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Hard Rock - Released July 31, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Weighing in at 15 CDs, The Studio Albums 1969-1983 is a hefty box set but, at $85, it is relatively affordable considering that it contains everything Alice Cooper -- both the band and the man -- recorded at Straight and Warner. Whatever bonus material attached to CD reissues over the years has been stripped away -- nothing from the 2001 deluxe edition of Billion Dollar Babies, then -- and there are no new remasters of the albums, but this set isn't bare bones. The mini-LP replicas contain a few inserts carried over from the vinyl and, more importantly, those early Straight Records are present, which is good because they were out of print for a while. Not everything here is great -- he did have a rough patch in the late '70s and early '80s -- but it's all interesting, and it's especially nice to be able to get the entire catalog so easily and cheaply. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Hard Rock - Released June 26, 2001 | Rhino Atlantic

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Hard Rock - Released March 27, 2001 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop/Rock - Released July 25, 1989 | Epic

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Alice Cooper hadn't had a hugely successful album in over a decade when, in 1989, he teamed up with Bon Jovi producer Desmond Child for Trash -- a highly slick and commercial yet edgy pop-metal effort that temporarily restored him to the charts in a big way. Fueled by the irresistible hit single "Poison," the album temporarily gave back to Cooper the type of visibility he deserved. There's nothing shocking here, and Cooper's ability to generate controversy had long since faded. But while the escapist Trash -- which was clearly aimed at the Mötley Crüe/Guns N' Roses crowd -- may not be the most challenging album of Cooper's career, and isn't in a class with School's Out or Billion Dollar Babies, it's fun and quite enjoyable. And it was great to see the long-neglected Cooper on MTV next to so many of the '80s rockers he had influenced. ~ Alex Henderson
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Rock - Released March 16, 2018 | Epic - Legacy

The question that everyone is asking obviously is: who needs a new compilation from the master of shock rock? Even if more have been released since the first Greatest Hits in 1974 than any of us can count, statistically, there is still a huge majority of people on this planet that doesn’t own a single one of his albums or even never once listened to him. So the question should rather be: can one start their initiation with this new double album? The answer is both yes and no. As indicated by the “Epic Years” label, this best-of only covers the era during which Alice Cooper was under contract with the powerful American label. It was a highly prosperous period that started in 1989 with the monumental Trash, with its procession of hits that were perfectly calibrated for FM radios (Poison, Bed of Nails House on Fire, Only My Heart Talkin) and a handful of others that belong to the category of Cooperian classics (Spark in the Dark, Trash, Hell Is Living Without You, I’m Your Gun). This album, which sold more than 2 million copies, completely relaunched Cooper’s career, a fact that surprised even the artist: “There are kids who come up to me on the street who think Trash is my first album.” But it also owed its popularity to the presence of guest stars, including almost all the members of Aerosmith (Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer), Jon Bon Jovi and his former accomplice Richie Sambora and Steve Lukather (Toto)… But eight tracks out of ten taken from Trash is either excessive or petty.Without being a failure, far from it, the following album didn’t enjoy the same success, despite using the same formula—if only more ambitious—with even more prestigious guests (Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and two members from Mötley Crüe, Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars…). And yet, the entirety of its content was kept here. One track was put aside from the excellent The Last Temptation, but the collaborations with Chris Cornell were fortunately kept (Stolen Prayer and Unholly War). To justify despite all of that the “essential” label that could have seemed a bit excessive, three classics have been taken from the live A Fistful of Alice, and pretty great at that: No More Mr. Nice Guy, Billion Dollar Babies and School’s Out, but only the latter benefits from a true guest, Sammy Hagar, while Rob Zombie and Slash had also come to play with Cooper on stage for other tracks. A few less studio tracks in favor of more pieces coming from this well-made live would probably have been a more judicious choice. But if we had to give a clear answer to the question asked above, we would lean toward the affirmative. You can absolutely start with this album, since it corresponds to the years during which there was not much to throw away in Cooper’s production. But you will quickly need to explore further if you want to really know the artist… © Jean-Pierre Sabouret/Qobuz
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Hard Rock - Released September 13, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

With the future of the original Alice Cooper band in doubt by mid-1974 (they would soon break up for good with Alice going solo), Warner Bros. decided to issue a best-of compilation entitled Greatest Hits. If you're a newcomer to Alice, this 12-track compilation is a must-hear -- all the selections are exceptional. While many have chosen to focus primarily on Cooper's theatrics over the years, the original bandmembers were indeed supreme rock songwriters; such anthems as "I'm Eighteen," "Under My Wheels," "School's Out," and "No More Mr. Nice Guy" are unquestionably among the finest hard rock tracks of all time. And the other selections prove to be just as strong -- "Is It My Body," "Desperado," "Be My Lover," "Elected," "Billion Dollar Babies," and "Muscle of Love" are all outstanding as well. The only criticism of the original release is that the collection overlooked the band's key album tracks never issued as singles. ~ Greg Prato
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Hard Rock - Released September 13, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop/Rock - Released July 2, 1991 | Epic

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Unfortunately, the return to the high end of the charts that Alice Cooper enjoyed with 1989's Trash was short-lived. On his similar follow-up -- another slick pop-metal effort -- Cooper no longer had the input of hit producer/songwriter Desmond Child, and worked with Peter Collins instead. The result is an album that, although generally enjoyable and far from bad, isn't essential. The CD's more memorable offerings include the clever and amusing "Feed My Frankenstein," the dramatic "Love's a Loaded Gun," and the inspired title song -- which admonishes rockers not to self-destruct. But despite its strong points, Hey Stoopid is for only Cooper's more devoted followers. ~ Alex Henderson
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Pop - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Records

School's Out catapulted Alice Cooper into the hard rock stratosphere, largely due to its timeless, all-time classic title track. But while the song became Alice's highest-charting single ever (reaching number seven on the U.S. charts) and recalled the brash, three-and-a-half-minute garage rock of yore, the majority of the album signaled a more complex compositional directional for the band. Unlike Cooper's previous releases (Love It to Death, Killer), which contained several instantly identifiable hard rock classics, School's Out appears to be a concept album, and aside from the aforementioned title track anthem, few of the other tracks have ever popped up in concert. That's not to say they weren't still strong and memorable; while such cuts as "Gutter Cat vs. the Jets," "Street Fight," "My Stars," and "Grande Finale" came off like mini-epics with a slightly progressive edge, Alice Cooper still managed to maintain their raw, unrefined punk edges, regardless. Other highlights included the rowdy "Public Animal #9," the mid-paced "Luney Tune," and the sinister, cabaret-esque "Blue Turk." ~ Greg Prato
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Pop - Released December 18, 2006 | Rhino

Alice Cooper wasted little time following up the breakthrough success of Love It to Death with another album released the same year, Killer. Again, producer Bob Ezrin was on board and helps the group solidify their heavy rock (yet wide-ranging) style even further. The band's stage show dealt with the macabre, and such disturbing tracks as "Dead Babies" and the title track fit in perfectly. Other songs were even more exceptional, such as the perennial barnstorming concert standard "Under My Wheels," the melodic yet gritty "Be My Lover," and the tribute to their fallen friend Jim Morrison, "Desperado." The long and winding "Halo of Flies" correctly hinted that the band would be tackling more complex song structures on future albums, while "You Drive Me Nervous" and "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" showed that Alice Cooper hadn't completely abandoned their early garage rock direction. With Killer, they became one of the world's top rock bands and concert attractions; it rewarded them as being among the most notorious and misunderstood entertainers, thoroughly despised by grownups. ~ Greg Prato
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Hard Rock - Released July 18, 2000 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Rhino's Mascara & Monsters presents a more concise alternative to 1999's mammoth, four-disc set The Life & Crimes of Alice Cooper. Like the box set, this album delivers digitally remastered versions of 22 of Cooper's best-known rock anthems, including "Eighteen," "School's Out," "Billion Dollar Babies," "Poison," and "Welcome to My Nightmare." Just thorough enough to please both casual fans and diehards, Mascara & Monsters: The Best of Alice Cooper is the most complete retrospective available on one disc. ~ Heather Phares
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Hard Rock - Released September 13, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Pop - Released January 29, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Records

Alice Cooper's third album, Love It to Death, can be pinpointed as the release when everything began to come together for the band. Their first couple of albums (Pretties for You and Easy Action) were both largely psychedelic/acid rock affairs and bore little comparison to the band's eventual rip-roaring, teenage-anthem direction. The main reason for the quintet's change was that the eventually legendary producer Bob Ezrin was on board for the first time and helped the Coopers focus their songwriting and sound, while they also perfected their trashy, violent, and theatrical stage show and image. One of the band's most instantly identifiable anthems, "I'm Eighteen," was what made the album a hit, as well as another classic, "Is It My Body." But like Alice Cooper's other albums from the early '70s, it was an incredibly consistent listen from beginning to end. The garage rocker "Caught in a Dream" as well as the ass-kicking "Long Way to Go" and a pair of epics -- the Doors-esque "Black Juju" and the eerie "Ballad of Dwight Fry" -- showed that Alice was easily in league with other high-energy Detroit bands of the era (MC5, Stooges). Love It to Death was the first of a string of classic releases from the original Alice Cooper group. ~ Greg Prato
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Metal - Released February 11, 2003 | Indieblu Music

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Pop/Rock - Released June 3, 1994 | Epic

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Though Alice Cooper's 1989 comeback gave him his first hit album in over a decade, the Trash record left some diehard fans disappointed, as did 1991's Hey Stoopid. Many listeners felt that Cooper had sold himself short, now completely focusing on sleazy sexual anthems, making him just another face in the heavy metal crowd. By the time The Last Temptation was released in 1994, the hair band fad that had fueled Cooper's return was dead, and Cooper was obviously aware of its downfall -- the album sounds almost nothing like its two predecessors. Instead of relating to such albums as Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood, Last Temptation seems more similar to Ozzy Osbourne's No More Tears. Thematically, the record returns to mostly conceptual songs, such as "Nothing's Free," "You're My Temptation," and "Cleansed by Fire." Though the album still has a few goofy interruptions, such anthems as "Lost in America" nonetheless boast more originality than anything off of Hey Stoopid or Trash. Far surpassing anything Cooper recorded in almost 20 years, The Last Temptation is unquestionably some of his best work. ~ Barry Weber
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Hard Rock - Released February 27, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Records

Since the original Alice Cooper band was a major catalyst in the creation of punk rock (Cooper's snide lyrics, the band's raw rock, etc.), by the early '80s Cooper decided to re-embrace the genre after such overblown albums as From the Inside distanced him from his roots. The resulting album, 1981's Special Forces, was Cooper's most stripped-down and straightforward since his classic early-'70s work. But without the original Cooper band to back him up and help out with the songwriting, it's an intriguing yet sometimes uneven set. Cooper was heavily into the guns and ammo publication Soldier of Fortune at the time; hence the album title and lyrical subject matter. The opening track, "Who Do You Think We Are," is one of Cooper's punchiest rockers, and one of his most overlooked, while "Seven & Seven Is," "You Look Good in Rags," and "Vicious Rumours" are also rocking highlights. A faithful rereading of the Billion Dollar Babies nugget "Generation Landslide" is included as well, titled "Generation Landslide '81 (Live)," even though it was, in fact, entirely created in the studio (with added audience cheers). While Special Forces didn't return Cooper to his earlier status as a chart-topping superstar, it is certainly one of the strongest and most interesting releases of his post-1975 period. ~ Greg Prato
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Hard Rock - Released November 13, 1990 | Rhino - Warner Records

As the rock & roll that made him famous began to grow stale, Alice Cooper found himself desperately trying to revive that fad with Lace and Whiskey. There are no shocking songs here -- just flat, dull melodies that sound like a bad combination of '50s rock & roll and classic '70s rock. One exception to the album might be the Top 20 hit "You and Me," but even this somewhat catchy ballad doesn't save the album from being a bore. Although it isn't as horrible as many critics have claimed it to be, Lace and Whiskey still fails to get anywhere beyond mediocrity. ~ Barry Weber
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Hard Rock - Released February 27, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Records

From the Inside was hardly Alice Cooper's best-selling or most accessible album. An intensely personal account of his recovery from substance abuse, it tends to be one of his most abstract efforts and lacks the immediacy of Billion Dollar Babies, Welcome to My Nightmare, or Alice Cooper Goes to Hell. There are no rock anthems here à la "School's Out" or "18" and no celebrations of shock value like "I Love the Dead" or "The Black Widow." Instead, the singer honestly documents the way he confronted his demons and emerged victorious. Sometimes, this introspective effort is too self-indulgent and intellectual for its own good, but at its best as on "How You Gonna See Me Now", From the Inside is as riveting as it in inspiring. ~ Alex Henderson
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Rock - Released January 1, 1989 | Geffen* Records

After taking a break from releasing albums and touring in the early to mid-'80s (while battling alcoholism), Alice Cooper returned with a pair of hard rock albums for MCA: 1986's Constrictor and 1987's Raise Your Fist and Yell. While Cooper remained a popular concert attraction with heavy metallists from coast to coast, both albums were largely spotty affairs; instead of returning to the raw garage rock of his early-'70s peak, Cooper attempted to stay in step with the then-thriving pop-metal scene. After leaving MCA for Epic in 1989 (and scoring a hit the same year with Trash), his former label issued a best-of compilation from both of Cooper's comeback albums, entitled Prince of Darkness. Again, this wasn't Cooper at his peak, but such tracks as "Teenage Frankenstein" and the strangely new wave-ish "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)" prove to be highlights. Also of note to collectors is the inclusion of a rare live version of "Billion Dollar Babies," which was previously available only as a B-side. If you want to check out Cooper's late-'80s direction and don' t feel like buying both albums from the era, the midline-priced Prince of Darkness will do the trick. ~ Greg Prato
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Metal - Released February 11, 2003 | Indieblu Music

Dragontown continues the assault of Alice Cooper's gift to the new millennium that was Brutal Planet. Considered a third chapter of a trilogy initiated by 1994's The Last Temptation, this shadowy production plays like hardcore in slow motion. There is no one identifiable song like "Gimme" or "Brutal Planet" from the last episode, but the production values are high and the innovative riffs consistent. This work stands on its own, chock-full of the dark prince of pop's nasty humor. "It's Much Too Late" is supposed to be for John Lennon, but the Beatlesque backing vocals sound like Carole King's hit from Tapestry on hard drugs. There are references to the sacrilege spread out over Lennon's work from Plastic Ono Band to Imagine, but here Alice takes off the gloves and gives the church the finger: "I'm sending you all to hell/I'm tired and I'm wired here...." Continuing the dismal discourse of the previous record, Cooper takes Ray Davies' advice in a way the Kinks' leader never could -- A.C. actually gives the fans what they want. "The Sentinel" is some creature of the devil out there harvesting souls -- possibly the souls of dead rock & rollers. The ode to Elvis Presley is a bit more unnerving: "Disgraceland" is metal rockabilly with blazing guitars -- "Went to the pearly gates/Said I'm uh here to sing/And Peter said, 'Well son, you see we already got ourselves a king.'" If you don't think Alice Cooper is the Bob Dylan of nastiness, you clearly haven't followed his pernicious poetry over the years. (Hasn't everyone tried too hard to like Bob Dylan's Love and Theft? Do you really think it will have a place in history as solid as "Like a Rolling Stone" or "Ballad of a Thin Man"?) Where Mariah Carey goes through the motions and wonders why no one cares, Alice Cooper proves that he still does care. This might not be as platinum as Trash or as explosive as Killer, but the older, wiser Alice Cooper devastates with subtle intensity and venomous lyrics. The 12-page booklet inside the very Halloweenish cover contains print that is much too small, but the great photos are exactly what the fans crave: Alice showing the world he was Freddy Krueger long before that character came to life. "Every Woman Has a Name" is a beautiful evil ballad, a throwback to the days of "How You Gonna See Me Now," only Cooper's vocals are even better years later; he is a great singer, the Perry Como of hate. It's too bad the songs are so utterly negative -- at ten minutes shy of an hour, this album succeeds in going further down into the depths and would be a perfect horror movie soundtrack. If you can't figure out who "I Just Wanna Be God" is about you haven't read your Bible. "I'm the omnipresent ruler of the human race...I was born to rock/I was born to rule." Alice Cooper narrates from the first person, the Devil's frustrations are the angst that punks, metal heads, and rappers are floundering around looking for. "I Just Wanna Be God" is rap in slow motion -- a loud, sludgy dirge. It explodes after the ballad and disintegrates into "The Sentinel." If St. Peter stands by the pearly gates, then Alice Cooper is putting in his nomination to be the guardian of hell's entry point. He should be careful what he wishes for. From the blitz that is "Triggerman," which opens the album, to the crunching conclusion, this album is so good that it appears Alice has already landed the job. Listener beware. ~ Joe Viglione