Note: I had gotten off on my sequential order. I fixed it. Just so you know. So… Another great one last week, Starz. I gotta be on the lookout for that on vinyl, really. Jon and Eugene are playing catch up. We’ll get their reviews soon. But for now, let’s get to probably the most head-scratching entry we have had on this list yet.
#16 – Special Forces by Alice Cooper.
I’ve never had strong feelings about Alice Cooper, one way or another. There have been great things like Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome to My Nightmare, sure. But, this is not Alice Cooper. I mean, it is, but isn’t. It’s all a bit weird.
There are parts that sound like Alice and some parts that sound like some other person. Now, I know that he was severely f’ed up on cocaine and alcohol at this time. I mean, he does refer to this as his “blackout period” where he had three albums he doesn’t even remember recording from his substance addictions. I don’t know if the guys in his band (or at least the recording band) just went along with him because he’s the boss or were they participating with him, or what, but they complied.
Let me say, though, there’s nothing wrong with this album. I have really gotten into the First Wave/New Wave/Post Punk stuff that happened from about 1980-1983 or so. Stuff I wouldn’t have even listened to 2 seconds of it a mere 10 years ago. The BCPF is a huge fan of that and I’ve started to really get into it. So, this isn’t something I wouldn’t listen to regularly, but for one thing: it’s Alice Cooper. Not that that matters, a good album is a good album. But, is this a good album? I haven’t decided that, yet.
In “Who Do You Think We Are,” once I get past thinking “Turbo Lover” is about to play, I keep hearing Shawn Mullins doing “Lullaby.” Only for a bit, but still it’s there. The rest of that song is Alice, but he’s scattered throughout the album. It’s not a bad song.
I do like the Berlin/Missing Persons-esque sound of the Love cover, “Seven and Seven Is” (originally known as 7 and 7 is). I like that he keeps it synthed-up, too. Oop-ip-ip oop-ip-ip yeah. I like “Prettiest Cop on the Block.” He’s not 6’3″ though (laughs). This song is very much like Alice. The same with “Don’t Talk Old to Me.”
More of the odd (for Alice) synth-based instrumentation on “Skeletons in My Closet” and “You Want It, You Got It.” It reminds me of Robert Hazard or Nails. But, then he goes back to true Alice form with “You Look Good in Rags.” Adam Ant, or the Alice Cooper version, shows up for “You’re a Movie.” This, happens to be my favorite song on the album, by the way. I love his ad-libs. The album ends well with “Vicious Rumours.”
The instrumentation listing should just read “Duane Hitchings and some other folks” because it was mostly a keyboard-/synth-driven album. There were drum machines in lieu of a drummer for a good bit of the album; sucks for you Mr. Krampf. Guitars are present but background material for the better part of the album. Listening on big speakers and headphones and even my laptops’ Bang & Olufsen speakers, Eric Scott’s bass is like Jason Newstead on …And Justice For All, and we all know how that went. Actually, the non-synth songs, you can hear him doing some cool stuff, especially in “Don’t Talk Old to Me.” It’s just all background to the synths, I think.
So, here’s the thing. I like this album. I think it’s fun, or maybe not fun. I would like this a lot more if it wasn’t Alice treading in his demons. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t have made this album or blaming him for that. I do think it’s a cry for help, which he didn’t get for a while. So, the overall assessment is it’s a great new-wave/first-wave album. It’s not a great Alice Cooper album. But, I dig it for what it was at the time it was. It fit the time.
I want to hear Eug’s take on this and I predict that Jon will find it interesting but not necessarily like it. I could be wrong, I still have a time gauging his like/dislikes. But, it will be interesting, nonetheless.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Bullets repel off my metals. And, my men are in awe when I speak. All chaos my strategies 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” (Cooper, Hitchings)