eight hours*)

Good morning! The strength of Billion Dollar Babies lies in its hookity hookity hook hook hooks. Vocally and guitarically, you can't NOT sing along to these lil' cuties! They're too cheerful and soul-affirming! Here are some lines to memorize before the record starts, so you'll be able to sing along right away:

"IIIIIII'VE BEEN WAITING SO LONG TO SING MY SONG!"
"HEY! I THINK I GOT A LIVE ONE!"
"ELECTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!"
"ACHIN' TO GET ME!"
"IIIIIIIIIIIII LOVE THE DEAD!" (repeat 4000x)

Notice to the Suicidally Depressed: If you make it through this entire album without becoming happy at some point, just give up. Nobody loves you anyway. Asshole.

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
A lot of Coop fans point to Billion Dollar Babies as being the best album to bear his/their name, and there are days where I come pretty lose to believing that myself, since it really is quite fantastic, but there are a few smallish things that I don't like about it - "Raped And Freezin'" always seemed merely average to me, to the point where I didn't even put it on any of the seven 90 minute Alice Cooper mix tapes that I made, "Elected", as great a song as it is, loses a bit of lustre for re-using the chorus of an older song, "Mary Ann" is a useless little piano interlude that isn't catchy at all, and even though I think "I Love The Dead" is one of the album's highlights, it's a bit too repetitive even for me. Otherwise the album is fantastic in every regard - like the best Alice Cooper albums, it contains an intriguing blend of humourous, bizarre, and creepy subject matter!

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
This is in my opinion the best Alice Cooper album. It's not that there isn't any filler here - both "Sick Things" and "Mary-Ann" suck ass and are boring - it's that the strong songs here are fantastic! This album can be a big addiction if you love hard rock. I just cannot pick a single favourite here, the title track, "Unfinished Sweet" (gotta love the dentist sound effects!) and of course "No More Mr. Nice Guy" are all amazing. And the album closer "I Love The Dead" is also great and atmospheric, check the lyrics to that one! Just crazy! I think I'm gonna give it a 10 because it's very closer to perfection, if you ask me. If the two weakest songs had been removed, that would be one of the very best albums ever!

OSLANE@student.gvsu.edu
I completely agree with the "Alice is an entertainer" statement. I think that Alice Cooper and his band have such a good time making pisstakes of what pisses off the holy cows, conservative right and whoever else. It's like that love/hate relationship you have with your younger brother or parents; he knows he's part of the family and proud of it (being a Republican and proud American) but gets a jolt out of making them squirm from time to time, only to remind people in the same song, "hey! it's just a joke!" The song "Billion Dollar Babies", despite its angry, creepy sound and words is actually a fun way of saying, "we're the billion dollar babies, you give us money to act like little kids."

Alice might have invented the underlying contradiction of punk rock; it's Alice's intelligent non-message that reminds people that, no matter what message you try to reach the kids with, as a musician, your number 1 priority is to entertain. And "Elected" is the most brilliant anti-political song ever written.

lifeisbonkers@yahoo.com
"Elected" is a great song! I know this is stupid, but the first time I heard it I seriously thought he was saying "I wanna be a lesbian"!! But in your review, you forgot to mention my two favorite "Elected"-inspired songs: "I Wanna Go Down In The Basement", and the Prince classic "I Wanna Be Your Bitch And Suck The Cum Out Of Your Dick (By The Way, I Hate Gay People)".

Jim Laakso
holy bejeezus. i am just now getting around to listening to "billion dollar babies" (which you insisted i pay a buck for at gimmie gimmie like two years ago). if david bowie was ever actually great, he'd sound EXACTLY LIKE THIS. i love this record.

John Cable
Me and Jso have actually had this on CD since the late 90s or early 2000s, and we never wrote a Purdnill Recording Review comments review comment on it!

Here's our review: When I recommend Alice Cooper to anyone, this is the album I recommend first. Usually a Cooper album has like one or two duds on it, this one has none. It even has the perfect ballad balance, where "Mary Ann" is just about the end, turns out it's about a guy/tranny, and then has delightful piano fuckery that is pleasant to listen to instead of the usual ballad boringness.

So I'd say this is Alice's best album as far as I know (or at least it's in the top 2) and then also one of the best rock albums ever made, it's something that literally anyone who likes music should own, along with Back in Black, The White Album, and, better than all of those combined, VAULT BY DEF LEPPARD WOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA \m/ ROCKET YEAH SALALLA AOLUUUUHUUU wait what is he saying in that song who cares.

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Love It 'Til The End - Bootleg
Rating = 7

When John Fogerty wrote the song "Bootleg" for his band Creedence Clearwater Revival back in the late '60s, he couldn't have known that one day somebody would release a bootleg recording of a couple of Alice Cooper concerts..... Or could he? Did John Fogerty possess some sort of psychic vision that allowed him to see six years into the future, and did this amazing power allow him to foresee and warn all of us music listeners out there in the world today that no matter what happens to us, we must never, ever, ever, very, very but this CD? I thought heftily on this topic for months one day before finally realizing that if Fogerty had any sort of insight at all, Eye Of The Zombie wouldn't exist.

(*pops open champagne in celebration of zinger*)

This is a shitty recording of a supposed show in Seattle 1971 and a reported other one in Portland, America in 1974. You can KINDA hear everything, but it all sounds out of tune. Worser than that, the 1971 show was recorded at the wrong speed! So all the songs are faster than they're supposed to be and Alice sounds like a menacing 8-year-old (especially during the hit single "I'm Eight"). Plus these era Cooper shows were visual experiences as much as auditory, and there are several minutes -- for example, during the long dull blues-rock instrumental jam in the middle of "Is It My Body" -- that you know something exciting is happening onstage (ex. Cooper guillotining himself; Cooper inebriating himself; Cooper urinating himself), but you can't see it because you're completely blind! I'm sorry to report this to you, but whenever you put in a CD, if a bunch of visual things don't pop out and do crazy things all around the room, that means you have absolutely no visual cortex at all! I know you may THINK you 'see' things in everyday life, but that's what the rest of us call 'smelling.' We've kinda been hiding it from you out of shame. Also, if you're attracted to women, that means you're gay and black. I'm really sorry it has to all come out like this.

So in short, these 7 Love It To Death, 1 Killer, 1 School's Out and 3 Billion Dollar Babies tracks are among the greatest hard rock compositions of all time and are for the most part performed perfectly energetically. However, the sound is muffled, the first half is sped up, a couple of the songs FADE OUT (God, I LOVE those concerts where the band members all grab their equipment and run out of the room at the end of each song!), and it's evident that absolutely no care was put into this bootleg at all. Hell, everyone of us in this room here tonight could have made a better bootleg without even showing up. Check this out - "Na na nna ananannaa anan Lines form on my face and hands! Do da dee da Lines - " See? And this is just a demonstration! "BODIEEEEEEEEEEEEES bwee bwoo bwoo!" FUCK, I could make HUGE money on this! Do you realize how many fans would pay $45 a pop to read a bootleg of a classic Alice Cooper concert? "HAVE YOU GOT THE TIME TO bwooo! biddly-biddly!" I'd better open a third bank account because my first two are gonna be full of LIQUID GOLD!

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Muscle Of Love - Warner Bros. 1973
Rating = 8

Alice Cooper has pulled a nilly-nally this time. You hear the album title and think, "Christ! He named the album after his dick!?" Then you hear the title track and he reassures you with the 'clever' chorus, "My heart's a muscle." But then you're playing it for your little five-year-old daughter and all her friends and suddenly they start giggling and you're all like, "What? He's singing about his heart!" but this one three-year-old toddler girl goes, "Did you listen to the lyrics? He's talking about crankin' the old beanshaft!" And indeed he is. "I read Dad's books like I did before/Now things are crystal clear/Lock the door in the bathroom now/I just can't get caught in here." I suppose it's possible that he's talking about reading the Bible and hiding in the shower so Pontius Pilate can't find him, but why then call the song "Muscle Of Love"? Is he referring to Jesus's muscle? And if so, why is Jesus masturbating?

Let's discuss the album as a whole though. As a unit. This is the first one since Easy Action to be produced by somebody other than Bob Ezrin, and the result is a bit less theatrical and a lot more sleazy. Dave and Stuart (or whatever the guitarists are named) have found a new MEAN distortion tone -- a bit heavier, edgier, like Nazareth's in "Hair Of The Dog" (to be referenced again later in this review). And the songs are FUNKY rock! Tough intimidating funky hard rock, like Heart's "Magic Man" or Spooky Tooth's top-selling The Mirror LP. The compositions are also a bit simpler than before, resulting in the repetition of every chorus about four hundred billion times before the song finally fades out. And that's another thing! You don't get the sense that these songs were written for onstage performance -- they're not nearly anthemic or macabre enough to play much of a role in the gigantic Alice Cooper show. But that's good! Why spin your wheels when there are so many other avenues down which to race your Creativity Car?

Still, they haven't completely forsaken the stylistic advances of their past few records. As stripped down as the verse-chorus arrangements are, many of the songs are still filled out with outside instruments (one even features a full Dixieland jazz band! The song's a piece of shit, but the music sounds great!) It's just that the emphasis is on sex-funk-tight-dirty rock rather than show-tuney, anthemic happy rock.

God I miss my anemic happy rock. Why did he die so young?

That decadent '70s vibe is all over this thing, from the Deep Purple organ action of "Big Apple Dreamin'" through the pre-"Hair Of The Dog" (referenced earlier in this review and to be referenced again in this review) "Hair Of The Dog" (referenced twice earlier in this review) hook of "Never Been Sold Before" through the Led Zeppelin "Thank You" organ and slow disco funk of "Hard Hearted Alice" past the rip-roarin' Montrose-style goodtime rocker "Workin' Up A Sweat" up at the lame-o James Bond hooks of "The Man With The Golden Gun" somewhat near the Eagles shit-rock and Liza Minnelli backup vocals of "Teenage Lament '74" and crashing down into the hilariously sexist big dick rock of "Woman Machine." That was totally one sentence. But basically, in Nixon's 1974, the music world was moving towards funk, disco and cocaine. The Alice Cooper Band responded to this "Mother's Finest" landscape just as Led Zeppelin would a year later with "Trampled Underfoot" -- they went all up at the thang's ass with some up-your-ass swaggerin' beats and simmering boogie violence! But it's NOT funk, nor is it disco, so don't get all worried (Alice would save that shit for his next album). It's just hard guitar rock with a funky, dirty leer. Kinda like TV and its funky, dirty Lear!

I'm gonna have to write that one down. If there's one thing my 13-year-old readers love, it's references to sitcom producers from twenty years before they were born. Hey! Maybe I could put out a whole BOOK of 'em! Check this one out:

Person A: "What has three heads, six legs and The Sanford Arms?
Person R: "Bud Yorkin, Bernie Orenstein and Saul Turtletaub, silly!"

Lyrically there's not even a single hint of the macabre on here, but the thoughts and images expressed are surprisingly insightful and witty anyway. Let me describe a few tracks as bullet points:

- "Never Been Sold Before" chronicles the confusion of a down-and-out city girl whose boyfriend suddenly starts pimping her out

- "Hard Hearted Alice" uses some genius poetry to describe the bizarre, unnatural day-to-day life of the travelling musician: "Time/Is free as a jailbird/At least that's what I heard/When you live/In a hideout.... Noise/Seems logically right/Ringing ears in the night/When you live/In an airport"

- "Crazy Little Child" tells a Tom Waitsy tale of a New Orleans petty thief youngster who grows up, tries to enter the world of big-league crime, and is gunned down by cops during an attempted robbery

- The otherwise horrifically bad "Teenage Lament '74" is nevertheless a painfully accurate portrait of a nervous 15-year-old trying to be cool ("Well, I cut my hair weird/I read that it was in/I looked like a rooster/That was drowned and raised again"). Also, I just noticed that the phrase "horrifically bad" might be a little redundant. So change that to "horrifically good."

- "Woman Machine"... man, oh man, "Woman Machine." Is there really any excusing a song that suggests replacing your wife with a machine? Sure there is, if it's funny! "She'll do your work in half the time/Never sick and can't go blind.... She can't talk back/With no playback/But she'll listen/To all your woe/Trade your old one/For a new one/ They just don't make 'em like they used to - No!"

If you're looking for spooky Alice or Broadway Alice, go get fucked. However, if yo

I apologize. That probably came across as a rude, insensitive personal attack. All I meant is that if you're looking for anything other than kickbutt guitar hooks and clever wordisms, this may not be the Alice Cooper album for you. Also, it's a pity your parents weren't at Auschwitz.

Ha! I'm just kidding! Just telling hilarious Nazi jokes! Say, check out this new AIDS joke I just made up:

Man A: "How can you tell if a leper has AIDS?"
Man B: "When his dick falls off in your mouth, it gives you AIDS!"

Mussle Of Love has a couple of stinkers and some of the songs are far too long, but you could say the same thing about an opera performed by two people with intestinal gas, and I don't hear anybody complaining about that. Unfortunately, the band broke up right after this one, never to record together again in any way, shape or form, either together or apart.

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Muscle Of Love was always more of a low key entry in the Alice Cooper discography, and used to get really low ratings from critics for ages, but that's been changing in the past few years as more and more people have been re-discovering it to be the awesome album that it is, and a lot of recent reviews have been scoring as high or nearly as high as the band's established classic releases. I couldn't agree more! In fact, there are days when I even like this album better than Love It To Death or Billion Dollar Babies! The only song I don't think is great is the last one. Everything else rocks my cock!

mister_wilson224@hotmail.com
It should be stated here that guitarist Glen Buxton, although receiving an album credit, is nowhere on this album. Right before recording B$B, his pancreas exploded from too much drinkaholic, so he took up non-alcoholic drugs and couldn't be depended on to show up or to even play well. Even on "Billion" you can tell there ain't much of him there, so Ex-Ezrin hired A Cast of Thousands to session in on the recordings. An additional guitarist was hired for their live shows, too.

This doesn't mean these aren't good El Pees, I just think that without GB, a lot of the gritty appeal of the earlier albums is missing.

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Welcome To My Nightmare - Atlantic 1975
Rating = 7

Broadway Presents "A Rock Album!"

Having split from his band due to creative differences (they wanted to play stripped down hard rock; Alice wanted to be an actor), the Coop (or "The Chicken Coop," as his fans called him) holed up in a shanty with the now-returned Bob Ezrin and guitarist Dick Wagner (or "Dick Wagger, Always Out There Waggin' His Dick," as his fans called him) to put together a big Las Vegas Variety Show for the world-famous macabre Alice Cooper character. Clockful of corny '70s horns, strings and pianos, this debut solo album is much more colorful and diverse than the work of the old band (I count 1 disco funk tune, 1 sleazy blues-rock, 1 shitty broadway tough rock, 1 New Orleans piano groove, 1 ballad, 2 big simple great happy chord rockers, 1 funky hard rock, and 3 creepy tunes). Unfortunately, it's also much less raw and "full of personality" than the work of the artists formerly known as Alice Cooper. The work-a-day output of five billion studio musicans and backup vocalists, Welcome To My Shitemare is not rock and roll but overprojected "entertainment," full of large, obvious gestures for the folks in the back row. Luckily, Alice hasn't lost his knack for recognizing a killer melody when he hears one, which is what eventually saves the record after a mostly-disappointing first side.

Not to harp on the failings of the first side, but Vincent Price's monologue is as tedious as his boring played-out persona, tha cute 1930's horny piano "Some Folks" drags on about two minutes longer than necessary, thee astonishingly out-of-touch 'hard rocker' "The Black Widow" is quite literally one of the worst songs I've ever heard, and teh laughably rank funk jazz title track sounds like incidental music for a Starsky & Hutch episode. Hence my wife's summation of the first four songs on the album: "This is lame!" I may be able to stick my hand through a hole in the back of her head and make her mouth open and close while disguising my voice and pretending it's her talking, but my wife is no dummy. Lame it is indeed.

Luckily, from there on out the album fuckin' kicks ass, motherfucker.

Best,
Axl Rose

Post-Script: "Only Women Bleed" is the first of Alice's classic "trilogy of ballads located at the end of side one," and its heartbreaking tale of a woman who is physically, verbally and emotionally abused by her husband will touch you so deeply, you'll forget the title is a lousy menstruation joke. Then flip over the record and BAM! It's all KISS-style chord rockers and eerie songs about psychotics from here on in! Like most of us, Alice is back for more corpse fucking in the hilarious James Gangy funk rocker "Cold Ethyl," then he relates an extremely disturbing (though also a bit confusing) tale of schizophrenia and death over eerie off-key children's music and Exorcist-style piano frights in "Years Ago" and "Steven," before waking up to find he's murdered his wife in the sickeningly frightening "The Awakening" (where did that heartcrushing guitar line come from!? Did Dick Wagner write that? MAN!). Finally, the album ends with the super-fun Sweet-esque chord rocker "Escape," in which Vincent Furnier explains that the Alice Cooper character is his way of defeating his real-life pain and stress. Then it's time to turn the album over and listen to human-made horseshit again!

In short, fuck side one (except for the ballad), but side two is a masterpiece. Perhaps some of the vocals suffer from Alice hamming it up ("acting") instead of singing, and sure the bass keeps pumping away at a single note with a simplicity that would have exasperated Dennis Dunaway, but during its finest moments (side two), this is EFFECTIVE, HARROWING, INTERESTING and BUTT-KICKING theatrical show tune rock and roll. Avoid the hell out of it if you hate Andrew Lloyd Weber though - this stuff is cooooooooooor-NY!

(If, like the New York, NY branch of Coors Brewing Company, you would like to discuss product placement opportunities on Clear Channel's www.markprindle.com , please contact CEO Mark "Prindle" Mays at mprindle@nyc.rr.com.)

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Hey!! For years you said you hated "Department Of Youth"!! :P

This review is probably the only major disagreement I have with you in the entire Alice Cooper universe (actually Special Forces is too!).

For a long time now, Welcome To My Nightmare has been my favourite Alice Cooper album, which I guess by default sorta makes it my favourite album of all time, but only by a (pubic) hair! I love how insanely overblown and ambitious it is. There is so much going on in the music at any given moment. I also find the hokeyness to be a positive aspect! My heart just melts at the fact that the two Vincent's worked together...so much so that I can even forgive Mr. Price for cheapening himself by doing the same thing with Michael Jackson a few years later. And unlike you, I've always loved showtunes and opera and all that, so for me it's pretty much tailor made. Still, it does have flaws - it could have used another creepy song or two, and at least one solid fast rocking tune since "Escape" is a tad sub par if you axe me, but I don't want to die!

OSLANE@student.gvsu.edu
Alice Cooper's backup band (not actually Alice) were apparently sued by Bad Company over the song "Escape" because the riff to that one is similar to one of their's, I don't remember which one.

brian.briggs@sympatico.ca
I'm a long time alice cooper fan and i just bought welcome to my nightmare. I'd have to disagree with you prindle you cock sucking communist nazi. I like the first side. Welcome to my nightmare is very homosexualy oriented but it still sounds good, devil's food is alright but the thing i really disagree with you and your wretched ethnic group about is when you say bad things about the great vincent price and his fabulous monologue! The late Vincent Price's voice always sounded good and I would even speculate that some of alice's own vocal styling may have been influenced by Price's orration. And considering alice was a big fan of b movies it makes sense. And Black Widow is a great song! It sounds creepy and it rocks.

In closing I suggest you go back to your country of origin and worship your homosexual-communist-six-legged-terrorist elephant god moehammed and stop planting bombs!

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Alice Cooper Goes To Hell - Warner Bros. 1976
Rating = 7

Because of the horribly important nature of this album (I mean, the man literally goes to HELL!!! They recorded half of the album in HELL!!! All the tapes kept melting and the backup singers were whores and executed murderers!!!), I knew I couldn't rely on my own common sense and poor taste to give you an adequate depiction of its many tasty morsels. As such, I went to the music message board I spend far too much time on (http://www.eboards4all.com/841116/ - Ask for it today!) and asked the locals what THEY would say about it. Here are just a few of the many, many thousands of responses I received within the first 25 seconds, all regarding the 1976 LP Alice Cooper Goes To Hell:

Matt: "With any luck he'll stay there?"

Mike Pap Rocki: "Yes, you can see pictures of me dressed as a girl." (not sure I understand this one)

Jim: That's his best solo album. And I'd talk about how "Wish You Were Here," "Didn't We Meet," and the title track are the best thing since the invention of low-riding jeans.

Nick Leu: "I've only listened to it once or twice, but I can tell you that the cover is kind of neat."

Bryan Jackson: I'd say that I've only heard a few songs from the album, about a year or two ago, and that I'm sure the rest of the album is just as good because Alice Cooper was something special back then. :7)

So there's your answer. In conclusion, Alice Cooper Goes To Hell is Alice's best solo album, the cover is kind of neat, and even though the world has only heard a few songs from it about a year or two ago, with any luck Alice will stay in Hell where he can see pictures of Mike Pap Rocki dressed as a girl.

WAIT A MINUTE! IT SAYS HERE THE ALBUM WAS RECORDED IN TORONTO, NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES -- AND NOT HELL AT ALL!!!! Fifer. Guess I actually CAN review it. That sucks. I was hoping to have the afternoon off to attend my pre-trial hearing. Oh well. Can't win a mall!

Alice is still in Vegas, doing a tappy-toe Variety Show about being sent to Hell and trying to get free. If you have little kids, this is good music to play for them -- short on loud noises, big on obvious cutesy silliness (Alice: "For Heaven's sake!" The Devil: "Watch your language." Alice: "Oh okay okay - don't get hot.") -- heck, it's even subtitled "A Bedtime Story!" The whole strings/horns/keys/dancers vibe fits in perfectly with Alice's then-showbiz persona (appearing on The Muppet Show, eating Hollywood Squares, playing flog with celebrities) - it's diverse as hell like a big exciting Revue of dancers and Frank Sinatra, but if you're a rock fan, you'd might as well pin your tail on a donkey because this hain't no rock album. Luckily, a lot of it still rules some serious ass in its catchiness! That's an important, important point I must make repeatedly. I, Mark Prindle, HATE show tunes. Their big obvious Andrew Lloyd Webby bullshit melodies drive me up the WALL. But I like most of Alice Cooper's show tunes, because they retain his solid melodic POP sense and love for a catchy hook. Plus they've got GUITAHS!!! (bwee!!! biddly-biddly-BWEE!!!)

Here's a quick summary of today's program: (1) Dumb shitty (yet so bad it's almost good) Broadway "tough guy" rocker featuring the album's best lyric: "You'd even forcefeed a diabetic a candy cane!" (2) adorable piece of corny disco funk with KC & Sunshine Band chorus, (3) low-key Steely Dan-style smooth jazz with wonderfully weird sex/death chords, (4) slow bouncy la-de-da mopey-dopey novelty song with great chorus, (5) "I Never Cry," the excellent second entry in Alice's "hit ballad at the end of side one" trilogy, (6) 50's lame-o doowop TV greaser garbage, (7) catchy happy-chord rock song! An actual ROCK song!!! Sorta John Mellencampy! Yet... GOOD!, (8) Spanish guitar into scared piano ballad with Celine Dion-weak chorus, (9) superfun catchy disco rock!, (10) Perry Como cover, (11) Grrrrrreat piano ballad - dark to light to confused to happy etc. A hell of a composition!

The lyrics aren't as interesting as the last record, as most of it is just about Alice being sent to Hell "for criminal acts and violence on the stage/For being a brat, refusing to act your age" and then saying he wants to go home. In the most surprising and controversial ending of all time, he wakes up to find that it was just a dream. Still, I like the record. No two songs sound anything alike so surely there's something for everybody.

Especially grindcore fans, who will get a major kick out of "Pyosisified Detruncation Uterogestation Verrucose Mucopurulence (Guilty) Excoriating Crepitating Inpropagation Jigsore Hepatic."

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Initially I didn't really like this album very much because it almost sounds like a Disney soundtrack, but slowly I came to appreciate the fact that that is the very genius of it, but I won't explain why because you can read it all at Roland Fratzl's Eclipse Review Emporium album review site! Fuck this Mark Prindle lunkhead!

John Cable
"Go to Hell" is in Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and the Damned DLC expansion pack fawkin thing, and I was like OH SHIT THIS SONG IS TOTALLY AWESOME and it's by Alice Cooper and I never heard it, I will buy it.

Turns out "Go to Hell" is the only song that really kicks any ass on this album, the rest are the showtoony stuff. But a handful of the songs really really grew on me, like the gotta dance one about dancing, and I gotta admit, I hate ballads, but the couple of ballads on here I really like. The only duds on the album (the ones I took off my mp3 playlist!!!!!!) I would say are "Wake me Gently" and the "Going Home" one about going home. There's always a couple of plain old boring filler songs on a Cooper album, one awesome hit, one sleeper hit, and a couple bonus catchy songs.

Also "Wish You Were Here" is the best wish you were here type of song about wishing someone were here ever written. I don't think anyone wrote another song like this but I'm sure if they did they would not even compete in this category. If they did it would probably be a bunch of overlong mopey shoegazing SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually I did like that Pink Floyd album, Wish You Were Here. :(

But Alice Cooper is objectively better. I think even Roger Waters would agree.

Add your thoughts?

Lace And Whiskey - Warner Bros. 1977
Rating = 7

If I were the poetry guy in the Moody Blues, I'd totally write this poem: "Fear not, for Alice's malice is not callous - it would be a fallacy to believe that his chalice would leave you to grieve and conceive of darker days, windswept nights. Move to Dallas, live in a palace, forget where your gal is and along comes Alice, singing of the strange, the mystical journey through desolation and into The Word. So keep on breathing free, on the threshold of my peen."

(*flute solo*)

I hope you enjoyed the flute solo. I'm going to review a record album now. If you'd like to stay behind and enjoy the flute solo a bit longer, that's fine but I'm not repeating anything so don't get all bitchy if the rest of the reviews have faded off the screen by the time you get to them.

It's difficult to figure out what exactly Alice was attempting to do on this record. First of all, he's not wearing any make-up. Instead, the two photos present him as (a) a pulp mystery fiction writer sitting at his typewriter and (b) the gun-toting private detective main character of the writer's novel. Then the album cover's made up to look like a book called Lace & Whiskey, complete with commentary from various literary critics. But see, there's no STORY inside. The songs don't have any overriding theme at all, as far as I can tell. They do appear to mostly revolve around average characters living average lives (roadies, dumb Southern studs, working men, construction workers, Alice's REAL self) rather than macabre superstitional hoodoo voodoo creatures, so perhaps there's something there. Let's assume there is, just in case. Because if you "do not assume" something, it makes a "donut-ass" out of "u" (you) and "me". Speaking of which, what the hell kind of grammar is "You and me ain't no movie star"? But wait - I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's step back and look at the entire picture as presented to us on this latest release by Mr. James Fenimore Cooper.

In the grand scheme of things, what the hell kind of grammar is "You and me ain't no movie star"? Could he just not think of anything else to rhyme with "What we are is what we are"? Or was he trying to make the "average man" narrator sound like an illiterate dumbmograph? That's just like a big fuckin celebrity to pull crap like that out of his ass. "Oh, I'm the brilliant Alice Cooper. To portray a blue-collar character, I have to dumb down my language because I'm a genius. Would you like more tea and crumpets, dear sir?" Well FUCK YOU, Alice Coltrane.

Oh I'm sorry - something went wrong with my typing skills there. I intended to write "TRUCK JEW, Alice Coltrane." I think that would be a good subject for a song, Alice Cooper. A "TRUCK JEW." With a big pointy nose that runs the world and controls the media.

No no, the NOSE controls the media. The rest of the guy just drives a truck.

Look, I'm not saying the idea is completely fleshed out yet. Hell, YOU'RE the artist! Me and me ain't no music star!

"You And Me" is of course the third, final, and least grammatically correct entry in Alice's "hit ballad at the end of side one" trilogy. But before we discuss it in any way, even by title, let's point out something else really stupid and irritating about this release. The first three songs are hard rockers. GOOD hard rockers. Heck, two of them are downright GREAT hard rockers. "It's Hot Tonight" is so good, in fact, that its riff was lifted by the Dust Brothers for the Beastie Boys' "What Goes Around Comes Around" song! So you've got these three great hard rock songs, followed by... not a single other hard rock song for the rest of the album. They're just all crammed right there at the beginning and then pffft. After that, it's a piece of godawful country rock, followed by the hit ballad, a sickeningly bad 5 1/2-minute Broadway show tune, a fun rockabilly cover, some killer disco pop, the shit ballad and a beautiful slow-moving pop-rock shiner. So yes, the diverse Alice Cooper prevails once again.

Although I wouldn't say that more than one or two songs on here come across as show tunes like the majority of the last couple records (for example, the hard rock tunes on here actually DO sound like hard rock, rather than a Disney portrayal of "hard rock"), there's still a certain theatrical flair to them. Sorta the way Meat Loaf's music has that theatrical flair. But I'd call Lace & Whiskey less a Broadway album than a diverse set of different types of music, some more theatrical than others. Take "Road Rats" for instance -- that is a complete fuzzed-out heavy ASS KICKER of a song!!! No way could you call THAT thing a "show tune." Even the hit ballad "You And Me" is more adult contemporary than Tim Ricey. Isn't that that guy's name? Tim Rice? What a dick that guy is, if I have his name right.

Musically, as before, you're mostly looking at (and potentially hearing as well) pianos, guitars, horns and strings. Lyrically, Alice creates a bunch of character studies while setting aside the finest lyrics of all for three absolutely WONDERFUL confessional tracks, probably the most honest he'd written up to this point in his career. The title track finds him admitting that he's become an alcoholic, "My God" details his need for a religious/spiritual being in his life, and most coolly and self-referentially of all, the phenomenal lyrics of the musically limp "I Never Wrote Those Songs" explain how embarrassed he is when he reveals his true feelings in his art. Isn't that AWESOME!? And he does it with HUMOR and everything! Look: "And oh, that music, I hate those lyrics. It stayed inside me so long. And I swear to you I never wrote that song. But pardon me, I'm not lookin' for sympathy, Not sympathy. I'm just thinking out loud. the melody, it goes nowhere pointlessly. Silence please." Don't you LOVE this man? Don't you want to KISS this "I've been hiding behind a character for too long" guy??? He's so darn... Alice Coopery!!!

Otherwise, worst album ever.

Worst album that RULES, that is!!!!

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
I more or less agree with the scores you gave this album and the last one, but one disturbing trend I've noticed is that you've been singling out the actual best songs as being the worst! Sup with that?

As you aptly pointed out, this is quite the schizophrenic release that is all over the map, musically. It's another one of those albums that was consistently panned for years in the media but has more recently acquire a cult following. I personally think it's great! It's so strange that it's compelling! Unsecretly I kind of wish Alice would create a new album in the vein of these unorthodox late 70's/early 80's releases.

By the way, I worked in enough blue collar jobs in the past that I can verify that stupidity, ignorance, and bad grammar are frighteningly commonplace...it's not just Alice being a snotty prick.

eric.neuser@umusic.com
I've been reading down through these reviews and looking at the scores and noticing that Mark is still, at this point, hovering at 7 out of 10. Staying the course for now I suppose 'cos it's a long way down.....

Add your thoughts?

Battle Axe (by Billion Dollar Babies) - Polydor 1977
Rating = 6

Finally, 15 years after Alice parted ways with his original band, three of them -- guitarist Michael Bruce, drummer Neal Smith and bassist Dennis Dunaway -- formed a new band with keyboardist Bob Dolin and lead guitarist Mike Marconi and (quite fairly) chose a name that would allow possible fans to associate them with their previous career. Unfortunately, the music was not destined to do the same. Distinguished by a more heavily fuzzed-out happy-barre-chord songwriting style and the uncharismatic lead vocals of Mr. Bruce, the BD Babies somehow wind up sounding like early Kiss with Michael McKean singing lead. And sure Michael McKean does an excellent job on the Credibility Gap records ("You Can't Judge A Book By Its Hair" is a classic!) and his Lenny & The Squigtones album has topped charts since Day One (some song on there is probably a classic!) and don't even get me started on his wonderful folk singing with The Folksmen ("Never Did No Wandering" is a classic!), but when you put him in front of loud guitars, it ends up sounding like... hell I don't know... I can't even think of what that would possibly sound like. But a possible exploration of such an outlandish idea can be suggested by Michael Bruce singing lead for the Billion Dollar Babies, a band that formed in 1976 from the ashes of John Waite's The Babies. You know, when John Waite sat down to write "I Ain't Missin' You At All," the last thing on his mind was genital warts. But sometimes life ca

Although about half of these songs are honestly catchy little hard rockers, the tempos are far FAR too sluggish, suggesting that a bit of drug or alcohol abuse may have been in the mix. And more damagingly, the production is absolute SHIT. Under the guidance of a "Lee DeCarlo," the record ended up with almost low end at all, creating a huge headache of over-reverbed, over-trebly guitar racket with the great Dennis Dunaway's basswork COMPLETELY inaudible and Neal's ass-kicking drumming reduced to a tepid "pip-pip-pip" way in the background. Occasionally you can hear the keyboards too, especially during the supercool (and pompous!) sci-fi prog rocking title track, but for the most part this is a hissing, distorting, unpleasantly overmodulated collection of guitar chords and nonstop soloing. CHRIST! WHERE IS THE BOTTOM END??? I'm playing it right now and am just aghast at how poorly it was mixed! My pristine vinyl copy sounds like a fourth generation cassette dub! What, did they mix it in a pile of dirt or something? Did "Lee DiCarlo" accidentally plug the bass amp into the television? What the darn?!

So Battle Axe fails to deliver on its promise, basically. Only one or two of the songs sound like lost Alice Cooper tracks ("I Miss You" is a forking fanTAStic hook rocker, and "Too Young" has a totally ass-kicking Rock God guitar lick they keep going back to -- not to mention some of the worst lyrics I've ever heard! Why is he pretending to be 17? He's like thirty fuckin' years old!). The rest of it as I said sounds more like early Kiss (until the last two tracks, which abruptly jerk over into Emerson Lake and Palmer progressive synth bombast for no clear reason). Big fuzzed out lumbering chord rockers with some nostalgic Chuck Berry choogling tossed in for that Brownsville Station vibe, a few throwaway piano ballads, aggressively generic song titles like "Shine Your Love," "Dance With Me" and "Rock Me Slowly" (along with the hilariously noncommital "Love Is Rather Blind"), and most likely the worst production on any album released in 1977. Check out the final track "Winner" -- it sounds like they wasted half of the available tracks on the fake crowd applause!!! Can you hear the bass or drums at all? And the vocals sound like an ancient astronaut singing through his walkie-talkie from the other side of the galaxy! Lee DiCarlo? More like "Christ YouSucko," if you ask me!

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
The only song from this that I've heard is "I Miss You", and it's awesome, but yeah, I can't picture the guys being able to write an entire album full of quality songs without Alice around!

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The Alice Cooper Show - Warner Bros. 1977
Rating = 8

I remember being pretty upset about Nike's decision to discontinue The Alice Cooper Shoe, but in retrospect the idea of a sneaker made entirely out of grain alcohol really d

Alice Cooper's first official live album, The Alice Cooper Show allows you - the fan at home - the exciting opportunity to hear all your favorite Alice Cooper hits [except "He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)" - that hadn't been written yet, so don't get all pissy] performed LIVE! in front of a concert audience of LIVE! people, way back in the '70s. Not only that, but you can also look at all the photos on the cover for a visual impression of how wild and woolly his LIVE! shows could be. You know what Grass Roots song I really like? "Let's LIVE! For Today." Also, "The Days of Pearly Spencer." I'm not too fond of their mustache material of later years though ("Sooner Or Later Love Is Gonna Getcha" is particularly rank). The photos on the cover of The Alice Cooper Show demonstrate what his "Show" was all about -- giant hairy monsters, guillotine, big toothbrush, gangster outfit, top hats and tuxedos, snakes, hangings, Las Vegas dancers, and individual set pieces for all of his different characters. Like a "Weird Al" show! In fact, that was the name he went by for a while -- "Weird Al" Icecooper. Such hilarious parodies as "Only Women Pee," "Is It My Potty?" and "Eightpeens" had the aisles laughing and the crowd aflitter-flutter! Urine sales shot up 400%!

Unless some major liberties were taken in post-production, Alice seems to have adopted the Vegasy habit of shortening his hits and clumping the edited versions into "medleys" for live performance. There's really no excuse for this kind of cost-cutting crap, quite frankly. I mean, I PAID my $5 -- don't I deserve to hear all 14 minutes of "You And Me Ain't No Movie Star"!? Don't WE ALL deserve at least that much consideration from Alice "Go Fuck Yourselves, The Audience, Because I Play Golf With Jules Verne" Couper???? I've had it with his bullshit. I give this album an EIGHT! Take THAT to the crackhouse and suck it!

As my familial relationship to Sesame Street's "The Count" might predict, I like to count things sometimes. As such, I've counted how many songs from each Alice Cooper studio album can be found on this live release. A group of Chinamen tabulated my results and the outcome is as follows: (if you count each part of a medley as a separate song), THREE each from Billion Dollar Babies, Welcome To My Nightmare and Goes To Hell, TWO from Love It To Death, ONE each from Killer, School's Out and Lace & Whiskey and ZERO from Pretties For You, Easy Action and (somewhat surprisingly) Muscle Of Love.

Also, every track from Special Forces four times. Those might only be on the Australian import though.

This next section discusses how the formerly studio-bound songs translate to the live arena setting. I invite you to take notes in the margins with highlighter or colored pencil.

I LOVE the super fuzzy, bassy guitar tones! One in each speaker! And it's interesting to hear the new guitarists bring their own styles to early songs they had nothing to do with - they make them heavier and full of more masturbatory solos! The only bad thing about it is that Alice's voice sounds tinnily scraggly on the more rock-oriented material. I don't mean his normal whiskey-soaked low-pitched scraggle, but a higher-pitched nasally scraggle that sounds like Phil Collins being ground up in a lawnmower. He sounds great on the ballads though, and really isn't that why people become Alice Cooper fans in the first place? I know we all PRETEND to like his silly horror movie antics and what do you call them..."rocking" songs and what-have-you, but wouldn't it be nice if he took a cue from his only real competitor for the title of 'greatest artist of all time,' Rod Stewart, and spent a few years recording nothing but covers of boring shit songs from 400 years ago? I think so, and it's worth noting that I do too.

A few other things that a fan might notice regarding the musical notes and sounds to be heard within The Alice Cooper Show might include:

"School's Out" - this fuckin bassist isn't playing that awesome bass line that drives the original! What's the fucking point of playing it at all!?

"Eighteen" - the verses are built on jazz piano with lead wanking for some reason. It's slow, mean and long.

"only women bleed" - in the middle, they start playing the riff from "The Awakening"! Is that in the original? We'll never know.

"billion dollar babies" - he has to sing donovan's lines too!

In conclusion, I remember being pretty upset about WalMart's decision to close The Alice Cooper Shop, but in retrospect the idea of a store selling nothing but a single human being really d

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
I like it too, even though I never get the urge to listen to it. For years I avoided listening to Alice's first ever live release because it had such a bad reputation. Many fans told me that Alice sounds terrible on it, but I didn't find that to be the case at all! The main problem is that by the time this came out, Alice wasn't nearly as popular anymore. A live album should have been released 4 or 5 years earlier, when the old band was still together and at their zenith. I can't imagine why any record exec would have thought it was a good time to release the first live Coop album in 1977, when nobody cared about him anymore.

poorroyschieder@hotmail.com
yes, the awakening is jammed in the middle of the original version of only woman bleed. Conceptual continuity man!!!

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From The Inside - Warner Bros. 1978
Rating = 7

I'm gonna tell you a little story. Now it's not much of a story, so don't be running to your literary agent friends tellin' 'em you've got a hot one! Heh heh. Nosiree, it's not that kind of a story. It's not a barnstormin' heartwarmer like The Horse Whisperer or The Bridges Of Madison County. This is a different kind of story. A brief and meaningful yet dull and pointless story. The kind you don't even want to spend any time with, as minimal a time as it might be. I'm gonna tell you the kind of story that nobody in the world would ever want to hear, because it doesn't go anywhere and nothing happens. That's the kind of story I'm best at, and that's the kind of story I'm gonna tell. So gather around the fireplace and be sure and bring your pillows and marshmallows because one thing you're NOT gonna be wanting to do is listen to this story. Here I go:

Back as a young man, 6, 7, 80, I'm not good with dates - that's why I eat raisins when I need to shit! Ha ha ha! No no, but that's not really part of the story per se. No, I'm not good with dates - I always try to effemup the a before we even reach the drive-in! Heh heh, no no. But I'm just diggin'. Or "kiddin'," rather. DAN Rather! Hee-HEEEEEEE! But he's not part of the story either. If he were, perhaps something interesting would happen.

As my story begins, I find myself working at a work firm in the heartland of midtown Manhattan. In my collection of music and ephemera, I own a whole slew of 1970's Alice Cooper LPs thanks to a dollar bin gone wild. But what had I done but listened to all of 'em in chronological order like one might do if one is inclined -- now, pay attention because this is where the story would get interesting if anything actually happened -- and I'm listening to your Killer and your Muscle Of Love and all of a sudden I runs into Welcome To My Nightmare and of course I'm all like, "What the fuh is thishi'?" You know? Because it was a buncha show tunes and it sucked! The same for the next few records as well, so I'm sittin' there thinkin', "Main, Abbie Cooper sure went to pot after his band all died in the traffic accident." But then - wait, I'll pause here so you can leave.

Okay then. One day a fellow employee at so-called firm says to me he says, "Have you heard From The Inside?" on account of we was talkin' about Apple Cooper and I'd said I didn't like the Broadway material. And I'm all like, "No," and he's all like, "Well, I'll bring it in and you can hear it," and I'm all like, "Okay," and he does and I'm all like listening to it and goin', "Well fug it does sound pretty dang good for an Elton John musical." But see, the thing is that it's GOOD. It's a good record. So good in fact that it made me go back and finally understand how good his three or four preceding records had been. Sure, they're "Entertainment!" but man, they're good entertainment. And that's my story. The End.

Oh, I forgot. I also got in a furious battle with pirates and met God! But that's another story.

This is Alice Cooper's jolly recollection of a mental institution and his rehabilitation from an alcohol addiction (repeat). The story goes that he ACCIDENTALLY checked himself into a mental hospital rather than a rehab clinic, but that seems a little too silly to be true. Whatever the case, his little stint gave him reams of inspiration for a concept album. Why, it's almost as good as James Hetfield's St. Anger!

Now that we've all had a good laugh at the expense of a washed-up animal murderer, why on EARTH did Alice seek out Bernie Taupin's assistance on this record? Alice has always been a WONDERFUL songwriter! Was it forced on him by the record company? Or was Alice actively trying to create an album that sounds like Elton John? If the latter is the case, I'd say he succeeded. As near impossible as it is to believe, Elton John DID actually put out a few good albums back in his youth, interjecting some killer glammy rockers and fun piano poptones into his usual package of novelty time-wasters and nondescript ballads. And that's basically what From The Inside is: three glammy rockers, two piano poppers, two horrendous novelty tracks and three ballads. The only difference is that two of Alice's ballads are actually GOOD!

But what happened to Bob Ezrin? Who's this David Foster producer fellow? You know what - don't even tell me. I don't WANT to know. With my luck, he's CANADIAN or some BULLSHIT. At any rate, at least one of Alice's former guitarists (the dick wagger) stuck around for this most lyrically and thematically intriguing of all Alice Cooper records. The songs are of two types -- confessionals and character studies. The confessionals present yet another rare glimpse into the real-life thoughts of America's costumed superhero, as he ponders his freefall into chronic alcoholism, the "Quiet Room" where suicidal patients are kept, and his fears that his wife won't like a "sober" Alice Cooper. The character studies are less moving and more humorous, but do a solid job of attempting to penetrate the actual thought processes of Alice's co-residents in the ward - a gambling addict, a shellshocked Vietnam vet, a horny sick priest who lusts after a nurse, a Beverly Hills rich girl whose parents had her put away for incessant pill-popping and shoplifting, a loving young couple who murdered the woman's husband and chopped him up into pieces and a man of indeterminate ailment who keeps screaming that he has to get out of the hospital or his dog will be put to sleep.

And there's lots and lots of pianos, synths and guitars too! Cheap Trick's Rick Neilsen is on here somewhere and Kiki Dee of "I've Got The Music In Me" fame sings backup at some point, but lesbi honest -- some of these melodies just aren't all there. "Millie And Billie" is shitty country pop garbage, "Jacknife Johnny" is an acoustic picknstrum that's about as memorable as a wedding anniversary, and "Nurse Rozetta"? More like "Nurse Lame Funk Groove With Grotesque Sex Lyricsa!" Here, enjoy a few lines from this 'hilarious' bawdy tune: "Secretly my eyes undress her/Let me feel your tongue depressor/I'm suddenly twice my size/My pants are all wet inside." What am I supposed to tell my parents when they hear that!? Otherwise, buy it. It might have a few more slow songs than necessary, and it might seem a bit over-theatrical to people who make love with the opposite sex, but as I said in my Oprah-award winning story above, From The Inside is the album that made me realize how much I LOVE Alice Cooper! Without it, there'd be no Alice Cooper reviews on this page! And you'd be off somewhere reading about the Squirehorses or The Ass Ponies or some other BULLSHIT equine-related band.

Like Horse The Band. Or Horsey.

Or Crazy Horse, that Neil Young band. Or Brandan Kearney's "Horse-Cow."

Acid Horse, Iron Horse, Drunk Horse, Six Horse, Horsemilk, Horseshoe -- I'm serious. You'd better be thankful for this album.

Dead Horse, The Horsemen, Horsehead, Horse Opera, Horse Sense -- hell, maybe I should give From The Inside a 9 or 10!

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Horse Noodles, Rocking Horse, One Horse Blue.... AND FOR GODS' SAKES, DON'T FORGET "FIVE HORSE JOHNSON"!!!! THEY HAVE THE BLUES FOR MY DOG!!!!

(Henry)

(They have an album called Blues For Henry.)

(I intend to live a long, healthy life and die at age 85 in my sleep, having never heard it.)

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Actually, he didn't accidentally check himself into the nuthouse - he was forced to by his friends and family.

I love this album (I know, I seem to say that for each record)! Lyrically, it might just be the best thing he's ever done. The problem is that the music is too soft overall, and a tad too polished as well. As fantastic as From The Inside is, it could have been a masterpiece had it sounded a bit darker and meaner than it does, to match the twisted lyrics. Speaking of, I'd love to know exactly what Bernie Taupin contributed, because all the lyrics solely reflect Alice's style of writing.

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Flush The Fashion - Warner Bros. 1980
Rating = 6

More like Flush The ALBUM!!!! He he he. He he he. He he HE he he. Pardon me one moment while I take the pill that I have to take for my finger stutter. He he he HE HE he he released this album in 1980 -- as evidenced by his new name "Alice Cooper '80" -- and never before or since has our fine nation witnessed such a startling and unimpressive change of direction in terms of (a) image, (b) singing style, (c) musical style and (c) image. Leaving his shiny personality-filled big band piano Broadway daze in a garbage can behind the piss club, Alice lurched face-first into the short-lived musical fad known as "new wave." Why on Earth would he choose to do such a foolish thing? Who knows? Maybe all his show tune albums stopped selling (ooh, I'm pretty excited -- I'm about to use a rock critic cliche! Are you ready? This is gonna kick SO MUCH ASS!!!) 'after the drugs wore off.' (DID YOU SEE IT!???? FUCK YEAH!!!! I'M "ONE OF THE TEAM" NOW!!!! I GET TO GO TO SPEAKING PANELS!!!!) Perhaps he was feeling old at 32 and wanted to get back in touch with the kids. Maybe he saw some new wavers on Quincy and thought they were the "shit". Whatever the reason, new wave helped Alice Cooper to create his most pisspoor album since 1969, okay? Albatross the USA.

Ever heard Johnny Thunders' L.A.M.F. album? Well, this is Alice Cooper's L.A.M.E. album! Even from the getgo, things are just screwy all over. First of all, the fuckin' thing is only 28 minutes long! Second of all, three of the ten songs weren't even fuckin' written by Aclie! And look at that fuckin' photo on the back cover. Good heavenly Lorde. If you thought it was strange to see Aielc as a normal-looking man in the Lace & Whiskey photos, wait 'til you see the new wave Aleic. Slicked back hair, black eye mascara and cheek rouge, wearing leather... and holding a riding crop. (*utters long, audible sigh*) A riding crop, I say. (*farts, says the dog did it*)

But these are all visual trappings, intended to allure and deceive. That which really matters can only be found deep within the grooves, where the sound originates. Let's begin with the vocals. Alice has completely changed his singing style -- far from the friendly, raspy drunk we've grown up to marry, the new Alice sounds snide, humorless and obnoxious, like an asshole teenager who's just discovered nihilism. He does as much talking as singing, with a pinched-nostril approach that sounds like he's puckering up his butthole as tightly as possible to keep a turd from dropping out during an important business meeting. And when he DOES sing, he sounds smooth and wispy, with very little of his classic whisky dick. I don't like it one bit, this new voice of yours.

And the music - OH, don't get me started on the music. Oy! What do you think I am, some kind of meshugginah? Who are all these people? Even Dick Wagner is gone this time, leaving Alice in the incapable hands of a stripped-down new wave bunch of bullhockey artists. Results = bouncy fake stiff beats, phased distorted guitars playing nothing but barre chords, and Cars-esque synthesizers blooping and weeble-whooping all over Creationism (which is probably appropriate since Cars producer Roy Thomas Baker was behind the keypad this time around). For some reason I'm having a hard time coming up with a band that this sounds like - kinda fast punky rock, but with that new wave plasticity too. Sort of a cross between... hmm. Let's say X-Ray Spex, Rezillos, and some band that really blows.

To quote David Yow of The Jesus Lizard fame, "None of this would be so bad if not for the fact" that these songs aren't very well-written. It sounds like they're trying to pair unorthodox chord changes with formulaic cutesy singalong choruses, and it just doesn't work all that well. There are no complete ass-suckers like "The Black Widow" or "Jackknife Johnny," but nearly every song sounds half-finished and half-assed. As a result, there are only about three honestly solid tunes on the whole record - one of which wasn't even written by Alice!

What really saves the record (no surprise) are the lyrics -- with all of these unpleasant new wave updates, one thing that hasn't changed is Alice's ability to make one laugh, cringe and nod one's head emphatically. Subjects tackled on Flush The Toilet include (a) taking pills for his headaches, only to realize that they are slowly destroying his brain, (b) pain itself -- from PAIN's point of view, (c) the lighter side of being contaminated with nuclear waste, (d) the importance of informing parents that their children are criminals, pregnant, prostitutes and groupies... and that Alice is going to take advantage of them, (e) the tribulations of a straight arrow teen with pot-smoking orgy-loving parents, and best of all (f) others. Even the tracks NOT written by Alice are a lyrical hoot, poking teasatory fun at cloning and violent cops. So when you play the album, be sure to block out all the music and just listen to the words. If your local store sells an acapella or poetry version of the album, get that one.

Actually, three of the songs rule, even musically. Sadly, none of these are "Talk Talk," a hideous and depressing cover of a formerly great Music Machine song. They are, in reverse alphabetical order by last letter, the total Cars-a-thon "Clones," the old-school dirge/ballad "Pain" (the ONLY song on here that actually sounds like Alice Cooper), and the sleazy hard rocker "Nuclear Infected." Musically speaking, all the other songs can go riss up a pope. Especially "Dance Yourself To Death," which is a bigger Rolling Stones ripoff than that shitty live album they just put out.

So you see, in life it's better that everything stay the same always and never change. That's why I'm still the same height and weight I was at birth, and also why your wife and I start each day with a Big Bang.

A Big FUCK Bang, that is!!!!!!

(in case you didn't know what I meant by the confusing, obscure statement "your wife and I start each day with a Big Bang.")

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Hmmm, I thought you'd like Flush The Fashion a lot more than you do. I agree with you that Alice's backing band this time around sounds sloppy, amateurish, and simplistic, and the production is shit, but the songs themselves are great enough to overcome that! This is where I disagree strongly with you - I think there are only two shitty songs on the whole album (the awful, tuneless "Talk Talk" cover, and "Dance Yourself To Death"), and the rest are wonderfully catchy new wave pop ditties! I think this drastic stylistic change suited him well and it's too bad he traded it in for hair metal a few years later, but if he hadn't done that he probably wouldn't have become hugely popular again and thus probably wouldn't still be making awesome music in the 21st century!

bri.hyndman@sympatico.ca
Granted, this album hasn't aged well, but the blame doesn't rest with Alice. As was the case with many established artists (Pete Townshend!) he fell victim to the conventions of the time. The assumption that 'new wave' would have more staying power than proved to be the case led more than a few musicos to crank up the synthesizers for fear of facing an uncertain future on the nostaglia circuit. You'd have to give him a ten for adaptability though. BTW, 'Clones' doesn't strike me as a Cars rip-off -- more of a David Bowie, 'Scary Monsters' era vibe.

shane.bordas@yahoo.co.uk
Don’t know much about this album other than it contains the rather fabulous ‘Clones (We’re All)’ which sounds just like contemporary Gary Numan ( and nothing at all like that well known Numanoid, David Bowie… )

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Special Forces - Warner Bros. 1981
Rating = 8

More like Special ALBUM if you...ehh... I need to think of a better "play-on-words" template. That cursed "More like (XYZ), if you ask me!" format has been weighing down my neck like MDC drummer Al Batross. Oh sure, it's funny and we all get lots of laughs about it, but sometimes in life you have to take a chance and try a new "play-on-words" template. Prepare yourselves because the next five seconds are going to blow your mind.

Mark Prindle Presents:

A Mark Prindle Production

"Mark Prindle's New 'Play-On-Words' Template"

(begin)

Well, I guess the typesetter was smokin' dope or giving a rim job because by my calculations, the correct title of this LP is Special ALBUM!!!!

(fin)

From this point hence, that shall be my new "play-on-words" format. For example, if at some point I choose to review The Eagles, I might say something like "Well, I guess the typesetter was smokin' dope or giving a rim job because by my calculations, the correct title of this LP is Hotel PILEOFCRAPULORNIA!!!! Alternately, if I suddenly decide to shift my focus to reviewing American states, you might run across a witty passage like "Well, I guess the typesetter was smokin' dope or giving a rim job because by my calculations, the correct title of this state is New LAMPshire!!!!! (if it turns out that there are a lot of lighting fixture stores in New Hampshire or something - I'm just speculating).

In short, it's a very special day for very special people. So it's appropriate that I'm reviewing Special Forces, an album that at the time of its release was the most enjoyable LP Alice Cooper had released since his original band broke up. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm well aware that most 'critics' hate this album -- heck, even Roland "Alice Cooper" Fratzl gave it a C on his web site (he grades like a teacher, because he believes that public education is the most important thing a child can do) -- but you know what? Critics are critics, artists are artists, and it's always been that way. As an artist (a WORD artist) (oh wait, I actually write and record my own music too - just not much recently) (but that still makes me an artist, and thus uniquely qualified to express my opinion in a public forum, something that nobody who ISN'T an artist has the right to do in America), I love this stupid fuckin' album.

This is not a new wave album per se -- the music sounds more like ominous MTV-friendly early '80s music of the "Don't Pay The Ferryman"/"White Wedding"/"Talking In Your Sleep" persuasion. The early '80s synths are as prevalent as the raw, slightly phased distorted guitar, and the production is very much "of its era" (in other words, the drums are far too loud), but the hooks - the HOOKS! The everlasting HOOKS! In all serious honestly, a full SIX of these ten songs have been running through my head nonstop since I listened to it for review three days ago. Here, I'll hold the keyboard up to my brain so you can read what's going on in there --

DON'T TALK (DON'T TALK OLD TO ME!) DON'T TALK SO (DON'T TALK OLD TO ME!) WHO DO YOU THINK WE ARE? SPECIAL FORCES IN AN ARMORED CAR? I'M THE PRETTIEST COP ON THE BLOCK! SET YOUR SOUL ON FIII-YER. VICIOUS RUMORS (DWANG DWANG DWANG-ANG-ANG-ANG) VICIOUS RUMORS (DWANG DWANG DWANG DWANG) WHOA... WHOA WHOA! SKELETONS IN MY CLOSET.... WHOA - WHOA WHOA! SKELETONS IN MY CLOSET -- I LAUGH TO MYSELF AT ALL THE MEN AND ALL THE LADIES WHO NEVER DID CONCEIVE OF US BILLION DOLLAR BABIES...... LA LA LA LA LA!

As you can see, I'm quite busy developing a cure for AIDS. Nevertheless, this album has so many catchy hooks, funny piss-takes, bouncy uptempo beats, smiley-scare Haunted House riffs and dirty guitar crangalang, you'll almost -- ALMOST -- be able to forgive Alice for completely destroying the previously good Love song "7 & 7 Is." If it's any consolation, both The Weirdos and The Ramones would later go on to ruin the very same song. So can we really blame poor Alice Cooper for his utter suckular failure to recreate even the slightest semblance of the original version's passion and energy? No, but we can blame him for singing it in a gross raspy voice and making it completely unlistenable, the prick. But let's move on to another paragraph, another topic and "Another Girl" from the Beatles' Help! LP.

When Paul McCartney sat down in 1965 to pen a song for famous singing lesbian Joan Baez, he OW! A GIANT OX JUST STEPPED ON MY TOE!

There's an intriguing thematic continuity to Alice's lyrics this time around, involving the arrogant, soulless nature of 'Those Holding Power' (i.e. the rich, the police, the government, the CIA, the army brass) and the angry but hopeless paranoia of the exploited 'Rest Of Us.' In these songs, the trained assassin mercenary repeatedly informs you that "WE DON'T CARE," the transvestite cop gets his kicks by humiliating those he arrests, the pompous millionaire 'compliments' the urchin girl by telling her she looks good in rags, the army sergeant tells his troops that he's the only one that matters, and the government conducts dark experiments on the brains of wounded soldiers. In this setting, it's more than fitting that Alice chose to resurrect (and increase the distorted volume of) his old band's track "Generation Landslide," placing its tale of failed anarchy, violence and governmental neglect into a much more appropriate context.

Vocally, he's still doing the pinched nose thing, but with a bizarre cigarette rasp added in. Same mixture of spoken and sung vocals, but when he sings, he sings HOOKily! HOOKily! Go read a BOOKily! That was a little poem I made up for all the little kids out there. It's actually a children's adaptation of my romance novella, "HOOKer broads! HOOKer broads! Let me suck your NOOKer, broads! And you can suck on this! You know what it is? It's my DICK, you fuckin' hooker broads!!"

So if you're "hot" for malevolent guitar rockers, cool black chord progressions, singalongable (but not cliched) choruses, great evil stomping drumbeats, katchy Kraftwerky keyboards, harmless 'I'm SCARY!' riffs, punk riffin', silly organin' and hilarious vocal jokels (anyone who doesn't bust a ball during the last minute of "You Look Good In Rags" needs to open up their heart, let the pain turn to healing, and learn to live and laugh again), be sure and make your next Alice Cooper purcahseareslk;ajgdsag. Sure it's disposable early 80s bullshit, but oh how rare it is that twenty-year-old feces smell so sweet.

Oh - hang on while I take this call from Hallmark. "Hello? What's that? You love my idea? Wow! Great! Talk to you later!"

Move over, boring old cards -- this year, America's greeting store shelves are gonna be filled with WET GLOBS OF HUMAN SHIT!

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
I stand by my C! See?

Now this I don't understand...how could you give an 8 to an album nearly half of whose content is terrible?? Honestly, I love Alice Cooper (not enough to stuff his ass with my cock though), but try as I might, a turd cannot be polished, unless it's petrified of course, and I can imagine a turd would be scared shitless of being cleaned!

Except for the great, mean sounding opener "Who Do You Think We Are?", side one is a complete write off. "Seven And Seven Is", "Prettiest Cop On The Block", "Don't Talk Old To Me", and "Generation Landslide '81" are all garbage! I'm sorry Mark, but the only HOOKS I'm finding here are the ones with the rotten, festering carcass of Alice Cooper's songwriting talent dangling in the stench!

But side 2? AWESOME!!! EVERY SONG! I would nominate Special Forces as the album with the single largest gap in side quality ever! Actually, "You Look Good In Rags" loses a bit of its appeal once you figure out that the main riff is stolen straight from Blondie's "Atomic", but whatever! I'm kind of surprised they didn't mix up the songs differently to get a more even balance.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
That's probably the best 80's Cooper album. Not all the songs there are winners, but the best ones are really great. "Skeletons In My Closet" has one of the most infectious hooks ever and "You Look Good In Rags" is another great one with its killer riff and chorus. Not sure about the actual rating, but a 7/10 seems alright.

Add your thoughts?


Zipper Catches Skin - Warner Bros. 1982
Rating = 7

Guitars guitasr guitarts tuigars. It's hilaruoiis how when you're drunk, reviews are funny. Unfortunately I'm not. I'm badly hung over. A headache that won't leave. A fog that won't clear. A dog that won't stop whining. So this will be a fast, brief, quick, boring review. He makes lots of movie references in the lyrics, including Zorro, Scrooge, aliens, slashers and lots of celebrities. The music alternates between 'tough' Nazarethy hard rock and uptempo light-hearted new wave-ish guitar licks like The Knack played during their prime (1978-2002). Alice does almost no singing at all on this one, just reciting all of his lines like the actor he always wanted to be. The photo of him THIS time is just... man, bizarre! He's wearing a buttoned-up shirt and tie and has this sleazy parted down the middle combed-down haircut and weird puckered-lip expression on his normal-guy face. The things you do when your career is faltering! This was just such an oddball period of his career -- no make-up, no image, no SINGING, nothing macabre. At least a lot of the riffs had energy and fun, and the lyrics are still entertaining. Dick Wagner is back, along with a guy named Nitzinger who may or may not be the guy who wrote for Bloodrock ten years earlier. It would be SO simple -- INCREDIBLY simple - for me to find out whether or not it's the same guy. But I won't! I won't even consider it. Because I'm hung over, I need to finish wrapping my wife's Christmas presents, and most importantly, nobody gives a shit.

I don't even really hear a bass guitar, to be honest. Just two or three distorted electric guitars and crisp loud drums. Quite the empty minimalist mix, just like Flush Your Asshole, difference being that THESE guitarists actually know how to play their instruments and don't just urinate poor chord sequences for half an hour. They are masters of tone, interplay and riffin', and do a fine fine job on most of these tracks. Not the endless "No Baloney Homosapiens" though, which is as misguided and unforgettably unmemorable as "Below Your Means" from so many years earlier. Lots of good light humor on here, and pogo-ready speed beats once you get to side two. Side one is a little slower, a little more serious-sounding. Fuck this - I hate reviewing shit while I'm at home.

I got a copy of Last House On Dead End Street today, so be sure and ask me how it was if I ever watch it. Also, I LIKE THIS ALBUM. Sure, it would be nice if Alice actually sang a single note on the record (aside from the beautiful sorrow of keyboardful "I Am The Future," stuck on here from a movie soundtrack), and I'm with you that side two blasts the shit out of the iffy/iffy/iffy side one (see, side one tries to be tough hard rock, but the mix is too empty for it to work. Side two is more speedy, fun and pogoriffic), but there are plenty of tunes on here to heart like a fuckabee - why not include a smile in your response to the goodtime bounciness of "I Like Girls," "Remarkably Insincere," "Tag, You're It" and "I'm Alive (That Was The Day My Dead Pet Returned To Save My Life)")? And don't forget to remember to pay attention to how the guitarists (all FOUR of them) do a lick-splittingly assgood job of constantly introducing new tones, attacks, approaches, blasts, bonuses, breaks, melodies, hooks, licks and fuckin' shit like that. And please don't just listen to side one and throw it like a frisbee up the mayor's ass. Side one gets a 5, but side two? Man, it gets a MUCH higher grade than a five! Plus it has six songs - side one only has four! And one of those is even GOOD! And I'm ELEVEN years old! That's why I can't stick to one topic, and just keep jumping around like a dumbfuck! Check out some grate lyrics from this abulum! "If I would rate you Not that I hate you But you would end up Eighth, maybe ninth in your class Your build is hot now If you could use your Brain like you use your ass" And here's some more! "If I spray it on the seat Lady gonna tie a big knot In the meat If I spewey too fast Lover's gonna stick My Wrangler in a cast If zipper grabs skin I'll know I had it out When I shoulda kept it in Ow." That was a whole verse about a DICK! A big ol' DICK! If you liked it, be sure and buy Trash because every single song is about a DICK going in a PUSSY!

It's actually a fairly interesting concept album, a sort of sci-fi crime caper about a private detective who has himself shrunk to microscopic size in order to enter the stomach of a Siamese cat and locate the lost diamonds.

Plus it's so fuckin' hot, you'll CUMulate several oscillating fans in order to cool down your apartment while watching.

In essence, this album - and I haven't said this before so pay attengion - side one aslhrd side two Q#I!!

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Yet another in a long line of really, really strange albums that in the hands of a lesser artist would no doubt have ended in catastrophe! I would call this the most "fun" of all the Alice Cooper albums - everything is upbeat and catchy! Ironic considering how dark this period of his life was...he became a full blown alcoholic again and rumour has it that he even dabbled in hard drugs (though he's never admitted to it), and even came perilously close to death.

It sounds kind of like punk music played by really good musicians, which is already enough to guarantee a unique sound. Theoretically, the lousy production and Alice's complete avoidance of singing should harm the listenability, but his hilarious lyrics and natural charisma easily outweigh the problems. Now if only he'd play some of this stuff live! He's never performed any of it!

Add your thoughts?

DaDa - Warner Bros. 1983
Rating = 8

Although it contains what might be the lamest song Alice has recorded in his entire career, DaDa is otherwise an incredibly fascinating record that holds a unique place in his otherwise fairly well delineated career timeline (psych/hard rock/show tunes/new wave/hair metal/modern metal) in that it's an artistic step forward that turned out to be a one-shot dead end.

Remember that guy Bob Ezrin? The fellow who helped convert the original Alice Cooper Band into a tight hard rock juggernaut, then converted Alice the solo artist into a dancing Vegas buffoon? Well, he's back. He's the man behind the mixing board -- AND HE'S OUT OF CONTROL! The results can be summed up ASAP: (a) the guitars are completely buried under billions of synths, keys, pianos, church organs, fake drums, OBX-8s, Roland Jupiters, Fairlight computers and other things you sit down to play with, (b) the minimalist guitar-driven rock and roll was invited to take a hike, and (c) Alice is finally SINGING again! His voice still sounds a little awkward, as might be expected after four years of hardly singing at all, but he is in fact singing memorable, hooky melodies in an honestly warm and welcoming manner. Seriously! For the first time since From The Inside, he doesn't sound like you're annoying him by listening to the record. At one point, he even knocks on your door and says, "I was just visiting my friend across the hall when I heard a blast from my past coming from your apartment. Do you like that old thing?" Unfortunately I got really scared the first time this happened and shot him fourteen times in the chest. Now I can't get that part to work anymore, but hopefully it still works on your copy!

In the words of our current president Richard M. Nixon, "Let me make one thing perrrrfectly clear." Although every song is buried under Ezrin's keyboard washes and synthesizer McDoodlings, DaDa is NOT an album of show tunes, so feel free to play it in your favorite gay bar all you want - only a fag would think you were a homo. It's colorful, yet dark. Playful, yet depressing. Lyrically hilarious, yet morbid as day. And best of Fall, it's every bit as diverse as Alice's '70s collaborations with ol' Ezmaster Jenkins. That's why I'm having such a hard time describing it -- every darned sock sounds different than that which came before it! Look at this - look at what they've done here - just look at this -

1. Eerie as hell Ezrin-penned keyboard instrumental filled with pulsating, thumping, echoing rhythmic noises and a pieces of dialogue between a doctor and his senile patient

2. Cutesy piano/synth bouncy goodtime clang-danger with incongruent pissed-off lyrics about an abusive father

3. Haunting ethereal synthesizer composition about a mentally ill man whose mother keeps him locked in the attic

4. Happy anthemic guitar-and-organ rocker that seems like a basic Van Haleny "gettin' laid" anthem until the final verse, when the narrator forbodingly reveals that he has multiple personality disorder

5. Uptempo new wave herky-jerk Devo fun about a man who is so much in love, he can't see straight

6. S&M bullshit that alternates between lush Eastern mystical instrumental passages and some of the lamest hard rock in society's grasp

7. Witty guitar rock/novelty tune that pokes light fun at blindly patriotic rednecks ("I love that mountain with those four big heads!")

8. THE WORST SONG ALICE COOPER HAS EVER RECORDED. Wretched synth-funk modern r'n'b bullshit. Like a shitty late-period Duran Duran track. Or Hall & Oates in their post-success years. An astonishingly horrific experiment, complete with a jazzy fag blues guitar solo. Soulless soul. And it's the longest frigging song on an album of long songs!!!! Also, it's about vampires.

9. Threatens to be "That Last Song, Part Two" until its adult contemporary piano line shifts into one of the most realistically fatigued and hopeless choruses Alice has ever penned -- "Pass the gun around/Give everyone a shot - give everyone a shot/Pass the gun around/And throw me in the local river - let me float away."

So get off my fuckin' back that I can't pin the record down! I can at least tell you this -- at any given moment, there might be up to five or six different electronic instruments playing various intermeshing, weaving, underwashing hooks/riffs/chords at the same time. Also, there's something wrong with the mix. You'd expect an Ezrin production to be open and full of ample space and sound for his ideas to float beautifully into radiant sonic existence, but instead all the keyboards and guitars sound smushed and flattened together, with Alice's voice distorting annoyingly whenever he tries to sing over the din. I'm not sure why it turned out like this - maybe they were trying to cram too many elements into the mix? Maybe Ezrin's idea to record it on a computer was FUCKING STUPID!???!? Or perhaps I just got a bad vinyl pressing and the CD sounds better, who knows. (aside from everybody who owns the CD)

At any rate, the songs themselves (aside from the gothic garbage "Scarlet and Sheba" and "Fresh Blood") provide a bottomless grab bag of smiles, loves, laughter and sick horror. It's a good-o! It could totally have been the beginning of a massive artistic comeback too, if not for the sudden emergence of rock's most hilariously rotten subgenre since jazz fusion.

I'm of course talking about orchestral hip-hop grindcore played on an accordion. Fuckin' Orch-hop-grind-dian! Look at the havoc you've wreaked upon Alice Copper and his songs!

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Dada is totally sweet. It's dark, twisted, sad, and creepy, without always sounding that way. It brings back a lot of the new wave elements of Flush The Fasion and Special Forces, like the synths, keyboards, drum machines, and all that, but the songwriting style isn't "new wavey"...it's maybe kind of what an 80's version of Welcome To My Nightmare might sound like, though it doesn't have that album's showtune leanings. It's pretty hard to describe. And Mark's right, Bob Ezrin really does go crazy here - everything is lushly arranged and heavily layered, which hasn't been the case since Lace And Whiskey!

Alice was so fucked up at the time of recording that he says he doesn't even remember recording any of it, though you could never tell that by his rather inspired vocals throughout. It might help explain though why he's never performed any of this material live...he probably doesn't want to revisit that dark chapter of his life. The material really is top notch, and I personally think both "Scarlet Annd Sheba" and "Fresh Blood" are great songs! Don't listen to Mark!

studiobc@bellsouth.net
From a long time, hard core Alice fan who has seen him live over 40 times, I can support 'DaDa'....and support it highly. The first time I met Alice he came to our table after a concert - admittedly, he smelled like he had fallen into a vat of whiskey - and then rescued barely alive after a lengthy soak. Ok, so he reminded me of a walking brewery. BUT, the man spoke perfectly straight and intelligently about many things only he could have created from his own mind.

He was promoting 'Welcome To My NightMare' and his story of Vincent Price was fascinating.

What does that have to do with 'DaDa'? 'DaDa', summed up is a masterpiece of 'non-showmanship'. Alice doesn't seem to be in control of the insanity, he simply is performing it in its natural form....and it is unrealistically creepy, dark, weird and downright crazy......all let loose. Alice seems to be more the 'reporter' of the insanity, rather thatn the author of it.

'Former Lee Warmer' is incredible. No holds barred here. It is said that some of the most horrible and gut wrenching nightmares take place within the secrecy of the home. Nothing can be more true than the stories told in 'DaDa'.

'I Love America' reminds me of the song from 'From The Inside', 'Jacknife Johnny' - is it an insane twist of lunacy or just a light spot in the album? If you have second thoughts concerning 'DaDa', listen to it again.

I was a bit upset with the cut 'Pass the Gun Around'. Gee, Alice usually pokes fun of death and tragedy. 'Pass the Gun Around', in my opinion was simply sad.....very sad and tragic, but I believe it is from Alice's very soul.

Whatever Alice deserves as a man and performer - be him a horrendous plague on human morals, or someone simply stating the facts he is a Pro of the highest order. If you cannot stomach the beheading and such in his shows, you can always turn to the local news channel, plenty of body parts there, and they aren't for show.

Add your thoughts?

Constrictor - MCA 1986
Rating = 3

In 1986, when I was nineteen hundred and eighty-six years old and really into horror movies and Fangoria magazine, the release of Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Isn't Terribly Scary was a big ol' deal for me and my rowdy group of friends. Or "friend," rather. So imagine the double-secret happiness I experienced upon entering the box office when a young man or woman handed me a special surprise gift: the brand new Alice Cooper 45 "He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)." I knew OF Alice Cooper at the time, but had probably only heard "School's Out" and "Is It My Body"; I certainly had no clue that he'd spent the previous five years doing New Wave music with short hair. Nevertheless, when I got home and slipped that long hard record into my wet pink turntable, it was immediately obvious why Alice had been chosen to pen and perform the theme music for this highly anticipated cinematic release: the song, the movie -- they both sucked!

Yes, it was a rough time for Alice Cooper. Warner Bros. had failed to produce any sales for his previous four records -- clearly THEIR fault and not Alice's since audiences love it when you just SAY everything and make your records 28 minutes long and don't bother touring -- and his career and sobriety were on the skidropes. Enter sandman MCA Records, a label with a long history of supporting groundbreaking young acts like The Oak Ridge Boys and The Fixx. Founded by Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch in 1947, MCA had the gall to inform Alice Cooper that the label would be happy to sign him up, but ONLY if he agreed to give up the experimentation, bring back his old persona and start playing generic '80s metal for the kids. I may totally be making that up, but I could swear I read it somewhere. To be honest, I might be confusing Alice with a different band. At any rate, let's give him the benefit of mrs. doubtfire and assume that he wouldn't put out an album of teen-level generic hair metal unless it was forced upon him career-wise.

Before we continue, let's define "hair metal" for the 102% of my readers who are younger than me. The phrase "hair metal" is used to define a glut of makeup-wearing, long-haired MTV-friendly bands who played a mix of glam, blues and pop rock gussied up with loud but heavily processed (faceless) distorted guitars and predictable singalong choruses. Bands like Winger, Warrant, Bullet Boys, Motley Crue, White Lion, Whitesnake, Mr. Big, Twisted Sister, Faster Pussycat, Quiet Riot, Slaughter, Skid Row, Poison, Cinderella and Ratt all fell into this category, whose loud but non-threatening music resonated quite heavily among the slutty 13-year-old girl demographic. I remember this era perfectly - I was young, but I know that the music wasn't called "hair metal" at the time. It was simply called "metal" (except to fans of hard underground metal - thrash and such - who called it "lite metal" or "pop metal"). The "hair" prefix was added much later, when we all looked back and laughed at the huge permed long hair worn by most of the leaders of the genre. Yes, we laughed alright. We all stroked our Van Dyke goatees and laughed all the way to the.

Now then, Constrictor. The first thing that longtime Alice supporters likely noticed about the record is that it doesn't have any good songs on it. Secondly, they probably noticed that the guitarist, a powerful muscleman named Kane Roberts, doesn't actually bother to play any melodies, instead serving up 40 minutes of metal cliches and undistinguished "rock god" soloing. Third (or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say "TURD" - ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha! Nobody's laughing, including me! I just like writing "Ha ha!" It's the name of a GBH album! Ha ha!), one would have to be deaf since birth to avoid instant sickening at the Def Leppard-style low chanted group vocals that pop up all over the place. They're as unpleasant as running into Joey Buttafuoco in a Times Square cinema with Tonya Harding and The Clapper!

(*receives cease-and-desist order from attorneys for Johnny Carson*)

Fourth and finally, Alice's long-suffering fans and family would note the most disturbing development of all: purposely stupid, boring lyrics from beginning to end. Mr. Smart And Weird has reduced his subject matter almost exclusively to sex and teenage rebellion. "She's cool in bed/She oughta be 'cuz Ethyl's DEAD!" has been exchanged for "We must have been the first to 'go down' in history." "How are you gonna see me now? Please don't see me ugly babe" has been traded in for "You love me bad, you love me good." And get this, all you fans of lyrical carwrecks -- listen closely to the lyrics of "Trick Bag" and you will very clearly hear your former favorite shock rock jock cock rhyming the word "love" with (sigh) "velvet glove."

So let's see what he's talking about this time -- hmm, there's "Thrill My Gorilla," which discusses fucking in pre-evolutionary times, then there's "Trick Bag" about fucking with some S&M activity thrown in, "Life And Death Of The Party" about fucking a strong '80s woman, and of course "Crawlin'," an in-depth investigation into the phenomenon of fucking and then, after fucking, fucking again (a second time). In fact, there's so much fucking on this record that you might say Constrictor is a "Lousy Fucking Album"!

Musically, don't even bother turning your ears on for this batch of embarrassingly generic happy chord sequences, godawful anthemic choruses, fast ugly note-riffin', standard blues-rock cliches and pathetically impotent 'tough' licks. The only decisions that save this record from a 1 out of 10 (and please - a 3 is pretty low, so try not to take its non-1-ness as a sign of encouragement) are an unexpected verse note and so-bad-it's-good chorus in "Thrill My Gorilla," the honestly MELODIC (seriously!!!) verse vocal lines in "Crawlin'" and "The Great American Success Story" (a song pretty obviously written for Rodney Dangerfield's Back To School movie, though I think it was ultimately rejected), and the utter hilarity and bold-faced SHITTINESS of "He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)." After nine tracks of big distorted guitar chugging, we get to the scary track - the Friday The 13th track - the "I'm Alice Cooper, I'm heavy metal, and I'm BACK!" rebel rouser - and.... IT DOESN'T HAVE ANY GUITARS IN IT!!! It's just these lame keyboards and a fake funk bass! Oh you will laugh - you WILL laugh! It makes "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Nature Trail To Hell" seem like a SERIOUS metal composition!!!!! It's SOOO bad. So bad I have to give the album a 3 instead of a 1. Thanks for the laffs, Alice! Keep the humdingers coming for us rugrats in the peanut room!

Speaking of "Weird Al" Yankovic, how come he didn't take advantage of the massive success (in France) of "He's Back" by penning the hilarious parody, "He's Bach! He's Johann Sebastian Bach - And he's out of control!" We would have shat an entire HOUSE with laughter!

Also - remember that terrible song "Teenage Frankenstein"? That's on here too.

No no, not "Feed My Frankenstein" - Alice wouldn't record that "great song" for another few years.

No no, not Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein." That was recorded over a decade earlier and wasn't by Alice Cooper.

I'm of course talking about the New York Dolls' "Frankenstein," written and recorded by Alice Cooper on his top-selling Constrictor? I Hardly Know Her! LP. Ask for it by punching somebody!

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Nothin' to hear here, folks! Keep movin' along!

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
This record is just a joke. It's so bad and generic hair-metal that makes bands such as Bon Jovi look excellent. A couple of songs are decent ("Give It Up" and "Crawlin") but the rest is horrible, horrible crap. The music in "He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)" is so bad that it's funny (bouncy disco combined with horror lyrics? ugh!), and "Thrill My Gorilla" is like the worst song ever to exist. I agree with your 3/10.

Add Your Thoughts?

Raise Your Fist And Yell - MCA 1987
Rating = 6

Hey man. When you're down at the pool hall smoking a cigarette and hanging out, you can't pick a better Alice Cooper tape as your soundtrack. Axe maestro Kane Roberts totally wails on his Eddie Van Halen-inspired licks, and puts much more compositional skill into his solos and lead guitar playing than he had on ConstrDickedHer. Heh heh! Nah, J/K, it's actually called Constrictor. Side one is all these really cool songs about teenage rebellion, because Alice may be in his late 30s, but he sure ain't your Mom and Dad! Ha ha! And side two is the dark side -- all mass muder and Satanism. I don't think Alice is really a Satan worshipper htough. He's just using it as an image.

It's nice to hear Alice really rocking again after all those years of singing ballads, and he takes to heavy metal like a fish to water (or a stoner to pot - ha ha!). It's kinda weak that Kip Lame-o Winger plays bass on it, but whatever. Maybe he's a good bass player when he's not writing his gay songs.

"Freedom" starts things off with some hard metal, telling the PRMC, "You're not my Mom and Dad!" because they were all trying to sensor his lyrics. You tell them, Alice! Then "Lock Me Up" continues the metal onslaught with an awesome "Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh" Def Leppard chorus and some killer Van Halen guitar licks. This is Alice telling the PRMC, "I'm gonna keep doing my bloody concerts, so forget you!" "Give The Radio Back" is a terrible metal song, but it's awesome how Alice tells off teachers during it. School sucks. It's like Pink Floyd sang on their masterpiece The Wall, "Hey Teacher! Leave those kids alone!" "Step On You" continues the metal onslaught with some awesome guitarwork, and "Not That Kind Of Love" ends the side by keeping the metal coming with some wicked guitar playing.

Side two has some great guitarwork, and Kane Roberts really shines in his metal-influenced solos. The words totally rule too, they're all about muderers and killers. "Chop Chop Chop" is the best one. I totally sing that one all the time, along with the Grim Reaper song "See You In Hell, My Friend!" It wigs people out, but I'm all like "Sike!" Check out these great lyrics - this is what I mean when I said Alice is a great songwriter: A tree has grown on the spot Where her body did rest Blood seeped into the soil From the knife in her chest The bugs serve time in her skeletal jail I wonder how the bugs remember Gail What a lovely young girl Everybody would say You can still hear her laugh In the shadows on a cold winter's day A dog dug up a bone and wagged it's tail I wonder how the dog remembers Gail The bugs serve time in her skeletal jail I wonder how the bugs remember Gail See what I mean? He comes up with these really neat descriptions and smart ways of saying things. Can you imagine listening to it stoned? It'd blow your mind!

This is the best metal tape of the year, and that's saying a lot because a ton of great metal tapes have come out this year. Vinnie Vincent Invasion, Ozzy, and Cinderella. But this one beats them all. Alice Cooper may be old enough to be your father, but he still knows that when "School's Out", it's time to rock!

Take it easy,
Nancy Reagan

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Honestly, Constrictor doesn't deserve anything higher than a one...Mark's just being a good sport and doesn't want to take Alice down to that level. The only song worth hearing is "He's Back (The Man Beind The Mask)", which, as Mark rightly points out, is so terrible that it leapfrogs the "bad" stage and goes straight to "play-this-for-your-friends-to-get-a-good-laugh-at-its-expense stage". All the rest is unlistenable hair metal/cock rock tripe that your ears will never forgive you for exposing them to, so consider yourself warned!

Raise Your Fist And Yell continues the same formula as Constrictor, yet is vastly superior. See what miracles can occur when you have crisp production, well written and executed guitar riffs, decent melodies, and a harder, edgier sound? The fromage level is still very high, but at least it's entertaining as hell!

Add your thoughts?

Trash - Epic 1989
Rating = 5

Following the airing of a PBS program focused on Big Black's seminal Songs About Fucking LP and its failure to delivery the lusty, sexy goods, Alice Cooper dialed up cliche' genius Desmond Child to help him finish the job that Steve Albini failed to start so many years earlier. And if I may speak for the entire world for a moment, I'd say that the results speak for themselves:

"Your skin, so wet/Black lace on sweat"

(SPROING!)

"It takes a little friction/That's how our love is made"

(FWEE!)

"I want to play in your garden, baby/When you want it give me a shout"

(SQUIRT! Gush gush gush)

"You can stuff it up your muffin and go stick it in the fire"

(FWASH! OWWW!)

"No one ever gets as deep inside you As I do, baby... I'll drive you like a hammer on a bed of nails"

(EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-RECKSH! *breaking glass*)

"You're daddy's dream, you're a peach in cream And you're ripe at last"

(POP! Fwibble-fwibble-fwibble!)

"There's a fire down below You be the target on the bed I'll be shootin' hot lead Let me take control Pull my trigger, I get bigger Then I'm lots of fun I'm your gun I'm your gun, gun, gun Bite my bullet Push and pull it"

(CRACK! rolly rolly rolly NNNEEEEEOOOOWWWWW SQUISH!)

Disappointingly, the other three songs fail to crack the proverbial boner. Supposedly because they're "love ballads" or some nut juice like that. But now that I've turned up the heat, let me cool ya down with an ice-cold description of Alice Cooper's must commercially motivated record of all time.

First of all, another new record company! Just when we were all growing accustomed to the splotchy 14-year-old's idea of a wicked Alice Cooper logo, along comes Epic with a sleek blocky new logo (which itself would only last two albums). Unfortunately, this clean friendly logo is indicative of the music inside: over-polished, over-obvious, slicked-up commercial pop-metal written by 'professional' songwriters and deliberately designed to sell units. This is the point where Alice Cooper's work shifted from art to commerce. Not that the last couple albums were arty or anything - I just mean that at least they sounded like actual music written by actual human beings who happened to be having a couple of weak years in the creativity department. (although Stick Your Fist Up In My Yell honestly DOES have four or five great songs, as Nancy Reagan pointed out) Trash does NOT sound like an album made by musicians who care about their art. It sounds like a group of radio executives got together to produce a promotional LP entitled "How To Make A Hit Album," and couldn't afford any 'name' artists to appear on it besides Alice Cooper.

Cliches. Cliches, so very many cliches. Obvious chord progressions that have been used a billion times, specifically engineered to make the listener "feel" certain emotions that aren't really there. Loads of guest stars from the hot pop-metal world throwing their superstar guns in the fire (Steven Tyler! Jon B.J.! Possibly Axl Rose!). Superloud guitars to convince you that this is REAL metal, even though every jagged edge has been carefully removed and polished over. And best of all - NO LOW END AT ALL! That way, you can blast it while cruising down the highway with the windows down, and not have to worry about the damn bass distorting everything. Fuckin' bass. Fuck you - you're a shitty fish.

Unfortunately, as sophisticated a bullshit detector as I am, I've fallen victim to the devastating siren's cry of four of these songs. And a couple others have some decent bits too! I guess that's the cross I have to bear for being a sucker for a catchy pop song. Monkees? Best material by outside writers. Same with Paul Revere and the Raiders, Turtles, Grass Roots... Hey, I loved Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation and it's pretty obvious they had NOTHING to do with those songs. Ah me. At any rate, half the album outright suck job BLOWS ass though, so at least I have that to be proud of.

Have I mentioned the drum sound on these last few albums? It is godawful. Reverbed all to hell and apparently performed on a set featuring (a) a bass drum and (b) a snare drum. Also, what's up with that weird drawl Alice uses on these songs? Is "baby" really pronounced "buh-ay-bay"? If so, then toss me a "luh-ay-bay-uh!"

Now then. The songs I like. Just so you can make fun of me. (Beware: This next section won't be of much interest to you if you haven't heard the songs in question.):

1. "Poison" - GREAT evil radio anthem! Excellent chord changes, and an intro riff that sounds like "Sweet Child Of Mine" until you realize that it was designed specifically to hide itself behind the desparate chords in the chorus. Listen! It's there!

2. "Spark In The Dark" - Now that's a COOL hard rock note sequence! Am I wright? Uptempo, rockin', catchy - I could see Aerosmith having written this in the '70s! Especially with those dumbassed lyrics!

3. "Only My Heart Talkin'" - I love this power ballad! Acoustic strumming, keyboards, very pretty! He's been raised to never say "I Love You" or cry, but he misses her and wants her to listen to his heart. Easily as heartbreaking as his 70's ballads -- until Steven Tyler comes in and ruins the ending with his assholish screaming. Fuck you, Tyler. "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" sucks ass.

4. "This Maniac's In Love With You" - What a quirky bouncy little upbeat thing! Cute little hook - playful, dumb! Big on corny synths, but it's at least a cutesy odd little lick they keep playing! Neat dueling guitars in the solo too - 2 or 3 making noise on top of each other. This song has a strange personality -- the only evidence of true individuality on an otherwise carefully-designed-to-appeal-to-a-specific-demographic LP. I like it!

First runner-up: The Bon Jovi/Richie Sambora ballad "Hell Is Loving Without You" has an intriguing circular chorus, but the song is destroyed by Alice getting a half-pound of coffee grinds stuck in his throat immediately before the session.

Second runner-up: The verse guitar lick in the title track is a boogie machine's dream, but it's impossible to enjoy when you know it'll soon be replaced by the ugly dumbassed "TRAAAAAAYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAASHH!" chorus and some retard tossing out blindmowing 'witticisms' like "My love is like a lollipop. Would you lick it?"

Everything else on here is just the pits: Def Leppardy chants, faceless pop-metal chord sequences (one of which was co-written by the producer of the Germs' legendary GI LP, a classic of hardcore punk!), sidesplittingly pussyish "tough" rockers, interchangeable guitar solo timefillers, and a whole lotta empty sneerin', leather wearin', cigarette smokin' attitude. However, the hits - the songs designed to make teenagers cough up the dough ignorant of all the shitty filler - are so chockful of horny innuendo and manipulative chord changes that it's hardly surprising that they eventually brought Alice "Dead Babies" Cooper the sort of stadium success previously only granted to such challenging artists as Enuff Z'nuff and Great White.

(This was back when Great White set the world on fire, rather than individual people.)

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
The big sellout! After spending years and years despising the fuck out of this album, I've reached a state of mind where I'm able to say that despite everything that's blatantly wrong and bad about it (and there's a ton), there are a lot of strong pop hooks. See kiddies, the first step toward recovery is being able to admit that you have a problem!

I can admit that, in the hands of a different band, like say Bon Jovi (since they appear on here as guests, fittingly enough), this wouldn't be a terrible record. But this is Alice Cooper. That creates a huge problem. There just isn't anything to be found here that truly relfects his personality as an artist. The music is as generic and commercial as it could possible have been in this genre at that period in time, and the lyrics are as low brow as they come. Alice has never been about that. I doubt that he had very much input into the making of this Trash!

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
This is Alice Cooper's most commercial album and guess what! It sucks! Well, not all the songs, but I think I'll be sick if I hear again such "anthems" as "Poison", "House Of Fire" (the chorus makes me want to vomit) and the awful power ballad "Hell Is Living Without You". This music has no artistic value at all, and it's perfectly made only for parties and stuff like that. It's too anthemic, for God's sake! There are a few good songs though, "This Maniac's In Love With You" is a very cool funky song with a catchy chorus, the title track rocks my ass off and "I'm Your Gun" is very powerful and one of the best songs of his hair-metal era. How you can resist that chorus? "Pull my trigger, I get bigger, then I'm lots of fun... I'm your GUN! I'm your GUN GUN GUN!" - I really like that song for some reason. But overall, this album is just a disaster, even if not as awful as 'Constrictor'. It's just... Trash! I give it a 5/10.

Also, a note: Isn't the guitar line in the verses of "Poison" too similar to the rhythm of the Police hit "Every Breath You Take"? I bet it is! Hardly a coincidence...

Add your thoughts?

Hey Stoopid - Epic 1991
Rating = 3

What is happening in our world today? Why is there so much pain and sorrow? Did you see that General Motors is recalling 717,302 minivans? Why do people suffer so? You close your eyes for one second and suddenly Jennifer Lopez is being sued by her ex-husband! What kind of world is this? Can't somebody do something? Digital cameras are shaping up as the hottest gift! And we're just LETTING it happen! Sometimes I lose all hope. And then it just gets WORSE. Specifically, cloned cat sale generates ethics debate. Are you hearing what I'm writing? CLONED CAT SALE GENERATES ETHICS DEBATE!!! ARE YOU BLIND!??!?

I'm enjoying a Diet Coke at the moment. Near the top of the can, it says that I can save $10 on tickets, but it doesn't say what for. Hold the line one sec while I look more closely at the can for clues.

Awww FUCK! It's just the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes. Who the hell wants to see THAT? I was hoping it was $10 off a blowjob from a little girl or something. At any rile, the time has come to discuss the worst album in the Alice Cooper catalog. Entitled Constrictor, it

The time has come to discuss one of the two worst albums in the Alice Cooper catalog. And by "catalog," I don't mean that Alice Cooper is selling sporting goods and bathwear out of his home! Ha ha ! No! Why would he do that when he has a successful career as an entertainer? I'm of course referring to his discography. Take that word apart and review its individual elements. You'll be shocked by what you find. "Disco" + "Graph" + "Y" Do you see it? What this means is that EVERY single recording artist plays disco, excels in geometry and lives at the Young Men's Christian Association. Do I have to spell it out for you? T-H-E-Y-'-R-E A-L-L G-A-Y-F-E-R-S. T.H.E.Y.'.R.E. A.L.L. G.A.F.F.E.R.S. tHeY'rE aLl GoPhErS. But baby, what they are most of all is in love with you or me.

FUUUUUUUUCK. Tap tap tap dance tap.

Ah yes! Hey Asshole. The fourth and final installment in Alice Cooper's "Hair Metal" quadruplex. And not a minute too soon! Actually, quite a few minutes too late, considering that this glossy, overproduced, boring as sin collection of power ballads and lame dirty rockers came out the same year as Nevermind. And sure, Nevermind is glossy and overproduced (and many consider it boring as sin), but it at least sounded like a real band playing their own original creations, rather than a bunch of radio consultants, professional songwriters and big-name guest musicians cynically trying to move units among the dumbass metalhead market. Hey Stoopid? More like "Hey STUPID" if ysdadsddddddd

Essentially, Hey Silly is a remake of Tarsh but with fewer good songs. And I know the phrase "good song" is meaningless, but try to see where I'm taking this. A "good song" is one that works because it has something NEW in it. Something unique or moving, something catchy and not hackneyed -- something that you feel you haven't heard before. The problem with this loose definition is that we all hear records at different times and in different orders. So for example, would a person with NO knowledge of music at all be able to enjoy Hey Stoopid? Possibly yes, because all of the melodies would be completely new to him or her. But does that make it a good album? And if not, does it mean that this person is WRONG for enjoying it? Taking it a step further, what about nostalgia? If a young person in 1991 had never heard any of these riffs before and thus really enjoyed the record, then even at his/her advanged age - here as we enter 2005 - he/she will probably still have a soft spot in his/her heart/vagina for it. Is he/she "stoopid" for this? No, he's not. (She might be, you know women)

It's all subjective and none of it matters to anybody but assholes. Some people hate The Beatles. I never ever ever get the urge to listen to Bob Dylan. It's just about what you like, where you're from, and what you had for dinner. So don't worry about me and my 3. I hate Hey Stoopid, but you may love it (if you're a moron). And that's fine - we're all entitled to like what we like, regardless of critical concensus. Critics are not "experts" - their goal is to provide information and a bit of opinion to you, the potential record buyer, in order to either introduce you to something new that you might like or warn you against wasting your money on substandard material. And sure I can't prove objectively that Hey Stoopid is substandard material, but it sure does suck!

It only has one lyrically macabre song (the return of Steven! Unfortunately the music isn't spooky to match); the others are broken heart ballads and fuck rockers. Special guests are every which way but loose, including Slash, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and (on FIVE different songs) Joe Satriani of Surfing With The Alien fame. Why, it's a veritable Who's Who of shit-rock! And shit-rock they do ever - this whole damned album sounds like Bon Jovi. Even more predictable, clean and safe than Trash, these songs aren't even bad enough to be funny. They're just dull, instantly forgettable pop-metal genre exercises.

"Hey bro, take it slow - you ain't livin' in a video!" That's an actual lyric on this album. Is this really how you want to spend your $16?

Best song: "Might As Well Be On Mars" - Co-written by Dick Wagner, this lonely power ballad rates up there with Alice's finest tearjerkers. She broke up with him, he's watching her in a bar - he's so close to her physically, but he'd might as well be on Mars because she'll never take him back. The chorus is a little too MTV-ready, but the protracted "Hey Jude"-style ending rips open my heartstrings every time, forcing several quarts of blood to the surface of my skin and giving me a warm "sunburnt" feeling.

Only other great song: "Little By Little" - Cool dark arpeggiation over a low throbbing synth note. Dumb, but it grows on you! Not as good as the Robert Plant song of the same name.

Runners-up: "Dirty Dreams" rides along on a great New York Dolls choogle until the pukingly vomitous barfathon of the retchingly cookie-tossing chorus shows up. I think I may have liked part of another one but who knows or cares. Don't buy this album!

Worst song: "Feed My Frankenstein" - Co-written by no-hit wonder Zodiac Mindwarp and featured in the Wayne's World film, this abominable funk rock song deserves to be buried in the middle of the ocean, not celebrated as an Alice Cooper classic. The verse melody is ONE NOTE choogled over and over, then it goes into that godawful funk nonsense - and who the FUCK decided that the song would be improved by blasting some annoying suckass synth braps on top?!? Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Nikki Sixx all put their hearts into making this composition every bit as reprehensible as its signature lyric, "Let me drink the wine from your fur tea cup."

If you like lame hard rock/metal cliches, go for Constrictor. If you like slick pop-metal cliches, Hey Stoopid is your man.

Alternately, if you like albums that don't make you want to shove your fist up your own ass, you might want to try one of the Alice Cooper albums I didn't give a 3 to.

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
If in doubt, what do you do to follow up a highly successful commericial, yet soulless, comeback? REPEAT.

And that's exactly what Alice (well, his board of advisors, really), did. The thinking in the corporate music world goes that if people bought into once, they'll buy into it again. So, Hey Stoopid is yet another overtly commercial, soulless slab of dated pop metal. Good thing this one flopped, because after that Alice stoppeed caring about wooing the charts and started writing music for himself and his true fans again. Like Trash, Alice Cooper's true personality is barely to be found anywhere, though I'd have to say the lyrics are a bit better this time around. As for the bad song to good song ratio, I think it's a toss up between this and its predecessor.

As you can probably tell, I don't really give a frig. Of all the albums he's put out over the decades, this is the one I'm the least familiar with and I never get the urge to listen to it. On rare occasions I force myself to play a bit of it to remind myself why I dislike it so much, and usually within a 30 second scan of all the tracks my memory is sufficiently refreshed that my curiosity is quelled for another year. If I could rate the album as a big fat *YAWN* instead of one of those cliched number/letter/percentage scales, I would!

Alex Zaitsev
So, it's arena rock alright, but it's what arena rock should be. I can't believe you rate the "blood, guts and pussy" set of cliches that is Raise Your Fist And Yell higher. Raise Your Fist And Yell was pure cheese, it had an awful guitarist, etc, etc. Hey Stoopid is a serious, confident, not cheesy album. It sounds like Bon Jovi? Go over to Jack Feeny's site and see his rating for Slippery When Wet. A 10. There are people who consider it an absolute classic. Well, Hey Stoopid is better in every respect. No fist - pumping pathos like Bon Jovi's Let It Rock, no cheesy church organs, no cliches. It's just a set of good songs that happens to belong to a universally disrespected genre. Take Love's A Loaded Gun - wonderful lyrics, catchy chorus, lots of sheer power. The album's got some great guitar work: Wind - Up Toy, the bit after "private hell". Don't tell me it's not great. I have no idea who played that, but it sure sounds awesome. Speaking about Wind - Up Toy, it might well be Alice's best song ever. It sums up Alice in a nutshell. All the sides of his career, everything he's ever tried, it's all there. And it's CATCHY. An absolute masterpiece, that's what it is. I could live without Burning Our Bed and some others, but the highlights are amazing. A 6, a 7, whatever, but a 3 is ridiculous

Add your thoughts?

The Last Temptation - Epic 1994
Rating = 8

The comeback has occurreth! Dance your diddy doody-daddle because fluffernutter pitter-patter! 80s bad metal is gone out the wazoo and Alice is hanging out with an all-new batch of alt-grunge performers and hipper outside songwriters. The result is a timeless batch of menacing hard rock full of gritty, dark guitars. Not "metal" guitars, but solid hard rockin' rough '70s-style guitars like Pearl Jam were using in their early faux-grunge days (back before they were any good at all). This aspect alone automatically makes the release sound fifty times more genuine than the overdone '80s radio metal nonsense. The production is raw, guitar-filled and dirty, yet clear enough so that you can make out every evil arpeggiation, bass thump and reverb-free drum smack-and-crash.

The lyrics though. Hmm. Ahhhh. Well see, he uhh... Okay I'll cut to the chase here. Or the quick or whatever. Am I crazy or is this a Christian Rock album? The villain seems to be the Christian creation "Satan," and the protaganist spends the entire album battling such unspeakable "evils" as lust, drugs and anger while spitting out weak-kneed platitudes like "When I'm all alone with your thoughts/I can break on through with just an ounce of faith" and "I feel damnation all around you/And so I raise my voice to Heaven/Please hide me in some holy place/Protect my soul, I'm only human!" As the record progresses, he wails about an "Unholy War" and "Stolen Prayer," implores "What about Christ? What about peace? What about love? What about faith in God above?" and finally declares his success over Satanic tamptation with the pronouncement, "You're lost and I'm found/And I'm Heaven bound/Go back where you belong/To where you fell/Go to Hell."

Okay now, I'm willing to admit that I don't know Alice Cooper personally. And it could very well be that he is using the Christian myth as a metaphor here - that he doesn't HONESTLY believe in Heaven above, Hell below and what-have-you, but DOES believe that a person must constantly battle their darker instincts in order to maintain the integrity and compassion necessary to be a truly worthwhile human being. This COULD be the case. In fact, knowing Alice's intelligence, this probably IS the case and I just wasted an entire paragraph on an incorrect theory. But man, when all this Christian mumbo-jumbo is just staring you in the face, you have to wonder! Granted, Alice did a humorous take on the Heaven/Hell mythology way back on Alice Cooper Goes To Hell, but this time around he's dead serious. Either he's been battling unwanted feelings and desires for hella long time, dudeass, or he's become a born-again Christian. You tell me! I dunno!

What I DO know is that, musically speaking, these songs are just absofuckinglutely the greatest piles of r'n'r he's co-created in ages. It starts pretty light-hearted with a brass-inflected alt-rock number that sounds like The Replacements (right down to the stolen Paul Westerberg lyric "I'm bored right out of my skull"!), but then its moods and tones twist and turn like a jackelope stuck to your car antenna. Here is a brief synopsis of the album's ten tracks for the no-frills consumer who's into music for the descriptions: Happy-Morbid-Fun-Grunge-Lousy-Sorrowful-Creepy-Jokey-Pretty-Brooding. Can't you simply FEEL all the moods I've been swept through for the last 40 minutes? It was a virtual Ferris Wheel of emotion!

Most of the tracks are written with outside songwriters, but they at least seem to be TALENTED outside songwriters who can tell the difference between a melody and a fad. The only 'name' songwriters I recognize are Soundgarden's Chris Cornell (who contributed what might be the two greatest songs on the album -- the amazing, sorrowful "Stolen Grave" and fucked-up grunge chord thudder "Unholy War") and... hmm. Well, for some reason he wrote a couple songs with the Damn Yankees' Jack Irons and Tommy Shaw (yes, THAT Tommy Shaw!!! From Styx!!!! Of "Babe I'm Leavin'" ass-kicking rock and roll fame!!!). One of them stinks to high Heaven but the other is a lovely ballad called "It's Me," marred only by the asshole guitarist playing "All The Young Dudes" during the chorus, making it all too clear that the chorus was in fact stolen from "All The Young Dudes." Still, if Alice felt compelled to write music with a couple of Damn Yankees, at least neither of them were Theodore Nugent.

We're all happy that the melodically smart Alice Cooper finally returned to us. His voice sounds as wonderful as ever (both smooth and raspy as required), and a full decade since its release, The Last Temptation sounds like it could have come out yesterday no less the wear for worse.

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Finally the first proper Alice Cooper studio album in over a decade! Dark, heavy, awesomely well crafted songs. Still has a few moments that are quite slick and commercial sounding (particularly "It's Me"), but otherwise the Coop is back in full force. The concept of the album was actually a collaborative effort with comic book legend Neil Gaiman (best know for his Sandman series), and there is an actual graphic novel available as a companion to the album.

And you're not imagining things...this is essentially a Christian rock album. In recent years Alice has openly admitted that he's a full blown born again Christian who prays daily and attends church every Sunday. I'm kind of shocked that you didn't know that, since it has come up on your favourite message board on a number of occasions :P

I'm just thankful that Alice's music hasn't gotten lame the way you'd expect it to from a devoutly religious person. If anything, he's gotten edgier again and his live performances these days (almost 2005) are better than he's been for decades.

I'm also surprised you didn't mention "Lost In America", a hilarious song that features the type of humourous writing you seem to dig!

mattro@raptorial.com
I've been dying to hear Cooper's versions of the songs 'Unholy War' and 'Stolen Prayer'. As you mentioned, those two tracks are written by Chris Cornell but did you know that Cornell also performed them? Yes indeed. Back before Soundgarden "made it big" in the Great Grunge Rush of '92. Those two songs (along with two others) were originally written for/inspired by Ozzy Osbourne and can be heard on the aptly titled Soundgarden bootleg called Songs for Ozzy. The tracks are demo quality at best but damn if Ozzy shouldn't have recorded these songs immediately after hearing them. It was nice of Alice to pick a couple of these songs up and record them.

Add your thoughts?

A Fistful Of Alice - Guardian 1997
Rating = 8

I was sitting in a urinal in Flagstaff, Arizona when all of a sudden a young yellow man came up to me wearing nothing but a cowboy hat. I was as you might guess a bit offput by this, busily trying as I was to pass a large heterosexual wasteball at the time. But he meant no harm, only to talk briefly of the new Alice Cooper live CD. "Alice's voice sounds great!" he extolled at length. "It's not like The Alice Cooper Show at all. On this one, he sounds like a million fucks!"

"Do tell," I prodded. "Please. Please do tell. Me. Tell me. Please tell me."

"Well," he continued as all three of his ballsacs jiggled excitedly to and fro in the wind of a passing horsebuggy, "He plays two songs each from Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome To My Nightmare, then just ONE each from Love It To Death, Killer, School's Out, Muscle Of Love, Goes To Hell, Trash, Hey Stoopid and The Last Temptation. It's the shit!"

"Any guest stars?" I screamed, as angry as I'd ever been.

"Not unless you count Guns 'N' Roses' Slasher and White Zombie's Robert 'White' Zombie!" I answered myself. "But what about the guitars? " YAH YAH! YAH YAH! Guitars YAH AYH! Eat my ASS for including "Teenage Shitment '732" and "HAY SToopid asshole" but everythibng is gst good dgoddamned! Sing to sink! djsi. That line in "Elected" that says, "And I told ya 'bout school" is hilarious. He's running for president on the grounds that he MUST be a good guy because, after all, "I told ya about school!" That is SO fuckin' funny. "Welcome To My Nightmare" starts with the chorus of "Steven," which is kind of interesting. Also happy Christmas everybody! It's Christmas all over America! All the Jews are suffering God's wrath for murdering Jesus, and all the Muslims are living in filth and dirt for not being Americans! Hail Satan!

It's live, it's great but come on - it's LIVE! Who cares to own it? What I REALLY want is to hear modern Alice performing tracks from Pretties For You, Easy Action, Lace And Whiskey, Flush The Fashion, Special Forces, Zipper Catches Skin, DaDa, Constrictor (God, ESPECIALLY Constrictor) and Raise Your Dick And Smell. Sure it was neat to see Rick Astley performing all nine of these albums in their entirety on his last tour, but without the real article we'd might as well be suckin' a duck in a truck for a buck. You know? I'm right, huh? Fuck no, yeah!

But the real jewel of the nile in this record is the sole new studio track, "Is Anyone Home." As some of you know, I'm reviewing Alice Cooper right now. I really like him. It's not like he's getting all 9s or 10s or anything (a lot of his records are only 7-worthy), but considering the guy's age, he's STILL putting out some great material. The song "Is Anyone Home" is just incredible. Absolutely incredible. So emotionally moving. I always just thought it was catchy before, but that the lyrics were silly ("I live in a big dark house/nobody's home, just me and my mouse") until I read what it's actually about. It's about a kid whose entire social life is the Internet. THAT'S the mouse he's talking about. It's not an embarrassing attempt to address modern technology, like Jethro Tull did. It's in fact really difficult to realize that's what he's talking about (knowing this also makes the line about catching a "virus" make more sense - I originally thought he had AIDS or something!). It's such a beautiful sad song. And from the early 90s! I love that guy, Alice Cooper. It's easy to fall in love with an artist who just keeps putting out likable material year after year after year. I feel the same way about Lemmy, and about the Ramones (though they're unfortunately dead).

"Is Anyone Home" is such a great song -- here's the chorus: "I'm so lonely I can almost taste it/In a perfect world I'd just be wasted/Send me an angel wrap me in her wings/Halo hello hello is anyone home?"

That line "In a perfect world I'd just be wasted" is GENIUS. The double-meaning is so smart. It could mean, "Best scenario, I'd be drunk off my ass!" OR "If the world was perfect, I'd still be worthless." I FUCKING LOVE THAT!!!!

Please don't make fun of Alice - the guy has only made a few shitty albums (Constrictor and Hey Stoopid, for example). I don't even care that he's a Republican (I imagine it's because he's a Christian). I just love his music so much, as you'll see on Wednesday night when I finally post my reviews).

THat fucking song! "Is anyone home" - look for it! It begins like a normal indie rock song, then gets so emotional. Wonderful!

Also, if you assassinate George W. Bush, that means Dick Cheney gets to be president for the next FOUR YEARS!!! That would kick SO MUCH ASS!!!! Somebody DO IT!!!!

Also, on the topic of bodies and how stinky they can be, my dog really likes broccoli but it gives him the toot wind something maniacal. As such, I've taken to calling Nature's Green Vegetable by the new name "Fart Trees." It would be awesome if you could open a restaurant and use that term on all your menus. By four generations from now, I want the word 'broccoli' to be nothing more than the archaic ancestor of America's popular "Fart Trees" delicacy.

Also, start calling bananas "Laughably Tiny Replicas Of Mark Prindle's Penis." Thanks, Owner of Popular Restaurant Chain!

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
"Is Anyone Home?" is just one of many examples - throughout his career you'll find tons of songs full of insightful and often hilarious double meanings in his lyrics. I truly think he's one of the best lyricists in the history of rock. He's very clever and witty without ever seeming pretentious, and VERY few people can pull that off. I wish more people would notice.

Add your thoughts?

The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper - Rhino 1999
Rating = 8

Christmas is over. The goose is getting skinny. Please to put a hat on the old man's penny. Please to put a hat on the old man's penny. If you have no hat, FUCK OFF.

The box set to start all box sets, The Life And Crimes Of Alice Coope, etc. features four frenetic discs full of one song each from Battle Axe, A Fistful Of Alice and Special Forces, two each from Pretties For You, Easy Action, School's Out, Goes To Hell, Lace And Whiskey, Flush The Fashion, Zipper Catches Skin, DaDa, Constrictor, Raise Your Fist And Yell and Hey Stoopid, three each from From The Inside, Trash and The Last Temptation, four each from Love It To Death and Muscle Of Love, a near-offensively excessive FIVE GODDAMNED SONGS EACH from Killer, Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome To My Nightmare, and 23 b-sides, outtakes, demos, alternate versions, pre-Alice Cooper recordings, remixes, practice sessions, candy apples (or "Wrapples"), movie soundtrack compositions and artist compilation contributions. Good for giant fanions looking for those lost hard-to-find stibs and griplets, and GREAT for people who are looking for a truly comprehensive "hits and best of" collection in a single easy-to-purchase package. The only problem is that, as of this writing, he's already released THREE more studio albums since putting out this "career-spanning" set!

One thing's for certain: My! He's good! Highlights for longtime fans include, but are not limited to:

- '65-'67 singles by pre-Pretties For You bands The Spiders and The Nazz, including a Marvin Gaye cover and a hilariously Yardbirds-wannabe version of "Lay Down And Die, Goodbye"
- Gantastic version of "Nobody Likes Me" with an accordion polka solo!
- a swingin' School's Out outtake driven by a messy ol' organ
- Krazy rockailly '50s shooshoo from a rare New Musical Expre

Man, this is fuckin' boring. You people need to learn something and learn it good. I like reviewing records at work, because it's a fun exciting break from my workday. It makes me happy, and the writing demonstrates that happiness. Unfortunately, that means that on the weekends, when I review records at HOME, all I end up thinking is, "Man, I could be watching a movie or reading or something instead of sitting here trying to think up another dozen cock jokes." Which reminds me:

A. Why did the chicken cross the road?
B. Because it was during the Revolutionary War, he was a coprophile and he wanted to COCK A DOODLE DOO that was on the other side!!!!

Quickly, a few other rare highlights included on this box set include an early version of "Muscle Of Love" called "Respect For The Sleepers," a bizarrely HAPPY early version of "He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)" (highlighted by the urinely dopey refrain "He came out of his hole - just to ROCK AND ROLL!"), some collaborations with John Entwistle, Bill Bruford, Justin Hayward, Nicky Hopkins and Keith Moon, a Van McCoy cover intended for (but rejected by) the yucky Mae West film Sextette, a couple tunes from Alice's Monster Dog movie, a more new wavey Todd Rundgren-produced version of "Road Rats" from the movie Roadie, a new version of "Under My Wheels" performed with Izzy, Axl and Slash from '70s soft rockers Bread, shitty covers of Hendrix's "Fire" and Spirit's "I Got A Line On You" (the latter from the Iron Eagle II soundtrack!?), a boring Rob Zombie remix of a bland boring bland a, blopeoee, abldops, Keaneaeee, bdtheaw, even a GOTH song by Alice Cooper! It sounds like Bauhaus or some FUCK! Best ever -- the actual SONG "Look At You Over There, Ripping The Sawdust From My Teddybear," originally intended for inclusion on Special Forces (and instead just listed tantalizingly on its back sleeve cover the prick!) It's a great song too - electric piano, deep emotions, sorrow, fear, hooky chorus - but not even CO-written by Alice? That's odd. But then "Clones" wasn't either, and that was a HUGE hit on both sides of the Atlantic! Yep, Americans and Canadians both loved that one. There's also this one song that (*is abruptly cut off by massive heart attack*)

Jesus! Those fuckin' Wilson sisters nearly impaled my dick on a tangerine! All I said was that they "went from the ass-kickin' 'Barracuda' to the ass-inflatin' 'Big Mac with Gouda'," and out came the gigantic cement-thick mammaries (*is abruptly cut off by paralyzing stroke*)

Christ! Fuckin' Julian Casablancas when Andy Griffith offered me a hot lunch, I was about to (*is interrupted by a gigantic rolling stone*)

Augh! A big rock! (*runs from big rock like Indiana Jones in that movie Harrison Ford And The Guy's Face Melting.*)

In summation, I love this box set to peaces. It even has "Is Anyone Home?" on it!!!! Nothing from The Alice Cooper Shom though. And some of the album tracks are actually represented by edited single versions. So don't say I didn't warn ya! Sally got married to a rock musician she met in California.

Oh! One other thing -- I hate to be blunt, but in my opinion Alice's cover of The Beatles' "Because," performed for the Bee Gees' movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, produced by Robert Stigwood and co-starring Peter Frampton, along with such guest star celebrity luminaries as George Burns, Steve Martin and Aerosmith, who perform their hit version of The Beatles' classic blues-rocker "Come Together" from their final LP, the top-selling and now-legendary Abbey Road album.

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Fantastic box set! They pretty much included everything from 1965 to 1999 that wasn't to be found on any of the existing studio albums (except for 3 unique tracks that come to mind at this moment), so for hardcore fans it's well worth the money shot!

You didnn't even mention the fantastic 80 page booklet with extensive notes about the history of Alice Cooper, tons of interesting photos, and track by track synopsis by Alice and other past and present band members!

One of the real nuggets for me is the song "No Tricks", in which Alice sings a bluesy new wave duet! It was written for From The Inside but inexplicably not used, even though I think it would have been one of the best songs on that album. Speaking of, the edited single version of the song "From The Inside" is better than the album version - it's mixed diffrently, with the galloping guitars more upfront. The whole album would benefit from a similar remix!

sacicc@yahoo.com
Mark, you gave this set a pretty high rating, and it deserves it. I think the one aspect of the box set that to me justifies its high rating you kinda failed to mention, though.

There are NUMEROUS compilation albums available for Alice Cooper. The number of these is disgusting. All of them are flawed in one way or another. The REAL reasons this box set deserves top consideration has much to do with Alice Cooper songs worthy of note tending to fall in two categories: (1) His hit singles, and (2) His lesser known deep-cuts that, although never really charting as hits, are either so good or have had such an impact defining Alice Cooper that the songs are still "must plays" in his live shows to this very day.

This box set not only includes them, but throws in unreleased material, demos, very early material and other never released stuff that one can justify paying the price of the four-CD box set. Perhaps I'm a bit nuts, but the fact that "The Ballad of Dwight Fry" is FINALLY included in a compilation is justification alone for rating this particular box set above all the others.

On a side note, on your comment on the 'nearly offensive' five songs each from Killer, Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome to my Nightmare, iit's difficult to determine which of the songs from Killer and Billion $ Babies SHOULDNT be on it. As for Welcome to my Nightmare, bear in mind that one COULD legitimately argue that "Steven" and "The Black Widow" should have been included as well, yet perhaps delete Cold Ethyl and Escape to bring it back down to a 'nearly offensive' five, just to keep you happy since you're a nice guy.

Add your thoughts?

Brutal Planet - Spitfire 2000
Rating = 8

I had this idea that I thought was pretty amazing, so let's all talk about it for about 45 minutes. It occurred to me when I was walking up 2nd Avenue to the big dumpy Goodwill thrift store hellhole stinky place of poor people where I buy cheap stuffed animals for my dog to rip the eyes and nose out of. What happened was I was singing to myself that grand old classic "Ain't She Sweet." Do you know this song? It's a snappy ol' number that goes, "Ain't she sweet? See her walkin' down the street. Now I ask you very confidentially - Ain't she sweet? Ain't she nice? Look her over once or twice. Now I ask you very confidentially - Ain't she nice?" and so on. It's a real whippersnapper from the '20s or so. '50s or whenever. I think Thomas Edison might have written it. At any rate, I was humming this godblessed wonderful tune to myself when a thought hit me like a blimp full of sandwiches: What if a newfangled retro swing band like The Brian Setzer Orchestra did a cover of this song and made a cute, classy video with one unexpected 'adult' bit in the final verse? Specifically, what if, during the last of several go-rounds, they changed the lyric to "Ain't she nice? Dip your ballsack in her rice. Now I ask you very confidentially - Ain't she nice?" and then just for that one- or two-second interval where he says the unexpected lyric, the video showed a close-up of a ballsac (no penis - that would be held up out of camera range) being dipped into a bowl of rice? There would then be no other reference to it whatsoever in the remainder of the video.

What would happen? What would MTV do? Would they even watch the whole video before airing it the first time? Would their toupees lop off their old boring person heads when a giant package suddenly filled the screen? I don't know, but I want to know. In fact, I NEED to know. So if you're 'buds' with Brian "Alka" Setzer, tell him Ol' Prind's got a dilly for his noggin. Thax!

On a similar topic, here's an amazing joke that'll knock the docksiders clear off your khaki legs:

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Goober.
Goober who?
Gubernatorial candidate Ben Jones!

True, the joke would be that much funnier if Ben Jones' The Dukes Of Hazzard character were actually named "Goober" instead of "Ol' Rascal" or whatever it was, but sometimes we have to stretch the truth to bring a bit of lightness into the lives of the lonely-hearted among us. That's my job and I intend to do it well. Between the knock-knock jokes and the strip of Scotch Tape on my urethra meatus, I should be able to lighten a good seven or eight lonely lives this afternoon alone (provided they're hot and filled with juggs).

Who? Alice Who? Alice Whoper? Alice - OH! Yes. Yes to all. Brutal Planet continues the amazing 'comeback trail' of Alice Cooper, pairing what may be the most horrifyingly grim and realistic lyrics of his career to what DEFINITELY was his heaviest instrumentation to date. It's a concept album about the cruelty and viciousness of the human race, set to detuned chord-driven industro-metal of the Ministry/White Zombie/Roots-era Sepultura variety, complete with the high-pitched dissipated/reverbed lead guitar lines so common to the genre. Don't fear that Alice has forsaken tunesmithery for Pantera pounding, though. True, the heavy thick chord progressions can start to feel a bit samey after a while (this is definitely one of his least diverse records), but the awesomely hooky choruses consistently provide much-needed emotional release to the pent-up depression of the trudging and often slowly-paced verses. Plus - and this is a BIG plus - the production is endlessly fascinating, all full of hidden synth lines, countermelodies and industrial noises. Either sit between the speakers or put on a pair of headphones because there's a lot more going on in there than you'd think!

About those lyrics. Alice begins this jolly walk through the park by discussing human brutality in general, making brief references to the Holocaust, Christians being thrown to lions, global starvation, whores, etc before presenting a selection of character studies and disgusted observations that are alternately pitiful and sickening. You, the listener (presumably), will herein encounter physically abusive husbands, seething Nazi youths, motiveless murderers, fat wasteful pigs who stuff themselves while the rest of the world starves, nihilists who prefer depression to hope, the selfish, the short-tempered, the cold and dehumanized, and -- in the album's most haunting track -- the sole survivor of a genocide, a young girl desperately trying to find all of her family members' remains so she can lay them to rest. (*does happy little tap dance*) Whee!

Musically, the only break from detuned headsmashing paineuphoria and heartbreaking arpeggiation is the '70s throwback ballad "Take It Like A Woman," which might as well be called "Only Women Bleed Pt. II" considering its thematic and musical similarities to that fine original track. So if you don't like early Black Sabbath and tight precise rigid chord smushing, get on the next boat to Pussyville because this is a MAN'S album. No little girls allowed! (Unless they have cox we can suk)

Seriously now - the guy's like 400 years old and this is - no exaggeration - one of the best albums he's ever made. Plus, not since the original Alice Cooper band had he issued TWO such terrific records in a row. And this one doesn't even rely on outside songwriters! Alice wrote nearly all of them with a fellow in his band (who also produced the record). Take THAT, Steve Perry and Joe Tyler of Journeysmith!

Sample lyric: "So you like the taste/Shove it in your face/It's not good to waste/We're not happy 'til we're chokin'/So we eat some more/Throw up on the floor/Go back to the store/We're so hungry, so pathetic"

Sample music: JOOG JOOG JOOG JOOG JOOG JOOG JOOG JOOG heeeeeaawwww heeeeeawwwww heeeeawwwww JOOG JOOG JOOG JOOG JOOG

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
I was stunned by the exceptionally high quality of this release as well when it came out. Alice hadn't put out a new album for 6 long years, and my expectations were pretty low, thinking that The Last Temptation was just a one-off respite from the mediocrity he was mired in from the mid 80's to early 90's. Brutal Planet just shattered that assumption! It's the work of a reinvigorated, inspired artist who has a lot more to say than you'd think he would this far into his career. Can you think of any other bands/artists from his generation still putting out new music that is as good as the classic era stuff? I can't. I agree that this stands among the best work of his career.

lumpy_monkey@hotmail.com
I've just started getting really into Alice Cooper and I must say that your reviews have been a huge help (though I was pleasantly surprised at how non-sucky Flush The Fashion was). I agree with your Welcome To My Nightmare review almost 100%. I listened to "Is Anyone Home?" per your reccomendation and...man. If there's been any better song about being a lonely, depressed, socially inept teenager in the late 90s/early 00s/forever, I've yet to hear it. And the guy's, like, 98 years old! And that guitar part in "The Awakening" you like so much? It's actually just a variation on the beginning of the bridge from "Only Women Bleed" (it comes in around the 2:20 mark) - listen closely if you don't believe me. Now if that isn't the most mind-blowing use of "conceptual continuity" I've ever heard, I don't know what is. Alice rules. Oh, and your Brian Setzer idea had me laughing my ass off. Especially since I actually heard the song AFTER reading your review.

sacicc@yahoo.com (L. Stephen Kelly)
Your review is spot-on.

Although "Brutal Planet" produced no hits, and only made a short guest appearance in Billboard's Top 200, this has to be the ABSOLUTE BEST album Alice Cooper has ever done. The anger of Alice's screaming out his cleverly contrived lyrics amidst a full-fledged heavy metal assault is simply great. I play this album over, and over, and over, and never get tired of it. Everyone I play samples for (typically "Brutal Planet" and "Gimme") has the same reaction, along the lines of "Why don't they play this stuff on the radio? It's great!"

For those who faded away from Alice as his sound got softer, get this album. It'll make you a Cooper fan all over again.

Add your thoughts?

DragonTown - Spitfire 2001
Rating = 6

DragonTown. An entire town populated by dragons. The stuff of fairy tales -- or something more? Let's look at the history of our natural arts and examine the links and clues with a bit more vigilance than necessary: Our first clue is Peter, Paul And Mary's 1961 hit "Puff The Magic DragonTown." This piece of folk-rock fancy put an early shade in the plate of discovery, which was only further monogrammed (spiritually) by Billy Joel's incredible steelmill ballad "Well, we're living here in DragonTown." Most recently, most of us can't walk ten feet without crashing into the jarring atonal snowdrift of Britney Spears' "Outrageous (My Sex Drive) Outrageous (My DragonTown)." It sounds like she's saying "My shopping spree," but check the lyrics sheet and you'll see what I mean. It might be misspelled as "My shopping spree," but listen close to the lyrics and you'll understand my forthrightness and calamity. So where does this leave Alice Cooper? Two places: (a) recording an album far too quickly and (b) not having enough decent songs to fill a whole album. The result, as you might have surmised by now, is Constrictor, an album that's just not very g

Is DragonTown, an album that's pretty good, but a definite letdown after the last two vinyl platters of meaty riffs and good gravy. Performed with the same band and co-written by the same producer who worked on Brutus' Canal, DragonTown is even heavier and slower than that release. Unfortunately for people who like good music, it's also more generically nu-metallesque, filled to Shitsville Direkt with boring two- and three-chord pounding bland nothing-verses instead of melodies. The choruses are still really catchy, but isn't that pretty much the case with EVERY nu-metal band? Useless empty verses followed by singalong choruses? I think so, and my pants are lying in the middle of the street.

Also, and this is just me talking here, but Alice tries to RAP on a couple of songs and, and this is just me talking here, he sounds like a dumbass.

Lyrically, he's crossing the desolation of Brutal Plane Ride with the Jesus Shit of The Last Starfighter. I ask you again - what's with the Jesus nonsense? We're not going to Heaven. As Three Dog Night once said, "Heaven Is In Your Mind," and according to Pavement, "Heaven Is A Truck," so surely Alice can't expect to get, as REM put it, "Near Wild Heaven" without acknowledging that, as the Pixies vowed so long ago, "This Monkey's Gone To Heaven," even if, as the lady in the radiator told Eraserhead, "In Heaven, everything is fine" because, as the Righteous Brothers claim, "If there's a Rock And Roll Heaven, well you know they've got a hell of a band." And that is every mention of Heaven ever included in a rock song. There are no other songs by any artists that include the word "Heaven" in the lyrics, especially in the title and especially after the word "Refrigerator." A sad fact, but true indeed. Jelly Roll Morton didn't play on this album, but if he had, he likely would have remarked about the stultifyingly heavy guitar tones. "Deeper," per its title, is in fact the most ludicrously heavy song in Alice's long dark history of sin -- its bass and guitars are so far buried in the ground, they're practically GROANING! That's a great song. And it's not alone - there are certainly some winning tracks here, please. "Triggerman" tears like the best Helmet ever, the title track is as Eastern-tinged as an opium-using slanty-eyes, "Sister Sara" features a spinechilling waltz break sung by a double-tracked ladyfriend, and "Every Woman Has A Name," the obligatory ballad, as as good as always, though Alice is getting a bit vague in his messaging (I think it's about how every woman suffers and too many are underappreciated -- either that or it's a sequel to the popular Bob Dylan favorite "Man Gave Names To All The Animals"). So that's five great songs with well-developed hooks, great energy, stellar production, beautiful changes and sharp malignant tumors of blasphemy. And there it is -- a great new EP by Allie McBeal!

No hang on, there's another half hour of bonus material -- seven songs that range from "ehh" to "pbbllt." For example, "Sex Death And Money" has uplaugharoarable lyrics about a repressed moralist who accidentally wanders into a porno theater ("I was so offended/As I sat for three hours"), but the so-called "music" is just a couple of jerks setting their automatic guitar pilots on "dull" and leaving the room for ten minutes. On a scale of "ehh" to "pbbllt," this one would be right in the middle - a solid "ugggh." Parenthetically (or alternately, "On the other hand"), "I Just Wanna Be God" features the most tin-eared dopey-ass white-man rap since Rodney Dangerfield's "The 'I Don't Get No Respect' Rap" or whatever, and gets either a full "pbbllt" or at the very least a high "(*shits into hand*)."

I don't feel the need to go into detail about the aural sound of the musical album because it basically just sounds like outtakes from Brutal Planet with much less interesting production. It's heavy, slow, trudging industrial metal with a few slight deviations, including the lame-o alt-rock jangler "It's Much Too Late," an abhorrent (and a bhorring) song about a clean-living man who finds himself in Hell for no reason he can figure out. What exactly is Alice's point here? He's spent most of his career telling us that we'd better follow good Christian doctrine or we'll end up burning in the flames of Hell with Satan The Devil, yet now he's suggesting that it doesn't matter what we do because we're going there anyway? Who thought up THIS bullshit? Well fuggit main I'ma go steal me a rape and screw a car up the pipe-ass! (*steals a rape, attempts to screw a car up the pipe-ass, but can't get a boner*)

It's amazing how short my reviews would be if it weren't for the old "(*performs ridiculous activity*)" gag. I'd have nothing at all to say! Here, I'll try.

(*can't think of anything to say*)

Curses! It's taken on a life of its own! (*gets scared*) Ah! I've no control over it anymore! Everybody run for your lives! (*runs for his life, falls into open manhole*) Hey! Who put this manhole in my pornography room? (*lands on huge pile of squirming, screaming maggots*) Oh thank God! My maggots are safe!

Listeners with ears might notice that the 'riff' in the novelty track "Disgraceland" is an exact copy of the 'hook' of Brutal Planet's novelty track "It's The Little Things," itself an exact copy of the theme from Rawhide. You see, you don't HAVE to write actual music if you're just doing a joke song! That's how jokes work! Haven't you seen that Bob Hope movie?

Here's a hilarious DragonTown-related story for you - and it's TRUE! Shortly after this CD was released, I was speaking to my then-boss, an extremely bizarre (and repressed - oh GOD so repressed) homosexual businessman who was telling me about one of the teachers he admired at Catholic School when he was young. When he said that her name was "Sister Sara," I immediately thought of the DragonTown track of the same name that discusses a nun who's going to Hell because she keeps making sweet sweet love with men. I must have grinned a sheepish fool's smile because my boss then paused and said, "What?" I responded, "Oh, there's a song on the new Alice Cooper album called 'Sister Sara.'" And here's the part of the story that haunts me with confusion to this very day:

He replied, "Yeah, I know. I don't think it's about her though."

WHY THE FUCK WOULD A REPRESSED MIDDLE-AGED BUSINESSMAN HOMOSEXUAL HAVE ANY KNOWLEDGE AT ALL OF ALICE COOPER'S EXISTENCE, LET ALONE BE AWARE OF A BRAND NEW SONG ON AN ALBUM THAT NOBODY BOUGHT!?!?!??!?!?!

I guess I should have asked him at the time, but you know me and gays. They're always trying to sweet-talk me into 'exploring my sexuality'; I'm always tired out from ramming the pool boy.

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
I think this review is a bit unfair. Dragontown is more of the same as Brutal Planet, but I don't think the drop-off in quality is as extensive as you make it out to be. The first half of the album is fabulous all the way through - I think it matches the loftly new standards he made for himself with the previous album. It does lose steam towards the end though. The last 3 songs are boring really, and the relentless assault of simplistic Korn riffs does tend to get old. Still though, how can you not love "Disgraceland" to pieces? IT'S ALICE COOPER DOING A HILARIOUS ELVIS IMPERSONATION AND PULLING IT OFF AMAZINGLY WELL.

I also want to add that even though Brutal Planet was the most serious, dark, and cynical album Alice has ever put out, and that Dragontown is very much a continuation of this, it does at least have a few lighter moments, both musically and lyrically. This doesn't surprise me since a genuinely funny, diverse personality like Alice Cooper is incapable of being a one sided morose cliche like all the nu metal bands he is emulating with these releases, which gives him the advantage in my opinion.

Oh and the delicate female vocals on "Sister Sara" are provided by his daughter Calico, who also is a major figure in Alice's live shows, playing the dominatrix, the sexy nurse, Britney Spears, and Uma Thurman (the Kill Bill character)! Damn she's hot. I'd feed it to her!

sacicc@yahoo.com (L. Stephen Kelly)
The review is accurate: A bit of a letdown after Brutal Planet, but still pretty good.

Should you choose to purchase this album, you should go ahead and spend a few dollars extra to buy "Dragontown, Special Edition" instead. In addition to getting the Dragontown album on CD-1, it comes with a second CD which includes: (1) Clowns Will Eat Me, (2) Go To Hell (live from the Brutally Live tour/DVD) (3) The Ballad of Dwight Fry (live, same as before), (4) Brutal Planet (Remix), plus two enhanced videos of "Gimme" and "It's The Little Things."

alicehunter2000@comcast.net
I feel this review was innacurate in that Dragontown is much darker and versatile than the plodding nature of Brutal Planet. I think if you spend any time on Alice message boards comparisons between Dragontown and Brutal Planet show that hardcore Alice fans are fairly evenly split between the two. This album was conceived before and came out almost on 9-11 and was in many ways eerily prophetic of that event.

Add your thoughts?

The Eyes Of Alice Cooper - Eagle 2003
Rating = 7

Worst album title and photo booklet EVER. Sounds like a compilation, and looks like 40 grotesque photos of Alice's wrinkled, frazzled old face with no makeup except the Love It To Death-era tarantula eyes, for some reason. Actually, it's probably NOT just "for some reason." As the little sticker attached to the CD case announces, this is "A bold step forward, with a nod to his past." Theoretically, this would mean that he has assembled a crack band of sick, amazing musicians to create a '70s-style masterwork along the lines of Killer or Billion Dollar Babies. Unfortunately, the Good Lord doesn't create a Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway or Michael Bruce everyday.

But now science can! With our new Star-Cloning(TM) technology, you too can make your own "Weird Al" Yaahh pbldj

The days of heavy industro-metal are behind Mr. Alice Cooper, at least for the time moment of being. This new band of hot young scruffians who like to show off their bare chests (when was the last time Alice had his entire band shown in an album photo anyway!? 1947?) play goodtime raw rock and roll with country, blues and '70s punk influences (Johnny Thunders, especially). The lead guitarist in particular seems fairly certain that he's actually in the Black Crowes, churning out Southern Stonesy solos left, right and also directly in the middle. It's trashy, glammy and tailormade for some kind of nostalgia buff, but as expected, these particular musicians aren't as instrumentally "out there" as Alice's great first band. Plus, Alice -- perhaps excited by all the youthful energy surrounding him -- keeps using some obnoxious semi-Mick Jagger/Oasis fake accent that made my wife remark that it sounds like he's trying TOO hard to sound young and hip. Still, and I don't know how they pulled this off with so many immediate strikes against them, half of these songs are frigginggingg GREAT!!!! Funny lyrics, catchy chord sequences, tons of energy, and really just an awful lot of true FUN. No sludgy depression for once, either - just irony, sarcasm, peppy tempos, a bit of macabre theatricality, the usual ballad, a fair amount of diversity and FUN!!!

Beginning with a 45-minute "jam" version of Pink Floyd's "What Do You Want From Me?" the album qui

Beginning with a Pearl Jam-sounding fast catchy assault called "What Do You Want From Me?" the album establishes its raison de etre from the goget. Continues with a slight rewrite of the Stone Temple Pilots' "Big Boom Baby" in which Alice declares that he knows he's neither "classic rock legend" nor "hipster elite to the youth," but he'll keep plugging along. Then a speedy "Richard Cory" rewrite that features the line "My prostate is a jewel." Then the single "Novocaine," which my wife hates because it's so tailormade for alternative rock radio, but I love it, especially the lyrics -- see, he's completely numb to his partner's caresses. The honeymoon is over. When she kisses him, he feels nothing. It's like Novocaine. Or maybe like a.... "Tranquilizer Dart Of Love"!!!!

That was awesome how I started describing all the songs for you. I should totally keep doing that. Then there's this shitty country swagger rocker with horns, then a vibrato organ ballad that sounds exactly like the Black Crowes and isn't very good, then a dopey-ass shithole tribute to Detroit City in which Alice humiliates the entire world by 'namechecking' Iggy, Ziggy, Miss Piggy, Luigi, Jess Franco and everybody else he grew up with and threw up with in Detroit RoKKK Shitty.

Then the album really kicks some ass for five songs in a row! Tough grunge rocker, eerie sad retroactive take on "Stephen" warped lullaby, uptempo ass-rocker, and oh MAN "The Song That Didn't Rhyme" -- a catchy, mainstream, beautifully arpeggiated guitar pop song (with accordion!) ABOUT a terrible song. Check out these lyrics, but take care that the Good Humor man doesn't run you over in his ice cream truck! "It was bland, it was boring, all the groupies there were snoring The first time we played it live All the record guys got fired, the president retired But somehow the song survived The melody blows in a key that no one can find The lyrics don't flow but I can't get it out of my mind A three minute waste of your time No redeeming value of any kind But thanks for the twelve ninety nine On a song that didn't rhyme."

Then two others. To me, this doesn't at all sound like a calculated attempt to repeat his '70s successes, so don't worry about any of that. The only one of these songs that comes across as "Been there/done that" is the creepy "This House Is Haunted," which still manages to RULE ASS thanks to a sorrowful oboe and brilliant lyrics about a poor man whose wife has died at home. What it DOES sound like is an attempt to make a fun rock and roll album - clear the air of all that darkness he'd been preaching and keaching for the past decade. And it succeeds. I don't love every song, you understand, but I love - heck, more than half of them! I didn't even mention "I'm So Angry," and that one's a total ass-kicking ass kicker of a punk rock song! If the thought of Alice Cooper singing for a Black Crowes/Pearl Jam hybrid doesn't make you kvetch your matzho schmutz, then eat it up because datza spicy meatball-ah!

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
7?? Common, I'd give this a low 9! There is no filler at all. I think all the songs are wonderful, though "Backyard Brawl" and "Spirits Rebellious" are a notch below the rest. You're right though that this album is very fun and brimming with youthful energy. A batch of diverse, fast rocking songs with no concept or Christian preaching in sight! Alice hasn't sounded this upbeat since Zipper Catches Skin!

The self referential title does suck though...I don't know what he was thinking when he chose it. Even though the album was marketed as a stylistic return to his early 70's garage rock roots (to cash in on the neo-garage popularity of The Strokes, The Hives, The White Stripes, etc) and certainly does evoke that era, it's thoroughly modern sounding. Some of it sounds like Green Day! Alice makes a few nods to other past eras as well - he himself has said that "This House Is Haunted" was a conscious attempt to create a new Welcome To My Nightmare song (and it's so damn good that I wish he would create a whole new album along those lines), and I personally think that the hilarious novelty track "The Song That Didn't Rhyme" would have fit in perfectly on Lace And Whiskey. I hope these are an indication of which direction he'll be taking in the near future!

All the songs were written by Alice and a few of the band members, and recorded in only 2 weeks!

cddude24@yahoo.com (Jon Blanton)
The title is suppose to be equivalent to "THROUGH The Eyes Of Alice Cooper" or "Hey guys, it's the 21st century and now I'm gunna play a few songs through the perception of my alter-ego, all of which beat the crap out of Dragontown...whew! That was kind of MEDIOCRE! So now I'm gunna make my band dye their hair blonde and spike it so I can be 'hip,' but like I said earlier...it's the PERCEPTION of Alice Cooper, which is why I hilariously name-check an 'X-box,' 'cell phone,' and 'pager.'"

As far as the albums content, I'd give it a nine and call it one of the best things he's done in a long time, (though his output has been considerably strong ever since The Last Temptation,) "This House Is Haunted" and "Backyard Brawl," slightly taking away from the overall flow of the album.

And yes, he did legally change his name to Alice Cooper in 1975.

jamesagardner@yahoo.com
Wow, a new section on Alice Cooper. Is good! Along with Blue Oyster Cult, Alice Cooper shows were some of my best 70's concert experiences. Until I saw "Sick Things" performed live, I had no ideas that a bass guitar could produce sound pressure levels sufficient to cause GI system disruption!
Boy, if they'd known how Bob Greene was going to turn out, I bet they'd have worked him over for real during those Billion Dollar Babies shows where Greene dressed up as Santa! Or if they'd known how his book about them would turn out. And if you've got a copy of Greene's Billion $ Babies book, you may be interested to know that first editions are going for three figures!
What disgusts me about Alice Cooper is how ol' Vince appropriated the name of the band for himself. You never saw Mr. Jethro Tull take his band's name and take off for a tepid solo career with it!
Watching--and listening--to the Alice Cooper band transform from the tight, innovative heavy metal band of "Love It To Death" and "Killer" to Vince Furnier's faceless back-up group was one of the most dramatic and disgusting declines in the history of rock and roll! To be all alliterative about it.
If I were the surviving AC band guys, I'd call my group "Vincent Furnier"! And still be obscure, probably, but at least I'd have some payback!

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Dirty Diamonds - New West 2005
Rating = 3

Let me preface this by saying that I changed my "computer's thinking" cursor to a little red horsey and it may be the greatest thing I've ever done. Now whenever I have to wait five hours for a web page to come up, instead of a prickish yin-yang or stupid little clock going "Look at me! I'm thinking, like an asshole!," I get to watch the little red horsey gallop across the screen, free like the wind. I've named him Scarlet, and we're going to share many adventures.

Let me continue to preface this by saying that I love Alice Cooper. I truly do. His lengthy career has brought me boxes full of happiness with its unpredictable twists and wonderfully memorable songs of all different pop/rock subgenres. However, a 'fan' of an artist is not required to kiss the bleeding bloody arse of every single product released by said artist. Therefore, I will sit here at work and loudly proclaim that, although I love Alice Cooper and eagerly await his next release, Dirty Diamonds is a complete piece of shit that I absolutely loathe.

It's being promoted as a return to Alice's 'classic sound,' but that's hogwash (washing a hog). I'll tell you what it actually sounds like. Remember Poison? Not the Alice Cooper hit, but the band? THAT'S who this album sounds like. Poison, Motley Crue -- all those old 'glam metal' bands that regurgitated centuries-old rock 'n' roll riffs as disgustingly cheery pop smashes. But Alice and Co. are being really sneaky about it -- the production tries to trick you into thinking that this new line-up is a raw garage band like today's Strokes or today's White Stripes or yesterday's original Alice Cooper Band. But they're NOT, GODDAMMIT! The raw, live-sounding production is merely disguising a worthless, anachronistic collection of simpering glam rock.

To give them the benefit of my doubt, perhaps they really do think that "Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies)" sounds like Exile-era Stones, and that plagiarizing "The Ballad Of Dwight Frye" for a song about a transvestite cowboy is the same thing as 'rekindling the classic Alice Cooper sound.' Me, I'd prefer an album with more than two songs on it that don't make me think of CC Deville running around with that big dumb hair.

I'm not blaming Alice Cooper, per se. He has long relied on co-writers to help him set his interesting lyrics to memorable music. The problem is that this current line-up can't write songs for shit. All of these riffs are just basic three-chord cliches that have served as filler on bad rock and roll albums since the dawn of man. The lead guitarist tries to sound like Johnny Thunders, the rhythm guitarist plays a chord sequence you first heard four seconds after your mother's egg was fertilized, and Alice's usual schtick falls completely flat because it has nothing to prop it up. If he's guilty of anything, it's for not noticing that he's hired a bunch of artistic failures. Well, that and singing in an annoying macho manner in a few of the songs. But that's a lesser crime.

I like a grand total of three songs on here. AND ONE IS A COVER. How is it that Alice can recognize and recreate the beauty of a song as wonderful as The Left Banke's "Pretty Ballerina," yet allow it to be surrounded by the most vomitous batch of rot-pussy-rock since Winger broke up? If you're curious, the other songs I like are the title track and (especially) "Steal That Car," which enjoins funny lyrics ("Everybody knows... I'm gonna STEAL! THAT! CAR!") with a tough speedy hook that kinda resembles Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down A Dream" in reverse. The remaining ten songs belong on a Bullet Boys album buried at the center of the earth's core.

And for the record, I'm not the only person in my home who feels this strongly about Dirty, Shitty Diamonds. Here are three brief exchanges shared by my wife and I during my third of four listens prior to writing this review:

Wife: "Oh god, PLEASE don't make me listen to this song again."
Me: "Oops! Sorry."

(later)

Wife: "Hey! This is a nice song!"
Me: "It's a cover."
Wife: "Oh."

(later)

Me: "I just can't believe that it's really this bad. He's NEVER made an album this bad!"
Wife: "It IS this bad. Get over it."

Of course, if you miss the glam metal era (in other words, if you were in one of the big glam metal bands that were buried by their own obsolescence in 1991), you will probably enjoy this CD quite a bit. It's got all the stupid obvious riffs and ickily sweet backup vocals you could possibly hope for, along with 'hilarious' lyrics about girls who can't sing karaoke and "Women Of Mass Distraction" (GET IT!? Good, because in five years, NOBODY will get it.). Me, I'll just sit idly by and wait for Alice to enter his next phase, hopefully sooner than later. Although I do like Now And Laters, so that'd be cool.

Reader Comments

eclipsereviews@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
I honestly don't understand the "Poison" and 80's glam metal accusations that you throw against this album, because it honestly doesn't sound anything like that genre of music.

I noticed that Dirty Diamonds has received favourable reviews in a vast majority so far, and while I don't think it's quite as strong as some of his recent releases, I do see it as a pretty solid continuation of his songwriting abilities. I'll agree with you that the bulk of the guitar riffs and chord sequences are far too generic by Alice's usual standards, but you can't deny that most of these songs contain great hooks that are very catchy. By the way, most of the songs were written with the same guys who did the previous few albums, all of which you praised, so you're kind of contradicting yourself when you say that they're shitty songwriters.

I'll admit that stuff like "Woman Of Mass Distraction" is a pretty uninspired, and DUMB, example of cock rock which he normally doesn't stoop to, but months before the album came out he mentioned that he had written an "AC/DC style tribute", and in that sense I guess he succeeded, though it's not a style that suits him. Alice Cooper just doesn't sound natural when he sings stupid songs like that. On a related note, one thing that I noticed is that I think for the first time, his lyrics are pretty average throughout the whole album. He recently explained that he's fond of writing "absurdities based on strange people and behaviours in society", and while there are moments here and there that show some of his quirky sense of humour, the lyrics just aren't as clever or witty as they usually are, which is an area where he's traditionally rarely faltered in even when the music sucked.

"Perfect" is intended as a Beatle-esque pop song with Stonesy guitars, and while it's nice enough, it's not particularly memorable, and "You Make Me Wanna" is also on the uninspired side - it's an "Under My Wheels" knock-off with boring riffs and the verses are even a bit on the annoying side, and the "woo-hoo-hoo" bit in the chorus is pretty dumb too. I understand that he wanted to re-capture his early 70's sound, but nothing he did back then was this bland.

Another one I'm not so crazy about is "Run Down The Devil", which, although certainly catchy in parts, sounds like a Dragontown leftover with its jarringly downtuned riffs that don't appear anywhere else on the disc. Actually "Your Own Worst Enemy" is also a bit on the blah side of things in terms of riffs and arrangements, though like most of the songs, at least the chorus is memorable.

But like any Cooper album, there are plenty of gems to be found. Despite the main riff's striking similarity to "Paranoid" and a main chorus that sounds kind of sneeringly silly, the title track chugs along nicely, and you gotta love those antiquated "60's spy movie" muted sax blasts paired with flutes in the middle section! If only there was more of that sort of stuff going on! Weird song...kind of a marriage of "Halo Of Flies" and something off Zipper Catches Skin (due to the mainly talked, as opposed to sung, vocals).

Unlike you, I think "The Saga Of Jesse Jane" is fantastic, and the one song on the album that I can't stop listening to over and over. Every Alice album has one or two really bizarre musical novelties, and this is the song this time around. Alice's first stab at a moody country song, complete with a thinly veiled Johnny Cash impression? Awesome. I don't hear a musical similarity to "The Ballad Of Dwight Frye" at all, but maybe a bit of a "Desperado" influence, and the lyrical theme about the cross dressing homicidal truck driver was touched upon in a related fashion on "King Of The Silver Screen" on the Lace And Whiskey album, but this song has a personality of its own, not to mention beautiful music. I'd mark it as one of his career highlights.

I also agree that "Steal That Car" is a great, energetic ear candy of a rocker! That's one of those tracks that sticks with you instantly and forces you to replay it endless times in your head. Reminds me of his Flush The Fashion era.

"Pretty Ballerina" is a very apt choice for a cover. It's a gorgeous song (I had never heard the original before this), with its eccentric psychedelic melody, plinking harpsichord, and flute solo! It sounds like the type of song Alice Cooper would write if it hadn't already been written by someone else, which he said is why he decided to cover it in the first place. For some odd reason though, most Alice fans have been trashing this song as a terrible addition to Dirty Diamonds. I just don't understand that at all - it sounds like a natural companion piece to the Steven suite on Welcome To My Nightmare, though hardcore purists of the original Alice Cooper band don't like anything Alice related beyond 1973, so their opinions are invalid.

There's also the sad blues ballad called "Six Hours", which I'm surprised you don't like. I think it shows Alice's creativity once again considering that only once before has he ever attempted something bluesy, and that song wasn't even on an album. His voice is in great form here.

I love "Sunset Babies All Got Rabies"! It sounds sooooooooo 70's! The verses are kinda ehh, but that killer chorus?? How can you not love that? And hey, any attack on high maintenance women is fine by me :P

And what don't you like about "Zombie Dance"? The smoky, southern, swampy atmosphere is yet another sound that he's never tackled before, and I think it turned out great. Alice is always exciting when he surprises you, and this is a fine example of that. And he even gives us one of his rare harmonica solos!

I'm also surprised that you didn't mention the album closer, "Stand", featuring rap superstar Xzibit! This is another track that has been consistently derided in reviews as a sad example of Alice Cooper desperately stooping to enlisting a popular hip hop dude to appeal to a younger audience, but that is an uninformed take on the song. "Stand" wasn't even written for Dirty Diamonds - the producers of the "Official Soundtrack of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece" simply asked a whole bunch of music stars to contribute vocals to to the songs they had written for the album, whose gimmick was that all the songs feature an odd pairing. So that explains how "Stand" came about, and I'm glad it wound up on Dirty Diamonds as well, because against all odds, it's actually good! In fact it's kind of sad that it's the only song on the disc that sounds more like what you expect Alice Cooper to sound like - kind of menacing and eerie, with hard edged guitars and creepy vocals. Cool bassline that's great to dance to as well. Not at all the type of mainstream, milquetoast schlock you'd expect an official Olympic song to be like! I don't even mind the one verse that Xzibit raps, and I'm really not a rap fan.

So there ya go - a bit of a weaker effort overall than usual, but you know what? Considering how much wonderful music he's given us recently (one of the only people of the 60's classic rock generation still doing so), not to mention all his classic stuff, I'm not gonna judge him too harshly for a few missteps here and there...he's earned them. About a 6 out of 10 for me. I hope he goes back to making concept albums now though.

romesp@gmail.com (Rod Meade Sperry)
just read that review. how sad.

i love Alice, too. i keep waiting for the greatness to return - the greatness you hear in "Goes to Hell," or "From the Inside," or even "The Last Temptation". i think it's done. i think he's stuck. maybe he should write books. or preach.

boc262@yahoo.com
By your review sir it goes to show you don't know shit.

cddude24@yahoo.com (Jon Blanton)
Got to say I completely agree with your review. 'The Eyes' was a pretty solid return to form, (minus one or two songs,) but Dirty Diamonds was a big let-down. It basically sounds like 'Man Of The Year' fifteen times over with nothing intelligent happening musically.

Last year I was fortunate enough to see the man and the band in a 500-person standing room, and every song, old and new, stood solid. An excellent show. I've got to say this year though, I'll be staying home.

Keep up the good work!

sacicc@yahoo.com (L. Stephen Kelly)
Although I agree with you in a sense that "Dirty Diamonds" is a pretty big letdown after the albums from "The Last Temptation" to "Dragontown", I think you were a bit harsh. Regarding "The Saga of Jesse Jane," the people I play that song for love it. Any song you listen to just once, and then can't get the lyrics out of your head for a month thereafter, can't be all bad.

For the record, the non-US release of "Dirty Diamonds" includes a bonus song called "The Sharpest Pain" instead of that awful hip-hop sounding "Stand" bonus song that I can't stand, no pun intended. "The Sharpest Pain" is actually my favorite song over the rest of the album... which means your review is probably accurate, if a bit overstated.

For the record, I am not an Alice junkie. I'm an Alice super-junkie.

Alice Cooper Brutally Live:

===========================

While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with sticking to officially released albums as well as perhaps an important bootleg or two, you might wish to consider reviewing CD's that weren't released as albums per-se, but are still readily available for purchase.

Alice Cooper released a DVD-concert video called "Brutally Live." You can buy it as the DVD only, or in a "DVD and CD" edition which includes a CD of almost all of the songs performed. Although "A Fistful of Alice" was IMO light years better than his original "Alice Cooper Show" release, the "Brutally Live" DVD/CD is even better than that, as it was a concert consisting of all those great kick-your-ass-til-you-can't-sit tracks from Brutal Planet, with the rest of his hits played in a more metalish manner.

The tracks include: Brutal Planet No More Mr. Nice Guy You Drive Me Nervous Gimme It's Hot Tonight Under My Wheels Go To Hell Caught In A Dream School's Out Blow Me A Kiss It's The Little Things Billion Dollar Babies I'm Eighteen Poison My Generation Feed My Frankenstein Take It Like A Woman Elected Wicked Young Man Only Women Bleed

Songs on the DVD not on the CD were Pick Up the Bones, Dead Babies, The Ballad of Dwight Fry (a crime calling for the death penalty of the person who made the choice not to include it, but since they decided to include the live version from this concert in the Special Edition of "Dragontown" I suppose we can stay that person's execution, for now), I Love The Dead, and The Black Widow (which were shortened, instrumentals anyway).

In short, "Brutally Live CD," constitues the best live album available for Alice Cooper, especially if you rip the missing tracks from the DVD and insert them where they belong, and burn your own.

jcbond@sympatico.ca
I just heard this for the first time- it's not bad, but it's not good either, it's just sort of generic, and inoffensive, like that Hollywood 'rock music' played by session musicians for the soundtracks of TV shows and movies too cheap to pay royalties to real artists. No wait, it's more like a high school-aged Alice Cooper band that decided to write a few originals. The basic AC elements are there but none of the menace. I think he really needs to start drinking again.

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Along Came A Spider - Steamhammer/SPV 2008
Rating = 7

Yesterday the wife and I went to Trapeze School here in NYC, and let me tell you something about the flying trapeze: (a) it's high, (b) it's scary, and (c) it hurts. Don't get me wrong -- I felt like a courageous man up there flying to and fro, upside-down and rightside-middle. But the rough material they put on the trapeze bar to prevent losers (me) from slipping off and falling 9 billion miles to their death was HELL on the handskin, turning my entire palm into a raw, red blister covered in white chalk. Washing with water is painful enough; I foolishly tried an alcohol-based cleanser and nearly passed out from the furious sting. Combine that with the bicep pain of holding onto the bar for dear sweet life, the "back of the knees" achiness from dangling upside-down by my legs and trying not to slip loose and land headfirst on Death's Tombstone, the overall leg suffering from a few consecutive nights of Restless Leg Sleep, and the brain fatigue of waking up at 5:30 AM because Henry The Dog was scared of a thunderstorm -- and you've got one exhausted, ache-wracked Alice Cooper reviewer! As such, don't get all pissy when this review doesn't end up winning an Oscar. I literally can't keep my eyes open, let alone my fingers!

Alice "Poopers" Cooper is finally back in his element, and it's a wonderful thing to behear. Along Came A Spider is a concept album about a serial killer, and the music is as alternately creepy, mean and '70s-rockin' as you could possibly hope for from a 60-year-old man. I was braced for the worst after the cheerful glam cliche's of Dirty Diamonds, but thankfully Alice replaced that entire band (aside from bassist Chuck Garrick) with a heavier group who helped him create the most evil record in his entire discography. Not toosh abbey for a Born-Again Christian who plays 18 holes of golf every morning!

First things forever: Spider may not be a perfect record, but it is nearly the thematic and musical equal of his earlier Last Temptation/Brutal Planet double-comeback - no easy feat! The songs are split between Temptation-style mean modern metal and riff-heavy '70s hard rock, with only a couple minor slips into the empty industrial clanging and annoying hair metal that marred DragonTown and Dirty Diamonds respectively. I'll go ahead and warn you that one of the main offenders is the very first song -- so don't freak out and throw the download out the window if "I Know Where You Live" brings back nauseating memories of STP's "Big Bang Boom Bam Bubble Butt" or whatever hell it's called. Once you hear how the rest of the CD sounds, it's MUCH easier to enjoy this drum-based glamour glammer for the one-shot that it is.

As I said, Cooper really sounds like he's back in his element here, confident in both his disturbing lyrics and the strong, memorable riffs that accompany them. And it's not that the music is innovative or anything -- it's just that the band came up with some great hooks and chord changes, which isn't that easy to do when you're operating in the centuries-old 'hard rock' style. Check out the first single "Vengeance Is Mine," for example. Pretty basic verse really, but what a monster of a brooding chorus! "Catch Me If You Can" and "The One That Got Away" are even meaner, with evil lyrics like "You look like you'd fit in the trunk of my car" pushing the riffs into ever-darker areas.

Not that it's all dark, at least musically (it's certainly all dark conceptually!). Other songs evoke (in a good way, surprisingly enough) the hard rock of the 1970's: "Your Feminine Side" is total early-Kiss stomp-rock; "Wrapped In Silk" is like AC/DC finally put out a new album; and the acoustic/keyboard ballad "Killed By Love" is another melodic vocal classic to place alongside "I Never Cry" and "Only Women Bleed" in the Alice Cooper Trophy Cabinet Of Sensitive Ballads.

Less impressively, the verse of "I'm Hungry" is basically "Is It My Body" played backwards, the verse of "I Am The Spider" has no riff at all, the dramatic piano verse of "Salvation" sounds like something you'd hear in a modern hip-hop song, and the fun Ozzy-delic '60s pop rocker "Wake The Dead" is nearly ruined by somebody's decision to throw in the "Taxman" bass line (who do they think they are - The Jam!?). However, WAIT! Even these songs have great parts in them! There is literally not a single all-bad song on here -- and more than half of them are good as a dick!

I mean, a good dick, of course. Not all are. Some, for example, charge too much for their services. Others don't put enough time and effort into honing their private detective skills. But once you've found a good dick, your wife will never get away with cheating on you with a business partner who's hired a hitman to sabotage your brakes again!

Ha ha! Good old bawdy double-entendre, and its use in jokes. I apologize for really 'pushing the envelope' of decency with that one. I should've warned you not to read it if you're of impressionable age (1-34) or gender (broad). It was really meant more for the old boys in the Lodge here, with our cigars and fezzes.

Macabre lyrics include:

"While you're at work I'm alone
In your room, on your bed and you'll never know
I like to go through your things
The touch, the smell, the joy it brings"

"I got a bed in my basement fit for two
I got some chloroform and handcuffs just for you"

"Keep it down don't talk, I have to think
I could let you walk, I could feed the sink
I could grind you up and disappear
like you were never here"

"Which limb will I choose, which one gets sawn in half
Which leg would you lose to an arachnophobic psychopath?"

"How did you see my face?
When could you feel the knife?
What was your final thought
the moment I took your life?"

"How many more will cross my path?
How many more must die?
I never wonder where they come from
I never wonder why"

Macabre album-closing summation is:

"You trap, you kill, you eat
That's what a good spider does
You trap, you kill, you eat."

And if you're wondering who this "Spider" serial killer character is, here's a hint: he first appeared by name on the Welcome To The Nightmare LP.

That's right! It's Vincent Price! He came back to life to wreak revenge on a world that rejected The Whales of August. "No more Mr. ERRRR!!!!!" he shouted as flames flew o

No hang on, typo. It's 'Stephen.'

So keep up the good work, Alice Cooper! Keep murdering eight people, cutting off one of their legs, and wrapping their bodies in silk! This is a great autobiographical CD and none of us out here can't wait for more of the same the next time out on your album!

Ahhhh I'm at your concert and now I'm dead!

Reader Comments

sacicc@yahoo.com (L. Stephen Kelly)
Great review. The theme of the album is great. Alice's lyrics as you noted are his darkest and most disturbing yet, but not quite as complex as those from The Last Temptation. As you also noted there are some weak spots, which I think made it fall just a tad short of Brutal Planet, which had Bob Estrin's production. I think help along Estrin's lines in the way of production could have made this one a ten-star. But it's still well worth picking up.

If you don't take offense to a few corrections, he didn't exactly 'fire' all of his prior band. In addition to Chuck Garrick, take note that his drummer since Brutal Planet, Eric Singer, is still with him, and plays drums for most of the tracks. Additionally, former members like Ryan Roxie went on to form their own band, so it's debatable whether or not he fired anyone at all.

Nice to see you staying on top of things for worthwhile reviews of notable, worthwhile releases.

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Welcome 2 My Nightmare - Bigger Picture 2011
Rating = 7

What do you call a person whose digestive system converts foodstuffs into a drinking cup or goblet?

A Chalice Pooper!

That's how Mark Prindle began his review of the new Chalice Pooper LP, Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a sequel to his award-winning review of Chalice Pooper's 1975 solo debut Welcome 1 My Nightmare. But forget everything you know about Chalice Pooper, argues Mark Prindle in his new review, because this time out he's dead set on entertaining you with the most diverse set of subgenre-hopping novelty songs since his Broadway Rock days! In Mark Prindle's opinion.

Then Mark Prindle wrote a bulleted list of the many subgenres represented. Then he shat in a hat and threw it at the mayor. But the bulleted list looked something like this:

- Godfuckingawful Linkin Park Auto-Tuned Horseshit Mope Pussy Rock: "I Am Made of You"
- '70s-stylized Hard Rockin' Tuff Rock With Cowbell: "Caffeine"
- Creepy Piano Nightmare Lullaby: "The Nightmare Returns"
- Goin' Off The Rails Choogle Glam Rock: "A Runaway Train"
- Tom Waits: "Last Man On Earth"
- Ozzy Osbourne (Or, In Alice Cooper's Opinion, The Beatles): "The Congregation"
- Early AC/DC (or, In Alice Cooper's Opinion, The Rolling Stones): "I'll Bite Your Face Off"
- Disco-Rap: "Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever"
- Beach Music: "Ghouls Gone Wild"
- Ballad: "Something To Remember Me By"
- Dark Blues Rock: "When Hell Comes Home"
- '80s Hair Metal Meets Modern Dance-Pop: "What Baby Wants"
- Scarecrow-era John Cougar Mellencamp: "I Gotta Get Outta Here"
- Orchestral Medley: "The Underture"

Mark Prindle knows what you're thinking; Mark Prindle knows you're thinking, "Hay, that just sounds like one of those last two Dwarves albums you pissed and moaned about! Why is it okay for Chalice Pooper to put on a Las Vegas Variety Show but when the Dwarves do it, you whine like a Merlot? Ha ha! Is it gotten by you? 'Twas a little 'wine' gag for all the wine fans out there in the audience tonight!"

"Mainly because Alice Cooper doesn't sound like an arrogant cokehead asshole," responds Dave Fuckleberry, publicist and spokesperson for Mark Prindle. "A bit silly, perhaps -- this is definitely among the more 'novelty rock'-esque records he's released -- but it's fun! Footloose and fancy free! You'll be a smiler!"

But enough with the Rod Stewart references. No more foolish behaviour! This review is out of order!

Make several mistakes: there is some AWFUL music on here. "I Am Made Of You" and "What Baby Wants (featuring Ke$ha)" are mortifyingly bad attempts to appeal to modern radio programmers, "Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever" and "Ghouls Gone Wild" are straight-up novelty songs for "Weird Al" Yankovic fans, and "Something To Remember Me By" sounds like a hapless attempt to recreate the magic of Alice's '70s ballad hits ("Only Women Bleed," "You And Me," "I Never Cry") until you check Wikipedia and realize it was actually written in the '70s!

Still, unless you simply don't like Alice Cooper, you'd have to have a major stick up your nose to give this thing anything below a low 7. He's simply trying SO HARD to entertain you! No two songs even come close to sounding alike; some are wonderfully melodic, others attempt to get you laughin', still others (particularly the three songs featuring ALL FOUR SURVIVING MEMBERS OF THE ORIGINAL ALICE COOPER BAND) rock your dick off and flush it down the commodity.

I know what you're thinking: "What the!? There are three songs with the original Alice Cooper band? Why didn't he record a whole album with them!?"

Hint: The Weirdness.

So put on some camouflage, take a night on the town and purchase this Great American Songbook, Volume IV tonight!

Reader Comments

Matt K.
Hey here's one for you Mark. What do you call an aging theatrical hard-rock musician who also takes it up the ass?

Phallus Pooper!

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Do me a favor - click here and buy every single Alice Cooper CD. Thanks! Also, don't be a fool; when you click on the album covers, you'll discover less expensive USED copies hiding from you!

Wasn't that hilarious how those guys in that movie went "WE'RE NOT WORTHY! WE'RE NOT WORTHY!"? Ha ha! No. No it wasn't.