Wednesday, February 8, 2023

"Poison" by Alice Cooper

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  4048
Date:  09/23/1989
Debut:  66
Peak:  7
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  Cooper had a rough 80s. His commercial fortunes dwindled to the point where his long time label Warner Bros. let him go after the failure of '83's DaDa. He was hospitalized for alcoholism (but once and for good got sober) and went through a divorce. He did a few things in music and made some appearances, but it seemed like his career was slipping away. Things began to turn around a bit in '86 when Cooper signed up with MCA and released the album Constrictor. It did modestly well as did the follow up Raise Your Fist and Yell. In addition, Cooper went out on tour for the first time since '81 and it was highly successful. With a bit of momentum behind him, Cooper figured the time was right to plot a real comeback album. He moved over to Epic Records and taking a cue from some other artists who were making comebacks at the time chose to work with hit making producers/writers of the era. Mainly, he collaborated with Desmond Child who would produce and co-write the majority of the tracks on Cooper's eleventh solo album Poison. Other artists like Joan Jett and Jon Bon Jovi would lend a hand in writing along with proven hitmaker Diane Warren. This first single would be issued out and it was the right song at the right time. It would get to #15 Rock while becoming Cooper's first Pop Top 10 single since '77's #9 "You and Me." It would also sell well enough to go gold. The hit would drive sales of the album and it would reach #20 and go platinum. It was his best result since his 1974 solo debut Welcome to My Nightmare (#5, platinum). (Note that from '69-'73, seven albums were released by the band Alice Cooper. Leader Vincent Furnier, aka Alice Cooper, would legal adopt the name and set out on a solo career in '74.)

ReduxReview:  This was a calculated move to revive Cooper's career and it paid off in spades. Collaborating with Child was a great idea. The pair were able to make airplay-worthy tracks that still kept Cooper's nightmare-ish style alive. This single couldn't have been better for Cooper. It was a loud, hooky glam rock track that had a definite dark side and cheeky lyrics that gave a wink and a nudge to Cooper's horror side. It was also released at the right time when glam metal was riding high. Trash was easily Cooper's best LP of the decade and it pushed his career back into high gear.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Cooper's follow up album, '91's Hey Stoopid, wouldn't be quite as successful, but still did well enough to go gold and maintain his comeback status. It would reach #47 thanks mainly to the title track that got to #13 Rock/#78 Pop. The song's claymation video would be popular on MTV. Around that time, Cooper would cap off his comeback period with a memorable "we're not worthy!" appearance in the '92 hit film Wayne's World where he also performed the track "Feed My Frankenstein." With the advent of grunge, Cooper's record sales would dwindle, but he continued to record albums and have successful concert tours. In 2011, Cooper would record Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a sequel to his '74 debut album. It would reach #22, which was his best showing since Poison. That same year, Cooper, both the person and the band, would be induced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


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