Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Songs I Used to Think Were Awesome, Part 9

In 1980, Alice Cooper put out an album in the "New Wave" style. Yeah, a total sell-out, but it's actually a better collection of songs than a lot of his hard rock albums. Take this mostly forgotten single. Synthesizers, drum machines, robotic rhythms, futuristic themes, clearly ripping off DEVO, Gary Neuman and Kraftwerk, but man is it ever catchy! You could put it on an 80's mix right next to Gary Neuman's "Cars," and it would sound totally right.

The album is from 1980 (the artist credited as "Alice Cooper '80", I guess to show he was up on some new shit), but I swear I remember this song from the summer of '79, when I first discovered rock radio stations. Well, who knows, it's all a jumble in my mind, but I remember being really obsessed with this song, and even calling up the radio station (WIZD, Wizard 99!) to request it.

What's really strange is that there's no video for this song. I mean, you'd think this would be the perfect song to make a video for! It's from 1980 (allegedly!), it has this whole scifi concept, and it's Alice Cooper, who had been incorporating visual elements in his music throughout his career. Very strange.

The Smashing Pumpkins recorded a cover of the song sometime in the mid-90's, and it goes a long way to demonstrating just how solid the songwriting on this album was. The Pumpkins' version removes most of the "cheesy" elements (the synth line stays, but it's way in the background) and opens the song up, making it sound like a basic post-Pixies indie rock tune with a little Cheap Trick flavor.


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