Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Alice Cooper - Killer

As the middle release of the magnificent trio of albums (Love it to Death and School’s Out bookending this one), Killer is one of the top LPs of the 70’s! Coming off of their smash hit, "(I’m) Eighteen", the Alice Cooper band was at their peak as they were recording this monster!

Opening with the incredible “Under My Wheels”, which leaps out at you with screeching lead guitars right from the top, you know this is gonna be a wild ride! Their hit for this album, “Be My Lover”, is next and is fun, funny, sexy and catchy as hell – and even has a faux May West impersonation at the end just before drummer Neil Smith drops his sticks! Great sounds, great lyrics (“she asked me why the singer’s name was Alice, I told her ‘listen baby, you really wouldn’t understand’”) and a great tune!

The esoteric “Halo of Flies” shows more of their “spy movie” influences, with James Bond-influenced lyrics and multitudes of changes – from high energy to cinematic. They move from spy movie to western in “Desperado”, a spaghetti western with their own unique twists – such as “I wear lace and I wear black leather” – not your usual cowboy hero!

Another wild blast of energy is expended with “You Drive Me Nervous”, teenage angst taken to the extreme with nerve-racking guitar fills and non-stop rock! Definitely one of their under-rated masterpieces!

Michael Bruce and Alice update the Beatles with “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” but with topics that the mop-tops never tackled, such as “you can pull my leg or anything” and “you could be the devil, you could be the savior”.

“Dead Babies” is their sick joke set to music and the centerpiece of their stage show at this time. As he sang about a baby overdosing, Alice would stab baby dolls with a sword and then be taken away (during the finale “Killer”) to be hung on their gallows! The record came with a fold-out calendar with a great photo of Alice after this climax. “Killer” tells the tale of the trial and execution and is still remarkably musical (as some of their later pieces that were basically backup music for the stage show lacked).

Absolutely essential piece of near-perfect 70’s rock!