RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Alice Cooper – Muscle of Love
Audio Fidelity

Rating: C

This album marked the end of the original Alice Cooper Group.  After this release, Alice would leave the boys behind and become an international sensation as a solo artist.  In hindsight, one can see it coming.  This was the seventh release by the band and, truth be told, it was not up to snuff. 

This album was good, not great.  Parts were not even so good.  However, there were several songs where the magic that took America by storm only a few years earlier was still alive and well.  There was no reason to think this would have been the band’s swan song.  It was a decent effort that followed up several classic albums.  It was an album that still retained the sassy humor and hard rock, but at the same time gave off an energy that was not as intense... or fun.  Again, this is not a clunker… it’s a solid effort, it is just not spectacular... and we all know the Alice Cooper Group was all about spectacular.

The album starts off with a fun rocker titled “Big Apple Dreamin’” and this is a perfect example of what I am trying to convey.  There is nothing wrong with the song, but it is no “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Billion Dollar Babies” or “School’s Out.”  While it is a bit unfair to expect a classic every time out of the box, that is what Alice and the boys were up against.  Add to that the fact that Cooper was going to leave them in his dust, and one can see things were not peachy-keen. 

Still, there are two classics on this sucker.  “Teenage Lament ‘74” is a fun song (see the video below).  This was a tune that also saw the future life of Alice sneaking in.  The song featured backing vocals by Liza Minnelli, Ronnie Spector, Labelle and the Pointer Sisters.  The Alice Cooper Group was seeing Alice the singer starting to hobnob with people well outside of the hard rock crowd!  The other winner is the title track.  This is a rocker that is all things that are great about the Coop.  The sexual references, the attitude and angst, and the snarling vocals all come across loud and clear.  A sleeper on the album is the fun and rocking “Man with the Golden Gun,” proving the band was going through some changes, yet they were not down and ready to be counted out.

Audio Fidelity did a great job on recreating the cover art, complete with the insert that was included in the original vinyl release the Institute of Nude Wrestling book cover. Audio Fidelity also did a fine job with the sound of the album.   

While this may not be the end-all be-all of Alice Cooper albums, it is still one of the important seven original releases to feature Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith and Michael Bruce.  They were the Alice Cooper Group and when they rocked, they rocked hard . When they were good, they were great and when they were great, they changed the face of rock and roll forever.

1. Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)
2. Never Been Sold Before
3. Hard Hearted Alice
4. Crazy Little Child
5. Working Up a Sweat
6. Muscle of Love
7. Man with the Golden Gun
8. Teenage Lament '74
9. Woman Machine

Produced by Jack Richardson, Jack Douglas
Mastered: Stereo CD, SACD & 4.0 Analog
to High Definition DSD Digital Transfer:
Steve Hoffman & Stephen Marsh

By Jeb “No More Mr. Nice Guy” Wright