REVIEW: Alice Cooper – Trash (1989)

I sure hope I don’t get “trashed” for this review!  Incidentally, this is the first CD I ever bought, in December of 1989.  I still have it.

COOPER TRASH_0001ALICE COOPER – Trash (1989 Epic)

After the strictly heavy metal n’ horror sounds of the previous two albums, Constrictor and Raise Your Fist And Yell, Alice decided it was time to get back to more diverse hard rock sounds. This time, he immersed himself in everything that was cool in the late 80’s, and created a “theme album” about sex. Cooper albums usually have themes — Alice Cooper in school (School’s Out), Alice Cooper in hell (Goes To Hell), or Alice Cooper insane (From The Inside). Sex was a new theme for this character.

Alice teamed up with Desmond Child, champion of many Bon Jovi and Aerosmith discs, as well as Mr. Jovi and Mr. Tyler themselves, among others. The result is unfortunately what I consider to be a weak disc, dated to the times, and with only a few strong songs that have held up over the years. It is certainly a creative low, though it did sell oodles of copies and was a sort of “comeback” album for Alice.

The first track and first single, “Poison”, is by far the best song. It is strong because it is based on the riff, and though it is commercial it is not blatantly so. It has a unique vibe to it, something authentic that other bands couldn’t touch. Sadly it’s mostly downhill from there. “Spark In The Dark” is unremarkable (though it does boast a killer riff), and so is the second single “House of Fire”. “House of Fire” at least has a catchy chorus, but it is simply too cookie-cutter. You could exchange it with virtually any single from any band’s albums in 1989.  Just look at the writing credits: Desmond Child, Joan Jett, and Alice.  Who was this song written for?

“It’s Only Heart Talking”, which was not written by Alice, is a decent ballad made more special with Steven Tyler’s duet. Otherwise, it is forgettable and inferior to later Alice ballads such as “Might As Well Be On Mars” and “Stolen Prayer”. Smash hit, though, so there’s that.

The lyrics to “Trash”, a duet with JBJ himself, are so bad it’s not even funny. “If my love was a lollypop, would you lick it?” Did Jon Bon just say that? “I’m Your Gun” is hardly better.  I just can’t bear to listen to those songs.  If you’re in the mood for some absolute dreck, check out “This Maniacs’ In Love With You”.

COOPER TRASH_0002One of the more interesting songs that didn’t make the album was “The Ballad Of Alice Cooper”, written by Jon Bon Jovi. There is a poor quality demo of Bon Jovi doing it in his best Alice voice out there. I think it might have been better than most of the tracks on the CD. The Japanese version, however, does have great live versions of “Cold Ethyl” and “Dwight Fry” recorded during this era.  (They can be found on the Alice Cooper Extended Versions CD today.)

This album like its sequel Hey Stoopid was loaded chock full of cameos.  Just scanning the credits, besides Bon Jovi and Steven Tyler, I see: Kip Winger, Hugh McDonald, Joe Perry, Richie Sambora, Steve Lukather, Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton.  I think these cameos are very little more than hype.

Cooper’s albums tend to go in similar pairs (Nightmare/Goes To Hell, Constrictor/Raise Your Fist, Brutal Planet/Dragontown). Trash is no exception. Although Cooper realized that Trash was too soft and weak, Hey Stoopid is essentially a brother record to this one. I find it to be much much stronger by comparison.

I would tell casual fans instead of picking up this CD, to pick up something like Cooper’s Classicks. You’ll get the major tracks from this as well as some rare live ones.

2/5 stars

COOPER TRASH_0003

17 comments

  1. Time to take out the Trash Mikey! At the time (89) this was huge ! Myself I bought into as well. Like you said Coop put together a super group of collaborators and went for it and it worked! But 25 years later…..I could only remember 3 of these tracks here. So yeah over at Arena Rock this would fall under the 3/4’s Filler category! Never less a good write up!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think ‘Poison’ is my favorite Alice Cooper song. I’m not sure why… I usually don’t like stuff like that. There’s just something about it that I find irresistible.
    And did you ever hear the Vandals cover of it? It’s great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Poison and House of Fire are definitely the strongest tracks on this album, and Alice still does these regularly in his show, and they’re wildly popular. I think the best thing about this album is the cover. Alice was HOT then! Wish I could find a T-shirt like that.

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  4. I agree with your review wholeheartedly, except that I think even less of this album. To me, this is an overpolished turd of a hair metal album. I don’t even like Poison–this was probably my least favorite Alice song ever, until I finally just listened to the entire album for the first time. I was hoping that Poison would be the only crappy song, but many of the rest are even worse. I’m glad that Alice got back on the map with this one, but even more glad that he didn’t pursue this direction any further, beyond the following album, “Hey Stoopid.” I have to say, too, that I was shocked with how much I liked “Raise Your Fist and Yell.” I am currently exploring Alice’s catalogue beyond the classic ’70’s stuff, and have been pleasantly surprised, overall–just not by Trash, which unfortunately does live up to its title (more like “Absolute Rubbish!).

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  5. On my third spin of Trash. Don’t get you guys. Sure this sounds like Bon Jovi metal (not that there is such a thing but there was back in the day). This is catchy as hell. Poison, House of Fire, Why Trust You, Only my heart talkin, Bed of Nails even This Maniac’s in love with you. They all sound like a party going on back in the 80’s.

    Liked by 1 person

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