Since the original Alice Cooper band was a major catalyst in the creation of punk rock (Cooper's snide lyrics, the band's raw rock, etc.), by the early '80s Cooper decided to re-embrace the genre after such overblown albums as From the Inside distanced him from his roots. The resulting album, 1981's Special Forces, was Cooper's most stripped-down and straightforward since his classic early-'70s work. But without the original Cooper band to back him up and help out with the songwriting, it's an intriguing yet sometimes uneven set. Cooper was heavily into the guns and ammo publication Soldier of Fortune at the time; hence the album title and lyrical subject matter. The opening track, "Who Do You Think We Are," is one of Cooper's punchiest rockers, and one of his most overlooked, while "Seven & Seven Is," "You Look Good in Rags," and "Vicious Rumours" are also rocking highlights. A faithful rereading of the Billion Dollar Babies nugget "Generation Landslide" is included as well, titled "Generation Landslide '81 (Live)," even though it was, in fact, entirely created in the studio (with added audience cheers). While Special Forces didn't return Cooper to his earlier status as a chart-topping superstar, it is certainly one of the strongest and most interesting releases of his post-1975 period.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato