on 6 June 2001
This album ranks among Alices best. The title track is brilliant and totally timeless. The whole school concept works really well including the bits from west side story. Blue Turk works really well with that sleazy sax sound but the highlight for me is My Stars.... What a brilliant track one of his best ever from the piano intro to the fast rock guitar solo's and agressive singing to the lines taken from 'day the earth stood still' this track is just awesome. Why has he not performed it live since the billion dollar babies tour... oh well that's life and this excellent album gets five stars
on 14 February 2001
I bought this album for the title track of course which is one of the greatest songs in rock. But after listening to the rest of the album i can say that it is a masterpiece!Gutter cat, blue turk, my stars and grade finale, show how much the band was inspired and could make songs with many rhythm changes, great riffs and smart lyrics.Alice at his best!Buy it now!
on 26 May 2012
Unjustly criticized as a one-trick pony album at the time, over the decades this has become, rightly, critically acclaimed as one of their best ever records . It follows the classic 'Killer' template but has a broader musical brush.
Bob Ezrin taps into the group's love of West Side Story with some big-band sounds for 'Gutter Cats vs The Jets' and the Spaghetti Western (!) fade out number 'Grande Finale'. There's High School reminiscences in 'Alma Mater' - where Alice sounds like he's singing through a muffled microphone - and 'Public Animal Number Nine'. The latter has a great sneering vocal and would have made an excellent follow-up single.
There's a graphic anti-drugs track, 'Luney Tune', where Alice declaims: 'I'm swimming in blood, like a rat on a sewer floor' - he always was a great lyricist! 'Blue Turk's jazzy arrangements create a suitable, sultry sleaziness whilst on 'My Stars' the band lock into a groove and rock out like demons.
Then there's the title track. Has there ever been a snottier, clanging guitar intro? It's certainly Exhibit One in the 'Alice Cooper has the best sneering vocals in all musicdom' stakes. Do you remember the thrill of first hearing it blast out of the radio, followed by the jaw-dropping performance on Top Of The Pops? Forget Bowie's 'Starman' appearance, THIS was far more revolutionary!!
From start to finish the band (plus, er, 'helper') are firing on all cylinders. Alice's vocals are utterly superb, Bob Ezrin's production is awesome AND the standard of songwriting is unsurpassable. It's a gold-plated classic - BUT you need to track down a vinyl copy or a suitable remaster.
on 1 May 2013
Almost 40 years on, I can still clearly remember the moment I bought this album on vinyl. I was 14 and had dragged my mother into the record shop. I remember the shock on her face and my embarrassment when I opened the gate sleeve cover to find the album encased in a pair of pink panties. Of course the title track became a huge hit and deservedly so but it is a gem amongst other gems on this album Luney Tune, Gutter Cat Vs The Jets, My Stars, Public Animal #9, Alma Mater. All Alice classics.
Even the cover brilliantly designed to look like a school desk which opens to reveal the desk contents and the liner notes disguised as a school quiz, is simply wonderful. It's one of the few original vinyl albums I still have from my teens and apart from the wonderful music has so many memories attached, like the look on my poor mothers face.
on 3 March 2011
THE FIRST ALBUM , I EVER BOUGHT , STILL LOVE IT , STILL PLAY IT , WORE THE ORIGINAL CASSETTE TAPE OUT , A TRUE COOPER CLASSIC ,,,,, FROM A FOREVER ALICE COOPER FAN , A MUST HAVE ALBUM FOR A TRUE ALICE COOPER FAN *
Of course, for those of us who have been listening to Alice Cooper's classic early 1970s albums (the ultimate masterpiece Killer, the slightly lesser School's Out and again the slightly lesser Love It To Death and Billion Dollar Babies) for 40 years(!), it comes as no surprise to realise that Vincent Furnier and associates have in their time written some majestic and (perhaps unexpectedly) sophisticated songs. Those contained on Alice's 1972 album School's Out are a case in point. Best known (of course) for the hit single title song, this is something of a concept album (with a running theme of teen/school-age rebellion) and contains a brilliant mix of large-scale (almost stage musical dimension) songs and more intimate, lyrical songs.
Along with Alice and his band (Michael Bruce - guitar, Glen Buxton - guitar, Dennis Dunaway - bass, Neal Smith - drums, I list them merely to ensure they receive due recognition) much of the credit for this (and other Cooper) albums must go to producer Bob Ezrin. For me, Ezrin easily reached his creative peak (if indeed producers reach such things), with these four early 1970s Cooper albums. On School's Out, the production values are stunning. Cooper, Ezrin and Co. make spectacular use of full orchestral and (at times) big-band jazz arrangements on the West Side Story-inspired songs Gutter Cats vs The Jets (a satirical take on the musical's gang warfare) and Grand Finale (both songs lifting some of Leonard Bernstein's musical themes). Similarly, the seminal album title song and the Cooper/Ezrin composition My Stars continue with the large-scale sound arrangements.
But, for me, the album reaches its creative peak on the remaining four songs, each song in its own way something of a minor masterpiece. First-off, probably the two most atypical songs on the album, Alma Mater - a heartfelt, and beautifully melodic, ballad on which Alice sings about his character's final days at school before breaking up for the holidays - and Public Animal Number 9 - a raucous and anarchic celebration of school rebellion, 'She wanted an Einstein but she got a Frankenstein'. These two songs are atypical of the album because they are both relatively conventional in terms of song construction. The remaining two songs are quite simply superb and either would be worthy of a place in a 'Bernstein rock opera' (perish the thought!). Luney Tune and Blue Turk are both filled with mind-boggling levels of invention (not quite up to Halo Of Flies standard, but close) - whether this be Dennis Dunaway's superb throbbing bass lines, Glen Buxton's incredible caterwauling guitar (it really does sound like a cat wailing), Alice's by turns snarling and crooning vocals, Neal Smith's dextrous and rhythmic handling of his kit or the stunning backing arrangements (by turns, luscious strings or full-on brass backing). It rarely gets any better than this.
I've been listening to this record on and off for forty years - but a few recent playings have got me discovering more and more hidden depths to its brilliance, thus prompting this review.
on 4 July 2003
As fresh and original as it was thirty years ago when it came wading through all that Progressive nonsense. Like the Pistols, the Alice persona which preceded the record was a bit scary, but the actual music and indeed musicianship (of both groups) came as a pleasant surprise. In common with other reviewers here I'd point to My Stars, Alma Mater and Public Animal as particularly inventive. They also contain that sentimentality typical of Cooper which was strangely incongruous with the leopardskin mayhem of his live act.
School's Out never gets dull. I regard it as a pair with Billion Dollar Babies, so if you like this, you know what to do next!
on 12 March 2008
As I remember, this album came out at the start of the summer school holidays of 1972, so didn't cause the classroom revolution that it might have. (We'd have to wait for 'The Wall' for that.) A 13-year-old at the time, I bought the cassette version, because all I had was a mono Philips cassette 'corder'. Even at its maximum volume of '5', I could barely hear it the other side of my bedroom, so my personal rebellion went largely unnoticed.
I never saw Alice in concert, but you could tell from the start that this was theatre rock par excellence. For me, Alice sits somewhere between Arthur Brown (both his Crazy World and Kingdom Come incarnations) and the markedly inferior Alex Harvey Band. Allegedly the Alice Cooper band could barely play its instruments before coming together for whichever of 'Pretties for You' and 'Easy Action' came first, but Mr Furnier worked them almost as hard as Captain Beefheart to lick them into shape.
By the time of 'School's Out', the band was pretty slick and able to straddle many genres. Indeed the title single is almost uncharacteristic of the rest of the album, which is far more melodic and (dare I say?) musical. There are plenty of tracks you can sing along to. For those prepared to countenance the idea of an instrumental Alice Cooper track, the album ends magnificently with 'Grand Finale'.
So there you have it. The teachers of Britain can thank Warner Brothers for the vacation release date. The album might have incited us to refuse to do our homework, but only our parents noticed. A month later we were probably listening to T Rex and wondering what Marc Bolan stood for.
on 7 February 2011
Hi i had this album on vinyl and it was glorious. i was hoping this 2008 version was going to be a remaster but it isnt. it is a Flashback version and not remastered. this isnt really clear in the blurb and as you can buy a lot of classic albums remastered for a fiver or so took the chance. it still sounds good as its such a good album but not a remaster.********
its no good i had to buy the 24 carat gold remaster and it is sublime. its seems to have the weight,breath, space and three dimentionality (is there such a word)of the origional album. you can even hear some of the busier tracks compress. fantastic. quite immotional in a way because remasters seem to bring out the details you proberly could hear on vinyl as a young teenager before your ears got hammered by drills, guitars, motorhead and shouting children
i found it in the uk on a well known auction site at a very good price. buy the cheap one for the car and the remaster for best at home. if you love this album get the remaster you will not be disapointed
on 4 July 2001
This is a very fine revolutionary album. Known mostly for it's commercialised singalong title track, this album is a totally different beast altogether. This is a brilliant album form the BAND (not individual - that came latter) Alice Cooper. A unique blend of jazzy experimental rock combined with a theoretical satire. This album is very special, the title track is great, but don't expect the rest to be similar inferiors, this album is bizarre and truly very good. And funny.