I Love America

A great and strange satire of mindless American patriotism by Alice Cooper off of the highly underrated and bizarre album DaDa.  Singing in a voice that sounds like a redneck version of Beetlejuice, before that character existed, over synthesizers and guitars that seem cheesy by design, backed by a large choir singing the title, Cooper sends up the unthinking American male.  There is even a surreal break for Custer’s Last Stand.  (Where overconfident Americans were defeated by those that they thought of as their inferiors.)  We all know these people.  I think I have heard many of these same lyrics sung without irony in modern country music!  Cooper’s I Love America is more surreal comedy piece than song, but whatever it is, it works.  It’s Monday and I thought many of you could use a laugh.  However, unfortunately for all of us, this was recorded in the early 80’s and it still rings true today!

No More Mr. Nice Guy

I have spent part of my time in the van lately listening to Alice Cooper.  Many people already know that the early Alice Cooper albums, the band ones up through his first few solo albums, are fantastic pieces of work.  But for those of you that don’t, do you know that John Lennon was a friend and fan, Bob Dylan spoke highly of Alice Cooper’s songwriting, and Frank Sinatra covered one of his songs?  The Alice Cooper band, which is all the Alice Cooper albums up through Muscle of Love, was a really great rock n roll band.  If you are a fan of bass, drums, two guitars, you have to hear these records.  (The albums got technically more complex as they went along.  However, that core lineup, aside from when they would hire an extra guitar player in the studio at times, is often at the core of these recordings.  They sound like a band playing with just a couple extra overdubs for the most part.)  My favorite of these records is probably Billion Dollar Babies, though Killer and Love it to Death are front to back great as well.  These albums are just the sounds of one of the best rock bands ever firing on all cylinders.  As a bass player, I find the work of their bass player, Dennis Dunaway, particularly inventive.  He often played nontraditional melodic lines that still hold down the bottom, while doing very little of what a bass player typically does.  There are many great hard rock songs here that feature big pop choruses.  There are many excellent singles and album tracks.  Somehow lyrically Alice Cooper was able to provide a lot of entertaining horror fun, reflect how adolescents felt, and satirize American culture all at the same time.  The above song, No More Mr. Nice Guy, is one of my favorite tracks of theirs, one that I have liked since I was a teenager myself.  The music and the melody are just fantastic.  Listen to all of the cool little guitar bits going on.  The lyrics are humorous, without being cute, which is a harder trick to do than one would think.

My Favorite Costumes Ever

I was scrolling through facebook today, at a loss for sense and reason, and I stumbled upon a picture of George W. Bush holding a baby in a NASA costume for Halloween.  He was smiling, seemingly at least for the moment, forgetting that he led thousands of people to their deaths through a war that there was no cause for.  What was even more puzzling about the photo was the responses to it.  Most people were saying things like we sure miss our President Bush.  What the fuck?  This is a man who not only led us into that quagmire of a war, but also helped to destroy our economy and who also disgraced us on the world stage.  Now look, if you don’t like Obama that is your prerogative.  Even though I tend to like him, I loath his drone war and I am truly troubled by his continuation of Bush anti-terror policies when it comes to things like surveillance.  I wish he had pursued the Public Option and I wish he was stronger on the environment.  But disliking Obama does not mean that you should be wishing Bush back.  Those are two separate trains of thought.  Anyone that is pining for the days of the Bush administration has a truly diseased mind.

But maybe I am being too hard on Bush.  He did, in the spirit of the week, have the best costumes ever.  Remember when he dressed in a flight suit on that aircraft carrier?   That was a good one.  Remember when he pretended to be a compassionate conservative and then vetoed the stem-cell bill, which could have helped untold numbers of people?  Remember when he used to go around on his ranch clearing brush for photo ops, like he was some kind of rancher, even though he was a Yale dandy and a cheerleader?  He was great at playing dress up.  That dude was in costume more than Alice fucking Cooper.