9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
, 7 April 2001
This review is from: From The Inside (Audio CD)
Conceptually and lyrically Alice Cooper has rarely reached the heights he attained with this fine album. Whether a fan of Alice, or just a lover of powerful and masterfully written music, this album will not fail to please. The thing I remember about the original vinyl release of 'From the Inside' was the superb packaging, the asylum doors which opened to reveal the manic world Alice creates, the cut-outs and hidden images. This, of course, is lost in the CD version(unless someone does a similar job to the recent 'Billion Dollar Babies' deluxe edition). The music, however, is still there to admire. The partnership with Elton John's collaborator, Bernie Taupin, has produced an album with a lighter and more complex musical direction than previous offerings (it stands head and shoulders above the less than inspiring '..Goes to Hell'), but which contains all of the drama and impact one would expect from an Alice Cooper record. The opening title track is a musical cornucopia to get the juices flowing, with its sweeping vocal harmonies and galloping rhythm. 'The Quiet Room' is a staggering composition, a moving song juxtaposed by the lyrical content. Only Alice could write such a stirring ballad about a criminally insane, suicidal, mental patient confined to a padded cell. "I just can't get these damn wrists to bleed" he sobs, as if our hearts should go out to him. 'Nurse Rosetta' sees a man of the church driven crazy by lustful infatuation with an asylum nurse. It is full of religeous/sexual imigary ("She popped the buckle off my Bible belt") and has a little prod at religeous constraints to boot. Another song dripping with irony is 'Millie and Billie', on a musical level a cheesy romantic girl/boy ballad, but underneath a chilling heart to heart between two homicidal maniacs as the cheese melts into a haunting outro. If you want rock'n'roll, then 'serious' and 'For Veronika's Sake' won't disappoint, but 'Jackknife Johnny', the obligatory tale of a Vietnam veteran, is a disappointing cliche in an otherwise truly inventive album. 'Inmates (We're All Crazy)' brings 'From the Inside' to a dramatic close. In a fitting finale to this monumental album its concept is summarised in one last song as the inmates join together to plead their case, complete with epic singalong chorus. 'From the Inside' works on many different levels, musically, lyrically, and if you really wanted to look deeply (only if) there are some poignant statements about insitutionalisation. I'm just waiting for the deluxe edition (hint, hint!).
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