With the future of the original Alice Cooper band in doubt by mid-1974 (they would soon break up for good with Alice going solo), Warner Bros. decided to issue a best-of compilation entitled Greatest Hits. If you're a newcomer to Alice, this 12-track compilation is a must-hear – all the selections are exceptional. While many have chosen to focus primarily on Cooper's theatrics over the years, the original bandmembers were indeed supreme rock songwriters; such anthems as "I'm Eighteen," "Under My Wheels," "School's Out," and "No More Mr. Nice Guy" are unquestionably among the finest hard rock tracks of all time. And the other selections prove to be just as strong – "Is It My Body," "Desperado," "Be My Lover," "Elected," "Billion Dollar Babies," and "Muscle of Love" are all outstanding as well. The only criticism of the original release is that the collection overlooked the band's key album tracks never issued as singles.
Killer is the fourth studio album by Alice Cooper, released in 1971. Cooper said in the liner notes of Fistful of Alice and In the Studio with Redbeard, which spotlighted the Killer and Love it to Death albums, that the song "Desperado" was written about his friend Jim Morrison, who died the year this album was released. "Halo of Flies" was, according to Cooper's liner notes in the compilation The Definitive Alice Cooper, an attempt by the band to prove that they could perform King Crimson-like progressive rock suites, and was supposedly about a SMERSH-like organisation. The song "Dead Babies" stirred up some controversy following the album's release, despite the fact that its lyrics conveyed an "anti-child abuse" message.
Though Alice Cooper's 1989 comeback gave him his first hit album in over a decade, the Trash record left some diehard fans disappointed, as did 1991's Hey Stoopid. Many listeners felt that Cooper had sold himself short, now completely focusing on sleazy sexual anthems, making him just another face in the heavy metal crowd. By the time The Last Temptation was released in 1994, the hair band fad that had fueled Cooper's return was dead, and Cooper was obviously aware of its downfall – the album sounds almost nothing like its two predecessors. Instead of relating to such albums as Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood, Last Temptation seems more similar to Ozzy Osbourne's No More Tears.
For the Alice Cooper fans who feel his output was spotty before and after the 1989 classic Trash on Epic, Brutal Planet is a cause to rejoice. It is a solid hard rock offering. Cooper is in great voice, and he sounds mean and spirited. The title track would be a blessing on radio today. It has great bottom, sizzling guitars, and wonderful backing vocalists. The most impressive thing about this album is Cooper's lyrics. "Sanctuary" could be Lou Reed meets Deep Purple in their heyday. Back in 1987 Cooper performed with an unruly band all over the map. It was very uncomfortable and a far cry from his heyday of "I'm 18" and "Under My Wheels": guitars too loud, and an artist obviously struggling with his personal demons.
Give him points for persistence: Alice Cooper just won't quit. He's seen it all from the bottom to the top – and done the trip more than once – but still continues on his merry-morbid way, punching out albums like a spry young'un. The first thing one has to say about The Eyes of Alice Cooper is thank Jehovah and all his witnesses that the Mascara'd One has grown out of his metal/industrial phase. That look just never took. Discs like Brutal Planet (2000) and the somewhat better Dragontown (2001) offered little to his legacy or his legion of fans – aside from nascent headbangers discovering the Coop for the first time. Eyes harks back to Alice's overly maligned early-'80s discs Special Forces and Flush the Fashion – albums that suffered by comparison with his landmark '70s releases but remain far more musically appealing than the aforementioned new-millennium fare.