(August 19, 1989)
Originally Published: August 19, 1989
Author: Andy Ross
(Epic 4651301/CD) ** 1/2
Woodstock, bloody woodstock. Not that Alice Cooper was there of course. On the contrary, nigh on two decades back, Alice Cooper represented a genuinely threatening, subversive alternative to all that hippy detritus (and at Woodstock most of the acts were, and still are, unmitigated drivel).
Then, Alice Cooper rubbed shoulder with label affiliates The Mothers Of Invention and Captain Beefheart, and released an album called 'Pretties For You', which featured a sleeve illustration of a young lady waving her knickers in a guy's face. More anarchistically still, the singer - a man - called himself Alice. Wild or what?
Alice Cooper is not a woman's name any longer. The meaning, as with the threat, is long gone. With 'Trash' the primer mover behind those still challenging pop landmarks, 'School's Out' and 'Elected', has seen the light and switched it on. Old hits and past glories don't necessarily add up to a great pension - 'Trash' does. 'Trash' is a Bon Jovi album with the occasional concession to the raw, undiluted rock and roll of Cher.
If you like 'Poison', you'll like 'Trash'. 'Poison' ('Livin' On A Prayer') opens the album. By track three it's back again, this time masquerading under the title 'House Of Fire' ('Livin' On A Prayer'). the best Bon Jovi track, though, opens side two and is called 'Bed Of Nails'. A particularly good pop song (gosh). The one track which doesn't sound in the least like Bon Jovi, 'Hell Is Living Without You', is - with a perverse logic - the one actually co-written by Jon Boy.
Of course the material on this album is pretty good, as far as it goes. In its own way, a fine song like 'This Maniac's In Love With You' is as predictable as any PWL product, with the wild card extra ingredient of humour.
'Trash' is so safe - Tina Turner could comfortably cover every track. And yes, now Alice could play Woodstock. Danger, excitement - Alice doesn't live there any more.