In the last month and change, Alice Cooper and Metallica have released new albums and both have gone back to older styles. It's interesting how one instantly got me off and I call it a crowning achievement in a long career and the other is just another album for the most part.
Alice Cooper's Along Came A Spider is pure evil and insanity from begining to end, with only one or two songs kinda leaving you going WTF!?! But if you love classic Alice this is a must get album, and if you like newer Alice this album is also a must get. If this does end up being Alice's last album, he left me dying for more. I could never rave about this album enough, so I'll stop drooling over it now, because this could turn into a 1000 word essay on the genius of Alice Cooper.
Those were my thoughts when this album came out. I still stand by all of them, but now I'm going to ramble on.
Let me start by saying that this album is psycho killer Alice. The same Alice that can be found on the second half of Raise Your Fist And Yell. This is the Master returning for another round of shocktreatment.
The album opens with Prologue/I Know Where You Live which set the mood for the album. Setting up the story of a grizzly tale, discovered after the fact. As well as the revelling in the stalking his victims.
The single from this album was Vengence Is Mine, I think that's mainly do to the fact that Slash was the lead guitarist, and you can tell. Slash's trademark guitar sound and style just rip through this entire song. I mean he just really opens it up and let's it all fly out. It's so beautiful, easily one of his best performances. That mixed with a finishing chorus of "Vengeance is mine, mine, mine / To forgive is divine / Not as rewarding I find / Because vengeance is mine..." it's pure Alice Heaven.
Wake The Dead is the big WTF?! song on this album. Every Alice album always seems to have some type of bubble gum pop with whatever flavour to current "Sound" is using. The nice thing about this song is that it's lyrically so fun and entertaining. Nothing like singing about killing to a song that sounds like it was written for current Lady Gaga or Britney Spears, if they use real instruments.
Every serial killer likes to taunt the police. Catch Me If You Can is the Garage Rock song that does that. At times it voyages out of that sound, for effect and dramatics, but it totally works.
Now, before I heard (In Touch With) Your Feminine Side I thought it would be the albums customary ballad. I was so wrong. This is more classic Detroit Rock detailing the little horrors of the chase, the catch, the kill, the dismembering, the sweet elation of a Psycho Alice on the loose.
The sound continues right into Wrapped In Silk, which is an awesome surprisingly danceable number. The chorus section of the song is such a great set up for the story of a spider enthusiast. "You should be wrapped in silk / You should be bathed in white / You should be wrapped in silk / I'll make that dream come true tonight / Wrapped in silk / Dressed in white / Bathed in milk / I'll make that dream come true tonight / Yes tonight / Yes tonight / Tonight's the night / I'll turn off your lights (turn off your lights)".
From there we go into the customary ballad of the album. What's more of a cheap Alice ballad than a song called Killed By Love. "I've got more to lose, more to lose than you / Cause I'm the only one in love between us too / I know that I've been struck by lightning from above / Cause I've been killed by love / I got a longer fall, a longer fall to take / Cause I'm a bigger fool with a bigger heart to break / You pushed me way too far, a push became a shove / And I was killed by love / Drop me off in a crowded lonely city / Everybody there was crying / Drop me off in a town without pity / And let me be the one that's dying" then it just repeats "Killed by love", until "Killed by love oh yeah / Killed by love, I'm thinking fast baby / Killed by love, you know you're killing me baby / Baby, baby / Oh bye bye love". Take into consideration that he's talking to the spider he's made out of female body parts. I also love that it sounds like it should be performed on The Muppet Show. That's followed up by I'm Hungry, which is basically the classic "Need to kill" story, you could even go a little canibalistic with the interpration if you want. A great tune the whole way around.
My favourite song on the album is The One That Got Away. It has one of the best song intros ever. "You look like you'd fit in the trunk of my car", sung with not a single instrument but the second the line finishes, those chunky guitars come slamming in. This song is so Villian of Rock & Roll. I can't stress how much of a great Rock song this is, without the completely twisted lyrics, about "the one that got away."
The only song on the album that's a skipper is Salvation. I understand the purpose with the idea of finding salvation and searching for redemption, but that's not what Alice Cooper is. The character of Alice Cooper is a monster of nightmares that enjoys the sick twisted behaviour too much to ever want redemption. I think that had Bob Ezrin produced this album, this song would have been left out. It's not Alice. Alice would only seek redemption as a ploy to take over Heaven and rule defiantly over his Master.
"I'm your lover / I'm your brother / I'm your killer / I'm your friend / I'm your teacher / I'm your preacher / I'm the reaper in the end / I'm your healer / I'm your dealer / I'm your angel, lets pretend / I'm your jailer / I'm your failure / I'm the reaper in the end / Along came a Spider / Crept up beside her / Spun his web deep inside her /My darkness will guide her / I am the spider / I am the spider / I am the spider / I am the spider / You're my sinner / You're my dinner / My little puppet, let's pretend / You're the cure to my affliction / My addiction to the end / Along came a Spider / Crept up beside her / Spun his web deep inside her / My darkness will guide her / I am the spider / I am the spider / I am the spider / I am the spider / I was born to it (?) / Not something to strive for / Not something to even admire / Unless it was / it's done with the greatest of taste / Conviction and expertise / I am the spider / Along came a Spider / Crept up beside her / Spun his web deep inside her / My darkness will guide her / I am the spider / I am the spider / I am the spider / I am the spider / 'Well, they found my diary today. / They were appropriately appalled / at the discovery of the eight victims / They're now putting it all together. / Women wrapped in silk / with one leg missing / Eight legs, one body, silk, / spider, brilliant!' / 'We've been in this cell / for 28 years Steven / We couldn't have done all / those horrible things / Yes, I know / I know what you always say / You trap, you kill, you eat / That's what a good spider does / You trap, you kill, you eat. / You trap, you kill, you eat.'" The ultimate serial killer note.
I'm not totally sure about the 28 years reference. Time line wise that would put it at 1980, which would be the Flush the Fashion album, which seems like an unlikely reference. Unless it's meant that the character was locked away after From The Inside, which would make more sense. However, I can only speculate, and that I have.
I consider this album a top five Alice Cooper album. With the surprising and very personal exception of DaDa, Along Came A Spider is the best album since 1975's Welcome To My Nightmare. I really liked a lot of albums that came out over the last 30 years, but this one I think is the best. Also with only one song I have no use for, that makes this a very full album.
9/10 - content
10/10 - production
10/10 - personal bias