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Originally Published: March 1974
Alice Cooper: Muscle Of Love (Warner Brothers)
At this point everything Alice Cooper puts out sounds very similar. Muscle Of Love sounds a great deal like Billion Dollar Babies which sounded a great deal like School's Out which sounded like the album before that, etc. This is to say, a great deal of time and effort goes into the production, the musicianship, the packaging and the concepts... but most of the melodies sound exactly like the last batch.
What makes Muscle Of Love unique? Well, it comes in a plain brown corrugated carton (value for money?). Inside are strange, somewhat perverted photos of Alice and Co. in sailor suits, plus a highly confusing flyer which doesn't even get the order of the songs straight. And there, in between the rough and tough "Never Been Sold Before" and the honky tonk "Crazy Little Child" there's this ballad (of sorts). If you don't listen to the words it sounds very gently and quiet and lilting. It's kind of like a Lou Reed ballad... only the unscratched surface is harmless. Inside are puss-filled ugly sores.
If you want to boogie, then flip the album over and get into "Working Up A Sweat". As enunciation is not one of Alice specialties, it's a little hard to tell what everybody is singing about, but it does sound rather mean.
This is the album that features all those famous and classy back-up singers. There's Liza Minelli on "Teenage Lament" and "Man With The Golden Gun" and The Pointer Sisters on "Teenage Lament" and "Working Up A Sweat". Other contributors to "Teenage Lament", the best song on the LP, include Ronnie Spector and La Belle. How's that for a chorus line-up?
"Muscle Of Love" really cooks. They say the muscle of love is the heart, but that isn't the way our friend Alice would think, is it? "Man With The Golden Gun" is Alice Cooper's answer to "Goldfinger" and "Live And Let Die"... now, when he gets the film together he'll really be in business.
Muscle Of Love is a magnificent effort from the only American act to be able to put theater back into rock and roll. It's always a good experience putting one of Alice Cooper's albums on.