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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Alice Cooper

Trash (Reissue)

Review by Gary Hill

I remember when this album first came out, I wasn’t really very impressed by it. The Desmond Child production seemed to forego the classic Alice Cooper sound almost completely in favor of things closer to glam metal. For me that wasn’t a good thing. Well, now that I’ve got this reissue, I have to say that in comparison to the rest of the Cooper catalog it’s pretty weak. That said, it’s still a strong album with some great music. There are some big name guests, too. Steven Tyler lends some vocals to “Only My Heart Talkin’.” Jon Bon Jovi does the same on the title track. Kip Winger (there’s that glam metal link in spades) delivers some vocal on “I’m Your Gun.” Joe Perry, Steve Lukather, Richie Sambora and Kane Roberts all add some guitar to this. So does Guy Mann-Dude. Aerosmith’s rhythm section (Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer) are featured on the title track. All in all, this set is worth having. That’s made even more apparent thanks to the addition of Cooper’s take on the Spirit song “I’ve Got a Line on You.”

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Poison

Alice Cooper goes hair metal on this cut. It’s got some of the classic Cooper menace, but it’s a little too polished. It was a huge hit for Cooper, though.

Spark in the Dark

Based on a pretty straightforward song structure, Cooper’s vocals are what really sell this number. It is a killer tune, really.

House Of Fire
All you really have to do is listen to this cut to realize that it was co-written by Joan Jett. It really sounds a lot like her music.
Why Trust You
Aggressive with a real punk meets metal sound, this is a smoking hot rocker. It’s also quite effective.
Only My Heart Talkin'
The hard-edged, but balladic section that opens this makes me think of Pink Floyd a bit. The track revolves out into a classic rock tinged ballad that makes me think of some of the other classic Cooper ballads. The arrangement gets a little cheesy, in my opinion, but that’s also kind of typical of Cooper ballads. Steven Tyler lends some trademark vocals at the end of this.
Bed of Nails
The opening section of this has that classic horror movie meets rock kind of vibe from Cooper. It evolves out from there into a riff driven metallic number. This has some cool melodic shifts and some great riffs. It’s one of the strongest tunes here. This one is closer to the Cooper magic of old.
This Maniac's In Love with You
Musically this one is very much set in the pop music of the time. It’s quite generic from that point of view. Mind you, there are a number of shifts and changes in the process. All that said, Alice Cooper’s vocal performance is what really steals the show here. He makes it work despite the song structure, arrangement and production.
Trash

The title track is a fierce, aggressive number that works pretty well. It’s got some great guitar work and the vocal arrangement is pretty cool. It’s not trademark Cooper by any means, but it rocks.

Hell Is Living Without You
I like this one a lot. It’s got both the sounds that were contemporary when this came out and some real classic Cooper elements. It’s like a power ballad type of piece and it has some great layers of sound built upon it. Cooper’s vocal performance is among the best here and this is just a very tasty song.
I'm Your Gun
There’s a weird introduction on this, giving way to a hard rocking jam that’s very much in the glam rock and roll type of territory. This is a good tune, but probably not a great Cooper song.
Only My Heart Talkin' (Radio Edit)

Here we get a shortened version of the track from the album proper. This is the first of two bonus tracks.

I Got a Line on You

I remember buying the Iron Eagle II soundtrack just to have this song. I love Cooper’s rendition of this Spirit classic. This hard rocker is worth the price of admission all by itself.

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