Thursday, February 16, 2012

Top Of The Heap: Alice Cooper

Andy Says-

Of all the albums I could choose by dear Alice I come walking away with "Trash" you say to yourself? Especially with obvious choices like "Welcome To My Nightmare" out there? I'm not saying for one minute that Alice Cooper isn't a legend based solely on his work in the 70s. The hits are all there and then some. I could spend this whole bit just naming them all off and trust me when I say I love them all. So, what's the story then? Well, back in the day when glam and hard rock were busy tap dancing with pop metal the world needed someone to show them how to do it right. In 1989 I was feed up with sleaze and all the hairspray that went with it. Like many I felt as if the scene had imploded. Also, like many I had put our dear friend Alice out of my mind. Sure I heard the hits on FM radio and sang along. But for me Alice was old and tired. His day had past. "Trash" though proved if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. Alice took hard rock/glam/pop metal and gave it the boost it needed. He kicked it in it's sorry teeth and said "hey kiddos this is how you do it!". From the time I heard "Poison" onward I knew this was the comeback album Alice needed. With Desmond Child producing and writing alongside Alice the end result was an album that people either love or hate. Not everyone gets into this album and I honestly get that. Whatever it is that pulls me toward it remains a mystery as at it's heart this is pretty much just Alice Cooper fronting some random Hollywood glitter band. It is unashamedly pop metal and even if I do loathe that term/genre I just love this album. Muscle bound guitarist Kane Roberts (who played on Alice Cooper's two album's "Constrictor" and "Raise Your Fist and Yell") may have only received credit for his solo on "Bed Of Nails" but let's face it he co-wrote the album's music if only for the fact that he brought his love of heavy metal along to share with Alice. His touch is all over this album since he did play in Alice Cooper's band up until 1988. Between Robert's bare bone affection for heavy metal and Desmond Child's magical touch this album was gold from the get-go. With guests like Jon Bon Jovi, the late great Stiv Bators, Steven Tyler, Guy Mann-Dude, Joe Perry, Richie Sambora, Tom Hamilton, Hugh McDonald, Michael Anthony and Joey Kramer on board "Trash" proves to be a hard rock album full of great tunes. Besides the hit "Poison" you have great cuts like "Bed of Nails", "House of Fire", "Only My Heart Talkin'", "I'm Your Gun" and "Hell Is Living Without You". Since Alice teamed up with Desmond Child as well as songwriters like Joan Jett, Diane Warren, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora you get an album that while technically pop metal is quite varied. The outside contributions were what made this album for me and frankly (as odd as this might sound) it made me fall in love with Cooper's music all over again. It also made me realize that you can't count Alice out ever.

love it to death
Metal Mark says-

The first Alice Cooper I ever heard was either his Greatest Hits or 1986's Constrictor. I don't remember which it was, but I know I heard both around the same time in 1986. Anyways I took to early 70's Alice Cooper right away. I listened to his 80's and beyond material as they came out, but those albums never touched upon the outrageous style that he and his original band perfected. The first two albums were okay, but I think they really hit their stride between 1971 and 1974 and any of those albums from that period could be Alice's top work, but for me I'll always go with Love it to death. To me this album is the ultimate combination of the strangeness, dark humor and odd pacing that defined this period of Alice's career. "Caught in a dream" starts the album off with a slight upbeat swing, but it's never normal and it is a storng opener. Then we get radio staple "I'm eighteen" which is a timeless track that anyone of any age. The bouncing chrage of "Long way to go" quickly comes on and rips the listener along for a wild ride. "Black juju" is a dark, odd track that will have your attention the whol way through. "Is it my body" is a punchy track that is surprisingly catchy. "Hallowed by my name" is another very off beat song that the band really excels at. "Second Coming" keeps the strangeness as it leads on the classic "Ballad of Dwight Frye" which is one of my favorite Alice songs of all time. The album ends as it began with a slightly upbeat number in the form "Sun arise". The results are that this a true classic and not just my favorite Alice Cooper album, but one of my favorite albums of all time.

***What is your favorite Alice Cooper album?

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Blogger Heff said...

ANY of the 70's albums, although "Trash" isn't bad for an 80's record, either.

12:50 PM  

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