Alice Cooper Goes To Hell

Alice Cooper

Warner Brothers Records, 1976

http://www.alicecooper.com

REVIEW BY: Eric E5S16

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/11/2001

Alice Cooper started out with a great band, and had great albums with them. After seven albums and a greatest hits compilation with band members Michael Bruce, Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith, Alice departed from the band. His second album after the breakup, released in 1976, Alice Cooper Goes To Hell, has Alice going in different musical directions than he did with his former band members, which was straight hard rock.

First off, "Go To Hell" is more heavy metal than the common hard rocking sound Alice used to play. "You Gotta Dance" is kind of like the old Alice, yet it has a bouncy pop beat. "I'm The Coolest" is a slow, grooving song, where Alice is talking rather than singing. Not just talking, he's whispering the lyrics in a "cool" fashion. The groove of this song is kind of jazz-driven. (Now that's different from Alice!) "Didn't We Meet" is more of a pop-rock song, where it is mostly piano-driven. It's chorus rocks, and so does the break in the middle, bringing back the old Alice.

"I Never Cry" is a slow ballad, in the same style as his previous hit "Only Women Bleed" (from Welcome To Nightmare), and a song that was released later in his career, "How You Gonna See Me Now" ( From The Inside). Truthfully, these ballads are remarkably done, both musically and vocally, from a man who made hard-rock and (especially) shock-rock records.

Now, talk about different: "Give The Kid A Break" has a Las Vegas Showcase sound: It's one of those songs where you can visualize Alice dressed in top hat and coat tails dancing down the steps on a broadway stage, kicking out his legs to the beat, along with the Vegas showgirls. (Again, different musical directions is heard on this album...) "Guilty" returns Alice back to your standard rock and roll. This song has more of a Kiss feel than his standard old material. "Wake Me Gently" is another soft ballad, and it has a somewhat Ozzy Osbourne ballad sound to it. ("Mama, I'm Coming Home" comes to mind.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"Wish You Were Here" is another hard rocker, where the guitars are the main source. Also heard are bongo drums, as they start out like The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For The Devil". Towards the end, the guitars sound similar to The Beatles' intro of "Come Together". Also in some instances (similarly), the beginning guitars also has a John Lennon "Cold Turkey" sound. Alice's version of "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" is another Vegas-style song, as you begin to wonder what direction does Alice REALLY wanted to go, back in 1976? I don't think trying to take old pop standards for a hard rock artist is a good thing to do: Gene Simmons did the same thing on his 1978 solo album, with "When You Wish Upon A Star". Both of these songs (Alice's and Gene's) can be put somewhere at the bottom of a list. "Rainbows" is merged into "Going Home," as the two songs together leaves the listener wondering what would be in store next for Alice Cooper, back in 1976.

It seems that after 1975, Alice Cooper was accepted by the entertainment world as a "pop" entertainer, than the shock-rock image he perfected in previous years. Back then, looking at such acts as himself, along with Kiss and David Bowie, the entertainment industry would look at them as more of a "bizarre" rock talent, leaving them in their own separate worlds. It was funny watching Alice appear on talk shows, like when he told Mike Douglas he was playing golf with political (!) and other well-known celebrities. He was also a regular celebrity guest on The Hollywood Squares.

After Alice left his hard rocking band, he pointed into a more pop rock world, and Alice Cooper Goes To Hell proves that. It features songs that are more in a pop-rock style, than what he once played when he first started. Maybe Alice was trying to rediscover his musical boundaries. Maybe hard rock music was getting to him. After all, he did admit himself to a psychriatic hospital in 1978, and after that, he recorded From The Inside (an album based on his experiences at the hospital), and then recorded punk rock albums from 1980 to 1983. He would later return to the hard rock style in 1986. And just when you thought Alice was a washup, he was rediscovered by a new generation of fans in 1989, when he returned back to rock stardom with the hit "Poison" from the album Trash.

But Alice Cooper Goes To Hellshows Alice trying to find a new direction in music. There weren't any real big hits off this album, and to some Cooper fans, this album may be one of their least favorites. But giving it a listen, there are some songs here that are good, and some you can put at the bottom of another list. But all in all, this album is good, but obviously, there are far more better ones than this one from Alice's catalogue.

Rating: B-

User Rating: B+


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© 2001 Eric E5S16 and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Warner Brothers Records, and is used for informational purposes only.