ALICE COOPER: THE EYES OF
1) What Do You Want From Me; 2) Between High School And Old School; 3) Man Of The Year; 4) Novocaine; 5) Bye Bye Baby; 6) Be With You Awhile; 7) Detroit City; 8) Spirits Rebellious; 9) This House Is Haunted; 10) Love Should Never Feel Like This; 11) The Song That Didn't Rhyme; 12) I'm So Angry; 13) Backyard Brawl.
Jumping on bandwagons is a skill, one that few can master as smoothly as Cooper. Clearly, the decision to dive into the oilfield of heavy metal must have been influenced by the success of numetal bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit; but it was carried out in full accordance with the
By the early 2000s, the new trend for the «alternative mainstream» emerged as the neo-garage rock of the Strokes, the Vines, and the Hives, and, according to the strict laws of determinism, there was simply no chance that Alice could have missed the opportunity, particularly since what the Strokes and the rest were reviving was, in part, Alice's own ancient style — the proto-punk vibe of the Detroit scene. The MC5, the Stooges, and Alice Cooper of Love It To Death fame. Let's admit it: if you spot a pack of spoiled, hedonistic young whippersnappers stealing your music, it is only natural for you to get pissed off and decide to resteal it from them. Is stealing from thieves stealing at all? The Eyes Of Alice Cooper may not rise up to the level of Love It To Death — no surprise, since that would require a bottle of rejuvenation pills and a time machine — but at least it competes fairly well with the Strokes and the Vines, and it still shows who is really the boss in all of this, lack of sales notwithstanding.
There is no trying to mask the «retro» attitude on this one. The title itself, focusing us on
Then there are the songs, on which
It would be nicer, I think, if more of the songs here were along the lines of 'Detroit City', or, rather, its first thirty seconds, with the cool old chugga-chugga hard rock style, after which the wall of sound still kicks in (it is, however, notable that Wayne Kramer of the MC5 fame himself adds some guest-guitar to the recording). But then, of course, the entire album would be skewed towards the «nostalgia» line — '
So let us enjoy life as it is, and just give in to the hooks of the female-bashing 'What Do You Want From Me', the bourgeois-bashing 'Man Of The Year', the amour-bashing 'Love Should Never Feel Like This', and especially the self-bashing 'Between High School And Old School', which is where Alice finds himself stuck in between — a perfect projection of the «confused teen anthem» style onto the idea of «too old to rock'n'roll, too young to die». Behind the big, fat sound on all these songs we still find the same indomitable spirit, plus a catchy hook or even two per song. And, just as the genre requires, much of this is about anger, anger, anger. No wonder the last two songs are 'I'm So Angry', where he takes it out on his cheating girlfriend, and 'Backyard Brawl', where he takes it out on anyone stupid enough to get in the way. 'Backyard Brawl', in particular, stomps and thrashes about with such passionate violence that, unless you have seen one of
However, I have to confess that my own favourite song on the album is the most peaceful one — the sweet love ballad 'Be With You Awhile', which sounds 100% like a solo John Lennon ballad, right down to all the vocal modulations, and, (not) coincidentally, the most beautifully arranged Cooper ballad so far — a mix of deep underwater-ish electric piano, high above-the-sky-ish Mellotrons, and juicy, colourfully distorted electric guitars that, unlike the rockers, arises completely out of nowhere and is thoroughly unpredictable. And, unlike
The Eyes Of Alice Cooper cannot be among the greatest records of Alice Cooper: any album from an old Alice Cooper that toys with the departed spirit of the young Alice Cooper is doomed to be forever sitting in the second or third row, at best. But the goal has been achieved, and the have not been disappointed; the brain marvels at the efficacy of evading all the reefs and pitfalls, and the heart rejoices at the delightful mix of the rough and tender — thumbs up from both sides.