Killer (1971)

Killer Album Cover

Background

 

Killer is the 4th Alice Cooper album and was released in 1971.  Following hot on the heels of Love It To Death, this album further demonstrated the diversity of the band with tracks jumping happily from garage rock to less conventional material.  Although the album (in my opinion) fails to hit the consistently high standard of the previous album, Killer still proved that Alice Cooper were not a one-hit-wonder and were definitely here to stay. 

 

Under My Wheels

 

Now I have to admit, this has never been one of my favourite tracks.  However, I appreciate it for being a very good straight-up rocker that is a firm favourite with most fans.  It’s very listenable, very radio friendly and Alice sounds great.  I think the reason I don’t like this song more (but thoroughly enjoy it live) is the use of the saxophone in the background.  It just seems to soften the overall sound of the song whereas I much prefer a harder, more raw track.   

 

Rating: 6 Skulls

 

Be My Lover

 

Another straightforward rocker, however, I like this a lot more.  It has a really fresh sound plus it contains one of my favourite lines: 

 

“She asked me why the singer’s name was Alice, I said listen baby you really wouldn’t understand”.   

 

It’s clear to see how the band was becoming so successful, they were producing good quality, radio friendly music and then incorporating some of their own signature music into the spaces…

 

Rating: 8 Skulls

 

Halo Of Flies

 

A masterpiece of a track full of aggressive instrumentals, clinical lyrics and more aggressive instrumentals.  Halo of Flies is the ultimate interlude track on the live shows and also bears an uncanny similarity to much of the early material released by Iron Maiden (surely some influence there?).

 

Rating: 8 Skulls

 

Desperado

 

After the madness of Halo Of Flies, the tranquil beginning to Desperado is well timed.  The song, a tribute to Jim Morrison (who died shortly after it was conceived) is quite beautiful, and is the classiest track on the album.

 

Rating: 9 Skulls

 

You Drive Me Nervous

 

Thinks start to become more edgy with this terrific rocker.  Alice excels throughout with his sneering vocals become more and more desperate as he’s driven “Nervous, Nervous, Nervous, Nervous!!!”

 

Rating: 8 Skulls

 

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

 

One of the weaker tracks on the album but still very listenable (such is the improved quality from the first two albums).  There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, it just isn’t as cutting as the previous track and not as listenable as Be My Lover.  There’s also the harmonica section which doesn’t do it for me.

 

Rating: 6 Skulls

 

Dead Babies

 

One of the most controversial songs ever released by Alice Cooper, despite the fact is was intended to present an anti-child abuse message.  For me, this merely confirms the brilliance of the band and the marketing, you either ‘got it’ or you didn’t!    

Dead Babies is a brilliant, dark and sinister track that little has come close to matching in over 30 years (a possible exception being When Hell Comes Home from Welcome 2 My Nightmare).  Utterly essential in every way and one of the highlights of the live show! 

 

Rating: 10 Skulls

 

Killer

 

The album draws to a close with the haunting title track, which should only be listened to with the lights off if you’re feeling brave!  The instrumental section is often used as the background for the ceremonial beheading at the live shows and has a brilliant middle-age feel to it. 

 

The impact of the final two tracks of the album must have been immense at the time and this shouldn’t be underestimated when considering how the band managed to become so widely known in popular culture.

 

Rating: 8 Skulls

 

OVERALL ALBUM RATING: 8 SKULLS

 

See my Killer collection here.