10 Most Underrated Alice Cooper Songs
Where does anyone even start with Alice Cooper and his vast catalog? The best bet is at the beginning. Analyzing the work of Alice Cooper is a daunting task as ‘Pretties For You,’ the debut, came out in 1969. The dissolution of the full band came after ‘Muscle of Love’ in 1973 and ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’ kicked off Alice’s solo career. He has evolved his musical styles to keep with current trends, sometimes with raving success and other times with critical failure.
The chameleon-like ability of Alice never truly gets recognition. Few artists dare to change their style so often and keep their fans guessing as to what will come next. For this reason, there are some blunders in the Alice Cooper discography, but even these missteps have some hidden gems that never get due credit. With 26 studio albums to date, there’s an overwhelming amount of songs that never see the light of day. We’re delving a lot deeper than ‘Halo of Flies,’ so come take a look as we count down the 10 Most Underrated Alice Cooper Songs.
The chilling piano section that opens up ‘Steven’ is absolutely hair-raising. If that wasn’t enough, Alice sings in the voice of a small boy and of morbid imagery. Theatrical elements are all in place on his first solo album, defining the man who we know today. ‘Steven’ shows the delicate balance between harder rock songs on the album and when atmosphere can trump riffing to create something devastatingly creepy.
‘Spark in the Dark’
Alright, you’re all familiar with the mega hit ‘Poison,’ but how about the underrated Alice Cooper song that follows it on ‘Trash?’ A sleazy melody continues the vibe from the opening song as ‘Spark in the Dark’ takes shape. With all of the glam ethos present in the lyrics, the sexual imagery of the lyrics are complimented by the riffing. Old school Alice fans cry foul at this period of his career, but this song should make them rethink that.
One of the many facets of crafting an album that speaks about Alice Cooper’s legacy is the ability to close out an album. Creating a theater of the mind, the music brings finality with the title track to ‘Killer.’ The bluesy guitar playing is dark and gritty, giving off an uneasy feeling. That uneasy feeling doesn’t ease up when the haunting organ plays off the music and swirling, buzzing feedback swarms the speakers to make for a frightening finish.
‘Cleansed By Fire’
Alice Cooper’s post-1980s catalog has a myriad of up and downs. ‘The Last Temptation’ is a more grunge-tinged effort that is more miss than hit. One song that really makes contact is the closer, ‘Cleansed By Fire.’ It features some more classic Alice moments that are a bit theater-inspired. There’s an uncomfortable atmosphere, which unfurls even more at the end of the song, leaving fans with a grin on their face as the album closes.
‘Constrictor’ was Alice’s first sober album following his stint in rehab for alcoholism. Following the questionable ‘DaDa,’ this album brought Alice into the ’80s where he should be. ‘The World Needs Guts’ is a blend of traditional metal with a touch of glam, particularly with the backing vocals. After spending over well over a decade in the studio with some liquid courage, Alice came back proving he was just as competent sober.
‘Return of the Spiders’
Before the band was known as Alice Cooper, the guys called themselves the Spiders. Their second album pays tribute to their former moniker with ‘Return of the Spiders.’ The band was still trying to find their own musical path and this song had them on their way. It has the attitude, Alice’s convincing snarl, and relentless drumming that makes the listener uneasy. The song serves as a glimpse into humble beginnings to what became one of rock’s biggest acts.
‘DaDa’ and ‘Zipper Catches Skin’ are two albums Alice Cooper has absolutely no recollection of recording. His reaction to ‘DaDa’ when he first heard it probably wasn’t far off from the reaction of fans. Ladies and gents, Alice made a synth album. The black sheep of his discography holds one great song, however. ‘Fresh Blood’ is a testament to his chameleon ability and never gets any recognition whatsoever. Give this underrated Alice Cooper song a shot!
‘Roses on White Lace’
The closing track on ‘Raise Your Fist and Yell’ happens to be the best song on the album. ‘Roses on White Lace’ is a traditional ’80s metal ripper and sounds like Jake E. Lee penned the song. The double bass flutters during the chorus work perfectly to accent the riffing as Alice’s gritty voice gives the song meaning. Everything we love about the ’80s is present in this song as Alice continuously adapted his style.
‘It’s Hot Tonight’
Showcasing the sleaziest riff among the Alice Cooper catalog, ‘It’s Hot Tonight’ is a sweat-soaked ode to summer nights. The song and album cover help to conjure up images of a man sitting near a gutter, smoking a cigarette as sweat pours down his face. We’ve all had those nights where we just can’t fall asleep because of the heat, so next time align yourself with Alice and throw on this jam.
The Side A closer from ‘Love It to Death’ is the skin-crawling ‘Black Juju.’ While a good portion of this album is a bit on the bright side, ‘Black Juju’ really shines the light on the dark image of the band where they really made their name. A little over three quarters of the way through the song, Alice screams, “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!’ after a lengthy quiet section and the motif comes back around. It wrests the listener from their trance in a terrifying way. This underrated Alice Cooper song is what he’s all about.