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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Alice Cooper

Muscle of Love Hybrid SACD

Review by Gary Hill

I remember borrowing this on vinyl from a friend many years ago. I didn’t like it. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I listened to it twice and never gave it another thought. I’m glad this awesome reissue has come to my mail box. Not only is a classy set with great sound and a numbered limited edition package, but it’s made me give the disc another chance. I have to say that I absolutely love this album. It’s got some great music.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)

I love the guitar riff that starts this. As the arrangement fills out it has a real psychedelic rock kind of arrangement. As this works forward later there are even elements of progressive rock built into it. It’s a great song that captures the classic Cooper sound while taking it in different directions. An odd little violin part ends the cut.

Never Been Sold Before
Again, a meaty guitar riff starts this song. They take it out from there in a more typical Alice Cooper rocker. This is rather glam rock oriented. It also makes me think of the kind of sound Kiss would later create in their early days. The horns add something, too.
Hard Hearted Alice
This thing is worth the price of admission all by itself. It’s a real magnum opus type epic. It’s a journey with many twists and turns. It’s musically full of magic, landing somewhere between psychedelia and prog rock. It’s one of the most complex things here. It’s also just so cool.
Crazy Little Child
With a real bluesy, jazzy kind of vibe, here is another definite highlight of the set. I love this song. It’s a great piece from a musical point of view. It’s also cool in terms of the lyrical story.
Working Up a Sweat
This one doesn’t work as well for me. Sure, it’s catchy, but the old time rock and roll thing just isn’t my thing. It has some catchy hooks and good riffs, though.
Muscle of Love
The title track has some great hooks and riffs. It’s a Cooper classic in a lot of ways. There is a mid-track jam that makes me think of Captain Beyond a bit and the closing riff is great.
Man with the Golden Gun
Complex and theatrical, this is a very prog rock like cut. Still, it’s also trademark Alice Cooper group. It’s not so much my kind of thing, though. It has its moments, but just doesn’t work all that well for me.
Teenage Lament '74
Here’s another Cooper classic. This is pretty much straightforward rock with that Cooper magic in place. I love the vocal arrangement and hooks on this one.
Woman Machine
This rocker has a lot of complex progginess built into it. Yet, it’s also a psychedelically tinged blues rocker. It’s another killer tune. There is a cool distorted section at the end, sounding like a radio almost tuned onto the station, but not quite.
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