Music for a Brutal, Contemporary Planet: A Selective Alice Cooper Retrospective

It is difficult to pinpoint any individual album in Alice Cooper’s massive, eclectic discography as “summative” or “trademark.” Certainly, his original band enjoyed an inspired and singular run from 1971 (Love It to Death) to 1973 (Billion Dollar Babies), and his first official solo album Welcome to My Nightmare announced a fully realized vision of conceptual horror rock, complete with a guest appearance by Vincent Price and accompanied by a lavish, theatrical tour production. However, Cooper the solo artist is perhaps best characterized by his entire oeuvre in all its shifting, diverse and ambivalent forms — this singer-songwriter is the progenitor of shock rock as vaudevillian grand guignol; he is a meta-reflective and identity-shifting social satirist, and he is an artist of far-reaching, sophisticated conceptual range who proudly inhabits (and often embodies) that which some might call “low art.”

Read the full article in Vague Visages.

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