Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Alice Cooper ~ Hey Stoopid

(Click on heading to visit official website)
Style: hard rock, heavy metal, shock rock
Label: Sony
Year: 1991
Home: Arizona

Members: Alice Cooper ~ vocals/harmonica
Stef Burns ~ guitar
Hugh McDonald ~ bass
Mickey Curry ~ drums
John Webster ~ keyboards

Additional: Steve Croes ~ synclavier
Robert Bailey ~ keyboards

Guests: Slash, Steve Vai, Mick Mars, Vinnie Moore ~ guitar
Joe Satriani ~ guitar/b. vocals
Nikki Sixx ~ bass
Jai Winding ~ keyboards
Ozzy Osbourne, Kelly Keeling, Lance Bulen, Stan Bush, Mike Finnigan, Zachary Nevel, Mick Wilson, Corky McClennan, Shaun Murphy, Tony Palmucci, Jack Ponti, Vic Pepe, Scott Bender, Terry Wood, Sherwood Ball, Cali, Nick Coller, Ian Richardson, Gary Falcone ~ b. vocals


Cooper has confessed in his autobiography to having spent the early 80's drunk & moving through musical styles that didn't work for fans or him. In the late 80's, after a series of hard rock albums that slightly brought him back on course albeit with no chart hits, he deliberately teamed up with hit maker/songwriter Desmond Child to get back on the charts after a decade & become again the respected musical force he once was. Trash was a return to glory via heavily commercialized hard rock, a fresh image & a successful world tour featuring an array of future icons in his backing back (Al Pitrelli, Derek Sherinian, Jonathan Mover, Eric Singer). Albeit, Child is known for penning love ballads for Cher, Aeromith & Bon Jovi & didn't much change his style to suit Cooper's style. But, the album achieved its goal while establishing Cooper as a leather wearing hard rocker balladier still surrounded by his famous props. But, it's the follow-up Hey Stoopid, sans Child & an over-reliance on love songs but keeping everything else, that finally brought Cooper completely home. It didn't have the plethora hits that Trash spawned but that's more a reflection of changing MTV audiences than the number of future classics on the album. Back in full force is the tongue-in-cheek horror themes that had worked so well for Cooper but abandoned(i.e. "Might As Well Be On Mars" one of two remaining tracks with Child, "Feed My Frankenstein", "Snakebite" co-written with Kelly Keeling of Dokken & the Michael Shenker Group, "Burning Our Bed" co-written with Al Pitrelli, "Hurricane Years", "Hurricane Years", "Dirty Dreams", "Die For You" co-written with Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx & Mick Mars), while underneath humor was an array of emotive love ballads & cutting social commentary, the former taking a more prominent role in later albums particularly the Brutal Planet trilogy. The corny sounding title track was actually a cry against those wanting to committ suicide with "Hey, hey, hey stoopid, they win, you lose" ... though many may not realize that Cooper is more than shock rock but has opinions & a positive social message. Remaining on Hey Stoopid is also the commercial sheen that had glossed up Trash & really works for Cooper however much raw music is cherished over commericalization. Cooper doesn't cuss, have nudity or do anything horrid on stage like many of his imitators & anything but a non-commercial sound would fail. Though, gone forever is the experimental flavor of the 1970's Alice Cooper band, here confirmed with an array of guest hard rock guitarists to prove this is a new Cooper. Hey Stoopid would be the mold for everything that has come since. All the pieces are here that would get developed further, from the leather to the humor to the guest musicians, to memorable chorus lines. This is also one of the stronger releases with some of his most memorable songs, though this is firmly rooted in 80's hard rock while Cooper would later experiment with industrial (i.e. Brutal Planet) & power metal (i.e. The Last Temptation). The post-Trash Alice Cooper is a heavy metal vicious beast. The songs are fairly generic 80's metal but what sets them apart is Cooper's recognizable vocal style, catchy lyrics that are more mini-narratives & unpredictable musical arrangements. Cooper wants you to go to on an emotional ride with him & he does it very well with this release, oft forgotten but deserving a new listen.



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