If I had to pick a worst Alice Cooper album it would be a toss up between Special Forces and Zipper Catches Skin. However, by the time I'm done reviewing the latter, I'll have a clear decision. I will say that there are a few decent tracks on this album, and that I was super happy to hear one track from this album played live when I saw Cooper on the second leg of the Bare Bones tour. In fact it was much better live than it was on the album.
The track in question is the lead of track on this album, and that's Who Do You Think We Are. This is also the longest track on this album. It starts with a long and acceptabley drawn out Synth opening that sets a mood that is quickly ripped apart. When the song gets going it's rough, rugged, and harsh, until it slips into a little more of a New Wave sound. My biggest complaint about this song is that the guitar solos are totally burried in the mix, which suck because both of them are pretty good.
I should mention that most of the songs on this album run between three and four minutes, which is a change from the previous album, Flush The Fashion. This allows for the music to breathe a little more, and isn't as lyric heavy. However, one shouldn't take that to mean that this album doesn't have some decent lyrics, but it's nice to hear some actual music.
The next song is the shortest song on the album. Seven & Seven Is has been reviewed by me in the past, when done on Rush's cover album Feedback. I can't stand this song. It was well ahead of it's time when originally recorded in the sixties, but on this album, along with the Rush version it just sounds like New Wave garbage.
Musically I don't care for Prettiest Cop On the Block, but lyrically I find it totally hilarious. This is one of those classic Alice gender bending tracks. "I'm 6 foot 3 with a fist like a hammer / And I work with the Vice Squad when I can / And when I pull out my badge they forget all my glamor / Little guys all surprised / Take a seat / Peek at me / It's a bust / I'm a man / I'm the prettiest cop on the block / I set your souls on fire / Yes, I'm the prettiest cop on the block / I'm cool and I'm so mean / Oh, I'm the prettiest cop on the block / I've handcuffed your desire / I've got a stiff reputation with a stick like a rock / My kids are confused and my wife is in shock / I'm a full blooded man not a weak immitation / I like to flex my arms in the neon lights / I'm a queen on the street and a king at the station / It's a secret of mine, not a sign I'm gonna make that right / Because.. / I'm the prettiest cop on the block / I set your souls on fire / Yes, I'm the prettiest cop on the block / I'm cool and I'm so mean / Oh, I'm the prettiest cop on the block / I've handcuffed your desire / I've got a stiff reputation with a stick like a rock / My kids are confused and my wife is in shock / I must look pretty shocking / In my bullet proof vest / With my black lace stockings / All this hair on my chest / When the boys see me coming / All the boys start to run / They all got their empty holsters / And I got the only gun / Because.. / Because, I'm the prettiest cop on the block / I set your souls on fire / Yes, I'm the prettiest cop on the block / I'm cool and I'm so mean / Yes, I'm the prettiest cop on the block / I handcuff your desires / I got a stiff reputation with a stick like a rock / My kids are confused and my wife is in shock / I'm the prettiest cop on the block / I set your souls on fire / Yes, I'm the prettiest cop on the block / And I'm cool -- so mean / I'm the prettiest cop on the block / I handcuff your desires / I'm so pretty, I'm so pretty, so pretty / Yes I'm gorgeous / I'm really lovely / And I'm so mean, so mean / I'm oooo I'm mean / But I'm pretty / And I'm mean / Sooo Pretty / But I'm mean / And I'm pretty . . ."
Don't Talk Old To Me is interesting on one hand, but on the other I really don't care for it. There is some stylistic flair, but at the same time it's complete New Wave garbage to me.
Richard Podolor did a decent job of producing this album, I think it's one of the few saving graces on this album, but on the other hand he opted to have too much of a synthetic feel.
When I first picked up this album I couldn't understand why Alice opted to include a live version of Generation Landslide, but after listening to it the first time I understood why there was now a Generation Landslide '81 (live). I don't care for the way the song is played live, it uses too much of Alice's new sound (at the time), but there's now a whole new verse that extends it. "over indulgent machines were their children / And there wasn't a way down on earth here to cool 'em / Cos they look just like humans at Kresge's and Woolworths / But decadent brains were at work to destroy / Brats in batallions were ruling the streets and / Generation landslide, close the gap between them / And I laughed to myself at the men and the ladies / Who never conceived those billion dollar babies / La da da da daa / Militant mothers hiding in the basement / Using pots and pans as their shields and their helmets / Molotov milk bottles heaved from pink highchairs / While mothers' lib burns birth certificate papers / And dad gets his allowance from his sonny the dealer / Who's pubic to the world but involved in high finance / Sister's out til 5, doing banker son's hours / But she owns a Mazarotti that's a gift from his father / Stop at full speed, at 100 miles per hour / The Colgate invisible shield finally got 'em / And I laughed to myself at the men and the ladies / Who never conceived those billion dollar babies / La da da da daa". This is where the new lyrics kick in for those that don't know. "No one gives an oink about prom night or football / Cos just getting home from school safe is a gamble and a blessing / Girlsies play with girlsies and boysies with boysies / Bored with one another, like old broken Christmas toysies / Kids are all hot and their parents so are noisy / And I laughed to myself at the men and the ladies / Who never conceived those billion dollar babies". I would like to have heard a classic studio version of this song with the extra lyrics, because I think it would have been better than what we got on here.
Skeletons In The Closet is one of those songs that should be redone with Ezrin at the helm. I think it would have been much better than it is. This song should sound a lot darker musically than it is. It had the potential to be really creepy, but instead it is too Pop sounding.
After that comes You Want It, You Got It. I have no clue how to discuss this song. This is one of those odd songs that's more like a spoken word piece set to digital sounding music. It's not for everyone and I can say that.
You Look Good In Rags is a victim of it's production. This could have been a really good song if it had been released in the seventies, except for Lace And Whiskey, or one of the new millenium albums. I would like to hear Alice redo this one, and let the band do what really needs to be done with it.
My favourite song on this album is You're A Movie. I think Alice's performance is top notch, and the lyrics are really singable. "I fearlessly walk into battle / With a shine on my boots and my teeth / Never flinch, never blink, never rattle / My blood is like ice underneath / Oh, I'm the reincarnation of Patton / And I've got Hannibal's heart in my chest / God told me I would have rivalled / Alexander the Great at his best / (You're a movie) / Quite / (You're a movie) / Yes / (The exception) / That's right / (You're the final kind) / (You're a movie) / More of an epic / (Please include me, send us to the line) / Mm, that's right / Very good / Bullets repel off my medals / And my men are in awe when I speak / All chaos my strategy settles / My mere presence gives strength to the weak / For me it seems really alarming / I'm really just only a man / With five million sheep in this army / I seem to be the only one fit to command / (You're a movie) / I'm quite aware / (You're a movie) / Yeah / (The exception) / Oh, you've noticed / (You're the final kind) / (You're a movie) / Hey, very true / (Please include me, send us to the line) / Mm, if you're lucky / I must go now and save the world / Move aside mere drop of water, let the ocean pass / (You're a movie) / Quite right / (You're a movie) / (The exception) / (You're the final kind) / (You're a movie) / (Please include me) / Mm hmm / (Please include me) / (Please include me) / Possibly / (Send us to the lines) / Good man / (Send us to the lines) / I'll be at the front, please / (Front of the lines) / Oh, alright / Follow me / Another day, another victory / Another gold stripe, another star / Really quite boring sometimes / I wish they'd send someone equal to my strategies / What a guy / I'm really quite a guy / (Movie ...) That last part repeats over and over until the end. If you roller skate, this is a great song to get your roller disco on to. Yes, I understand how disturbing that sounds.
The album finishes with Vicious Rumours, which isn't that bad. Once again it's the production that hurts this song, but I do like that at the end there's a bit of a reprise of Who Do You Think We Are to finish off the album by giving it a full circle kind of feel.
Actually, after listening to this album back to back with Flush The Fashion I think this album may be on par with that one but in different ways. I do like the production better on this one. It sounds a little too New Wave for me, but the over all sound quality is better than Flush The Fashion. The content is about the same, although in a different way. The last album I found the music kind of crappy, while the lyrics were decent. On this album I find both more balanced, but over all it doesn't improve the album as a whole. As for my personal bias, I'm less likely to listen to this album than Flush The Fashion, and I can't give a good reason why.
5/10 - content
7/10 - production
5/10 - personal bias