ALICE COOPER: ALONG CAME A SPIDER (2008)
1) Prologue: I Know Where You Live; 2) Vengeance Is Mine; 3) Wake The Dead; 4) Catch Me If You Can; 5) (In Touch With) Your Feminine Side; 6) Wrapped In Silk; 7) Killed By Love; 8) I'm Hungry; 9) The One That Got Away; 10) Salvation; 11) I Am The Spider (Epilogue).
After the brief relaxation of Dirty Diamonds, Alice returns to concept mode — but I am not entirely sure if this particular concept is really such a great step forward for the father of shock rock. That the Coop is a huge fan of generic slasher movies, we all know very well: all through the Eighties, he had constantly expressed this love with both his albums and his occasional songwriting and even acting contributions to such movies. But with The Last Temptation and whatever followed, it seemed like this preoccupation was somewhat behind him, and that he would now forever be focusing his attention on worthier matters.
Apparently not. Apparently we have been wrong all these years. Along Came A Spider brings back the fetish in full force: the entire album is a mini-rock-opera about a serial killer who — imagine that — is busy collecting eight human legs in order to construct his personal spider, leaving the rest of the bodies behind wrapped in silk cocoons. His only mistake is falling in love with his last victim — justice, after all, must triumph. (He even repents in the end — a good Christian like
The bad news, therefore, is that the overall style of the record, out of all of Cooper's past output, is most closely reminiscent of the campiness of Constrictor. The good news is that
The overall sound is more or less what we would expect based on past observations: heavy and crunchy, but not industrial-brutal crunchy à la Brutal Planet — surprisingly, this may be the closest
None of the songs will probably become classics, considering that their primary way of working is as part of the concept.
There is plenty of exciting Cooper-worthy moments, however, scattered around. The opening funk-metal riff of 'I Know Where You Live'. The hooting harmonica on 'Wake The Dead' (where
And, coming back to where we started, what sort of concept is this, really? Yes, I realize perfectly well that, in our modern world, one can express a far more unique and profound artistic interpretation of one's surroundings through a concept album about a serial killer who wraps his victims in silk webs than one about the abstract vices and shortcomings of the planet in general. But, for all of Alice Cooper's genius, he is no Umberto Eco, and Along Came A Spider is no Name Of The Rose. Heck, it is even no M or Silence Of The Lambs. It is what it is: a suitably adequate tribute to second-rate horror movies. Perhaps, in the long run, we should be glad that Alice got it out of his system; he must have been waiting a long, long time to do that. Now that he did do it, it is time to get back to bigger and better things. And yet — still a thumbs up, because as a soundtrack to a second-rate horror movie, it works as best as it can. Plus, even though I do not watch a lot of second-rate (or even first-rate, for that matter) horror movies, it is sort of uncool to say they stink, and frequently garners the humiliating response of «go back to your Julia Roberts, you cog», so if you wanna propagate Along Came A Spider as the greatest piece of work to grace the Noughties, I am not going to be so stupid as to argue.