Alice Cooper’s health had hit an ultra-low point, his excessive drinking turned his blood almost to that of alcohol and that resulted in his shock value once on stage decline, hence lead to a series of albums which the music started frizzling out. He always had the booze to help him excel, but it became his crutch, and he needed help himself, and hence he admitted himself a year earlier into a sanitarium, it wasn’t a rehab institution. November 17, 1978, his 11th-studio album another conceptual creation as the songs revolved around him in living inside that place for at least 14-days, one can only imagine the group therapy from a guy who sung about many morbid topics; but in all seriousness the alcoholism among other vices seems to plague many artists. It’s always difficult to admit when one needs help. ‘From the Inside, lacks many of the common characteristics found in a typical Alice Cooper album, it just missed the core of his fans, unfamiliar with the harsh realities he faced of then, though the lyrics are absolutely phenomenal. While he would sober for a short time before the insanity of the road and high-life all crept back in, darkening his world he used the time to have Bernie Taupin (Elton John) and David Foster help to produce this album, though also be the only time they work together.
Let’s try to convey what it must be like for live in the cold distant halls and rooms of an asylum, it is not the typical setting found in horror films, though horrors might take place the sanitized walls and locked rooms, here a man was trying to unlock these doors within himself. That man was Vincent, but his other self Alice traveled the hard road, filled with snakes, dead bodies and on stage horror shows, he went to drink cheap beer to a nice keg, and then enjoying numerous hard liquors that sank his bank account and flooded his body, instead singing about demons, he was a victim of them. Hence to cope he kept a journal of self-discovery, having doctors and nurses assist on the bumpy road of recovery. Just watch an episode of Dr. Phil to understand the pain alcoholism causes in one’s own life and how it poisons everything around them. Who knows really what released him, was it Vincent, Alice, lawyers, or inner demons able to sweet-talk the doctors, it doesn’t matter he won round one. Some of the songs do contain strange lyrics, one needs to understand they all came his journal, not every day is sweet scents and happiness, there’s pain and struggle, learning the triggers and coping methods, especially for someone on the road and adored fans, protected by managers, PR staff and lawyers, it is very complex to navigate it all in a sea of alcohol.
The tracks for the most part vary greatly, from rocking tracks to ballads, that pull the heartstrings, throughout the album Alice tells about the survival, struggle, his addictions and the people he met whether they were real or a collection of individuals is all left to your interpretation. The album does contain some curious lyrics on “Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills,” perhaps the best song presented here, with some risqué tones, including how a “…daughter wants her mother’s lover, to practice her skills, or her brother will…” and “…then couldn’t drink as much as she spills…”, all of it referencing a different lifestyle in the Hills. Yet discovering she lost it mentality and dragged off to a padded cell, which curiously leads off to the third track entitled “The Quiet Room” is a peaceful track, speaking from inside an isolation room, where he’s kept longing for the life with the one he loves, the lyrics mention suicide, which I feel his addiction to alcohol making him have bouts with depression and the booze talks to in the moments when he’s alone. “Nurse Rozetta” a character on his stage shows as most know, is a song filled with raunchy and fun lyrics, describing a twisted fantasy “…twice my size…” and “… popped the buckle off my bible belt.” Oh, by the way, Rozetta appears in the short film/music video “Along Came a Spider”, which as the music cues for The Quiet Room, show many that might forget about this long forgotten album, that he DID NOT. Then “Millie and Billie” is a duet between two lovers wondering if they are insane, the female vocals sung by Marcy Levy. One of a few ballads on the track is called “How You Gonna See Me Now” which one can clearly determine its point, nearing his release date, concern how his love will accept or even if. The final track is “Inmates (We’re All Crazy),” is quirky and brings a mixed bag of lyrics and tempos to a closed, but Alice does mentioned Lizzy Borden making wondering would he do conceptual album of the meeting her for murderous games.
From the Inside
Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills
The Quiet Room
Millie and Billie
How You Gonna See Me Now
For Veronica’s Sake
Inmates (We’re All Crazy)
The album overall missed its intended target audience, the fans found it puzzling, they of then not concern with the individual himself, no interest Vincent Furnier, rather they all sought insanity from Alice Cooper. There’re some artists that critics afford the green light to have the intellectual lyrics, Alice is not in that grouping. They all sought of vivid imagery, twisted songs, bizarre characters, this release was too much for many to handle at the time. While the chorus all sounds beautiful and the musicianship is stellar, the music falls to an adult rock, that feels empty to the then fans still enjoying the hard vices of life and overlooked how truly deep the lyrics penetrate into a person’s psyche.
Baron’s Rating: 4.0/5.0
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