Real American Graffiti

Rhino exhumes the scariest rock of the 1950s, buries Alice Cooper

Some people think Cooper was Cooper through Muscle of Love, but I'm not one of them. As far as I'm concerned, he lost it after the success of School's Out, and he never looked back to his roots in the dark side again (although Billion Dollar Babies was admittedly one helluva fine album). By 1975, Cooper was appearing on The Hollywood Squares, singing the atrocious PC anthem "Only Women Bleed," and golfing with George Burns. Never has there been a more prominent rock & roll turncoat, and to this day, it's difficult to forgive him. Sure, Cooper still had songs like "Cold Ethyl" in him (which celebrated necrophilia to amusing effect), but he was done outraging anyone this side of Ann Landers; it was all a stale joke now. The threat was unplugged.

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Cooper has gone on to try his hand at new wave and metal as trends have come and gone, each bandwagon-hopping attempt more transparent and pitiable than the last. That two of this set's four discs are dedicated to chronicling that downfall makes it negligible and ultimately does a disservice to the importance of Cooper's real legacy as rock & roll's first—and best—sick fuque.

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