Alice Cooper


Alice Cooper started off as a band led by singer Vincent Damon Furnier, who later became known as Alice Cooper himself. Alice Cooper pioneered a theatrical, sometimes violent, but always entertaining form of heavy metal that became known as shock rock. The group created a stage show that featured electric chair, fake blood, a huge boa constrictor, and a guillotine where the make-up clad Furnier would seemingly cut off his own head. Alice Cooper released their first album, "Pretties for You," in 1969. "Easy Action" followed early in 1970, yet neither were the heavy shock rock that the band would become known for, instead they were steeped in psychedelic rock. It was Bob Ezrin (who also worked with Kiss and Pink Floyd) that helped the band to shape themselves into the classic heavy metal band. Alice Cooper were a huge attraction in the 70's but lost momentum as the 80's rolled in churning out a bunch of new wave crap. Cooper made a successful comeback in the late 80's, as a series of pop/metal bands paid musical homage to his classic early records and concerts. "Constrictor," released in 1986,was Alice's return to his hard rock roots and began his comeback, but it was 1989's "Trash" that returned Cooper to the spotlight.

Pretties For You Alice Cooper-Pretties For You (Enigma) 1969

1.   Titanic Overture (1:12)
2.   10 Minutes Before the Worm (1:39)
3.   Sing Low, Sweet Cheerio (5:42)
4.   Today Mueller (1:48)
5.   Living (3:12)
6.   Fields Of Regret (5:44)
7.   No Longer Umpire (2:02)
8.   Levity Ball (Live At the Cheetah) (4:39)
9.   B. B. On Mars (1:17)
10. Reflected (3:17)
11. Apple Bush (3:08)
12. Earwigs To Eternity (1:19)
13. Changing Arranging (3:03)

Alice Cooper was discovered by Frank Zappa, who signed the band to his own label, Straight Records. Previous to signing with Straight, they had recorded several singles under the names the Nazz, the Spiders and the Earwigs. The music on Alice Cooper's debut is nothing short of bizarre. It is certainly a product of the times, mixing psychedelic rock with a slight Yardbirds and Beatles influence. The album was self-produced by a very young and inexperienced band, so the recording quality is poor. Combined with the fact that Alice Cooper really hadn't found their sound yet, "Pretties for You" comes off sounding as confusing as the putrid pink and yellow album cover implies. The album bears little resemblance to the heavy shock rock that the band would become known for in just a few short years.

Though I am a huge Alice Cooper fan, "Pretties for You" never really did much for me. Perhaps if I had I grown up in the 1960's I may have been able to get into the trippy psychedelic rock a bit more. Having grown up listening to the hard rock and heavy metal of the 70's and 80's, it just sounds odd.

Some interesting facts:

-The albums only single, "Reflected", was later reworked into "Elected", on "Billion Dollar Babies'" (1973).

-The Alice Cooper band is: Glen Buxton (guitar), Michael Bruce (guitars/keyboards), Dennis Dunaway (bass), Neal Smith (drums) and, of course Alice Cooper (Vincent Damon Furnier) himself on vocals.

-Alice Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier on Feb 4, 1948 in Detroit, MI, USA.

-Original Alice Cooper guitarist Glen Buxton died on October 19th of '97 of pneumonia. (Nov. 11th, 1947 - Oct. 19th 1997)

Easy Action Alice Cooper - Easy Action (Rhino)1970

1. "Mr. & Misdemeanor" (3:20)
2. "Shoe Salesman" (2:33)
3. "Still No Air" (2:30)
4. "Below Your Means" (6:50)
5. "Return of the Spider" (4:25)
6. "Laughing At Me" (2:16)
7. "Refrigerator Heaven" (2:17)
8. "Beautiful Flyaway" (3:00)
9. "Lay Down and Die, Goodbye" (7:30)

"Easy Action" is the second studio album by the Alice Cooper band and was originally released on Frank Zappa's Straight Records in June 1970. The album did not achieve much success for the band. The album title comes from a line in the musical film West Side Story, which was one of the band’s favorite films and would again be revisited in future recording. "Easy Action" is similar to the band’s previous debut album “Pretties For You" and is pretty much made up of the same psychedelic/progressive blues rock as their first album, not unlike early Pink Floyd, a band that most people would not associate with Alice Cooper.

This CD is relatively hard to find, but I was extremely fortunate to find a new, still sealed copy in the cut-out bins of Hasting's Entertainment for $1. No, it's not for sale. I also own the original Straight Records vinyl version.

Love It To Death Alice Cooper - Love It To Death (Warner Bros.) 1971

  1. "Caught In A Dream" (3:04)
  2. "I'm Eighteen" (3:00)
  3. "Long Way To Go" (3:01)
  4. "Black JuJu" (9:09)
  5. "Is It My Body" (2:39)
  6. "Hallowed Be My Name" (2:35)
  7. "Second Coming" (3:02)
  8. "Ballad Of Dwight Fry" (6:32)
  9. "Sun Arise" (3:53)

Banned "Love It To Death" LP.
Note the offending thumb.

"Love It To Death" was a transition album where the Alice Cooper band was morphing from the psychedelia of the past to the shock-rock that they would become known for. After two albums that were commercial failures, "Love It To Death" was the album that brought the Alice Cooper band into the mainstream. Much credit is generally given to producer Bob Ezrin, who helped clean up the band's sound and infused the songs with fresh ideas and helping the band to become more commercially accessible.

"Love It To Death" actually sports about one third raucous rock n roll ('I'm Eighteen,' 'Is It My Body' 'Hallowed by My Name') and one third 60's psychedelic space rock ('Black Juju,' "Sun Arise,' 'Second Coming') and another third of that which is a mix of the two ('Ballad of Dwight Fry,' 'Caught in a Dream,') No one would dare say that these early Alice Cooper discs were actually heavy metal, but the band certainly looked like a heavy metal band and were extremely heavy live and for some reason became a huge influence on a movement that wouldn't actually take place until the next decade. "I'm Eighteen," one of the band's first big hits, was given a metal treatment by Anthrax in the mid 80's proving that Alice Cooper inspired a generation of metalheads, even if they weren't exactly heavy metal themselves. As with most Alice Cooper records, I even enjoy the bizarre stuff, having grown up listening to these records since I was a kid.

The original cover album for this album stirred up some controversy when people mistook Alice's thumb holding onto his robe for a penis. Later pressings on Warner Bros. Records were retouched with the robe covering his right arm and hand. Later pressings also added a small box below the album title that stated "Including their hit "I'm Eighteen"." The original vinyl pressing on Straight Records has become a collector's item.

Tesla recorded a cover of "Is It My Body on their "Reel to Reel" CD.

Killer Alice Cooper - Killer (Warner Bros.) 1971

1. "Under My Wheels" (2:50)
2. "Be My Lover" (3:15)
3. "Halo of Flies" (8:21)
4. "Desperado" (3:25)
5. "You Drive Me Nervous" (2:24)
6. "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" (3:33)
7. "Dead Babies" (5:40)
8.  "Killer" (7:07)

Alice Cooper 1971

This is a classic Alice Cooper (the band) disc. Producer Bob Ezrin, who also produced the band's breakthrough album "Love it To Death," twists the knobs on "Killer" as well and helps produce one of the finest albums in the rock 'n roll history. Ezrin really was to Alice Cooper what George Martin was to the Beatles. No less than three of these eight songs made it onto the first Alice Cooper "Greatest Hits". "Desperado" was a song in tribute to Jim Morrison and is one of the discs highlights along with "Under My Wheels", "Be My Lover" and the epic "Halo of Flies." "You Drive Me Nervous" and "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" actually sounded a bit more like the band's early garage-rock. Dennis Dunaway just tears it up on the bass on this disc. In reading some history on the band, it seems that Dennis may have shined more than other members on this album because he was the only band members at the time that wasn't wasted 24/7, so Ezrin was really able to use his talents. Most of the material on "Killer", however was written by guitarists Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce, with Alice contributing the vocal melodies and lyrics. I also think that Ezrin had a large hand in shaping these songs as well. Cool cover art and band photo.

Star Star has covered "Nervous" on their "The Love Drag Years" album.

School's Out Alice Cooper - School's Out (Warner Bros.) 1972

1. "School's Out" (3:26)
2. "Luney Tune" (3:36)
3. "Gutter Cats Vs. The Jets" (4:39)
4. "Street Fight" (:55)
5. "Blue Turk" (5:29)
6. "My Stars" (5:46)
7. "Public Animal #9" (3:53)
8. "Alma Mater" (3:39)
9. "Grand Finale" (4:36)

"School's Out" put the Alice Cooper group on the map because of the timeless classic title track. This track became the band's highest charting single ever. The rest of the album is excellent as well, however. The music is much less "psychedelic" than anything they had released up to this point and was more compositionally complex. Songs like "Gutter Cast vs. the Jets/Street Fight" and "My Stars" are just as memorable as the title track and yet are, to me, more interesting. Overall, "School's Out" is one of the best albums to be released by the 1970's Alice Cooper group. The original album cover opened like a desk revealing the innards of the graffiti riddled school desk. Unfortunately the artwork in the CD reissue does not echo any of these effects that were lost with the age of vinyl. The CD does include a short bio of the band.

Grave Digger covered "School's Out" on their 'Witch Hunter' CD.

Billion Dollar Babies Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies Deluxe Edition (Warner) 1973

1. "Hello, Hooray" (4:14)
2. "Raped and Freezin'" (3:15)
3. "Elected" (4:05)
4. "Billion Dollar Babies" (3:39)
5. "Unfinished Sweet" (6:17)
6. "No More Mr. Nice Guy" (3:05)
7. "Generation Landslide" (4:31)
8. "Sick Things" (4:18)
9. "Mary Ann" (2:19)
10. "I Love the Dead" (5:08)
1. "Hello, Hooray" [live] (3:05)
2. "Billion Dollar Babies" [live] (3:48)
3. "Elected" [live] (2:29)
4. "I'm Eighteen" [live] (4:51)
5. "Raped and Freezin'" [live] (3:14)
6. "No More Mr. Nice Guy" [live] (3:08)
7. "My Stars" [live] (7:33)
8. "Unfinished Sweet" [live] (6:02)
9. "Sick Things" [live] (3:16)
10. "Dead Babies" [live] (2:59)
11. "I Love the Dead" [live] (4:48)
12. "Coal Black Model T" [studio outtake] (4:29)
13. "Son of Billion Dollar Babies (Generation Landslide)"
14. "Slick Black Limosine" (4:26)
Alice Cooper '73

One of Alice Cooper's finest studio efforts thanks in part to producer Bob Ezrin who helped the band shape and refine their sound. However, bassist Dennis Dunaway makes his presence very known on this album as well. Unfortunately, due to some of the band members growing dependency on chemicals/alcohol, Ezrin brought in guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter to fill in on some tracks. Despite this, Ezrin managed to maintain that raw, eerie Alice Cooper feel, while capturing a more commercial appeal.

The album was massive hit for the band. "Billion Dollar Babies" reached number one on the album charts in both the US and the UK, and went on to be certified platinum, which was no small feat in 1973. This was, of course, due to the album having no less than four hit singles including "Elected", "Hello Hooray", "Billion Dollar Babies", and "No More Mr. Nice Guy". Most Alice fans recognize all these titles as classic tracks. Raw, heavy rock and roll with undeniable hooks. "Hello Hooray" is one of the few covers that the Alice Cooper band had ever done. The song was originally recorded by Judy Collins. However, besides containing a ton of classics, "Billion Dollar Babies" includes the phenomenal "Generation Landslide," one of the band's best songs. It also receives my vote as one of the band's most underrated songs. Not only does this disc rank at the top of Alice's catalogue, it is one of the best early hard rock albums ever.

The 2001 CD reissue contains a bonus disc of excellent live cuts and some equally cool demo gems. Most of this material was recorded in '73, so the original band is featured, whereas Alice's first official live disc, The Alice Cooper Show, featured none of the original members. The digi-pack artwork attempts to bring back the original feel of the foldout cover art, right down to the perforated pics of the band. It's unfortunate that the record company didn't also put in a miniature reproduction of the dollar bill that came in the original vinyl pressing. It is, however, pictured on the sleeve. Also included a 24 page booklet with bio, lyrics, photos, etc.

Megadeth covered "No More Mr. Nice Guy" on their 'Hidden Treasures' disc. Lizzy Borden covers "Generation Landslide" on his "Deal with the Devil" album.

Muscle of Love Alice Cooper - Muscle of Love (Warner Bros.) 1973

1. "Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)" (5:10)
2. "Never Been Sold Before" (4:28)
3. "Hard Hearted Alice" (4:53)
4. "Crazy Little Child" (5:03)
5. "Working Up A Sweat" (3:32)
6. "Muscle of Love" (3:45)
7. "Man With the Golden Gun" (4:12)
8. "Teenage Lament '74" (3:53)
9. "Woman Machine" (4:32)

I've always liked this album, but most reviews I have read seem to imply that 'Muscle of Love' was a disappointment at the time of it's release. This may be partially why this album was the last for the original Alice Cooper group. What's odd about all this is that the album actually was certified gold and was a top ten success. Part of the problem may have been that long time produced Bob Ezrin was not on board for this project. Another problem may have been the lack of a clear theme as in past albums like 'School's Out' and 'Billion Dollar Babies.' Still, as I said, I really like this disc and I think it was just a misunderstood and underrated album. From the Led Zeppelin inspired opening, through classics like the title tracks, "Teenage Lament '74" and album closer "Woman Machine" the whole album is quite coherent and enjoyable. One other interesting, but useless facts: "Man With the Golden Gun" was written for the James Bond movie of the same name, but rejected.

Greatest Hits Alice Cooper - Greatest Hits (Warner Bros.) 1974

1. "I'm Eighteen" (2:55)
2. "It's My Body" (2:40)
3. "Desperado" (3:26)
4. "Under My Wheels" (2:44)
5. "Be My Lover" (3:18)
6. "School's Out" (3:28)
7. "HelloHorray" (4:16)
8. "Elected" (4:06)
9. "No More Mr. Nice Guy" (3:05)
10. "Billion Dollar Babies" (3:36)
11. "Teenage Lament '74" (3:54)
12. "Muscle of Love" (3:46)

I'm not really big on greatest hits collections, but this one is an especially good listen, gathering tracks from Alice Cooper-the band circa 1970-1974. "Greatest Hits" also has superb cover art, which is unfortunately lost a bit in the smaller CD format. "Greatest Hits" marked the end of an era for Alice Cooper, as it was the last release for the classic line-up of the Alice Cooper band. From here on out Alice Cooper would be a solo artist.

Welcome to My Nightmare Alice Cooper - Welcome to My Nightmare (Atlantic) 1975

1. "Welcome to My Nightmare" (5:19)
2. "Devil's Food" (3:38)
3. "The Black Widow" (3:37)
4. "Some Folks" (4:19)
5. "Only Women Bleed" (5:59)
6. "Department of Youth" (3:18)
7. "Cold Ethyl" (2:51)
8. "Years Ago" (2:51)
9. "Steven" (5:52)
10. "The Awakening" (2:25)
11. "Escape" (3:20)

In 1974, Alice Cooper the band broke up and gave way to Alice Cooper the solo aritist. Alice enlisted Bob Ezrin once again, to help him release one of his best, and most well known, works "Welcome to My Nightmare." This album was written to tie specifically into Alice's bizarre, theatrical stage show making "Welcome to My Nightmare" the most twisted Alice Cooper album. "Cold Ethyl" is a foul song in the truest sense, describing a sexual affair with a corpse. (A theme which would become popular in death metal circles in years to come.) Other songs, like the incredible title track and the top ten hit "Only Woman Bleed" are much less disturbing yet retain the eerie sense that Alice was known for. Perhaps the most interesting song is the epic "Years Ago/Steven," that describes the world through the eyes of a psychopath with the mind of a very twisted child. The king of shock rock reigned in 1975 and this disc proves it. Alice at the height of his career! This disc is still in print and available just about everywhere.

Go To Hell Alice Cooper - Goes to Hell (Warner Bros.) 1976

1. "Go To Hell" (5:02)
2. "You Gotta Dance" (2:44)
3. "I'm The Coolest" (3:57)
4. "Didn't We Meet" (4:15)
5. "I Never Cry" (3:45)
6. "Give The Kid A Break" (4:13)
7. "Guilty" (3:21)
8. "Wake Me Gently" (5:03)

9. "Wish You Were Here" (4:35)
10. "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" (2:13)
11. "Going Home" (3:47)

Alice Cooper Goes To Hell was the follow-up to Alice's huge hit "Welcome to My Nightmare" and is a concept album once again based around a nightmare. This time Alice goes to Hell, although he doesn't want to be there and can't figure out why he is there. As with "Welcome to My Nightmare" veteran produced Bob Ezrin is brought in to produce, arrange, twist knobs, and generally take command of the project. Most Ezrin produced albums are either pure brilliance (Pink Floyd's The Wall, Kiss' Destroyer) or pure boredom (Lee Aaron's Call of the Wild). "Goes to Hell" is the exception as this album falls somewhere in between the two. There are some good songs on here like the under appreciated title track and the humorous "Give the Kid A Break" which has Alice arguing with the devil over why he should be let out of hell. This album also generated a hit for Alice in the ballad "I Never Cry." I also always enjoyed the boogie rock of "You Gotta Dance" and the twisted "Wish You Were Here" as well. The main lyric is "I'm having a Hell of a time, wish you were here." Most disappointing were the cover "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," and the album-closing "Going Home". Despite going gold, for some reason Alice was unable to tour for this album and it became his last charting album for some time.

Circus Magazine 1976
Alice on the cover of Circus Magazine, 1976


Alice Cooper - Lace & Whiskey (Warner Bros.) 1977

1. "It's Hot Tonight" (3:20)
2. "Lace And Whiskey" (3:15)
3. "Road Rats" (4:54)
4. "Damned If I Do" (3:13)
5. "You And Me" (5:11)
6. "King Of The Silver Screen" (5:35)
7. "Ubangi Stomp" (2:12)
8. "(No More) Love At Your Convenience" (3:49)
9. "I Never Wrote Those Songs" (4:34)
10. "My God" (5:42)

This disc spawned the hit "You And Me" but did little else. As has been told before, Alice was in the height of alcoholism at this point in his career. He seemed to be desperately trying to separate himself from the shock rock image that he had spent such a long time trying to build. I suppose he desired to be taken more seriously as an artist and musician. Despite this, most reviews slammed this disc and the album didn't do as well as was expected. As with most Alice Cooper releases, however, I grew up listening to them, so there is a nostalgic attachment for me. Even so, I would never put this disc on the same level as the awesome discs he did as the Alice Cooper group or even "Welcome to My Nightmare." The album is suppose to be a concept album of sorts where he plays private investigator Maurice Escargot and the character was based on Alice's love of film noir of the 30's and 40's.

An interesting fact:

-Peter Gabriel's record (Peter Gabriel) from 1977 features the same band as Alice used in 'Lace and Whiskey' (Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter, Jozef Chirowski, Tony Levin) and it was recorded at the same place, too (Sounstage, Toronto). It was also produced by Bob Ezrin.

The Alice Cooper Show
Alice Cooper - The Alice Cooper Show
(Warner Bros.) 1977

1. "Under My Wheels" (2:30)
2. "Eighteen" (4:58)
3. "Only Women Bleed" (5:47)
4. "Sick Things" (1:01)
5. "Is It My Body" (2:28)
6. "I Never Cry" (2:51)
7. "Billion Dollar Babies" (3:13)
8. "Devil's Food/The Black Widow" (5:41)
9. "You and Me" (2:19)
10. "I Love the Dead/Go To Hell/Wish You Were Here" (6:31)
11. "School's Out" (2:19)

The King of Shock!

Not a bad concert disc, albeit a bit too short. Alice sounds a bit zoned on this one, perhaps a bit too wasted to be recording. If I am not mistaken this was about the time that he was so strung out on alcohol that he had to go into the hospital to recover. Despite the fact that the original band excelled in a live setting, a live album from that era was never issued; "The Alice Cooper Show" turned out to be the first live release which featured none of the original band members. The performances were taken from a pair of shows at the Aladdin Hotel in Nevada. I found two copies of this brand new for $1.99 each, so I snagged both of them and traded the other one.

From the inside
Alice Cooper - From the Inside
(Metal Blade/Warner Bros.) 1978

1. "From the Inside" (3:54)
2. "Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills" (3:38)
3. "The Quiet Room" (3:53)
4. "Nurse Rozetta" (4:15)
5. "Millie and Billie" (4:13)
6. "Serious" (2:44)
7. "How You Gonna See Me Know" (3:57)
8. "For Veronica's Sake" (3:37)
9. "Jackknife Johnny" (3:45)
10. "Inmates (We're All Crazy)" (5:03)

1978 Marvel Comic "Tales from the Inside"

Imagine my surprise and delight when I found this CD in the bargain bins for a mere 99¢ BRAND NEW!!! Ya gotta love these chain stores who charge $17.99 for some dime-a-dozen, pop piece of crap, but throw out a bonified classic for under a buck!

"From the Inside" is a great Cooper album. I'm not sure if it's just because I've liked it since I was a kid (1978 WOW!) or if it really is as good as I perceive it to be, but I really do enjoy listening to this one from beginning to end. "From the Inside" is a concept album based on characters that Vincent Furnier (Alice Cooper) met when he was staying at a psychiatric ward fighting substance abuse. "How Ya Gonna See Me Know" was a minor hit, but otherwise "From the Inside" is a forgotten gem.

The original record cover was cool with the front cover opening like double doors to reveal a hospital and another little door. This inner door opened to reveal Alice wrapped in a straight jacket in "The Quiet Room." The back cover had doors that opened to reveal Alice leading the pack of psychotic misfits out of the hospital with their release papers. We always knew he was crazy, but that's why we liked him, right?

Alice performed the Beatles song "Because" in the movie Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band around this time as well. The movies was terrible and tarnished the reputation of most of the artists involved, with the exception of Aerosmith and Alice, who were both portrayed as villains.

Flush the Fashion Alice Cooper - Flush the Fashion (Warner Bros.) 1980

1. "Talk Talk" (2:09)
2. "Clones (We're All)" (3:03)
3. "Pain" (4:06)
4. "Leather Boots" (1:36)
5. "Aspirin Damage" (2:57)
6. "Nuclear Infected" (2:14)
7. "Grim Facts" (3:24)
8. "Model Citizen" (2:39)
9. "Dance Yourself to Death" (3:08)
10. "Headlines" (3:18)

It's 1980 and Alice Cooper decides he is no longer going to be the king of shock rock, but rather he is going to reinvent himself as a new waver. (Sure glad he got over that!) So, Alice hooks up with The Cars producer Roy Thomas Baker to put out this synth led rock n' roll album. The truth of the matter is, a lot of the big 1970's hard rock and heavy metal band suffered from identity crisis in the early 80's with many bands adopting styles that were popular at the time, basically seeing the need to stay relevant. As such, I suppose I should hate this disc, but I do not. My only defense is pure nostalgia as I use to own this on vinyl as a kid. Really though, despite the fact that this disc sounds so unlike Alice Cooper, it actually has a plethora of good songs and ton of undeniable hooks. There is even the token hard rocker in "Grim Facts." "Flush the Fashion" is one short "full length" album clocking in at under 30 min.

Special Forces Alice Cooper - Special Forces (Warner Bros.) 1981

1. "Who Do You Think We Are" (4:21)
2. "Seven & Seven Is" (2:41)
3. "Prettiest Cop On The Block" (3:13)
4. "Don't Talk Old To Me" (2:54)
5." Generation Landslide '81" [live] (3:50)
6. "Skeletons In The Closet" (3:42)
7. "You Want It, You Got It" (3:15)
8. "You Look Good In Rags" (3:35)
9. "You're A Movie" (3:37)
10. "Vicious Rumors" (3:43)

Special Forces

An odd mixture of 80's synth-pop and semi-heavy 70's hard rock. Somehow Alice missed the boat completely here. While most his fans were off following the NWOBHM explosion, Alice was off exploring the new wave fad, yet mixing in some of his trademark sound. I'm sure much of that had to do with record labels, executive decisions, producers, etc., but I am sure it also had to do with the fact that Alice had fallen deep into alcoholism at this time. There are a few standout cuts on this disc, like "Skeletons in the Closet" and new version of one of Alice's most underrated songs "Generation Landslide". The song is listed as being recorded live, but most likely was a studio song with crowd noise added in. Also, resident rocker "Who do You Think We Are" isn't bad. "Seven & Seven Is" was written Arthur Lee and was originally recorded by Love in 1966. "Special Forces" is not one of Alice's finest moments, but I still enjoy listening to it from time time and am certainly happy to have it in my collection.

Zipper Catches Skin Alice Cooper - Zipper Catches Skin (Warner Bros.) 1982

1. "Zorro's Ascent" (3:56)
2. "Make That Money (Scrooge's Song)" (3:30)
3. "I Am the Future" (3:29)
4. "No Baloney Homosapiens" (5:06)
5. "Adaptable (Anything for You)" (2:56)
6. "I Like Girls" (2:25)
7. "Remarkably Insincere" (2:07)
8. "Tag, You're It" (2:54)
9. "I Better Be Good" (2:48)
10. "I'm Alive (That Was the Day My Dead Pet Returned to Save My Life)" (3:14)

Yet another hard to find Alice Cooper platter. Apparently all these old albums were only re-released in Europe. Darn, why do they get all the good music. Well, thanks be to good friends from across the sea and to the internet for making these imports available to us crazy Americans. Anyhow, "Zipper Catches Skin" still has Alice in his new wave/hard rock mode, although his warped sense of humor is still apparent. Just take a look at the song title of track ten or even the title of the album. I must also say that this album does rock a bit harder than 1980's "Flush the Fashion." I'm pretty sure that this disc helped to alienate Alice even further from his fans, not necessarily because of the music, but because Alice is pictured with short greased back hair and he is dressed in a white collar shirt and tie. Yikes! Still, if you grew up with this music, as I did, it remains a classic nonetheless.

DaDa Alice Cooper - DaDa (Warner Bros.) 1982

1. "DaDa" (4:45)
2. "Enough's Enough" (4:19)
3. "Former Lee Warmer" (4:07)
4. "No Man's Land" (3:51)
5. "Dyslexia" (4:25)
6. "Scarlet And Sheba" (5:18)
7. "I Love America" (3:50)
8. "Fresh Blood" (5:54)
9. "Pass The Gun Around" (5:46)

"Da Da" is another Bob Ezrin/Alice Cooper production. Once again, I'm not sure if my review is mostly based on nostalgia or fact, because most reviews I have read on this disc are lukewarm at best. However, back in '82, I was just happy that Alice was shedding the new wave sound and returning to his former self, albeit only slightly. The opening title track, although far from the metal, punk and hard rock of the past, is perhaps the most eerie track Alice has ever done. I'll bet having this track playing on a dark night when you're all alone would freak most people out. However, track two picks up with a more pop oriented song. Somehow this track combines the Alice of the 70's with his more recent 80's artsy sound. Others, like "Dyslexia" have the same sound, combining the Ezrin sounds of "Welcome to My Nightmare" with the more 80's sounds of "Flush the Fashion." Still other tracks, like "Former Lee Warmer," capture the 'monster movie' sound that Alice is known for. "Scarlet and Sheba" even seems to give a hint of some of what was to come in Alice's mid 80's comeback. I actually really dig the Arabian flare this song has. Of course with Ezrin writing much of the material with Alice the hooks are there regardless of style. As with past discs, Cooper's humor is in place. Just check out the lyrics to the aforementioned "Dyslexia" or "I Love America." This theme would be echoed some years later on "The Last Temptation." For some reason "DaDa" is almost impossible to find. I finally secured this copy from a friend in Norway.

The cover features a portion of the Salvadore Dali painting 'The Slave Market with Disappearing Bust of Voltaire' (1940).

Constrictor Alice Cooper - Constrictor (MCA) 1986

1. "Teenage Frankenstein" (3:37)
2. "Give It Up" (4:10)
3. "Thrill My Gorilla" (3:06)
4. "Life and Death of the Party" (3:43)
5. "Simple Disobedience" (3:28)
6. "The World Needs Guts" (3:58)
7. "Trick Bag" (4:14)
8. "Crawlin'" (3:21)
9. "The Great American Success Story" (3:36)
10. "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)" (3:50)

This was the big Alice comeback album. The disc shuns all the recent experimental stuff going for a more straight forward hard rock/heavy metal sound. His comeback was big and this album sold well. Alice was once again filling up the big stadiums with bands like Vinnie Vincent Invasion and Frehley's Comet opening for him. "Give It Up" is a catchy party rocker, "Simple Disobedience" is a cool anthem of teenage rebellion, "Teenage Frankenstein" is an excellent commercial heavy metal number, "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)" is the theme song from the movie Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and is the worst song on the disc. Despite the cover art, this album is no where near as dark or controversial as the 1970's Alice. The song writing and even the lyrics are more of the pop metal variety. This particular CD is available everywhere relatively cheap. I picked up this copy for $6.99 new. Thought I'd better snag it before it becomes yet another CD to disappear into the "rare and out of print" category.

Around this same time Alice Cooper did some guest vocals on Twisted Sister s song "Be Chrool To Your Scuel."

Raise Your Fist and Yell Alice Cooper - Raise Your Fist and Yell (MCA) 1987

1. "Freedom" (4:09)
2. "Lock Me Up" (3:23)
3. "Give the Radio Back" (3:35)
4. "Step on You" (3:38)
5. "Not That Kind of Love" (3:16)
6. "Prince of Darkness" (5:05)
7. "Time to Kill" (3:43)
8. "Chop, Chop, Chop" (3:10)
9. "Gail" (2:29)
10. "Roses on White Lace" (4:27)

In 1986, Alice Cooper was able to launch a full-fledged comeback with "Constrictor" so while the iron was still hot Alice released "Raise Your Fist and Yell." This disc is much darker returning to the topics that Alice loved in his early years, rebellion and death. If I am not mistaken, "Freedom" was the big hit off this album. "Chop, Chop, Chop" and "Roses on White Lace" seem reminiscent of Cooper's "Welcome to My Nightmare" days. Favorite track, however is "Prince of Darkness," a song that that seems to be about the Biblical account of the devil. What Alice managed to do on this release was capture the past while seeming to sound new and contemporary. "Raise Your Fist and Yell" recording lineup included Kane Roberts on guitar, Ken Mary (House of Lords/Giuffria) on drums, and Kip Winger on bass, keys and background vocals. For some odd reason, this disc is out of print in the U.S., but is available in just about every other country so copies tend to be somewhat easy to find.

Icarus Witch has covered "Roses on White Lace".

Trash Alice Cooper-Trash (Epic) 1989

1.   "Poison" (4:31)
2.   "Spark in the Dark" (3:52)
3.   "House of Fire" (3:47)
4.   "Why Trust You" (3:13)
5.   "Only My Heart Talkin'" (4:47)
6.   "Bed of Nails" (4:20)
7.   "This Maniac Is in Love with You" (3:48)
8.   "Trash" (4:03)
9.   "Hell Is Living Without You" (4:11)
10. "I'm Your Gun" (3:50)

Alice attempts another big comeback CD in the late 80's, and once again it worked for him and even produced a single "Poison" that charted. To be honest, however, I don't care as much about this disc as some of the less popular discs from the late 70's and early 80's. This sounds more like some pop metal band with Alice doing vocals, which sometimes works ("Poison", "Trash") and sometimes doesn't ("Bed of Nails"). I don't know, I think it has alot to do with Desmond Child producing and writing, 'cause this sounds more like a Bon Jovi album than an Alice Cooper album. Some of these songs are even written by Bon Jovi ("Hell Is Living Without You" -BonJovi/Child/Cooper/Sambora). I suppose I feel sort of lukewarm about "Trash." It's not bad at all, but not really one of my favorites either. I do really like "Poison" and "Trash", but overall, this is one of the least listened to CDs in my Alice Cooper collection. Cool cover art.

Hey Stoopid Alice Cooper - Hey Stoopid (Epic) 1991

1.  Hey Stoopid (4:34)
2.  Love's a Loaded Gun (4:12)
3.  Snakebite (4:33)
4.  Burning Our Bed (4:35)
5.  Dangerous Tonight (4:41)
6.  Might as Well Be on Mars (7:10)
7.  Feed My Frankenstein (4:44)
8.  Hurricane Years (3:58)
9.  Little by Little (4:34)
10. Die for You (4:17)
11. Dirty Dreams (3:30)
12. Wind-Up Toy (5:27)
13. Hey Stoopid [Beba Edit] (3:58)
14. Fire [b-side] (3:03)
15. It Rained All Night [b-side](3:53)

Following up the massively successful "Trash" must have been daunting task. Alice had tasted huge success before, only to have it all disappear. It's rare for an artist to climb back to the top a second time, but Alice was indeed on top. As such I wouldn't expect Alice to sway far from the formula that he had on "Trash". For the most part Alice was sticking with what was still popular at the time; pop metal and to an extent, bands like Guns’n’Roses. In fact, "Burning Our Beds" has a sleazy swagger that is something Guns’n’Roses could have written at the time. Alice surrounds himself with the rock elite of the time for this album including guest appearances by Steve Vai, Vinnie Moore and Joe Satriani each feature on two songs. "Feed My Frankenstein "is even packed with a one-two punch with both Vai and Satriani. In addition guys like Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx (from Motley Crue), Slash (Guns n Roses) and even Ozzy Osbourne make guest appearances, making this one star studded record. But all the star-power in the world is worthless if the music isn't there.

The album delivers from front to back, a solid block of hooky, 80's style pop metal with Alice's signature howl front and center. His charismatic voice is perfect for this style of music. Songs like the title track, "Might As Well Me on Mars" and "Feed My Frankenstein" are all standout cuts. In fact, "Feed My Frankenstein" would become yet another signature song from Alice. Oddly enough, four of the twelve tracks can be considered power ballads. Alice has always had a way with ballads, whether they be creepy-crawly or genuinely heartfelt. "Loves A Loaded Gun" is power ballad and is one of the finer tracks on the album, whereas the piano ballad "Die For You" comes off a bit more creepy. The album ends with "Wind-Up Toy", a creepy song that continues the dark legacy of the character known as Alice Cooper.

Being a long-time Alice fan, I can't honestly say that "Hey Stoopid" would have ever ranked at the top of my favorite Alice records. However, over the years since it's release I've grown to appreciate it more and more. In fact, if I had to make a Top 10 of my favorite Alice discs, "Hey Stoopid" would make the list, even if it was at the bottom of that list.

This 3-panel digi-pack re-release contains three bonus tracks, each of which were b-side on 7" singles from the time. "Fire" is a Jimi Hendrix cover.

The Last Temptation Alice Cooper - The Last Temptation (Epic) 1994

1. "Sideshow" (6:40)
2. "Nothing's Free" (5:01)
3. "Lost in America" (3:54)
4. "Bad Place Alone" (5:05)
5. "You're My Temptation" (5:10)
6. "Prayer" (5:37)
7. "Unholy War" (4:11)
8. "Lullaby" (4:28)
9. "It's Me" (4:40)
10. "Cleansed by Fire" (6:13)

"Last Temptation" is a wonderful album that leaves behind the hair metal Alice used to refuel himself and returns to the more dramatic, theatrical rock he was known for. "Last Temptation" is a concept album based on Alice's own life and his ultimate return to Christianity. Though the album still has a few goofy songs like , "Lost in America" the rest of the album boasts more originality and creativity than anything off of "Hey Stoopid" or "Trash." "Last Temptation" is one of the best concept albums since Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime." A comic book based on the same story as that of the album was released to coincide with the CD

Favorite line from this album: "I paid to see the freaks, some finger-licking, chicken-eating geeks..." from "Freak Show"

Alice Cooper - Classicks (Epic) 1995

1. "Poison" (4:29)
2. "Hey Stoopid" (4:32)
3. "Feed My Frankenstein" (4:44)
4. "Love's A Loaded Gun" (4:10)
5. "Stolen Prayer" (5:35)
6. "House Of Fire" (3:45)
7. "Lost In America" (3:52)
8. "It's Me" (4:37)
9. "Under My Wheels" [live] (3:40)
10. "Billion Dollar Babies" [live] (3:36)
11. "I'm Eighteen" [live] (4:34)
12. "No More Mr. Nice Guy" [live] (3:10)
13. "Only Women Bleed" [live] (4:06)
14. "School's Out" [live] (3:46)
15. "Fire" (3:01)

Yet another in a long string of 'best of' albums from Alice, only this one features mostly studio material from 'Trash', 'Hey Stoopid' and 'The Last Temptation'. However, if you're gonna put out another compilation, this is the way to do it. "Classicks" includes several stellar, classic live cuts and one studio rarity in the Jimi Hendrix cover "Fire". The live tracks were recorded in Burmingham, England and feature extraordinary guitarist Al Pitreli, most known for his work with Savatage.

Fistful of Alice Alice Cooper - A Fistful of Alice (Guardian) 1997

1. "School's Out" (4:22)
2. "I'm Eighteen" (3:47)
3. "Desperado" (4:11)
4. "Lost In America" (4:15)
5. "Teenage Lament '74" (3:28)
6. "I Never Cry" (3:54)
7. "Poison" (4:51)
8. "Billion Dollar Babies" (3:21)
9. "Welcome To My Nightmare" (4:54)
10. "Only Women Bleed" (6:55)
11. "Feed My Frankenstein" (4:29)
12. "Elected" (5:14)
13. "Is Anyone Home" -studio (4:12)

A great live offering from Alice Cooper, one that simply blows to pieces Alice's first official live offering "The Alice Cooper Show." The track listing, besides having some newer material, features much of the same material, only played with so much more energy and conviction. It's quite obvious that Alice has a new view of life than he did back then, which is probably due to the fact that he is now a Christian. Of note, the song titled "Welcome to My Nightmare" starts off with "Steven" before going into the actual song Welcome to my Nightmare." Also of note, Dokken/Winger guitarist Reb Beach is the guitarist for much of this album, although Slash plays lead guitar on "Lost in America," "Elected" and "Only Women Bleed." Nice insert as well, with loads of live shots of Alice and his host of guest musicians. "Is Anyone Home" is a new studio cut which is an added bonus.

Cabo Wabo Alice Cooper - Live At Cabo Wabo '96 (EMI) 1996

1. "School's Out" (4:22)
2. "I'm Eighteen" (3:47)
3. "Desperado" (4:11)
4. "Lost In America" (4:15)
5. "Teenage Lament '74" (3:28)
6. "I Never Cry" (3:54)
7. "Poison" (4:51)
8. "Billion Dollar Babies" (3:21)
9. "Welcome To My Nightmare" (4:54)
10. "Only Women Bleed" (6:55)
11. "Feed My Frankenstein" (4:29)
12. "Elected" (5:14)
13. "Is Anyone Home" -studio (4:12)

"Live At Cabo Wabo '96" is the European version of the American CD, "A Fistful of Alice" (also pictured above). This album was recorded live at Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo club in Cabo San Lucus, Mexico on June 12, 1996. This set includes notable guest appearances from Rob Zombie (on "Elected" and "Feed My Frankenstein"), Slash (playing lead guitar on "Lost In America", "Only Women Bleed" and "Elected") and Sammy Hagar, who plays lead guitar on "School's Out"! However, Dokken/Winger guitarist Reb Beach is the guitarist for much of this album.

Live At Cabo Wabo '96 is a great live offering from Alice, one that simply blows to pieces his first official live offering "The Alice Cooper Show." The track listing here, besides having a few newer songs, features much of the same material as on "The Alice Cooper Show", only played with so much more energy and conviction. It's quite obvious that Alice has a new view of life than he did back then, which is probably due to the fact that he is now alcohol free and a confessing Christian. Also, Alice's band is as tight as can be. Even with all the guest musicians, the performance was spotless. "Is Anyone Home" is a new studio cut which is an added bonus. (Thanks Kmorg)

Alice Cooper-The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper (Warner/Rhino) 1999

click for complete track listing and review

Brutal Planet Alice Cooper-Brutal Planet (Spitfire) 2000

1. "Brutal Planet" (4:40)
2. "Wicked Young Man" (3:50)
3. "Sanctuary" (4:00)
4. "Blow Me A Kiss" (3:19)
5. "Eat Some More" (4:37)
6. "Pick Up The Bones" (5:14)
7. "Pessi-mystic" (4:57)
8. "Gimme" (4:46)
9. "It's the Little Things" (4:12)
10. "Take It Like A Woman" (4:13)
11. "Cold Machines" (4:14)

Second killer disc in a row for Alice. This one is darker and much heavier than "The Last Temptation." Eric Singer (ex-Kiss/Badlands) is the drummer this time 'round. These last two discs totally annihilate any of Alice's 1980's offerings. Alice's lyrics, while being as disturbing as anything he has written in the past, seem to focus more on real life situations rather than fantasy. Alice comments on a variety of social issues including guns and violence in schools, bigotry, famine, etc. Probably the most disturbing song, which seems to be about a mass murderer is "Pick Up the Bones." Too bad the world will probably dismiss him as a relic because he still has plenty to offer, both musically and lyrically.

from a reader:
Just wanted to comment on Cooper's "Pick up the Bones." You mentioned in the write-up that it is evidently about a mass murderer. Well, sort of. I read in an interview with Alice that it is about the WWII holocaust. Which makes it a rather poignant and personal song for Alice, being a Messianic Jew himself.

DragonTown Alice Cooper-DragonTown (Spitfire) 2001

1. "Triggerman" (3:59)
2. "Deeper" (4:35)
3. "Dragontown" (5:05)
4. "Sex Death & Money" (3:37)
5. "Somewhere In The Jungle" (4:06)
6. "Disgraceland" (5:21)
7. "I Just Wanna Be God" (3:32)
8. "Bella Donna" (4:34)
9. "Every Woman Has A Name" (3:43)
10. "Fantasy Man" (3:52)
11. "It's Much Too Late" (4:38)
12. "Sentinel" (3:53)

Alice 02'
Alice Cooper '02

As has been the case with the last three Alice platters, the CDs have dominated my CD player for a long time and become a frequent player. Why? Alice, along with a team of professional songwriters, come up with some phenomenal hooks. Also, Alice's lyrical themes have become of much interest to me. He still manages to write disturbing themes yet with a message that is more socially and spiritually conscious. Overall, I'd say that 'DragonTown' is at least as good as 'Brutal Planet' and certainly one of his finest overall.

Alice Cooper - The Eyes of Alice Cooper (Eagle) 2003

1. "What Do You Want from Me?" (3:24)
2. "Between High School & Old School" (3:01)
3. "Man of the Year" (2:51)
4. "Novocaine" (3:07)
5. "Bye Bye, Baby" (3:27)
6. "Be With You Awhile" (4:17)
7. "Detroit City" (3:58)
8. "Spirits Rebellious" (3:35)
9. "This House Is Haunted" (3:30)
10. "Love Should Never Feel Like This" (3:32)
11. "The Song That Didn't Rhyme" (3:17)
12. "I'm So Angry" (3:36)
13. "Backyard Brawl" (2:36)

Alice Cooper 2003
Alice Cooper 2003

I have read numerous prerelease reviews of this album stating that Alice is following yet another trend, following the growing Detroit garage-rock scene and bands like The White Stripes, The Strokes and The Vines. Alice himself has said that these bands have inspired him. Perhaps all this is true, but wasn't Alice one of the originators of this sound? Didn't Alice help start the scene along with the Stooges, the Amboy Dukes, MC5, etc. in the late 60's/early 70's? Apparently these bands inspired Alice to return to a sound that he invented. As such, it's not that he is following another trend, but that he truly is returning to his roots. Even with a modern rock producer like Mudrock, who has produced bands like Godsmack and Powerman 5000, Alice's sound, style and charisma still shine through, keeping him from sounding like a follower of the garbage that Mudrock usually produces. Perhaps tracks like "Man of the Year" have a bit of that atrocious pop-punk sound, however, this is not the case overall. On his last few albums Alice has most certainly gone for a modern heavy metal sound, echoing his followers like Rob Zombie, much to the dismay of some fans. However, at the young age of 55, Alice is now revisiting 70's; the days of simple, fun rock 'n' roll. He is once again writing old school anthems that are reminiscent of his most popular Alice Cooper-the band works; "School's Out", "Killer" and "Love It To Death". "The Eyes of Alice Cooper" certainly does bring back Alice's garage band mentality, something that disappeared when Alice became a solo artist with "Welcome to my Nightmare." The one exception is perhaps "This House is Haunted" which sounds like something that would have fit perfectly on the "Welcome to My Nightmare." This song has that eerie quality that Alice is the master of. "Detroit City" is a rocker that pays homage to the aforementioned Detroit bands that put the city on the map. According to Alice, "I wanted to do an ode to Detroit City because I was born there and my kind of music is that kind of music. It's about Iggy Pop, MC5 and Ted Nugent and everything like that." Alice's bizarre humor is still very much in tact. No where is this more apparent than in the ballad "The Song that Didn't Rhyme." When the drums came in off time, I laughed out loud. It's actually pretty amazing how Alice can give off such an array of emotion on one disc, from haunting to serious to humorous. Perhaps I am just an Alice Cooper die hard, but it seems to me that no matter what Alice does, I seem to find something enjoyable about it. That is certainly the case here as well. Perhaps this one isn't as heavy as his last few discs, nor as immediately catchy as some of his late 80's heavy metal discs, but it's still an enjoyable disc and sounds like vintage Alice Cooper. That's really all that matters.

Alice Cooper - Dirty Diamonds (New West) 2005

1. "Woman Of Mass Distraction" (4:00)
2. "Perfect" (3:30)
3. "You Make Me Wanna" (3:31)
4. "Dirty Diamonds" (4:03)
5. "The Saga Of Jesse Jane" (4:16)
6. "Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies)" (3:28)
7. "Pretty Ballerina" (3:02)
8. "Run Down The Devil" (3:29)
9. "Steal That Car" (3:17)
10. "Six Hours" (3:25)
11. "Your Own Worst Enemy" (2:15)
12. "Zombie Dance" (4:23)
13. "Stand" [w/ Xzibit] (4:05)

When a new Alice Cooper CD comes out I am usually first in line on the day it is released. This year I was flat broke the week it came out, so I had to wait a few days to purchase it, which gave me some time to read some of the early reviews on the net. To my surprise most were not favorable. Well, I must be an Alice Cooper die-hard because I find this album to be extremely enjoyable. I can't understand all the negative reviews at all. "Dirty Diamond" continues where "Eyes of Alice Cooper" left off, leaving behind the heavy metal of "Dragontown" and "Brutal Planet" for the Detroit garage rock that Alice helped to create in the late 60's/early 70's. Alice is a world class entertainer, a good singer and he writes great, catchy hard rock music. This is very evident on "Dirty Diamonds." I have also been impressed by Alice's lyrics ever since the release of "The Last Temptation." Each CD has contained a mixture of pure lyrical fun, thoughtful, humorous social commentaries and some lyrics of an autobiographical nature as well. The same holds true for "Dirty Diamonds" "The Saga of Jesse Jane" made me laugh out loud, as did "Run Down the Devil." Actually "Run Down the Devil" is a great Coop song both lyrically and musically. For the most part, I think Coop is shooting to recapture the glory and sound of his 1970's classics. However, I don't think that "Dirty Diamonds" is quite up to par with most of those Alice Cooper Band classics. However, that doesn't make it a bad CD either. "Dirty Diamonds" is minimalist rock 'n' roll album with a raw, gritty, live sound and flashes of that eerie atmosphere that Alice is known for. For instance, "Six Hours" is a haunting companion to gems like "Only Women Bleed" and "Ballad of Dwight Frye". "Six Hours" also features an very cool guitar solo. Likewise, the distortion heavy title track reminds me of some of those heavier classics from "Love it to Death." Really the whole album is pretty solid and equally as enjoyable as anything Alice has released in the last few years, albeit no where near as heavy as some. Really the only song that doesn't quite work is the bonus track "Stand", which seems completely and totally out of place on this CD. Apparently, from what I have read, this duet with rapper Xzibit is not actually an Alice Cooper penned song but rather an odd couple pairing from the 2004 Athens Olympics soundtrack. The composers of this compilation apparently asked Alice and Xzibit to lend their voices to the song and Alice's record company felt it would help sales to include it here as a bonus track.

Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider (SPV) 2008

1. "Prologue/I Know Where You Live" (4:22)
2. "Vengeance Is Mine" (4:26)
3. "Wake The Dead" (3:54)
4. "Catch Me If You Can" (3:16)
5. "(In Touch With) Your Feminine Side" (3:17)
6. "Wrapped In Silk" (4:17)
7. "Killed By Love" (3:34)
8. "I m Hungry" (3:58)
9. "The One That Got Away" (3:22)
10. "Salvation" (4:36)
11. "I Am The Spider/Epilogue" (5:21)

...and the nightmare continues! After two albums ("Eyes of Alice Cooper" and "Dirty Diamonds") in which Alice attempts to simplify his sound and move away from the heavier sounds of "Dragontown" and "Brutal Planet", Alice returns in '08 and releases the album many fans were hoping for. "Along Came A Spider" is Alice Cooper's 25th studio album and is a conceptual album with a classic Alice sound. With "Along Came the Spider" Alice keeps alive the Steven character who first showed up in "Welcome to My Nightmare" (1975). Alice is the king of creepy and disturbing stories and "Along Came A Spider" continues his legacy.

Musically, the album combines the classic sounds of that album with a slightly more modern sound and production. However, there is plenty of classic rock and roll here. The album opens up, after a short intro, with a song that sounds like classic Alice, the sinister "I Know Where You Live". "Vengeance is Mine" is a catchy hard rocker that could easily be the first single from the CD. Slash offers a smokin' solo in "Vengeance Is Mine". There is also the industrial tinged, pop rock of "Wake the Dead", the psychotic rock of "I'm Hungry", the disturbingly infectious "Wrapped in Silk", and two very well done ballads in "Killed By Love" and "Salvation". "Killed by Love" reminds me of such classics as "Only Women Bleed" and "How You Gonna See Me Know".

I can't understand how any longtime Alice Cooper fan wouldn't like this album. I can understand why they wouldn't like Dirty Diamonds. That album was an attempt to simplify and was highly influenced by bands like the White Stripes. Along Came A Spider returns Alice to the glory days of Welcome to my Nightmare. Classic Alice with a modern production and tons of hook.

Welcome 2 Alice Cooper - Welcome 2 My Nightmare (Universal Music) 2011

1.   I Am Made Of You (5:32)
2.   Caffeine (3:25)
3.   The Nightmare Returns (1:16)
4.   A Runaway Train (3:51)
5.   Last Man On Earth (3:47)
6.   The Congregation (3:59)
7.   I'll Bite Your Face Off (4:26)
8.   Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever (3:36)
9.   Ghouls Gone Wild (2:34)
10. Something To Remember Me By (3:17)
11. When Hell Comes Home (4:30)
12. What Baby Wants (3:44)
13. I Gotta Get Outta Here (4:20)
14. The Underture [instrumental] (4:38)
15. Under The Bed (4:00)
16. Poison [live] (5:01)
17. No More Mr. Nice Guy [live] (3:14)
18. The Black Widow [live] (5:24)

When it was announced that Alice Cooper would release a sequel to his epic 1975 concept album "Welcome to My Nightmare" I thought it sounded like a really bad idea. Usually, when classic artists try to connect their current career with former glories, the results are disappointing at best and sometimes completely disastrous. However, I am always willing to give my favorite artists the benefit of the doubt. Thankfully, Alice breaks the rules and releases an album that is truly one of his best in years. While I've liked all of his recent releases, "Welcome 2 My Nightmare" truly kicks you in the teeth on the very first listen.

As a whole the album is a solid listen and sounds like Alice Cooper. However, having said that, there is a vast variety of styles included here. You hear, modern rock, heavy metal, surf-rock, Vaudeville, pop, and everything else in between. There's even a stab at disco (as in a deathly stab). Helping Alice assemble this trip through hell is longtime friend and producer Bob Ezrin, who had a big hand in the original "Nightmare" album, and legendary Alice and Lou Reed guitarist Steve Hunter, who was featured on the first "Nightmare" album. As well, original Alice Cooper band members Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith and Michael Bruce. All these musicians add a convincing performance helping to garner Alice another solid collections of songs. "Welcome 2 My Nightmare" really does contains some of Coop's best tunes since "The  Last Temptation".

Being that album title purposefully pushes a connection to the original "Nightmare" concept, I do confess that I didn't get that same eerie vibe on the first listen. I wondered if perhaps the album title was a little deceptive. However, with repeated listens I started to feel the connection. It's more of a journey through hell than just a nightmare though. "I Gotta Get Outta Here" really helps to clarify the storyline behind the album and recaps all of the songs on the album. Alice, the man, isn't that same man he was in 1975 and his values have changed. Those values have seeped into the Alice Cooper character. That character really seems to lend itself well to the prophet of doom, pointing the way to salvation, that he has become. Coop's humor is still very apparent, despite the cleaner image. "Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever" and "Ghouls Gone Wild" in particular are really obvious and enjoyable examples of his twisted humor.

There are many musical connections to the original "Nightmare" album. The most glaring being the intro "The Nightmare Returns" and "The Underture", which is a nicely orchestrated arrangement of most of the musical themes from the first Nightmare. Also, the main piano riff from "Steven" is used in "I Am Made of You". As well, though it doesn't contain any parts from the original album, "When Hell Comes Home" has that 70's feel as well, despite a more modern production.

There were only a few things that I didn't care for on this album. I was immediately turned off by the auto-tune used on album opener "I Am Made Of You", which is a ballad. It's sort of a bizarre way to start off the album and just seems out of place at first. Auto-tune is also used in "What Baby Wants", a song that features guest vocals by pop singer Ke$ha. As bad as these things might seem, they really don't bog the album down. Somehow it all just works together and is an overall enjoyable album, and as previously stated, one of Coop's best in years.

There are several different versions of this CD floating around with any number of different bonus tracks and bonus memorabilia. I snagged the Best Buy bonus track version which contains the additional track "Under the Bed". Why this is a bonus track and not part of the album is a mystery. It's easily as good as, if not better than, most of the rest of the album and fits in the with the overall theme as well. Actually, it fits in better than "Caffeine" or "I Am Made of You". The Best Buy version also contains three live bonus tracks, recorded a the Download Festival.

According to Alice:
“This is Alice’s nightmare 35 years later,” explains Alice, “Bob and I created this character and we know how to write for him. I play the part but we’re not writing for me, we’re writing for Alice. We kept the first Nightmare album very personal to us, on this one we found more humor and we were more open. This was our world and we want to present it to the fans. The original album was my first solo album after all those huge hit records with the original band and now that nightmare is exposed, this one can be a little bit more open. The music crosses all sorts of boundaries; we went where the lyrics took us.”

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