Friday, April 18, 2008
No. 460: Love it to Death
Band: Alice Cooper
Album: Love it to Death
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: The band's third album is where it became the shock rock/teenage anthem band the band's leader would eventually become. The crazed, updated "My Generation" song "I'm Eighteen" is heavy on riffing and a staple of the singer's set.
Why Rolling Stone gets it right:
Best song: "Is It My Body?" is amazing, as is "I'm Eighteen."
Worst song: "Black Juju" isn't good.
Is it awesome?: Not really.
In the early 1970s, Alice Cooper was both a band and a man, in the same way Marilyn Manson was originally both a band and a man. In 1974, Vincent Furnier changed his legal name to Alice Cooper and the original band disbanded.
Frank Zappa signed Alice Cooper to his Straight Records label in 1969 and "Love it to Death" was the final album of the three-album deal. Zappa found the band's energy exciting and was fully in support of their shock rock mystique. Reportedly, after the "chicken incident" was reported, Zappa told Cooper not to deny anything. The publicity could only help the band.
Shock rock was relatively new, being influenced by Arthur Brown's craziness and fellow Michigander Iggy Pop's on stage cutting. Cooper took it to a new level, as he started incorporating an electric chair into his performances and using his on-air persona to vent out adolescent ragings. The lead single from "Love it to Death," "I'm Eighteen," was the singer's anthem at the time and backed up said persona. Acting as a made-up villain, Cooper was able to become threatening and thus had his hook.
"Is It My Body" is a great, sensitive song about the shallowness of sex in rock and roll. "I'm Eighteen" is defiant and cool. But, the rest of the album's actual songs aren't fantastic. "Black Juju" is the band's attempt at psychedelia and it solely takes the worst aspects (organ solos from Iron Butterfly, slow riffing, etc.) and runs with them for far too long. "Ballad of Dwight Fry" is similarly tedious. "Caught in a Dream" is entirely forgettable.
Alice Cooper has a place in rock music history, certainly. Like KISS, there is import in the band's stage presence. But the actual record? Not so great.