The very first Alice Cooper compact disc I bought was Hey Stoopid. If I remember correctly it was the fourth or fifth one I owned. It essentially kicked off the challenge of getting every Alice Cooper album on CD, which in 1992 was easier said than done. I had bought the cassette when it first came out. I had made a ride to the area mall on my lunch break, to pick up this album when I first found out it came out. I was so excited I even let my little sister tag along, and didn't care that I ended up getting caught in the rain. I listened to the album on my walkman over and over for months.
From day one there were very few songs I didn't care for. I loved every track on this album. It reached out to the twelve year old kid so much that the following year when I ran across a copy on CD I snapped it up right away. I picked it up at a place that doesn't even exist anymore, called Windsor's Rocker Connection. It's the same copy I still listen to to this day, and to be fair should have been replaced years ago.
Needless to say this album and I have history. So I'm a little bias, but when I think of this album, and when I listen to this album, I still do it as a kid. I do it as an older kid though, because I have always listened to this album. It was my Alice Cooper album. It was the first new album I ever went out of my way to buy, and I have never rergetted it.
To me the worst songs on this album were all the singles, and it's the album tracks that do it for me. With the exception of the title track. Hey Stoopid is seriously still a song I totally dig. I love every second of this marvel of production. Also, how can you argue with a song that has Slash soloing and Ozzy lending some minor background vocals? I remember Alice claiming this song was sort of his way of telling people to be stupid, and not rush into anything. I totally get that, but instead I found it was more of a wake-up call. It was about being slow and methodical.
I'm sure there are some people that really like Love's A Loaded Gun. I am not one of them. Not my kind of song, and I could do without it being the second track on the album.
One thing that has alway been great about Alice is that he released great albums, where even the filler tracks were really solid. Snakebite is a mediocre song by Alice Cooper standards. It's a basic track that helps fill up the album, but this would have been a hit single for one of the Glam Metal Bands.
Burning Our Bed is one of those songs that cuts a very fine line for me. It's like a Power Ballad, but not totally, but I want to scream and yell a huge "Why the fuck do you keep doing these fucking ballads!?" But, really it's not that bad of a song. It's not my cup of tea, but you know you could sing this one with a group around a bon fire with a few accoustics. Turn it into a whole Hey Jude kinda thing, if you really wanted to. I wouldn't, but you could if for some reason the need took you.
Dangerous Tonight is a classic Cooper album filler track. Not in the sense that it's filler, far from. In the fact this is a great track that I'm sure many other fans enjoy listening to. It's only an album filler because it's not single material. It's not a very radio friendly song, in the sense that it doesn't have the standard kind of hook. This song is more atmosphere.
Were it not for the fact that I love the album's closing track more than any other song from this album, my favourite song on this album would be the biggest sappy song on the album. Might As Well Be On Mars is a song of such lonely heartbreak. Let's start with the lyrics. "The city streets are wet with rain tonight / Taxi drivers swerve from lane to lane / A lonely guitar man playin' down the hall / Midnight blues comin' through the walls / I tried to call you on the telephone / I left it off the hook / Just to hear it ring / You told me you were better off alone / I never knew that tears could stain / I'm on the roof and I'm starin' at the stars / Lookin' down at all the cars / I can see you / In the window of your favorite corner bar / But to reach you is just too far / And I might as well be on Mars / The city seems so old and grey and beat / It closes in and makes me wanna suffocate / And you just live across the street / But that's a billion miles away / You've turned my world into a dark and lonely place / Like a planet lost in space, my light is fadin' / I'd cross the universe to be right where you are / But I'm right in your backyard / And I might as well be on Mars / I might as well be on Mars / You can't see me / I might as well be the Man on the Moon / You can't hear me / Oh, can you feel me so close / And yet so far / Baby, I might as well be on Mars / Baby, I can't fly / If I could I'd come down to ya / Maybe I should try / I'm on the roof and I'm starin' at the stars / Lookin' down at all lthe cars / I can see you / In the window of your favorite corner bar / But to reach is just too far / And I might as well be on Mars / I might as well be on Mars / You can't see me / I might as well be the Man on the Moon / You can't hear me / Oh, can you feel me so close / And yet so far / Baby, I might as well be on Mars". Now, let me break it down for you like this. This is a Blues song as performed in 1991, if you are Alice Cooper and you want to blow the world away. Peter Collins, which is the name of the fine gentleman that produced this album, built one of the most powerful songs I know. I mean this song is all production, and it's just spectacular. Well, that's not really fair. The music in this song is just mind blowing. If you notice the styles and patterns it doesn't take much to figure out that long time friend and co-writer Dick Wagner had a part in this song. Oh, yeah Desmond Child also wrote on this one, so that also means it's going to be pretty fucking cool. Did I mention it's also the longest song on the album. It's rare that Alice Cooper breaks the five minute barrier, but not very often he goes into seven plus minutes. Did I mention this is an amazing song? Seriously, go listen and love.
Feed My Frankenstein, I don't even know where to begin with this one. It's fun live, and really it's not a bad song, but at the same time it's not a great song. But I can't say that with a straight face since Joe Satriani and Steve Vai both played on this track. It was a historical moment. That being said, um, I blame Wayne's World.
Now we finish off this album with a mostly up hill ride to amazing, and it all begins with Hurricane Years. This is one of those songs that should have been a single. It's the perfect timeless kind of track for teenagers. "I got a ticket to to nowhere / I got no respect for the law / I got no use 'cause it's all abuse / It's the cutting edge of the saw / Ain't got no tiime for the future / Ain't got no time for the past / I'm running up a down escalator / I'm going nowhere fast / I'm hanging on like a spider / Blowing in the wind / This storm's gonna tear a hole / Right thru this web I'm in / Thunder lightning / The wind outside is so damn frightening / But it's alright, all right / Stand clear / You're living in the hurricane years / In the hurricane years / I've been thru major destruction / I've seen thru terrorists' eyes / Sometimes I feel no emotion / Sometimes I break down and cry / I need to walk on a wire / I need a layer of skin / I need a preacher breathing fire / To burn away my sins / And I can't help the victims / On the side of the road / And I can't stop the cyclone / That's about to explode / Thunder lightning / The wind outside is so damn frightening / But it's alright, all right / Stand clear / You're living in the hurricane years / In the hurricane years / Turn my eyes to heaven / Watching all the clouds roll by / I see the blood moon rising / I know I'm way too young to die / Thunder lightning / The wind outside is so damn frightening / But it's alright, all right / Stand clear / You're living in the hurricane years / In the hurricane years". Hell, I think it still applies to my life in this day and age. It's like the theme song for those that were teenagers when this album first came out.
Little By Little is one of those songs that gets me based on one simple detail, I love talkbox on a guitar and this song's got it. Not to mention it's really a great middle of the album kind of track. There are people I can see being pretty serious fans of this song and with good reason. This is a really cool guitar song.
Die For You is the only hiccup in what would otherwise be the perfect ending to an album. You could take most of what I said about Burning Our Bed and apply it to this song no problem. Pretty much word for word.
I love Dirty Dreams. It's really a fun Rock song. It's a great little interpretation of a dirty dream.
Wind-Up Toy is the perfect bit of insanity for me. I love scary, nightmare Alice, he's good for a story and a thrill or two, but he's got nothing on the truly mad Alice. I mean the complete display of insanity presented for your enjoyment. The more out of his mind and into the world psychotic malevolence the more I'm begging for it. However, as a counter point this song explains it all. If I were to put together the ultimate insanity album, and give it a narrative, this would be the opening track to give the back story before Alice goes fully off the deep end. Lyrically I've always had a very close affinity with this song, because it's just so raw and soul bearing. It's those moments of clarity that only drive you further and further into the abyss. "Voices come from down the hall / In my room all painted white / I have my bat and rubber ball / I like to sleep with them at night / But now I'm all smiles / The good little shots must be winning / Guess they crank my dial / My motor is stalled / But my wheels are still spinning / Daddy won't discuss me / What a state I must be / Mommy couldn't stand / Living with a wind-up toy / All my friends live on the floor / Tiny legs and tiny eyes / They're free to crawl under the door / And and someday soon so will I / But now I'm all smiles / These good little shocks must be working / I'm so happy now / Look my fingers don't shake / And my head isn't jerking / Daddy won't discuss me / Oh what a pain I must be / Mommy couldn't stand / Having such a wound-up boy / Doctors want to check me / Poke me and dissect me / What do they expect? / Feelings from a wind-up toy? / I don't think so / I'm just a wind-up toy / A wind-up toy / I'm lost in a nightmare / Shiny white halls / Drawing rats on the wall / Solitary confinement / Chained in a cell / Got my own private hell / The preacher crucifies me / Warden wants to fry me / I was never young / Never just a little boy / Daddy won't discuss me / Oh what a pain I must be / Mama couldn't stand / Having such a wound-up boy / I'm just a wind-up toy / I'm a wind-up toy / I'm just a wind-up toy / I'm just a wind-up toy / I'm just a wind-up toy / Wind-up toy / Wind-up toy / I'm just a wind-up toy / Wind-up toy / Wind-up toy / I'm just a wind-up toy / I'm just a wind-up toy / I'm just a wind-up / Wind-up / Wind-up / Wind-up / Wind-up toy / I'm so happy / I'm just a wind-up toy / Wa wa wa wind-up toy / Wa wind wind-up toy / They come here every night / I see them / Don't you see them / Hmm that's odd isn't it / I'm so tired / I'm winding down / You'll have to go now / It's bedtime / Steven". Sadly this is one of those songs that never gets done live, and the one live version I heard never captured the same vibe. I basically look at this as my generation's Ballad Of Dwight Fry.
I seriously love this album. All my bitching and complaining aside this is my favourite album to come out of the 90's, not that there was much competition (technically only one other studio album, one live album with a single new studio song, and a box set). Were it not for 2008's Along Came A Spider, I could have said that this was Alice's last great album.8/10 - content 10/10 - production 9/10 - personal bias