School's Out (1972)

School's Out Album Cover

Background

 

School’s Out is the 5th Alice Cooper album and was released in 1972.  The opening track (which takes the same name as the album) went on to become an international hit and will forever be the first song that comes to most people’s minds when they hear the name of the band.  However, behind this track lies material that might not be as instantly appealing but which is simply brilliant.  In short, there’s far more to School’s Out than just one track.

 

School’s Out

 

You’ve heard of this one right?  If not, then I’ve no idea how you found this page!

School’s Out is designed to capture the last few moments of school before the summer holidays.  It’s 3 minutes of pop perfection and, almost impossibly, brings together one of the best guitar riffs ever featured in a song with probably the finest lyrics that you’ll find anywhere (“We’ve got no class and we’ve got no principles”).  Then there’s Alice’s performance itself which is astonishing, full of passion, snarling and attitude.

 

So good that it literally transcends cultures, languages, religions and time (and probably always will do).

 

Rating: 10 Skulls

 

Luney Tune

 

If anyone though that the opening track was going to pave the way to an album full of radio-friendly material then Luney Tune shows that the group weren’t at all willing to deviate from their now iconic sound.  A classy song with outstanding instrumental arrangements and Alice on top form vocally.    

 

Rating: 8 Skulls

 

Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets / Street Fight

 

Having already provided a nod or 2 to West Side Story in the Easy Action album, the band again reference The Jet Song in this number.  The song documents the territorial battle of 2 rival gangs and the ensuing battle that develops.  Another really classy song with ‘Alice Cooper’ stamped all over it.

 

The songs were performed live to excellent effect on the Trashes The World tour in the 80’s.

 

Rating: 8 Skulls

 

Blue Turk

 

A laid back / jazz inspired sound awaits, which contrasts nicely after the ensuing chaos of Street Fight.  This track really is very different to almost any other Alice Cooper material, most notably because of the brass instrumental section in the middle of the song.  The lyrics are also hilarious and I strongly doubt you’d ever hear Alice producing lyrics like this these days.   

 

Despite noteworthy contributions from all the band, it’s Alice’s vocal performance which again steals the show for me.    

 

Rating: 8 Skulls

 

My Stars

 

A most interesting song that again has the band’s distinctive signature all over it.  As with Blue Turk, the sheer diversity of the song is quite astonishing with continual changes to the instrumental arrangements and tempo.  On paper, it just shouldn’t work but, somehow, it does! 

 

Rating: 7 Skulls

 

Public Animal #9

 

Garage rock at its very best here, with a real Slade type feel to it.  Alice was on top form throughout this album but this performance is right up there with the delivery on the opening track (maybe even better). 

 

Rating: 8 Skulls

 

Alma Mater

 

The song captures the sentimental side of leaving school and the realisation that some things will actually be missed.  Alice has a great drunken sound to his voice as he reminisces on good times and comes out with the now famous saying “remember the coop”.

 

Rating: 7 Skulls

 

Grand Finale

 

An interesting instrumental ends the album, I’m not sure if it was intended but it sounds rather poignant.  A moment of reflection perhaps after one of the most exhilarating albums ever produced.  I wonder if this track was an inspiration for The Underture on the Welcome 2 My Nightmare Album?   

 

Rating: 6 Skulls

 

OVERALL ALBUM RATING: 8 SKULLS

 

See my School’s Out collection here.