|Alice Cooper — Muscle Of Love|
Alice Cooper — Muscle Of Love (Nov. 20th, 1973) [Dec. 11th, 2015 Audio Fidelity]Birth name: Vincent Damon Furnier
Born: February 4, 1948, Detroit, Michigan, US
Album release: November 20, 1973
Recorded: 1973 at Sunset Sound, Hollywood; Record Plant, New York and The Cooper Mansion, Greenwich, Connecticut
Genre: Hard rock, glam rock, art rock
Record Label: Warner Bros. Records, Inc./Audio Fidelity
01. Big Apple Dreamin’ (Hippo) 5:10
02. Never Been Sold Before 4:28
03. Hard Hearted Alice 4:53
04. Crazy Little Child 5:02
05. Working Up A Sweat 3:32
06. Muscle Of Love 4:46
07. Man With The Golden Gun 4:13
08. Teenage Lament ‘74 3:54
09. Woman Machine 4:35Written by:
¬ Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith 1
¬ Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith 2, 7, 9
¬ Cooper, Bruce 3, 4, 5, 6
¬ Cooper, Smith 8
• Alice Cooper — vocals
• Glen Buxton — lead guitar
• Michael Bruce — rhythm guitar, backing vocals
• Dennis Dunaway — bass guitar, backing vocals
• Neal Smith — drums, backing vocals
• Mick Mashbir — guitar
• Dick Wagner — guitar
• Bob Dolin — keyboards, background vocals
Additional musicians from the LP liner notes:
• Paul Prestopino: banjo
Background vocals: Dave Libert with Dolly, Stu Daye, Dennis Ferrante, Joe Gannon, The Big Cheese, Liza Minnelli, La Belle, Ronnie Spector, The Pointer Sisters
unnamed strings and horns
Album Released: November 20, 1973
Audio Fidelity SACD Released: December 11, 2015
Stereo CD & SACD Mastering: Steve Hoffman & Stephan Marsh
Album — Billboard (North America)
• 1973 Pop Albums #10
BY LENNY KAYE January 17, 1974 / NOT RATED
• The Alice Cooper phenomenon, which began with the chart entry of “I’m Eighteen,” rose to diabolical heights with Killer and School’s Out and extravaganzaed in the show surrounding Billion Dollar Babies, has now cooled itself down with Muscle Of Love. While the album contains several highlights and wild–card experiments, its mood reveals that both the group and Alice are uncertain of what new directions they might turn to their own uses. This isn’t necessarily bad; it was only a matter of time before they fully eroded the twin themes of horror–movie outrage and teenage rebellion/identification. But the evolutionary hit–or–miss which permeates Muscle Of Love shows the Cooper machine has yet to come up with any replacements.
• Part of the problem is conceptual. Muscle Of Love is the first album since Alice’s early efforts that doesn't center around a compleat stage routine or vaguely fleshed–out fantasy. The Cooper experience as a whole has seldom been song–oriented, rather relying on its strength as soundtrack and its cumulative image–impact. As a result, Muscle Of Love, a collection of tracks, has a curiously hazy feel, in which various facets of the group’s concerns are laid out and then left for the listener to sort into place.
• The album’s packaging mirrors this, a series of nice ideas that never seem to fully mesh. Several trains of thought are tossed around — a book cover (shades of School’s Out), a sleeve featuring happy sailors on leave (massage–parlor sex), all placed in a corrugated cardboard box (“Hey, why don’t we ...”) — yet, as they stand, tend to come off as cute gimmicks with little follow–through development.
• Carried over to the included songs, the same sort of sensibility can be seen at work, Simply sterling moments are paired against acceptable ones, embellishments to place between the dental nightmare and the guillotine.
• Still, Alice is surely a long way from giving up the good ghost, and when Muscle Of Love takes the time to settle squarely on a target, the switch of his blade is as sharp as ever. “Teenage Lament ‘74,” helped out by an all–star cast, lights on a hometown world where gold lame pants and rooster haircuts are regarded as the norm rather than the aberration, coupled with an indelible chorus and a heated tinge of peer–group frustrado. In the same vein, the group’s ongoing love affair with television theme music is given vent through “The Man With the Golden Gun,” a bravura James Bond overkill in which Alice delivers his best Shirley Bassey impression.
• As for the rest, the jury remains hung. Side one begins well with “Big Apple Dreamin’ (Hippo),” hunches into a “Never Been Sold Before” that is both straightforward and engrossing in the manner of “Raped And Freezing,” and then happens on a song which might’ve been the album’s most insightful had it been investigated further: “Hard Hearted Alice/Is what we want to be/Hard Hearted Alice/Is what we want to see,” is placed against the almost abnormal placidity of the man offstage.
• “Crazy Little Child” is a Dixieland exercise based on a born–to–be–wild story line, “Working Up a Sweat” and the title tune are Muscle Of Love’s solid–state rockers, and “Woman Machine” closes out the session with some J. Airplane–ish guitars and a paean to encroaching technological advancement.
• All things considered, it’s not a bad collation, but the very safety that Muscle Of Love implies makes me slightly apprehensive for the band’s creative future. Has success spoiled Alice Cooper? Leave us all remember the fate of Charles Van Doren.
Reviewed by Donald A. Guarisco allmusic.com
♠ The Muscle of Love album has been criticized by critics and fans alike for lacking the focused style that defined classic Alice Cooper albums like Killer and Billion Dollar Babies. Despite this problem, the album included some fine rockers. The best was the title track, a punchy riff–fest that mined the subject of hormonal teenagers for its lyrical grist. “Muscle of Love” was originally entitled “Respect for the Sleepers” and had a more otherworldly lyrical bent but was rewritten during the album sessions in a way that makes it an interesting teen–themed companion piece to “Teenage Lament '74.” ♠ The finished lyric plays like the confession of a hormonal teen who claims “I must have come to that crazy age/Where everything is hot.” The title object he refers to happens to be his heart, but lyrics like “Lock the door in the bathroom now/I just can’t get caught in here" might lead a listener to think otherwise. The melody moves at a fast clip, juxtaposing short, bouncy verses with a triumphantly ascending chorus. Alice Cooper’s recording pushes the song into the hard rock stratosphere by pumping it up with an aggressive arrangement that pushes its twisting guitar riffs and thumping bass lines with stomping, almost militaristic drum work. It also adds a fun, mock–Wagnerian coda where the band endlessly reprises the chorus while Cooper wails the title and a background chorus sings a Handel–derived “Hallelujah!” vocal. The result didn’t find much success as a single, but “Muscle of Love” became a live favorite and later turned up on Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits album.
♠ In place of the usual record jacket, the original LP was packaged in a shallow corrugated cardboard carton, with a “stain" intentionally printed along the bottom. On the inner sleeve, the band members appear dressed as sailors. In the “before” daytime shot, they are about to enter a nude wrestling emporium; in the “after” nighttime shot on the other side of the sleeve, they appear beaten and sprawled out on the street, having been thrown out of the club. The front of the album cover design agency Pacific Eye & Ear was temporarily redecorated to serve as the setting for the photo session.
♠ The original release also included a paper “book cover” sheet that could be folded and used as a book jacket. A photo on the sheet depicts the band members in their sailor uniforms looking dejected while peeling potatoes.
• Pretties for You (1969)
• Easy Action (1970)
• Love It to Death (1971)
• Killer (1971)
• School’s Out (1972)
• Billion Dollar Babies (1973)
• Muscle of Love (1973)
• Welcome to My Nightmare (1975)
• Alice Cooper Goes to Hell (1976)
• Lace and Whiskey (1977)
• From the Inside (1978)
• Flush the Fashion (1980)
• Special Forces (1981)
• Zipper Catches Skin (1982)
• DaDa (1983)
• Constrictor (1986)
• Raise Your Fist and Yell (1987)
• Trash (1989)
• Hey Stoopid (1991)
• The Last Temptation (1994)
• Brutal Planet (2000)
• Dragontown (2001)
• The Eyes of Alice Cooper (2003)
• Dirty Diamonds (2005)
• Along Came a Spider (2008)
• Welcome 2 My Nightmare (2011)
|Alice Cooper — Muscle Of Love|