Review Summary: Alice Cooper goes..normal?
Alice Cooper has been a figure in the music industry for more than four decades now. Originally part of a band also called Alice Cooper, mainstream stardom was found with hit ‘I’m Eighteen’ in the year 1971. The band followed it by releasing an even bigger single in 1972, ‘School’s Out’. Lead singer Vincent Damon Furnier decided to go solo after their commercially successful album Billion Dollar Babies, adopting the band name as his stage name.
Alice’s first solo album was the brilliant concept album, Welcome to my Nightmare, and in 2011 he released the sequel to his debut Welcome 2 my Nightmare. He has released 19 solo studio albums so far, and 26 studio releases overall.
When a career expands over such a long period of time, the artist must adapt with the times. As different rock movement surfaced and died, Alice changed his sound to fit the trend of the time. As a consequence certain fans of his 70s music might have been turned off by his later offerings, but since he won over new fans with each release he managed to continue rocking.
Hey Stoopid came out in 1991, and the style of the music is a cross between the hair metal movement which was reaching its end, and the grunge rock which was starting surface. The album has a 80s feel to it with big choruses and prominent guitar work. Hey Stoopid is also one of the most commercial releases Alice has had in his whole career.
The album opens with the title track, one of the best songs on the album. The chanting intro is dark and reminiscence of Cooper earlier albums, eventually a riff comes in and the song starts rocking. The song is about how at the time it was cool to be well unstable, with a focus on depression. Despite the serious subject matter, the song is still a load of fun and has a great memorable chorus. The song also features guest performances from Slash, Ozzy Osborne and Joe Satrani.
‘Love’s a Loaded Gun’ was a hit. It has good guitar work and Alice retains that creepy, and in this a bit cheesy, song writing that made him famous. ‘Snakebite’ is unfortunately a really weak track, despite the good chorus. ‘Dangerous Tonight’ is a straight out rock track, with Alice singing about how dangerous he can be. Lyrically it’s nothing memorable, but it’s a fun enough track. Good solo too.
‘Might as well be on mars’ is the ballad to hear from this album. Despite Alice’s dark persona, he has always been extremely capable of writing a ballad; actually I would go as far to say that some of his best songs are slower ones. The aforementioned track is an epic 7 minute song with a brilliant soring solo and two different, but equally memorable choruses. The song doesn’t have the dark vibe that most of Alice’s ballads have, focusing on a simpler topic of not being noticed by somebody you love.
‘Die for You’ is the another ballad, but it’s nowhere near as good. What made ‘Might as well be on mars’ work is that the musical composition is just as good as the singing. ‘Die for You’ is an average song in every way, and it might have been fine on a Bon Jovi or Def Leppard album, but just fills wrong on an Alice Cooper album.
‘Wind-up Toy’ closes the album, and it’s my favorite song. Cooper leaves behind the more straight rock formula that he used for most of this album, instead going for a darker more atmospheric song. The lyrics are sad, as Alice takes up the persona of an isolated child who is seen as nothing but a broken toy. An inconsistent album finished off by a brilliant song.
It’s 2011 and Alice Cooper is still rocking all over the world, releasing albums every couple of years. He followed up Hey Stoopid with a couple of concept albums, including the brilliant Brutal Planet.