Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Music Review - Alice Cooper - Special Forces

Special Forces is the first of three albums Alice Cooper claims to have no memory of recording. When that man falls off the wagon he falls HARD! In fact, he fell right into another personality change, this time being a para-military thingy. That's four personalities in the last four albums!

The best thing I can say about Special Forces is that it is mercifully brief. Ten songs. Thirty-five minutes.

The best of the bunch is the first, "Who Do You Think We Are." It's got a choppy, programmed drum sound, nice sounding guitars and a strong quasi-New Wave melody. The other song worth a listen is the final one, "Vicious Rumours" which is almost ready for prime time, though at the moment I can't remember how it goes*.

Sgt. Alice then covers "Seven & Seven Is", an Arthur Lee song. Pretty much a straight forward cover with 80s synths. "Prettiest Cop on the Block" has zero value musically but adds to the Cooper cannon of transvestite songs**. "Don't Talk Old To Me" incorporates a bit of menace and a contrasting laid back chorus melody which is actually pretty darned pleasing. "Skeletons in the Closet" is all synthy, like a prequel to Mikey's Thriller, but is simplistic to the point that it sounds like it should be on a kids Halloween album. But in terms of simplicity, "You Want It, You Got It" makes "Skeletons" look like a prog epic. It's not even a full idea, just a sliver of one that is somehow stretched out to over three minutes. Yeah, I'd claim I had no memory of recording this stinker either. The real kicker is that there are FIVE PEOPLE listed on the credits for this one. That's like needing a team of six to thread a needle. "You Look Good in Rags" has a very fun passage where male singers sing the word "rags" over and over again with a happy melody and in stereo! No foolin', it's actually pretty good. And finally "You're A Movie" finds Cooper really, really, really wanting to be a movie star, though he talks instead of sings in this tepid track.

I just realized that this album is so ill-conceived that I only came up with two footnotes!

Rank: For True Cooper Fans/Completists only

* I listened to the album yesterday. This is not a good sign, either for me or the album.

** Alongside "King of the Silver Screen" and "The Saga of Jesse Jane."

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