Classic Rock

Alice Cooper

Billion Dollar Babies (50th Anniv) Triple-vinyl Golden Jubilee expansion of Cooper magnum opus.

- Ian Fortnam

If you’ve got an original ’73 Billion Dollar Babies knocking about the place, with its cannily conceived rabbits-lyrics-dosh inner sleeve, massive Billion Dollar note (neatly folded next to 11 press-out-’n’-shuffle bubblegum-styled picture cards), in a beautifull­y rendered garish green, faux snakeskin embossed wallet, you’ll not feel particular­ly moved to replace it any time soon with this painstakin­gly buffed ’n’ bloated Golden Jubilee replica.

Until you see it, that is. And feel its not insignific­ant (805 gram or, for pre-punk readers, 1lb 123/8oz) triple-vinyl heft. And trip your fingertips across its seductivel­y emboldened reptilian scales. Of course, it’s been significan­tly celebrated before: expanded to double-CD in ’01, with 11 extra triple-guitar-driven (Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce with additional soundfatte­ning ornature from Mick Mashbir) live tracks from a pair of Texas dates on 1973’s B$B tour, along with three out-takes (an alternativ­e Generation Landslide and two versions of NME flexi promo Slick Black Limousine). So how exactly are Rhino planning to tempt you from your hard-earned cash this time? What’s so great about this alleged Trillion Dollar reboot?

Physically? Not a lot. Six extra tracks, four of them previously available: an EP’s worth, basically; single mix/edits of Hello Hooray, Billion Dollar Babies, Elected and Mary Ann; a pair of additional lives (School’s Out and Under My Wheels, again from Texas ’73) and an oral history/making-of booklet. Sonically? The remaster’s crisp, revealing, punchy, but more so than in ’01? To these ears there’s a hairsbread­th in it. If that.

It’s the packaging that’ll swing it for upgraders. Those new to The Coop’s ultimate statement as an album artist shouldn’t hesitate. The core record’s constituen­t material, Bob Ezrin’s immensely ambitious maximalist production and the band’s performanc­es (and Alice Cooper were still very much a band at this stage of the game) are reliably flawless. The live take of My

Stars is simply extraordin­ary, and the single incarnatio­n of Elected entirely essential.

Billion Dollar Babies isn’t just another record, it’s a sonic portal into the most enduring and potent strain of morally bankrupt, juvenile delinquenc­y known to humanity (I know… I was that soldier), and for that at least, we should all be truly thankful.

 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom