Alice Cooper is favorite among horror and metal fans, and during his lengthy legendary career as both band and solo artist, he’s had many hit albums and somewhat forgettable ones too. Now 2021 marks 50-years since ‘Love It To Death’ (known as LITD, for the remainder of this review) was originally released in March of 1971, and is among my favorite of the then shock madman artist also known as Vincent Furnier. Many think it’s his album, well sort-of, you see there were two previously conceived lame ones with poor production values called ‘Pretties For You’  and ‘Easy Action’ , but this album really launched their career and charted all future successes, especially later that same year, November, released Killer. It’s really thanks to producer Bob Ezrin, who believed in their hard rocking style, hints of punk encourage them to leave flower-power culture and psychedelic music scene and from there worked on honing their talents likely creating their best-known song “I’m Eighteen” which gained plenty of attention on radio stations. It was from here that their music and songwriting creativity soared and still influences new artists.
The overall value of the album is very important, it captures what would become their incredible stage performances, much more than a mere concert rather a form of art-theater with props such as Cooper wear a straitjacket for “Ballad of Dwight Fry” and an electric chair “Black Juju” of course, none of this rich history would be reality if it weren’t for the hard work of creating the music first. Aside from the well layered lyrics and powerful swagger vocals of Cooper, Ezrin made sure to push the guitar playing of Glenn Buxton and Michael Bruce allowing them to play-off each other’s styles. Their lasting song “I’m Eighteen” was in response of a frustrated teen, so many things one can’t do but could fight in war, its simplistic song, which many artists have covered on albums and soundtracks.
Then he incorporated some organ and piano notes on various songs “Hallowed Be Thy Name” tapping into a gothic vein, nevertheless the longest track is “Black Juju” which is a song without true meaning according to some, pure gothic perhaps even a tinge horror themed. However, again it is a song contains that ritualistic drumming, organ playing, perhaps a hint to voodoo, and leans to some religious subtle tones, such as crossing-over, trapped in darkness, another hypnotic trance song which provided a lot of creepy feelings as it played.
Then the overlooked religious theme track “Second Coming” which incorporated both Neal Smith’s hypnotic military drumming before giving way to gentle piano playing, and perhaps a nod to Vincent’s father who was an evangelist just read the lyrics.
Time is getting closer I read it on a poster fanatical exposers on corners prophecy
It would be nice to walk upon the water to talk again to angels at my side
I just come back to show you all my words are golden so have no gods before me I’m the light
Following this track is “Ballad Of Dwight Fry” in fact, it just seemingly slides from the previous song into this one, and unto to the final song of the album entire “Sunrise.” The Ballad, accomplishes two things, first the name Dwight Fry, is a play-on Dwight Frye an actor known maddening performances of villains such as Renfield in Dracula  and Fritz in Frankenstein  it was tribute to that talented made. Secondly a bit of fortune-telling as Cooper was committed to a psychiatric ward for his excessive drinking among other problems, which is From the Inside  concept album focused on his stay within the walls for about two weeks. Once again, look at the lyrics:
I was gone for fourteen days
I coulda been gone for more
Held up in the intensive care ward
Lyin’ on the floor
The final song is actual a cover track from Rolf Harris, but with slightly different lyrics from the originally as track was about the Aboriginal beliefs. Cooper’s version keeps the same tempo in the early portion of the song before changing a quicker version and usage of instruments for modern and updating the style.
Caught In A Dream
Long Way To Go
Is It My Body
Hallowed Be My Name
Ballad Of Dwight Fry
Alice Cooper – vocals, harmonica
Glen Buxton – lead guitar
Michael Bruce – rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Dennis Dunaway – bass, backing vocals
Neal Smith – drums, backing vocals
Bob Ezrin – organ and piano (1, 3, 6, 7, 8)
This a classic album, and many know I am huge fan of his work, having reviewed 4-other albums of his, and for those unaware of the band’s work, it’s never too late to discover and explore something new, I feel the LITD will always be very relevant in the music world.
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/5.0