Along Came A Spider

At 60, Alice Cooper is still as brutal as ever: Along Came a Spider, his new concept album, finds him singing from the perspective of a serial killer named Spider, who wraps his eight victims in silk webs after cutting one leg off each person, creating one giant arachnid monstrosity. While the lyrics are packed with Cooper's ghoulish punchlines — Spider sizes up victims with come-ons like "You look like you'd fit in the trunk of my car" and "I've got some Chloroform and handcuffs just for you" — the music sorely lacks former longtime Cooper collaborator Bob Ezrin's bombastic production. Opening track "I Know Where You Live" sets the tone for what begins as a thin-sounding album, though Slash kicks in some much-needed wailing guitar on "Vengeance is Mine" and Ozzy Osbourne adds some howling harmonica to "Wake the Dead." "Killed By Love," the album's best track, pays homage musically to the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down" as Cooper gives his best John Lennon impression and gives his literal take on how breakups can really kill you. Along Came a Spider may not feature the arena jams of days of yore, but in terms of sheer sadistic wit, it proves Cooper's still quick with a flick of the tongue.