Thursday, 4 July 2013

CD Review: Billion Dollar Babies, by Alice Cooper (1973)

Alice Cooper's sixth studio album is also one his most celebrated. Billion Dollar Babies is an example of early shock rock that would eventually splinter into hair and glam metal along one fork and darker satanic asininity along another.

Containing about half an album's worth of interesting material, Billion Dollar Babies is much stronger towards the front than the back. Hello Hooray is a terrific welcome to the freak show, setting the scene of evil intertwining with schlock. Elected is more streetwise with forecasts of punk pumping through its veins, Cooper's scratchy vocals and the bouncy energy suddenly pointing the way towards Sex Pistols. Billion Dollar Babies is the most metallic track, edgier guitar work combining with layered vocals to create a riff-heavy song of pleasing complexity.

No More Mr. Nice Guy is one of Cooper's more popular tracks, but it lacks the depth to compete with the better selections on the album. Deeper into the set the quality stagnates and sags, with Cooper finally landing among the corpses on I Love The Dead, and apparently quite enjoying it.

The album is filled with ambitious orchestrations, with keyboards and brass sounds often to the fore, producer Bob Ezrin creating a diverse and rich sound to augment the band's more basic skill set. The babies may not be worth a billion dollars, but they carried some cute metal kernels into the next generation.


Alice Cooper: Vocals
Glen Buxton: Guitar
Michael Bruce: Guitar, Keyboards
Dennis Dunaway: Bass
Neal Smith: Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Hello Hooray - 9
2. Raped And Freezin' - 7
3. Elected - 8
4. Billion Dollar Babies - 9
5. Unfinished Sweet - 7
6. No More Mr. Nice Guy - 7
7. Generation Landslide - 6
8. Sick Things - 7
9. Mary Ann - 7
10. I Love The Dead - 7

Average: 7.40

Produced by Bob Ezrin.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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