By 1982, Alice Cooper's brand of shock rock had been shoved out of the pop-chart spotlight by new trends like punk and new wave. To counteract this decline in popularity, Cooper worked elements of these sounds into his style and also played up the satirical/comedic angle to his music. The result was Zipper Catches Skin: while it's not a success on the level of Billion Dollar Babies or Welcome to My Nightmare, it is surprisingly listenable. The songwriting subjects are some of the most unusual of Cooper's career, which is saying a lot: "Tag, You're It" is a primarily spoken word spoof of slasher films, while "Zorro's Ascent" depicts the world's most famous swordsman facing down death. However, the strangest of these songs is "I'm Alive (That Was the Day My Dead Pet Returned to Save My Life)," which speaks for itself. These lyrics are often too cutesy for their own good, but this is effectively made up for by the well-crafted, tuneful music that backs them up. Cooper is also assisted by an enthusiastic and energetic performance by the band, who transform tunes like "I Better Be Good" and "Remarkably Insincere" into effective fusions of hard rock riffing and new wave staccato rhythms. While the experimental spirit that drives these songs is refreshing, none of the songs ever jells in a way that would create a cohesive album and none of the songs is strong enough to join the ranks of classics like "School's Out" or "No More Mr. Nice Guy." That said, Zipper Catches Skin contains enough solid tracks to make it a worthwhile listen for hardcore Alice Cooper fans.
Zipper Catches Skin Review
by Donald A. Guarisco