ALICE COOPER: FLUSH THE FASHION (1980)
1) Talk Talk; 2) Clones (We're All); 3) Pain; 4) Leather Boots; 5) Aspirin Damage; 6) Nuclear Infected; 7) Grim Facts; 8) Model Citizen; 9) Dance Yourself To Death; 10) Headlines.
This time, the cover proudly flashes the inscription «ALICE COOPER '80», which makes it a little dubious that
At each step in
It is sometimes easy to forget here that, musically speaking,
Particularly since Flush The Fashion, looking at it from a particular point of view, is better than most Cars albums (and I like The Cars quite a bit). Surprisingly, there are no more ballads — breaking up with the well-established tradition, Alice chose the weird sci-fi rock of 'Clones' to forward his new image — and the ten pop-rock songs put such a heavy emphasis on irony and humor that it is all but impossible to get seriously offended or bored by the material, even if you find it uneven.
Among the good news is
As for the humor, it is well on the level — no slapstick in sight, satire a-plenty: 'Clones (We're All)' is a nasty swipe at mass mentality; 'Aspirin Damage' exposes the addiction problem with the aid of an unforgettable — especially if you are a third-grader — chorus ('Sometimes I find myself shaking from the medication taken!'); 'Pain' is Alice in his native element, an anthem sung from Pain's point of view ('It's a compliment to me to feel you screaming through the night', he concludes in classic «Steven»-like fashion); and 'Model Citizen' continues the artist's crusade against the self-important bourgeois. For those who like their humor/grit ratio at around 1 : 4, there is 'Grim Facts', where Alice «slices through the vices» both with his angriest vocal performance on the record and Davey Johnstone's fittingly «grim» guitat melody — and you can certainly see the seeds of born-again Christianity sown with the Coop's creepy tales of teenage moral decay.
It may be a little sad to realize that Furnier has, once again, completely disappeared behind the Alice Cooper mask; his true (or, at least, «true-looking») personality, having broken through thick crust on Goes To Hell and culminated with From The Inside, has now gone into hiding again — no doubt, due to the temporary alcohol-free relief after the sanitarium experience. But then, expecting to have regular glimpses of Alice Cooper's true face is about as justified as expecting the same from one of Shakespeare's clowns: their function is simply different, and Flush The Fashion is as typical of the typical Alice Cooper function as the typical Alice Cooper function typically gets, and this should be deemed good enough.
Flush The Fashion is almost criminally short (less than half an hour), and has a couple oddities-among-oddities whose effect, either expected or actual, is not well understood (e. g., the obscure purpose of the mix of mid-1970s Stones-style riffage and Dylan-style vocalization on 'Dance Yourself To Death'). But overall, this is a brilliant reinvention that allows Alice to stay in touch with the times while being true to his vision — and it opens wide the doors to one of his most interesting, if, unfortunately, most neglected musical periods that would last for three more years and three more albums. Thumbs up by all means.