If you haven’t played thi albym for a while, give it a play. From Alice Cooper’s experimental period, it’s his best hands down.
Written by: King Of Sunset Town
ARTIST: Alice Cooper
LABEL: Warner Bros
SERIAL: 9 23969-1
CD REISSUE: 1993 & 1995, Warner Bros, 7599-23969-2 * 2009, Collectors Choice, CCM-2078
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Alice Cooper – vocals * Dick Wagner – guitar, bass, vocals * Graham Shaw – keyboards, vocals * Bob Ezrin – fairlight, keyboards, drums, percussion, vocals
Additional Musicians: Richard Kalinka, John Anderson * John Prakash – bass * Karen Hendricks, Lisa Dalbello – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 DaDa * 02 Enough’s Enough * 03 Former Lee Warmer * 04 No Man’s Land * 05 Dyslexia * 06 Scarlet And Sheba * 07 I Love America * 08 Fresh Blood * 09 Pass The Gun Around
WEBLINKS: Site Link
After releasing a string of genuinely classic albums starting with 1970’s ‘Love It To Death’ and ending with 1975’s ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’, Alice’s next few releases fell short of the mark in many people’s opinions. It is often said that ‘Alice Cooper Goes to Hell’ (1976) is a poor successor to ‘Nightmare’, though personally I have a lot of time for that album.
After drinking himself further off the rails, 1977’s ‘Lace & Whiskey’ was very patchy. Over-consumption of alcohol would eventually put our hero in the hospital. A down period in the Alice story, but it at least provided enough decent material for 1978’s David Foster produced ‘From The Inside’.
Left treading water for the second half of the 1970’s, Alice seemed to get a burst of energy for ‘Flush The Fashion’ (1980), which was a world away from Alice’s classic sound but remained a decent enough album. Attempts to revisit the energetic new-wave Alice approach on ‘Special Forces’ (1981) and ‘Zipper Catches Skin’ (1982) were, again, disappointing.
1983’s ‘DaDa’, in my opinion, is Alice Cooper’s best album since ‘Goes To Hell’. The album successfully captures the new wave energies of ‘Flush The Fashion’ and couples it with some unmistakably Alice Cooper tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
There are some classic examples here: ‘No Man’s Land’ depicts Alice as a department store Santa Claus who runs away with a sex-crazed bimbo, leaving behind a line of disappointed kids. ‘Dyslexia’ explores Alice’s love of inane humour and really bad puns: ‘I’ve got these glasses thick and green / Just like the bottom of Coke bottles.. Is this love? / Or is dyslexia?’
Only Alice could’ve gotten away with the back-handed patriotism of ‘I Love America’: ‘I love that mountain with it’s four big heads / I love Velveeta slapped on Wonderbread / I love a commie if he’s good and dead/ I love my chicken Kentucky Fried / I think them Ruskies should be sterilised’. As with all the best Alice, a sense of humour is definitely necessary. Even the worst Alice Cooper albums featured one classic piece of Alice, and ‘DaDa’ being better than that, is no exception.
On this album, we are told the twisted tale of ‘Former Lee Warmer’, Alice’s mentally unstable brother who lives his life locked in the attic, where ‘no dreams go in and no dreams go out of the hole in his wrinkled head’. This track is equally a match for the macabre story-telling from Alice’s 1970s glory days. It also comes with one of those smooth Bob Ezrin arrangements – think ‘Ballad of Dwight Fry’ meets ‘Only Women Bleed’. Classic.
‘Pass The Gun Around’ is a big rock ballad, which almost spookily tips its hat towards Alice’s future glories, namely his big comeback with the ‘Trash’ album six years later. It could sit rather comfortably amongst the other songs from ‘Trash’ and it’s my firm belief that had Alice recorded the song during one of his more in vogue periods, it would now be considered an Alice classic.
Musically, most of ‘DaDa’ may not have aged very gracefully, owing to the overuse of the Fairlight keyboard and other technical toys from the 80s, but despite that, it still has its own charm. If you own this album already and haven’t played it for a while, give it a play. From Alice Cooper’s experimental period, it’s the best album hands down.