|1. Under My Wheels|
|2. Be My Lover|
|3. Halo Of Flies|
|5. You Drive Me Nervous|
|6. "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah"|
|7. Dead Babies|
Once Alice Cooper's band got a major record deal, they finally got the opportunity to make themselves known to the masses - an opportunity they had so desperately needed for so long. Their first album on a major label, Love It To Death, beautifully demonstrated that the band had come of age in terms of their sound. Needless to say, the band wanted to follow that album up. Before 1971 had come to an end, the band released its fourth studio album, Killer. This was their second to be released on a major label. How do Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway, and Michael Bruce measure up this time around? Read on for my review.
I'll put it in the simplest terms possible - this is Alice Cooper's BEST ALBUM EVER. A lot of people say that that honor belongs to Billion Dollar Babies, but I beg to differ. Alice has a ton of five-star efforts, but this is the finest one of all. It's not often that Alice Cooper released an album that is one hundred percent filler free, but Killer is one of those albums. Under My Wheels, a bluesy hard rocker, kicks the album off. Buxton and Bruce are guitar geniuses, and this track demonstrates it extremely well. The slightly slower rocker, Be My Lover, comes next. The lyrics are this song's greatest strength (particuarly the latter half of the second verse), but the entire band is in their prime through and through. Although those two songs were the only real hits from the album, they are far from being its only good tracks. The eight-minute-plus masterpiece, Halo Of Flies, comes next. In this lengthy track, the band explores a plethora of rock stylings, and does a damn good job of it, too. You'll notice that Alice Cooper's die-hard fans praise this song constantly. Listen to it and you'll see why. Desperado is a song about gunfights in the old west, which was actually written in tribute to the fallen Doors frontman, Jim Morrison, who had passed away earlier in 1971. Although the song is quite different from what you'd expect from Alice Cooper, it is still excellent. In a few parts of the song, Cooper's voice even resembles Morrison's! Sadly though, this song never received the proper credit. You Drive Me Nervous and Yeah Yeah Yeah are two more excellent classic rockers that you'd expect the Alice Cooper band to shell out in this era. Don't overlook them - they are excellent tracks. One of Alice Cooper's best and most underrated songs of all time comes up next - Dead Babies. This is an excellent gloomy hard rocker. Although the song was not liked by many parents, they didn't realize that Cooper's intention of the song was to make it known that parental neglect was a problem fast growing in America. Sure, Cooper's approach to the problem was a bit odd, but I think it's a damn good song from any viewpoint. The title track closes out the album, ending things on a pretty high note. In the end, this stands as Alice Cooper's finest album of all - no contest.
To date (as of July 2, 2004), the only version of this album that is readily available on CD (in America) is the original version. The remastering job sounds just fine (too bad the Zappa-era albums that preceeded this album will probably never get it), but the album is long overdue for a rerelease. Billion Dollar Babies got rereleased as a two-disc, deluxe edition, so why can't every album get the same treatment? On the other hand, twofer reissues might be a good idea, since many of the Coop's albums can be combined onto a single disc (one reissue could be Pretties For You/Easy Action, one could be Love It To Death/Killer, and one could be School's Out/Billion Dollar Babies, etc.) Either way, this is all we've got for now.
It's a shame that Killer tends to be one of the classic Alice Cooper band's most overlooked albums, because it is THE BEST ONE OF ALL, PERIOD. The fact that it came between the wildly popular Love It To Death and School's Out doesn't help things, either. Don't make the mistake of overlooking this album if you're a fan of Alice Cooper, or just classic hard rock in general. Admittingly, this album may take a little more time to grow on you than the more popular and more widely-received Billion Dollar Babies, but in the end, you'll may end up agreeing that this is the best album. All right, no more rambling on from me. Get out and buy this album.