An essential figure in any history of the American grotesque, son-of-a-preacher-man Vincent Furnier served as a missing link between Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Marilyn Manson. As Alice Cooper, he helped make the pop world s... more »afe for morbidity and makeup, scoring a bunch of hits and misses along the way. Mascara & Monsters serves up a fairly rote chronology of Cooper's '70s singles, with the occasional B-side and 1989's "Poison" (cowritten by mainstream hitmeister Desmond Child!) thrown in for good measure. As such, the album doesn't live up to its best-of billing. "Dead Babies," arguably the best track on Killer, loses out to "Under My Wheels," while the garage-rock glories of the band's first two albums are also conspicuously absent. On the plus side, "School's Out," "Elected," and "No More Mr. Nice Guy" still sound great. If you're looking for easy access to those and numerous lesser singles, this collection will do the trick. --Bill Forman« less
An essential figure in any history of the American grotesque, son-of-a-preacher-man Vincent Furnier served as a missing link between Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Marilyn Manson. As Alice Cooper, he helped make the pop world safe for morbidity and makeup, scoring a bunch of hits and misses along the way. Mascara & Monsters serves up a fairly rote chronology of Cooper's '70s singles, with the occasional B-side and 1989's "Poison" (cowritten by mainstream hitmeister Desmond Child!) thrown in for good measure. As such, the album doesn't live up to its best-of billing. "Dead Babies," arguably the best track on Killer, loses out to "Under My Wheels," while the garage-rock glories of the band's first two albums are also conspicuously absent. On the plus side, "School's Out," "Elected," and "No More Mr. Nice Guy" still sound great. If you're looking for easy access to those and numerous lesser singles, this collection will do the trick. --Bill Forman
"This is an expanded edition of the classic 74 album, Greatest Hits. Rhino has added 10 songs from that edition: one pre-74 cut, "Generation Landslide" and 9 post 74 songs. They've also ditched the cover that graced the Greatest Hits album, but they have improved the sound from that CD. There are those who believe Cooper slipped after 1974, and have always believed that the Greatest Hits album was the best chronicle of the band's peak years. True, the majority of hits from the late 70's are ballads like "I Never Cry", "Only Women Bleed" and "You and Me", but these slower hits were guilty pleasures for me, so their inclusion doesn't bother me, but the rock and rollers who don't like the slower cuts might want to stick with the original, glorious and kick-ass Greatest Hits. Rhino has balanced the ballads by adding rockers like "Department of Youth", "Generation Landslide" , "Welcome To My Nightmare" and the eternally weird New Wave minor hit "Clones". There are track-by-track liner notes by Alice and a couple of band members. For those who thought the box set was too much, this turns out to be the best single disc of Alice Cooper's career."
If Not For the Bing Crosby Years...
John D. Pride | Atlanta, GA USA | 01/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes I, like you, still love Alice Cooper to death. I bought all of the albums by the Alice Cooper Group (including "Easy Action and "Pretties For You"), saw them live a bunch of times, even covered "Be My Lover" in a band when I was 17 years old.This is definitely a better collection than any released so far, including the box set. Problem is, it reminds you of the fact that Alice had "it" through "School's Out", and then pretty much lost it until the brand new one (which is amazing). The CD sort of evolves like this: Cuts 1 through 11 get you jumping all over the room with joy, then everything sort of falls apart until, strangely, "Clones" and "Poison". Maybe it's the fact that Alice wanted so badly during the period of cuts 12 through 20 to be "legit", playing golf with Bing Crosby and all, that the songs just weren't Alice anymore. You wind up wanting to hear "Raped n' Freezin'", "Black Juju", "Caught In A Dream", "I Love the Dead" and other vintage songs all the more.So, knowing full well that Rhino did the best they could to make this a career-spanning retrospective, you can just feel them aching to get another "Sun Arise" or "Ballad of Dwight Fry" on this disk. Despite 9 really lame tracks, this record made me smile."
A Killer Single-Disc Collection
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 01/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alice Cooper's career divides neatly into two distinct phases. There was Alice Cooper the band, which defined the shock rock genre from 1969 to 1974 and released classic albums like Killer and Love It To Death. Then there was Alice Cooper the solo artist, who would schmooze with celebrities on the golf course and make appearances on Hollywood Squares. The former was a terrific band and I saw them twice in the early Seventies when I was in college. The latter didn't hold my interest much--though "Only Women" and "I Never Cry" were pleasant, if somewhat wimpy, ballads.When his box set came out last year, I was disappointed by how little attention was given to his early-Seventies glory years with the Alice Cooper band. So even when BMG offered it at an amazing discount, I passed. Instead, I stuck with my vinyl copies of his albums and a cassette copy of Greatest Hits. This new release, however, makes a nice addition to my CD collection. It completely duplicates 1974's Greatest Hits and adds all of his solo hits through 1989's million-seller "Poison." The only downside is that the only additional Alice Cooper band track is "Generation Landslide" from Billion Dollar Babies--not exactly the band's best album. "Black Juju" from Love It To Death or "You Drive Me Nervous" from Killer would have been better choices. So what you have here is a terrific poor man's version of the box set--all the essential songs, great liner notes and terrific sound. If you want more, get Killer, then Love it To Death and (if you still need more) School's Out. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"
Mascara & Monsters: A nice intro to the hits of Alice Cooper
R. Gorham | 01/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE BAND: After Alice Cooper's prime, the band members interchanged often. The core of the group (for at least half of the songs here, 1960's through 1974) consisted of Alice Cooper/Vincent Furnier (vocals), Glen Buxton (guitars), Michael Bruce (guitars, keyboards), Dennis Dunaway (bass), and Neal Smith (drums & percussion). Late 70's, 80's and 90's line ups included notably: Tony Levin (bass - King Crimson, Liquid Tension Exp.), Davey Johnston (guitar - Elton John, Meat Loaf), Bob Kulick (guitar - Kiss/Paul Stanley, Meat Loaf, W.A.S.P.), Dee Murray (bass - Elton John), Dick Wagner (guitar - Lou Reed, Kiss), Paul Taylor (keyboards - Winger) and Kip Winger (bass - Winger, Twisted Sister, Kix).
THE DISC: (2001) 22 tracks clocking in at 76 minutes. Included with the disc is a 14-page booklet (noted that this is actually an edited version of the liner notes that appear in the "Life & Times Of Alice Cooper" boxed set) that contains assorted pictures, 3-pages of insight, song titles/credits, tidbits about each song on the album (no lyrics), chart success of each song (if any), and album discography. Past labels include - Warner Bros, MCA, Epic, Guardian and Spitfire. This compilation released on Rhino Records.
COMMENTS: I agree with Bob Dylan's statement in the liner notes here (from a Rolling Stone interview), "I think Alice Cooper is an overlooked songwriter." There are so many gems on this disc... great for the novice as an introduction, or a keepsake for the avid fan - just to have so many great songs all in one place. If you have the original "Greatest Hits" from Alice Cooper, you may want to replace it with this one. I'm a big fan of the band, so I'll keep the old one just for the album cover art. All 12 songs from the '74 compilation are here (plus 10 more). While the album is packed tight with tunes, the songs are for the most part short (only 2 songs crack the 4 minute mark). The additions of "I Never Cry", "Only Woman Bleed" and "Welcome To My Nightmare" are absolutely necessary. Even tho slower and more composed songs, top-40 hits and FM-radio friendly songs. It's too bad that Alice didn't have more hits thru the 1980's. Adding a few tunes to this disc (personal favorites of mine) like "I Love The Dead", "Ballad Of Dwight Fry", "Man With The Golden Gun" and "Gutter Cat Vs The Jets" would have been great, but I understand you can't please everyone. It appears that 75% of this album is from the 1970's - easily the band's classic period. Many of his albums from the 1980's were considered subpar Alice (see "Zipper Catches Skin", "Constrictor", "Flush The Fashion" among others). If you don't own any Alice and you want a good taste of the band, "Mascara & Monsters" is a great place to start. Looking for his best studio albums... try one from the early-to-mid 1970's when Alice was on top of the world and their concert was THE concert to see... like "Billion Dollar Babies" or "Killers". Remember, this is a "hits" package - like any other compilation - deep album cuts are missing and perhaps you don't get the true flavor of the band. The box set of Alice may seem to be a bit much (4 discs), but this one disc seems hardly enough for a career that has spanned over 30 years. All in all, a classic collection (5 stars)."
Hey man, remember the coop...
W.B. Willis | SO. MO. | 07/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"*sigh* I'm 43, I grew up in phoenix during the '70's. Saw the coop during the "schools out" tour. The first time I heard "No more Mr. Nice Guy" was at my (future) wife's (ex, now) house one night in '73 (her parents were in California that week end...). So. I grew up, grew out of Shock Rock, tried settling down, tried being an "ADULT" you know, being responsible...And then BANG! I almost 30 years later i grab a copy of Mascara and Monsters, and I swear I can still feel the maddness of those years. The tracks on this disc do the original "Greatest Hits" one better by offering not only the loud and raucus "Alice Cooper" (the band) stuff, but the later, more long suffering stuff from "Alice Cooper" (the guy). And guess what, it all holds up. Every darn bit. "I'm 18" still holds true, even in my 40's, and, oddly enough, "You and Me" speaks volumes. "Billion Dollar Babies" gives me chills, and "Welcome to my nightmare" makes more sense, now that I've lived a little. As for the sound quality, it is absolutly pristine. No doubt about it, Bill Inglot out did himself this time. The clarity of the recordings are amazing. It's like falling in love the first time... again. The sound is so stunning, so warm, that you'll swear you remember the L.P.'s sounding this good. but of course, they didn't.Buy this disc. Buy it and play it for every one you know. Buy several copies and hand them out to people who need the experience. You'll be glad you did.Ah well, time to slip back into the time machine, and you know, "I never cry...""