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Teenage Frankenstein: Alice in the 80s (Alice Cooper Vol. 2)

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for Alice’s ’86 to ’91 era. I discovered the Coop by way of the ubiquitous “Poison” video during the heyday of MTV. Alice became sort of a family obsession, shared between myself, my brother, my sister and my mother. I would acquire his entire studio output, but those few years, when Mr. Furnier was dipping his toes in the pervasive world of glam metal, will always be special to me. If you don’t feel like reading about it, here’s the Spotify playlist.

Now, over time, his work from that time has garnered its own following, but for a number of years, it was looked down on. Even Alice didn’t and still really doesn’t play much of the stuff live. Over the four albums released during this time, he worked with people like Kip Winger, Desmond Child, Slash, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, Steve Vai, Steven Tyler and Jon Bon Jovi (side note: according to the internet, Dead Boys’ Stiv Bators did background vocals on the Trash album—but I can’t determine where. Never fucking knew that). And of, course, fucking Kane Roberts:

Picking songs for this playlist was hard. These are albums I listen to front to back, so it was hard choosing songs to stand out and represent the entire album….but here goes anyway:

“Teenage Frankenstein” (Constrictor, 1986).

Constrictor was Alice’s kinda comeback after his blacked-out, faux new wave period of the early 80s (which deserves a playlist soon too!) and “Teenage Frankenstein” opens the album. It’s a killer tune and, along with a couple other Alice Cooper songs, was featured in Friday the 13th Part VI. This track tops my list of stuff I’d like to hear live.

“Lock Me Up” (Raise Your Fist and Yell, 1987).

Alice’s brand of teen angst and youthful rebellion continues, despite being around 40 years old at this point (also, another side note: Holy shit! I have been listening to this album since 1989 and I never realized that the spoken words near the beginning of the song are voiced by Robert Englund! Shit).

“Prince of Darkness” (Raise Your Fist and Yell, 1987).

Alice was, of course, in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness, and he provides a killer tune for the film.

“This Maniac’s In Love With You” (Trash, 1989).

You know, as much as I love the Trash album, not much of it feels at home with the rest of the songs in this playlist, so I’m only including one, and it’s a killer. People will point to Trash as being the Bon Jovi-est of the catalog, with all its sheen and shine (and appearances from Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora), and they aren’t wrong. In fact, here’s Bon Jovi’s version of “House of Fire”, which was recently included on the two-disc reissue of New Jersey. The tune was written by Alice, Joan Jett(!!) and Desmond Child, who co-wrote a bunch of tunes on NJ.

“Snakebite” (Hey Stoopid, 1991).

1991’s Hey Stoopid was where Alice really got the LA metal sound perfected. There was a heaviness, less sheen, and just a bunch of kickass songs. They are all great and it’s hard to pick one, but I’m going with “Snakebite” here. Of course, the title track is essential and you already have “Feed My Frankenstein” on your Halloween playlist.

“Be Chrool to Your Scuel” (Twisted Sister, feat. Alice Cooper, Come Out and Play, 1985).

So, here’s an entry that is not an actual Alice Cooper tune. But Alice is on the cut enough to count and I really dig the song. This was the perfect Twisted Sister track for Cooper to do vocals on, given his proclivity for doing school-related jams.

“Fire” (B-Side, 1991).

Alice’s cover of the Jimi Hendrix standard was the B-Side to “Love’s A Loaded Gun”. It also shows up on the The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper boxed set. I’m really not huge on the Hendrix version, but I love Coop’s.

“Crawlin’” (Constrictor, 1986).

There’s no particular reason I chose this tune over any other from the same album…they are all killer. And as much as I love “He’s Back”, I didn’t include it because it’s always included. I will, however, include a video of the demo version of “He’s Back”, which is also on the boxed set. It’s the lyrics set against the music from another tune on the album, “Trick Bag”. Things worked out well all around in the end, though I do like this version.

“Roses on White Lace” (Raise Your Fist and Yell, 1987).

This is probably one of my top 10 AC songs ever. It’s so dark and sinister and it’s a perfect closer to Fist.

“Wind-Up Toy” (Hey Stoopid, 1991).

Another perfect album closer and I love that it brings back ideas from his 70’s masterpieces—the character of Stephen, specifically. Here’s the B-side to the “Wind-Up Toy” single (I am not sure what the deal is with this One Life To Live-themed video though?):

“Sideshow” (The Last Temptation, 1994).

Okay, so this track is not exactly in line with all the others. The Last Temptation was a bit of a departure from the glammy LA metal of the late 80s/early 90s, and somewhat bridged the gap to the records he would record later on. But dammit if “Sideshow” is not one my all-time favorites and I don’t know where else I’d put, so I’m gonna let it close out this playlist…and really, I do think it fits.

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