Editor’s Note: Tonight, 70s rock icon Alice Cooper will be performing at Universal Orlando’s Hard Rock Live, as part of his “No More Mr. Nice Guy: The Original Evil Returns” tour. The concert begins at 8 p.m. A major star in the 1970s, Cooper retains a following today — but is it all just nostalgia, or does his brand of shock-rock still hold up for audiences today? Freeline Media’s 20-something music critic, Heidi Bolduc, takes a listen to Cooper’s “Greatest Hits” album, and has some advice for Central Floridians on whether Cooper deserve a packed house — or not — tonight.
Sit back and take a few seconds to think about what comes to mind when you hear the name Alice Cooper.
Truly, what comes to mind? Whether you’re 45 or 25, the answer to that question is about the same — the image of a man with long hair and heavy makeup, covered in a layer of stage makeup. But still, what’s the music like behind the makeup?
After examining Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits album, I can honestly say that his music is not quite as frightening as his live show and branded image may lead you to believe.
Released in August of 1974, Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits reflects the period of time from the band’s third album (Love It to Death) to their last released album under the band’s original lineup (Muscle of Love). Although Alice Cooper is commonly thought of as a frontrunner to the heavy metal genre, a majority of the songs on this album have a sort of pop/rock levity to them, which in a lot of ways reflects the transitional period that popular music was undergoing during the early 1970s.
For example, the relaxed bass line and slow tempo of the band’s first major single, “I’m Eighteen,” almost feels reminiscent of the acid rock common to the previous decade. The doo-wop vocals and inclusion of tambourine on a track like “Be My Lover” provide further proof that the band’s brand of “heavy metal” may not be quite as dense by today’s standards.
In fact, I can’t quite imagine a group of fans from the genre today huddled in a room at a party rocking out to classics like “No More Mr. Nice Guy” or even “School’s Out.” But at the same time, the pop element that’s embedded within these songs seems to have given each single an incredible amount of staying power.
From start to finish, Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits is able to draw the listener in and hold their attention for its entire track listing of 12 songs. Call it classic rock, hard rock, or heavy metal — but at the end of the day Alice Cooper is still a man, a legend, and above all a cultural icon.
Alice Cooper performs at Hard Rock Live at Universal Orlando at 8 p.m. tonight. Tickets are available by calling 407-351-5483.
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