Billion Dollar Babies by Alice Cooper is a tired album. Serving as a perfunctory follow-up to School's Out, it continues the group's pre-occupation with elemental muzak. A backdrop for Cooper's theatrics. In the context of live performance. the supportive position can be justified, since the act is dependent on Alice's contorted mannerisms. But putting the technique 'to record produces boredom thick enough to cut with a sharp knife. Removed is the hard rock that made Love It To Death and Killer interesting. The flashes of the old style are present. but you have to sit through a lot of prefab gibberish to get to it. What remains is dear Alice bellowing about rape, infant sexual fetishes, necrophilia and other subjects not for mixed company. Alice has said that his music has no over-all meaning. It would be a blessing if he and his funny boys would stop accentuating the meaningless and figure: ~ut what else they are capable of. Billion Dollar Babies gives us nothing which hasn't been beaten to death before.
Ker·CHUNK!! Humble Pie is at it again, bashing their way into our hearts with yet another collection of kick-ass rock and roll remarkable only for its fundamental luck of taste, Pie has never been renowned for their taste. but their lack of artsy pretension and their insistence on having fun gave them a charm other heavy metal bands lacked. Eat it, though, tells all in the title. There is some excitement in the four sides given us, but large portions prove indigestible. The best of the four sides is the second, which amounts to vocalist Steve Marriot donning black face and paying tribute to the rhythm and blues tradition. Seems that ol'' Steve has found a song form strong enough to sustain his often extraneous inflections. Ike and Tina Turner's "Black Coffee" is up front shout all the way, but it has power. Ray Charles' "I Believe to My Soul" lacks the nuances of the original, but Marriot remodels it to suit his needs and succeeds, "Shut Up Don't Interrupt Me" is minor key soul cliche done for what it was worth. and "That's How Strong My Love Is" manages not to sound like an Otis Redding ripoff. A trio of black singers called the Blackberries give a strong. feminine texture, adding color to Pic's one-dimensional charts. dimensional charts.
Everything else is heavy-metal backwash. Side one is kerchunk guitar pounding, side four is spiritless in concert rabble rousing. Side three is ballads, with Marriot crooning as if one of his lungs had been removed.
When guitarist Peter Frampton made his exodus from the group, Humble Pie lost an essential element which kept them bearable. Eat It shows the straining of Marriot 's macho vulgarity. Unrestrained, the Pie becomes just another bunch of punks blowing their noses with amplified handkerchiefs.