I’ve finished my workouts for the day and the girls are still out (yay!) getting their hair done, so after a hot shower I’m going to have some quiet time in the EZ-Boy with my book (‘Van Gogh’s Ear: The True Story‘ by Bernadette Murphyand), shove fistfuls of food into my pie hole and listen to a real guys guy album, ‘Love It to Death‘ by Alice Cooper.
This is currently the only Alice Cooper album I have in my collection and that’s okay, because it’s a “goodun”.
Released in March of 1971 (a year before I was born), this was the band’s first commercially successful album, and is considered to be where the band first consolidated its aggressive hard-rocking sound. The album’s best-known track, ‘I’m Eighteen‘, was released as a single to test the band’s commercial viability before the album was recorded.
Obviously it did well.
Their first couple of albums (‘Pretties for You‘ and ‘Easy Action‘) were both largely psychedelic/acid rock affairs and bore little comparison to the band’s eventual rip-roaring, teenage-anthem direction. The main reason for the quintet’s change was that the eventually legendary producer Bob Ezrin was on board for the first time and helped the Coopers focus their songwriting and sound, while they also perfected their trashy, violent, and theatrical stage show and image.
One of the band’s most instantly identifiable anthems, ‘I’m Eighteen‘, was what made the album a hit, as well as another classic, ‘Is It My Body‘. But like Alice Cooper’s other albums from the early ’70s, it was an incredibly consistent listen from beginning to end. The garage rocker ‘Caught in a Dream‘ as well as the ass-kicking ‘Long Way to Go‘ and a pair of epics – the Doors-esque ‘Black Juju‘ and the eerie ‘Ballad of Dwight Fry‘ – showed that Alice was easily in league with other high-energy Detroit bands of the era like the MC5 and The Stooges.
This was punk rock before there was pun k rock; grungy before there was grunge; and it was Doom n’ Gloom before, well, this blog I suppose. Regardless, it’s a great album. In 2003 it was ranked #452 on Rolling Stone‘s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’, and rightly so.