Alice Cooper is an endlessly intriguing figure. Emerging from the late 1960s, he purposefully deciding to create an over the top theatrical persona, wishing to wear the mantle of rock and roll bad boy. He succeeded at his goal and did not stop there; he pushed the limits of what was considered good taste, resulting in his getting banned from venues all over the world.
He led his band into the uncharted waters of theatrical rock and roll, inspiring everyone from KISS to Rob Zombie to Marilyn Manson to Gwar. Without Alice we would be missing a large chunk of theatrical rock music. Now, nearly forty years after the release of his first album, Alice Cooper still knows how to hit all the right notes. Along Came A Spider is a rocking album that is deceptively upbeat as it spins its tale of a schizophrenic serial killer.
I must admit that my path has only crossed with Alice's on a few occasions. I cannot explain why I never actively sought out his music, as I have enjoyed so much of what I have heard over the years. The standouts from my experience would have to be Billion Dollar Babies (which was a late encounter), Raise Your Fist and Yell, Trash (both coming around the time I got into music), The Last Temptation of Alice (which drew me in with its comic book connections), and most recently Dirty Diamonds. Yes, there have been other songs that have caught my attention, but for some reason they were very far between. Also, for some reason I was not even aware of recent releases like Brutal Planet and Dragontown. I did review Dirty Diamonds, and it seems pretty telling that I wrote, "This is a fun album which seems likely to be overlooked by many, although it deserves better than that." Makes me wonder what else I may have missed.
With Along Came A Spider, it appears that Alice has gone through some sort of rejuvenation; perhaps he took a dip in the Lazarus Pit. This album sounds like old school Alice blended with a more modern production sound. It is a step up from Dirty Diamonds, which, while good, sounds more like an album that would come out at the tail end of a career, whereas Along Came A Spider sounds like it came from an artist with a lot more left to give.