If you notice I listed off five songs above, you are about to be pleasantly surprised by the fact that You Drive Me Nervous, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, and Killer are the only other three songs on the album, and the last song listed is one of the album's best cuts. The two other tracks are fantastic tracks, that only come off sounding like fillers on this album.
The album opens with the classic line, "The telephone is ringing,..." then the music punches in before, "You got me on the run / I'm driving in my car now / Anticipating fun". From there it just turns into a great energy pumping song, that has you bouncing. Then it continues with, "I'm driving right up to you, babe / I guess that you couldn't see, yeah yeah / But you were under my wheels honey / Why don't you let me be? / Cuz when you call me on the telephone, sayin / Take me to the show / And then I say honey I just can't go / The old lady says You can't leave her home. " Those lyrics make up the first three verses, which pretty much just repeat as the song goes on. This is the type of Rock that inspired bands to keep songs short, sweet and simple. However, the musical work on this song is far from simple.
I love songs where Alice reverses the rolls on women, and Be My Lover is one of those song. "She struts into the room / Well, I don't know her / But with a magnifying glance / I just sort of look her over / We have a drink or two / Well, maybe three / And then suddenly she starts telling me / Her life story, she says / "Baby, if you wanna be my lover / You better take me home / 'Cause it's a long, long way to paradise / And I'm still on my own" / I told her that I came / From Detroit City / And I played guitar / In a long-haired rock 'n' roll band / She asked me why / The singer's name was Alice / I said, listen baby / You really wouldn't understand, then I said / "Baby, if you wanna be my lover / You better take me home / 'Cause it's a long, long way to paradise / And I'm still on my own, on my own". Musicly this song has such a great Jazz Lounge kind of vibe to it. I could easily picture a woman like Ette Jones singing this one. In fact, I always like this song better when sung by a female, but that's just because I'm a straight man. Also, listen to all that bass on this song. Dennis Dunnaway is the man when it comes to bass between 1970 and 1974. His work since then is just as good, but those years marked his true genius.
The first two songs at one point or another were radio singles, or at the minimum, very radio friendly. I remember both of them still getting regular air play in the 80's. However, the next song is purely an album cut and crowd favourite when played live.
Halo Of Flies has a title that rings of Satan, but is actually totally James Bond inspired, although not officially like The Man With The Golden Gun (from Muscle Of Love). This song is an epic spy movie, with a killer score. "I've got the answers / To all of your questions / If you've got the money / To pay me in gold / I will be living / In old Monte Carlo / And you will be reading / The secrets of soul / Daggers and contacts / And bright shiny limos / I've got a watch / That turns into a lifeboat / Glimmering nightgowns / And poisonous cobras / Silencer under the heel of my shoe". And that just gets the song started. To be honest most of this song is the awesome music. I mean really, really awesome music. It's smooth, sexy, stylish, explosive, basically everything that you'd expect to hear from a spy movie.
The fourth track on this amazing album is Desperado. Now, if you don't know this song, and you should be ashamed of yourself if that is the case, don't go Googling just the song title. This song won't even show up on the first page. The first thing you get is a couple of entries for the movie starring Antonio Banderas, then a few other things, and somewhere in that mess is a song by the same title that was released by The Eagles in 1973. That's two years after the much, much, much, better Alice Cooper track. Hell, one could easily argue that the movie starring two of the sexiest actors/actresses ( Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek) in Hollywood at the time was based on this song. Part of me was upset not to hear at least a cover of this song on the soundtrack. It's just that sweet, and would have been great during one of the shoot out scenes.
The first song on this album that would be considered a filler is You Drive Me Nervous, and only because it's simular to Under My Wheels in feel and vibe. However, I still love this song and Alice's vocal performance is what makes it top notch. The way he sings the song in an actual nervous manner is just something no one has the brains to do anymore.
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, is just a great crazy ass song. I love every second of it, right down to the wicked harmonica solo. Also, Alice has some great screams on this one and I would only ever call this a filler track because it's the second weakest song on the album. That being said I would score this song alone an 8/10 without a second thought.
From the two weakest songs on the album we go to one of the greatest songs I have ever fallen in love with. Dead Babies may be the one song on this planet I couldn't live without. Everything about this song is just magnificent. The bass line that drives the song is totally captivating, and is played with the same kind of ominous feel you get from Led Zeppelin's Dazed And Confused. Neil Smith's drumming is a beautiful controlled chaos. Micheal Bruce and Glen Buxton's guitar work is mesmerizing and Alice delivers both a sweet lullaby and a harsh awakening. Then the song ends with a slap in the face to the poor neglected child. "Goodbye, little Betty / Goodbye, little Betty / So long, little Betty / So long, little Betty / Betty, so long / Dead babies can't take care of themselves / Dead babies can't take things off the shelf / Well, we didn't need you anyway / La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la". This is one of my top three favourite Alice Cooper songs, and I can say with 90% certainty that this song is probably number one. Also, it's only one of two Alice songs I can play on more than one instrument (bass or drums, but not at the same time) and sing while playing both instruments.
Then it's on to the last song on the album. Killer is the gripping tale of a man facing the charges brought before him. You can almost see Alice in the witness box giving this testimony. "What did I do to deserve such a fate / I didn't really want to get / Involved in this thing / Someone handed me this gun and I / I gave it everything / Yeah, I gave it everything / I came into this life / Looked all around / I saw just what I liked / And took what I found / Nothing came easy / Nothing came free / Nothing came all until they / Came after me / Yeah-hey, yeah". Then it's on to music that sounds very much like it's the court case being played out. I mean this is really pure musical genius. Bruce and Dunnaway wrote music that was so well produced by Bob Ezrin that the music actually sounds like the complete case being played out for your ears. Then the wailing and moaning kicks in before the first verse is quietly repeated in a state of reminiscence. To which we are then lead to the gallows, while a priest performs the last rights in latin. Then slowly the music picks up and the lever is thrown, and then there's a whirlpool of memory and then PoP. It's over.
If you only ever pick up one Alice Cooper album I would say this needs to be that album. Musically it's beyond amazing. Lyrically it tells a great set of stories. Over all it's everything that you want from really good music. The musicianship of albums like this are just too over shadowed by "The Show" that people sometimes don't know how amazing that original band really was.
10/10 - content
10/10 - production
10/10 - personal bias