Another concept album from Alice Cooper, "From The Inside" was released after Alice came out of rehab for alcoholism and the themes here are addiction, insanity and depression and what it's like to be trapped "on the inside". Ironically, despite the themes, this is Alice's most accessible album to date; more piano and keyboards than ever before; middle-of-the-road, unoffensive. Knowing Alice worked with the likes of Bernie Taupin and David Foster on this album should give you an idea what you're in for. This is the Alice Cooper who was appearing on "The Muppet Show" and co-starring with Mae West in "Sextette"; this is not the Shock-Rock of 1971-72, folks. The production values are high but musically Alice seems stuck in a rut.
The funky, pulsating title song "From the Inside" possesses the identical punchy disco rhythm that would propel Donna Summer's "Bad Girls" and "Hot Stuff" to chart success a few months later. If this had been released as a single it would have been to Alice what "Miss You" was to the Stones or "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" was to Mr. Rod Stewart.
Alice's final hit ballad was the sappy "How You Gonna See Me Now", but the superior slow numbers include "The Quiet Room" where an institutionalized Alice contemplates suicide and "Jacknife Johnny", about a shell-shocked Vietnam vet that contains the bone-chilling line "All your friends sleep in boxes while you sleep in chains".
"Serious" is a fast-pumping but unremarkable rocker; the frantic "Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills" is much more interesting; "For Veronica's Sake" has the best arrangement of all the rockers on the album; unfortunately the lyrics (about a dog in the pound) spoil it.
This album does include a classic in the delightfully lewd rocker "Nurse Rozetta", which contains the dirtiest lyrics since "Muscle of Love". Alice's wit and humour was never more evident than in the lines "Nurse Rozetta, I won't let her, catch me peering, down her sweater" and "I'm suddenly twice my size; my pants are all wet inside".
"Inmates (We're All Crazy)" opens with a piano riff that Chicago would use for all the soundalike hits they had in the '80s that quickly dissolves into piercing "Psycho"-esque violins and cellos. Backed by a chorus of lunatics, this is perhaps the showiest piece here. IMO the worst thing Alice recorded up to this point is the duet (with a poor imitation of Olivia Newton-John--I don't know her name) "Millie and Billie". Imagine The Bells (who sang the 1971 sickly-sweet "Stay Awhile") singing the plot of "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" and you have an idea of what you're in for. I suppose they figured the contrast between the gruesome lyrics and cute delivery would be clever, but it just doesn't work. Sorry Alice--terrible song.
Three and a half stars. Alice had done/would do much better work than this. A remastered version will be released January 2012.
on October 9, 2002
Alice Cooper was one of the first hard rock stars to incorporate theatrics into his stage show. His music was the soundtrack not only to his stage shows, but to a good part of the 70's. Released in 1978, "From The Inside" is Alice's story of his stay in an insane asylum type rehab center in New York put to music. He took his experiences and the character's that went with it and put it in to album form. The original record album packaging was pretty cool. The front of the album was a picture of Alice that opened like doors and showed a recreated scene of the mad house. Inside that was another door which opened to show Alice in his "Quiet Room". The back of the album was a picture of two building doors that opened to reveal Alice and the other inmates with their release papers ready to run out.
Even more impressive than the packaging were the songs on the disc. It kicks off with the title track, a cool rocker about how Alice fell to the power of the bottle. The second song, "I Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills" is a catchy tune about a little rich girl that ended up in the same place as Alice, rehab. "The Quiet Room" is a ballad about Alice's stay in his solitary confined padded cell.
Things pick back up with "Nurse Rosetta", a rocking tune about Alice's fantasies with the nurse. A pretty suggestive song for it's time. The next tune, "Millie and Billie" is another ballad styled song about a couple in love and doing time for the gruesome murder of Millie's husband. The next cut, "Serious" picks back up in rockin' style and tells about being a played a sucker and losing it all.
Another ballad, "How You Gonna See Me Now" is up next. One of Alice's biggest hits, Alice asks the question to his wife about what she is going to think of him after all he has been through. One of the highlights of the dics. The hard rockin' "For Veronica's Sake" talks about the parallel of Alice leaving his dog Veronica behind in the pound while he does time in rehab. The final ballad on the disc, "Jackknife Johnny" is about a Vietnam vet doing time. The album closes with "Inmates (We're All Crazy)". A mix of part ballad and part high energy rock and roll, it sung from the thoughts about the wrong doings of the inmates.
This is one excellent album from start to finish. If you like concept albums, pick this one up. Alice has done so many great albums in his time and continues today keeping up with anyone out there.
I know that this tour was taped and aired on Showtime back in 1980. I would love to see that released on DVD. It would make a great addition to the album.
on January 16, 2004
This is my favorite Alice Cooper cd and another great cd from one my favorite music years 1978. I really like the music Alice did best,after his original band broke up in 1974. This cd has a Toto like hard rock keyboard driven polished sound to it. The album features an all star line up featuring Steve Lukather of Toto,Dick Wagner,Davey Johnston(Elton John)and Jay Graydon on guitar,Bernie Taupin of Elton John fame co writing on the lyrics,David Hungate(Toto),Dee Murray(Elton John),Kenny Passarelli(Elton John,Joe Walsh,Hall/Oates)on bass,and Bill Champlin(Chicago),and Marcy Levy(Eric Clapton)on backing vocals. This album was produced by the great David Foster who also plays keyboards.The guitar playing is awesome,especially on "I wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills","Serious" and "From The Inside". The title track and the power ballad "How You Gonna See Me Now" were the hit singles off this cd. This is a concept album derived from Alice's alcoholism treatments that he expereinced during the previous year.
on October 21, 2003
Alice Cooper's "From the Inside" was a personal statement about his adventures in an asylum in New York state. He commited himself to "dry out" from alcohol. The tracks on the album are based on people he met there and his own feelings of apprehension and fear.
The album has some great tracks like "Millie and Billie", and "Nurse Rosetta". It also has a great crew of musicians and Bernie Taupin co-writing the songs. It seemed like a can't-miss proposition.
However, this "Dream-Team" of personnel never really adds up to a stand-out record. In my opinion, Alice was merely trying to stay on the radio, so he wanted a very pop-friendly sound to this piece. I know he considers it one of his classiest albums and I can see what he means. He shuns his usual subjects of horror and sings about things the masses can relate to very readily.
Lyrically, it is a fine effort. "Billie and Millie" has some excellent lyrics like,"...all sliced-up and sealed tight in baggies; guess love makes you do funny things". Clever and funny lines are found throughout the album. Musically, with exceptions, it's way too sugar-coated. The rawness Alice got with his previous band from the 1975-1977 era was the missing ingredient on "From the Inside". The players themselves are excellent in their own right, but Alice albums sound much more cohesive when he puts together a band and records an album without all of the "guest-spots".
I will say that "From the Inside" is a decent album, but not a typical Alice Cooper album. Maybe that's why I like Alice so much; he refuses to make the same record over and over again. In doing so, he keeps his best material fresh and easy to pick out from the mediocre efforts.
on July 11, 2003
This interesting concept album came out in the year 1978 and I must say it is pretty good; even the seemingly unusual collaboration between Cooper and Bernie Taupin (writer for Elton John) succeeded in concocting an LP of decent pop-oriented songs. Despite the chosen lyricist, Alice's knack for disturbing his audiences has not rubbed off on him (at least not until the start of the 1980's). "From the Inside" is based on Cooper's own life experiences; in a desperate attempt to cure his alcoholism, he committed himself into a state mental hospital. I remember on VH1's Behind the Music how Alice himself talked about his recovery; he specifically said that on the very first night, every noise seemed to shatter Cooper because his nerves were so severely damaged. The songs on "From the Inside" are based on some of the other patients he encountered in the asylum: such people include a wealthy prostitute (Wish I were Born in Beverly Hills), a compulsive gambler (Serious), and a traumatized war veteran from Vietnam (Jackknife Johnny). Then of course there's the now famous single "How You Gonna See Me Now," which Alice had written for his loving wife Cheryl; at that time, he wasn't sure how she would respond to him after he became stonecold sober. All in all, "From the Inside" is a decent record for any Alice Cooper fan to possess in his/her growing collection. It's pretty much a black musical comedy. However, the reason I decided to give this 4 stars is because some of the melodies and chorus hooks are somewhat dated; this was 1978 after all.
on May 1, 2003
WOW !!! How often do you check the Amazon.com reviews to find the AVERAGE customer review being a perfect five stars? This is the first instance where I've ever seen it. But it's true, this CD is truly a genius work from start to finish and one of the most incredible albums I will ever hear. How can I best describe this album? Think of Meatloaf type music, only better... MUCH, MUCH better! It's not just wonderful music, but great storytelling as well. Supposedly each song was written about the patients Cooper met during his stay in a mental institution... and he was the ONLY person there being treated for alcoholism. The rest of them were lunatics. Sounds like a great musical, huh?
There are some nice peppy singalong songs here as well as a few somber ones too, and you will never tire of listening to it. I find it hard to believe that Coopers best album was actually done WITHOUT Bob Ezrin producing. Bottom line is this is one of the finest rock/pop albums ever recorded and a must have.
on February 12, 2003
"From The Inside" is made from stuff where the bad dreams come true. No chopped baby dolls, no phony electrocutions, no mock hangings here. Alice's addictions to alcohol had driven him to such a state that he had to commit himself to save himself. When he got out, he hooked up with Elton John lyricist Bernie Taupin, they then locked themselves in a studio and began writing the most personal album of Alice's career.
"I got lost on the road somewhere..." is the first line you hear on "From The Inside," and it's a strange road ahead. Alice used his time to observe the fragile state of the human mind, and the characters he sings of are far removed from his usual suspects. There are no outlaws or gun slingers, or spies with flies, or gutter cat street gang members. Instead, Alice regales us with stories of Silkie the compulsive gambler, the de-frocked priest who can't control his dirty mind around "Nurse Rozetta," love yearning and dismemberment with "Millie And Billie."
Lest you think that Alice was consumed with the oddities of his hospital mates ("Inmates - We're All Crazy"), he drops the most intimate song he has ever performed. "How You Gonna See Me Now" confronts the fear of how his wife would react when his stay was over. Compared to the anything the master of shock could have dreamed up prior to "From The Inside," it was these inner demons that scared him the most.
The music here is pretty solid as well. Nothing rocks as hard as, say, "Billion Dollar Babies," but when laid side by side to some of the other albums of the period (Elton John's "Single Man," Steely Dan's "Gaucho," and the hordes of disco), there wasn't too much rocking going on outside of punk. "From The Inside" is Alice Cooper's last well done album before the real slip began with "Flush The Fashion," and it still holds a mature power and gracefulness that his later discs lost.
on December 31, 2002
For those who think "Nightmare" is Alice's quintessential work, it could well be they've never hear "From the Inside," Alice's 1978 masterpiece.
Surrounded by Producer David Foster and company (Toto personnel, Chicago personnel, and some of Elton John's cronies- including daughter Kiki Dee and lyrisist Bernie Taupin) Alice puts forth his best work ever- a dark, brooding, sometimes comical work inspired by his brief stay in a mental institution circa- late 1977.
The title track "From the Inside," kicks off this "concept album" explaining how alcohol and the supernatural put Alice into this surreal scenario.
"Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills," is a scathing piece, critcal of all the valium-popping, Bevely Hills wives who occasionally end up in the neighboring padded cell.
"Quiet Room," is a beautiful song that first revealed to me Alice's ability to actually sing, and not just scream and scowl. This Chicago-esque song could have been a top 40 hit if not for the grisly subject matter.
"Nurse Rozetta," is a masterful funky groove with witty (though be they sexual) lyrics and an incredible musical break that reflects the scale of the talent Alice was working with.
"Millie and Billie," is a bizzare tale of two twisted lovers incarcerated at the facility for killing each other's mates- again lyrically great.
"Serious," is the first indication we have that Alice's mental health is improving (our collective mental health improves as we compare ourselves to his derranged inmates) and that he's had just about enough of all the lunacy around him.
"How You Gonna See Me Now," is a beautiful ballad reflecting on the stigma of mental illness. Somehow, people who've been institutionalized never seem to regain the full trust of those around them and closest to them.
"For Veronica's Sake," is a silly little rocker about Alice's need to get home so he can tend to his dog. ("For Veronica's sake you gotta get me outta here...")
"Jackknife Johnny," perhaps the most moving and meaningful piece on the album, is a tribute to all those vietnam vets who came home with less sanity than they had before they left. Just about moves me to tears everytime I hear it.
The album closes with "Inmates (We're All Crazy)" an anthem defending the mentally ill and celebrating their twisted place in our culture. Another lyrical great.
The lyrics throughout this album are phenomenal. I know that Bernie Taupin had a lot to do with that, but the stories told here- and the ways in which they're told- are incredible.
The thing the CD lacks most is the original album art. I picked this album up out of a cutout bin and discovered a masterpiece. Not only was the music incredible- one of my very favorite albums ever- but the album art was great. Alice's face on the front are two doors leading into the mental facility. When layed open, they reveal the institutions inner sanctum and all the characters that Alice is singing about. Inside was a little flap that opened to reveal Alice huddled in the corner of the Quiet Room. The back cover had two doors that opened to reveal all of the patients running out with release papers. Genius.
This album will never be paralleled and every music lover- especially Alice fans- should own this.
on November 30, 2002
I own over 400 albums and numerous CDs but this is by far my most favorite. It is the one I go to first over and over again.
I not only love the music itself but the story that goes with this albumn. Each song tells a story and the entire collection is a reflection of Alice's mentallity while committed. It is a must each time you listen to this albumn to take the time to sit down and listen to every song to get the full experience.
My favorites are "How You Going To See Me Now" which I consider to be a love song Alice Cooper style. I've seen the video to this song on TV and it is a great companion to the lyrics. Alice is getting ready to be released and writes a letter home to his love asking her how things will be now and listening to it makes your soul yearn that all will be well. "The Quiet Room" is also a reflection on his time spent inside and tugs at your heart.
The rest of the songs are all about his experiences there with people institutionalized alongside him.
The whole albumn adds up to one of the best listening experiences you will ever enjoy. Buy it and watch it become your most well worn albumn/CD.
on September 19, 2002
From the message from Alice inside the CD, this album was inspired by his stay in an asylum due to problems with alcohol. As a concept album, it tells a very interesting story. Although the songs are good individually, I highly recommend listening to the album in one sitting.
The songs can be divided into two categories. The first deals with Alice and his revelations during his stay. "From the Inside" gives you a hard-charging pace that gives you the feeling of Alice slowly going out of control. Lines like "I got lost on the road somewhere. Was it Texas, or was it Canada?" and "Where's my makeup? Where's my face?" let you hear his bewilderment as his world is changing. The other songs in this category are "The Quiet Room," "How You Gonna See Me Now," and "For Veronica's Sake."
The order of these songs takes you through his stay. After losing control, his next personal song is "The Quiet Room" which gives you the ideas running through his head as he is isolated. "How You Gonna See Me Now" goes to his revelation of how things are going to be at home after he leaves. He wonders has his stay will change things. "For Veronica's Sake" is the song of a guy finding some motivation to get out of the asylum. Good stuff.
The other category contains portraits of the other patients, some from their perspective. "Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills" talks about a spoiled, young woman who has trouble coping with life. "Nurse Rozetta" tells of a preacher fantasizing about one of the nurses. "Millie and Billie" is about a couple of crazed lovers brought into the asylum for their crime of passion. "Serious" tells the story about a gambler and his addiction. Finally "Jackknife Johnny" is about a Vietnam War veteran who loses control when trying to come to grips with life at home. All are very powerful songs.
The album ends with an anthem "Inmates (We're All Crazy)," which sums it all up nicely. In my opinion, this is a must-have album.