Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider

Published Tuesday 25th November 2008
Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider
Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider

RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 55068-13361

Reviewed by Darren Hirst

Alice Cooper's new album evokes the pulp magazines and comics of the 1940s and 1950s and the graphic novels of today. Unlike the pulps, it concentrates on the villain, "The Spider", rather than the detective or superhero trying to track him down. Unlike many graphic novels, the violence is imagined or assumed rather than forcibly depicted for all to see. Either way, this probably makes it one of the most unusual themes tackled on an album by a Christian believer in this year or any other. A serial killer who tracks down his victims in order to kill them and wrap them in silk. It might have proved unpalatable if it wasn't done with such humour and panache. and if this wasn't so evidently an aural comic book. The Spider is Cooper's "The Joker" but with good songs and less blood. As on all his most recent albums, Cooper is concerned with the big questions of life in his songwriting as well as the melodrama of the stories he writes so well. In the second to last song, the villain of the piece finds himself confronted with the consequences of his actions in the song "Salvation". The narrator left to consider where his life went wrong is confronted by the fear of a lost eternity: "Any chance of salvation/Any chance for me?/Any chance of salvation for eternity/Someone died for me/Washed in blood/He cared enough to pity me." Like all great mystery stories (even those told from the villain's side) this one has a great twist in the tail which I won't reveal here but which will have you puzzling for a long time. This is not an album for those who have narrow views of what are suitable subjects to be written on, watched or listened to but if you're someone who loves great melodies, and bright harmonies in their rock and witty black humour in their songwriting (not to mention a lovingly packaged album with great artwork) - and a great mystery story, this one might be for you. But approach with caution, you just might end up in the Spider's web.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Bob in Ontario @ 06:48 on Jun 3 2009

I'm a psychotherapist who has worked both in the correctional system, and a psychiatric hospital. Alice' depiction of what makes a predator tick hits on many important points. It's shockingly accurate. The pain, the desire for control, misplaced revenge and hate, the distortion of a sex drive into something predatory, the obsession; it's all there.

This album is very insightful in this regard. It's also very thought provoking. What is needed in a world where these things can happen? Does someone need to be "struck by lightning from above" as Alice mentions in one of the songs? I think so. There are also hints at an important element in any redemptive process in the song "Killed By Love."

Very disturbing subject matter, but hopeful, insightful and artistically magnificent. Thank you Alice, very well done sir.

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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