Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Eugeology: Eugene's List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems Part 16 - Alice Cooper 'Special Forces'
I knew that I would face a little bewilderment over Alice Cooper’s ‘Special Forces’. And I’m not sure why it’s one of my favorites from him.
The drums are out front in the mix providing the engine for this musical bus driven by the boozed and blitzed Alice. The guitars take a quieter seat near the rear wheels. The keyboards are riding in seat right behind the driver. And there’s no denying that the bus is on the New Wave Highway.
Unlike most of his rock n’ roll counterparts in the late 1970s, Alice didn’t follow the disco path. “New Wave” was making some ripples and something caught his ear. It was the perfect outlet for another “version” of Alice. He could tell his brand of twisted stories with a splash of “punk”.
‘Flush the Fashion’ is a classic, but it was slightly edged out by ‘Special Forces’ with its lighthearted and comedic word play. “Skeletons in the Closet” contains great lines like “I see bones, I see bones, Icy bones…” that can easily be brought to life by the showman that Alice is. “Prettiest Cop on the Block”, “Don’t Talk Old to Me”, “You Want it, You Got it”, “You Look Good in Rags”, “You’re a Movie”, and “Vicious Rumors” are all capable of providing Alice some great roles to play on the stage.
As odd as ‘Special Forces’ is as an album, it shows a certain disregard for rules. If KISS can make some kick ass disco, then by-golly, Alice Cooper can make a kick ass new wave album. The guitars are there rumbling underneath and rocking. The synthesizers are rocking just as hard. The lyrics to almost every song provide a chuckle or two.
And there’s a great cover of Love’s “Seven & Seven Is” along with an update of “Generation Landslide”.
‘Special Forces’ has many things to show you. And it may take more than one listen for total life change to occur.
Great lyrics include these…
“I’ve done some things I really can’t describe… I’ve made some mouths open pretty wide”
“God told me that I would have rivaled… Alexander the Great at his best”
“You want Chateau Greon for breakfast every day… Okay… You want some Spanish lover to lay in bed all day… Ole’”
“I like to flex my arms in the neon light”
“Forget about Vogue, or them hundred dollar jeans you make a two dollar t-shirt obscene”
Bob Dylan has called Alice Cooper “an overlooked songwriter”. And he was right!
‘Special Forces’ is fun. And it’s a great hard rock/new wave album. Lyrically, it’s a work of art for any English teacher.
I believe that Tim and Jon will revisit the album one day to find that it’s really not a strange choice. And I highly recommend watching this concert on YouTube.
And even though Alice Cooper doesn’t remember this particular phase of his career, I adore all four of those albums… ‘Flush the Fashion’, ‘Special Forces’, ‘Zipper Catches Skin’, and ‘Dada’. The songs all tell memorable stories AND there’s even a Christmas song in the mix called “No Man’s Land”.
Here is Tim's take and here is Jon's Take for comparison.