Originally Published: August 2000
It's been five years since Alice Cooper's last studio effort, and it's certainly nice to hear that nasally, cynical whine once again. While the Coop will probably never match the utter brilliance of his early '70s heyday and albums like School's Out and Billion Dollar Babies (one of the great hard rock masterpieces of its era), Brutal Planet is certainly his heaviest effort in some time.
The crunchy, tuned-down guitars and ominous rhythms that open the album's title track instantly send a signal that Cooper is doing his best to update his sound to the modern era, picking up cues from his own fans like Rob Zombie. "Brutal Planet" is a dynamic track, featuring a catchy Cooperesque hook and eerie female vocals to counterpoint the "new metal" sound of his music. Surprisingly, the incorporation of a more modern style of heavy rock doesn't feel forced. After the opening high, however, things gets inconsistent. "Sanctuary" and "Wicked Young Man" are okay - if generic - rockers, but it sounds weird for the 50-ish Cooper to be singing lyrics from the viewpoint of young men under 40. "Gimme," with it's criticism of consumer culture, works more to Alice's strengths as a sarcastic observer of society. "Take It Like A Woman" is obviously an attempt to follow up his classic female-problem ballad, "Only Women Bleed," and succeeds intermittently despite the over sappy arrangement. There are several more tunes on Brutal Planet that rock hard and still feature catchy hooks, while closer "Pick Up The Bones" is a haunting eulogy that captures the mood of older material like "I Love The Dead," albeit with more serious subject matter.
Brutal Planet doesn't reinvent the Coop or bring him back to the snarling depravity of his greatest moments, but it's no embarrassment either. That's more than a lot of classic rockers can say. - Don Kaye
Legendary shock-rocker Alice Cooper hosted a Millenium Masquerade Bash at his Phoenix restaurant, Alice Cooper'stown on New Year's Eve. This rock/sports restaurant, which serves barbecued ribs and two-foot-long hot dogs during the day, took on a major face-lift for this once in a lifetime event. No "Mega Deth" meatloaf tonight, we were treated to lobster and smoked prime rib. Fans from all over the world came to tock in the new year with The Master; England, Japan and Austria were represented that evening. Alice and company cranked out a full set of Coop classics - most of which can be heard on the box set The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper - plus a rockin' version of "Auld Lang Syne" was played after midnight. If that wasn't enough, Alice tipped his hat to other rock icons: The Stone's "Brown Sugar," "Start Me Up" and "Honky Tonk Woman" were up first. Next was the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love," "Saw Her Standing There," "Drive My Car" and "Revolution". Alice then left the stage and returned with an outrageous Elvis wig and sunglasses. He paid tribute to the King with "Jailhouse Rock" and "All Shook Up". The almost two hour show ended with Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)." Special thanks to Walt Collins and Kim Stitham at Alice Cooper'sTown and Brian Nelson and Toby Mamis.
Los Angeles, CA