Daily Texan

Originally Published: July 29, 2008

SOUNDBITE: Alice Cooper

Author: Andy O'Connor

Alice Cooper
Along Came a Spider

Aging gracefully does not come easy for rock bands. Many fall into the trap of putting out low-quality "modern" records to have an excuse to play biker rallies. Alice Cooper is another casualty of this phenomenon as shown with his latest album, Along Came a Spider.

Cooper's latest work features weak compositions that aren't helped by the limp guitar tone. "I Know Where You Live" shows a 60s power-pop influence, but Cooper and his band don't bring the spunk and energy those songs thrive on. "Vengeance is Mine" starts with a riff that gives hope that this may be a rager like Cooper used to write. Instead, it plods despite the song's short length. One of the album's ballads, "Killed by Love," is a country-tinged, sappy song like the ones Bret Michaels loves to belt out. Also, while I hate to use Spinal Tap comparisons, when he yells "I'm Hungry" in the song of the same name, it sounds patterned after "Hell Hole." The playful macabre that benefited Cooper's artistic and commercial success in the 70s simply sounds hollow in a modern setting.

Cooper has been known to put out some pretty schlocky songs, like the patriotic anthem "Freedom" and his 1989 comeback hit, the hair-metal laced "Poison." While those songs maintained a sense of fun, "Salvation" is quite possibly the worst song Cooper has ever made. In it, he pretty much admits he's proud of not only becoming born again but of being one of the out-of-touch, overly moralist people who used to denounce his records. A blend of secular and religious soft-rock, Cooper has managed to outdo his stage show with the horror of just this one song. Aging rockers are perceived to not know how to rock, and with Spider, Cooper gives credence to this stereotype.