Along Came A Spider
Steamhammer / SPV
Alice Cooper’s 25th studio album is a conceptual effort about a psychopathic serial killer named Spider who, after a killing, removes a leg from each of his eight victims and attaches them with silk to another corpse in an effort to build — you guessed it — a spider. But, without the press release that accompanied the review CD, these eleven songs and their CSI themes of “forensic(k) things” are more vague and more confusing than any David Caruso one-liner.
I’m sure I’ll catch a beating for this, but here goes…
For me, the whole thing misses its intended mark. The spoken intro for “Prologue/I Know Where You Live” is a clever start, but it quickly dissolves into very juvenile lyrics, plodding music, and some of the most forgettable choruses I’ve heard in quite some time. The 11 songs, all about the same subject and full of arachnophobic references, quickly wear thin and we are left with what feels like one long 43-minute song. Another problem here is that the songs fail in documenting the proposed script, so by the end of the record, when the second spoken outro appears, you are only then reminded of the alleged storyline. In the ’70s, the Alice Cooper Group was scariest when they were just being themselves; When people didn’t understand them or why they would be singing about a “Killer” or “Dead Babies,” but that was the beauty of it as your imagination fueled your own fears.
Alice Cooper as a solo artist tries too hard at being this demented and menacing character, in turn becoming a caricature of himself. Don’t get me wrong, this works great for his stage performances, but it wears thin as far as an album is concerned. I mean the Broadway play Oliver was tremendous fun but how many times could you actually listen to Fagin sing, “You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two” without shooting yourself? Being a huge fan of the Alice Cooper Group’s work, I don’t like knocking any effort by any member, but I feel like there is a bit of the emperor’s clothes vibe going on about this release because of its conceptual nature, like Cooper’s highly successful Welcome To My Nightmare release. Either that or I’ve finally crossed over to the dark side of adulthood and just don’t “get it” anymore.
To be fair, Along Came A Spider is Alice’s best work since Brutal Planet and hints at the musical Camelot that could be again if only the Master of Macabre would put as much effort into his records as he does his golf game. Co-produced by Alice, Danny Saber, and Greg Hampton, both the concept and production for Along Came A Spider are good ones, but ironically, especially for this project, it’s the execution that fails.
Alice Cooper: www.alicecooper.com