"Sweetheart, wake up": Yann Tiersen

Christian K. and I had, it turns out, very little in common. In the height of our friendship I thought there was more (you know how it goes), but it all boiled down to about four things. One of them was Argentine Tango, which we both discovered that year, at about the same time- he became known for his intensity and sense of adventure on the dance floor, and I'm pretty sure he charmed every last one of us. Another thing was grammar. Christian was from Germany, attending a year at my American "uni-wer-sity", and he found my conversational English, generally clear of "like" and "y'know" and "um", refreshing. A third thing, as it turns out, was my friend Caitlin, although of course my relationship with her was/is considerably different! (And I hope I don't embarrass my good friend by referencing this- we were all crazy in love, if you recall, in 2009.)

We shared one other major interest, and that, you may have guessed, is music. It was probably Christian with whom I first danced a tango to the piano version of "La valse d'Amelie", and it was definitely Christian who passed to me my first taste of Yann Tiersen.

Yann Tiersen is a French composer/musician best known, perhaps, for his remarkable soundtrack to the equally remarkable film Amelie. As the story goes, he was a little musical prodigy as a kid until one day, sick of playing classical music, he simply smashed his violin to bits and took up guitar for a while. Luckily, he still plays the violin (beautifully) as well as the piano and a number of other instruments. His recent material is a kind of dark, heavily-layered, and foggy, as if progressive rock and alternative rock had a baby. I've heard it compared to Godspeed You! Black Emperor. His earlier work fits pretty easily under the classical handle, but it's classical music written for a contemporary pop-music audience- bright, whimsical, wistful, dreamy. I could listen to Yann Tiersen for days and days and not get tired of him. I saw him on tour for Dust Lane (released in 2010, show was in 2011- a dark, personal album about love and death) and it was one of the coolest and most different concerts I'd ever seen- it felt like having four walls of music built up around you as you stood still. He seemed so sweet and humble, a man of few words (specifically, "Thank you") with a scruffy face and worn out Converse kicks, who could make his instruments sigh and sing.

So wherever you are now, Christian, you crazy kid, I hope you're still dancing, and Tausend Dank. And while I am at it, I'll thank Mike H., who burned me the Amelie soundtrack, and Jacob D., who gave me more Tiersen than I could digest in six months. Almost.

And it is with great pleasure that I now turn it up on your radio (on my Spotify as "Sweetheart, Wake Up"), and you'll thank me later.

Yann Tiersen makes me wish I didn't suck so bad at playing the violin.
For Your Playlist: Side A
1. "The Neighborhood" from The Lighthouse/Everything Is Calm
2. "La valse d'Amelie (version orchestre)" from Amelie from Montmartre
3. "Summer Nursery Rhyme No. 2" from Rue des Cascades 
4. "Bagatelle" from L'absente

For Your Playlist: Side B
1. "Deja Loin" from C'etait Ici
2. "Sur le Fil" from C'etait Ici
3. "Au Dessous Du Volcan" from Tabarly
4. "Amy" from Dust Lane

"Wear A Tall Hat"- T. Rex and Marc Bolan

It's late February and I'm noticing that it's unseasonably chilly for Phoenix. Seriously, the breeze that blew through here on Sunday was like a postcard from my hometown up north. There's still frost on the car when I leave for work in the morning. I suppose this lingering winter is better than the record-busting heat we had last summer, and I suppose as such that a little gratitude is in order. But I'm looking forward to spring. Spring in Phoenix, pollenfest notwithstanding, is a beautiful thing. Temperatures are blissful and the air smells like the newborn orange blossoms. Springtime means trying new cookie recipes and listening to bright, playful music with the windows open. And I haven't made a springtime playlist for a long time that has been without a pinch of T. Rex.

T. Rex might seem like an obvious and natural extension of my Bowie enthusiasm. There is a lot of overlap in the fanbase. Bowie himself was a fan of Marc Bolan. They were on-again, off-again best friends and bitter rivals since they met in the '60s, when Bowie still went by Jones and Bolan by Feld. Marc Bolan found success much sooner than Bowie with his band Tyrannosaurus Rex, later shortened to T. Rex.

Their aim was to be "bigger than the Beatles", and by some accounts, for a while at least, they succeeded. T. Rex, at the forefront of the rising wave that was glam rock, made some really fun music. Their songs contain a kind of wacky sci-fi-laced sexuality, mixed with the swinging rock and roll jive that's so characteristic of the rock of the 1950's and pop of the '60s. In fact, Bolan's voice suggests to me something of Buddy Holly. (That exaggerated vibrato? Tell me that's not a Holly-ism in platform boots and satin bell-bottoms.)

Marc Bolan: the reincarnation of...
...Buddy Holly?
Another thing Bolan shares with Buddy Holly? A fatal accident. Nothing catapults a band to cult stardom than the tragic demise of the charismatic So-and-So from Such-and-Such (I can hear my dad saying this about a certain Seattle band from the '90s... ha ha). T. Rex hadn't changed remarkably much, stylistically, between their emergence and Bolan's deadly car accident in 1977, so I'm not sure how long they would have been able to compete in the face of things like New Wave and post-punk. But whatever "could have beens" exist or don't exist, T. Rex's catalog is still smart and funky, and their following is absolutely rabid.

Fun fact: the sycamore tree in southwest London, blamed for decades as the tree that took out MB, was slated to be felled by city ordinance, but the TAG (T. Rex Action Group) purchased the land upon which it stands to save it. There's a bronze bust of MB there now, and a plaque, and ribbons festoon the tree. The site is now recognized as a "Sight of Rock and Roll Importance" according to the English Tourist Board. You have to write to TAG and donate to them to legally display a picture of it, so you'll just have to google it yourself. :)

I think it's this combination of that old-school catchiness and the glam-rock brightness that I really like about T. Rex. The music is effervescent and the lyrics are silly and sly, and I find it refreshing. It's a sort of energetic twist on a classic feel-good structure. 

For Your Playlist: Side A
Bolan & girlfriend Gloria Jones... awwww...
1. "Bang A Gong (Get It On)" from Electric Warrior
2. "Ride A White Swan" 
3. "Dandy in the Underworld" from Dandy in the Underworld
4. "Baby Boomerang" from The Slider

For Your Playlist: Side B
1. "Country Honey" from Tanx
2. "Jupiter Liar" from Futuristic Dragon
3. "Girl in the Thunderbolt Suit" from Bolan's Zip Gun
4. "The Avengers (Superbad)" from Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow

Check it out on my Spotify under the title "Wear A Tall Hat"

And in closing, I'd like to dedicate this post to the lovely blogger Ashley G.. She and I got to talking at the blogger function held at Sweet Cakes in Mesa on Friday night, which was hosted by Katie and Camille. She told me she doesn't like classic rock, which shocked the daylights out of me, but said she really liked "oldies". So, Ashley, I give you T. Rex. An excellent cocktail of both. As for all the other lovely ladies I met, if you're out there listening right now... thanks. For those about to blog, we salute you. 

Introducing the Band- Or, Reflection on the Difference Between Writers and Rockers

"I want the style of a woman, the kiss of a man/ Introducing the band!" -The London Suede

Today I read a post by a dear friend of mine, one Elizabeth Barrett, and it was so charming I decided to file away the post I was anticipating to write tonight in favor of acknowledging hers. If you'd like to read the "parent post" (and you should- it's darling) you can do so so here. If you choose not to (shame on you- it's darling) I will summarize crudely and say that it is an essay exploring a particularly shy aspect of her personality, and the vehicle is a reflection of a memory of some concerts she saw- particularly primo seats for Neil Diamond.

I don't listen to Neil Diamond and I don't think anybody would have guessed from looking at my rock pedigree that anyone in my family did. But my dad famously (according to his sisters, who report this story with an all-knowing smugness of which only we older sisters are capable) got bounced from a Neil Diamond concert for attempting to get onstage and interact with the singer. The story goes something like that Dad suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to take home a souvenir from the show, and the story says that the selected item was Mr. Diamond's belt. I find this last part especially odd. It is disconcerting, to say the least, to imagine your dad grabbing at another man's belt onstage. Especially if that man is Neil Diamond, and Dad's record collection tends to have things like Frank Zappa, Judas Priest, or (on the other hand) Jackson Browne. But this story gives me context to appreciate the fan fervor in The Other Elizabeth Barrett's story.

Except I think even my dad would have been tired long before the 20th "Bah-bah-bah" of "Sweet Caroline". And he doesn't really put his hands in the air for concerts anymore, either. It has less to do with getting into it, I think, than with not feeling particularly demonstrative. I thought for sure he was miserable during the Bowie concert, but as I was bouncing along radiantly back to the car with him afterward, he said "That might have been one of the best shows I've ever seen."

Me, I do put my hands in the air. My fan fervor can become an uncontrollable fan frenzy. I don't mosh but sometimes I wish I did... instead, I do what little people do: squeeze to the front of the crowd, very politely, and open my eyes and ears as wide as I can, and hyperventilate into the music. The time will come, I'm sure, when this will not thrill me so much as it does now, and it will likely have to do with significant hearing loss at an early age. But for now I will clap and cheer and sing my heart out. I once held hands with a stranger at a folk-rock concert, and I saw a girl a few feet from me singing and crying at once at another (also folk-rock...). I have no problem letting it tear through me.

But that's because music brings this out of me. That's because true artists have the power to captivate and pull things out of you that, short of religious experience, don't often surface. That's why Jim Morrison could hold the Coliseum in the palm of his hand, and start a riot with a word.

I genuinely used to dream of being a rock star. I'd performed quite a lot as a kid for church and school functions, such that by virtue of the demand I received I thought I was good. I don't remember stage fright except as an affectation- being shy and nervous was something people demonstrated because it was done. But eventually I started to grow up and started to feel it. Oddly, it wasn't really so much for when I was singing for an audience (of course, that happened less and less) as for when I was speaking to one. When I was just saying what was on my mind. My heart still pounds and my face flushes and I twitch my feet if I'm sitting down or twist my hands if I'm standing up. When I give my own gift, my own thoughts, to a crowd, I lose all my internal composure and just pray it doesn't sound like word vomit.

But I think maybe it's less that I am afraid people will think I'm foolish, off topic, etc, than that I won't do justice to what I want to tell them.

I'm content to be a face in a grocery store. I hate playing Speed Basketball because there will come a point where I, absolutely spotlit, will hold up my team with my ineptitude for minutes that seem like eternity.

But when I'm at a rock concert, I'm part of the music. I don't hold a candle to the artist's charisma, but I will absorb and learn from it and someday maybe I will speak my own mind, present my own art, with as much power and conviction. I will learn how to help people feel that way, like they can throw up their arms and repeat the chorus til they collapse, and together we will have no inhibitions.

"I need you to believe in not me, but my words." -Taylor Mali

And for laughs: Tim Minchin- "Rock and Roll Nerd" (Disclaimer: PG-13 for strong language)

"Je nage, mais les sons me suivent": Arcade Fire

"Je nage, mais les sons me suivent": "I swim, but the sound follows me"

You already know I was hopelessly devoted to David Bowie. I'd say there is a distinct possibility that I would never have really, genuinely allowed myself to love anything else if he himself hadn't made any recommendations. I read in an interview from around the time of Reality that David Bowie thought that Arcade Fire showed some promise. (Yes, it's time to deviate from the old school pattern and talk about something 100% Made In the 21st Century.)

In 2007 I read a review in a magazine about Neon Bible, and the review was more than favorable- it glowed. I recognized the band's name from the Bowie interview from a few years before. I bought the album. For several weeks, while I worked on my epic final project for my high school art class, I don't remember listening to much else. I didn't buy Funerals for another year or so, but I did get The Suburbs on the day it came out. I guess that means that in a way I've been on their team from the beginning, before anybody knew who they were, before they ironically won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards for The Suburbs. Which doesn't make me any more or less of a fan than anybody else, by the way. It just makes them more special to me, because I feel like I've been watching them grow for a while.

In 2011, which was for me the Year of Concerts (more on that another day), my friend and even bigger music fan Rob went to see them at the Comerica Theater (FKA The Dodge which is where I saw Bowie). The Local Natives opened for them. They were pretty good. The weeknight crowd was sluggish, as usual. I perceived that AF felt that vibe too. There came a point at which I felt like they just sort of dismissed the tepid crowd and began to just play for themselves tonight. I could have sworn I watched the decision cross Win Butler's face, and they just started to pretend we weren't even there. And then the energy tripled. Not ours. Theirs. Have you ever felt like music is moving through you? Making something more out of you, like you're the giant wand through which one of those enormous Ren-Faire bubbles is being blown? That's kind of how I felt. Regine wailed "Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small/ That we can never get away from the Sprawl" like she was singing to God Himself.

That's what I love about Arcade Fire. Even at their lowest key, they are passionate. That first summer after high school graduation, the first summer my family went to San Diego for a few days to vacation, I walked along the sand in the dark with "Ocean of Noise" from Neon Bible in one ear, and the Pacific Ocean in the other. I waded out a little further toward the water and let the tide exhort me up to my knees, hearing the rasping boom of waves and the mournful horny outro before "The Well and the Lighthouse" broke in with its heart pounding. I felt passionate and tremendously big and hopelessly small all at once. I think I will replay that scene every time my path leads to a moonlit oceanic beach, for all my life. It's the little moments, without any especial significance, after all, that make up a life, and sometimes you have to see the beauty and the dramatic in the regular.

Which, incidentally, is what The Suburbs conveyed to me.

You can find all their albums on Spotify or any kind of record store you like. Since there are only three, (and there are only three full ones so far, not counting the EP that preceded Funeral) there is not a lot of material with which to make a mix tape. Furthermore, to try to compile a "Best Of" for Arcade Fire is, in my opinion, sort of detrimental to the body of work, since the tracklist on every album sounds so good in its original format.


If you insist on only a taste, here are a few video-based suggestions:

1) "Sprawl II: Mountains Beyond Mountains" from The Suburbs
2) "Neon Bible" performed in an elevator from Neon Bible (and you haven't seen anything til you've seen a 7-8 person band making music in an elevator)
3) "Wake Up" featuring David Bowie from Funeral

I Hate Valentine's Day vs. 2013

I really think I would b doing the world a disservice if I didn't take advantage of the fact that today is Valentine's Day. Much ado about love is music's middle name, after all. I may as well toss in my handful of heart shaped confetti and join the fun.

I'm somebody's "Valentine" for the first time in recent memory. If you'd told me a year ago today I'd be married by Valentine's Day 2013, I would have laughed and rolled my eyes. If you'd then told me to whom I'd be married, I would have gone quiet and silently judged you for a crazy person. If you told me my Valentines Days after this one would all at least have one pleasant thing in common (my husband) I would have thought of the really unfortunate previous 3 or 4 and smiled grimly.

But here I am (happily) and here we are (happily) and we don't even have an organic song that is "our song". It bugs me sometimes but I don't think there is anything I can do about it... Sort of like how you can't intentionally coin a nickname, you can't really reach back in time and make a theme song happen. (And if you watch anything I have linked to, this would be the one. Hawksley Workman is a vastly under publicized artist here in the US, IMHO, and here he is sharing his views on the importance of "our song" in a way Taylor Swift will never be able to.)

My sister is the authority on the Single Awareness Day playlist. She used to make one every year. We have different tastes but I'd get a listen or five out of them. (Left to my own devices, my own version of an anti-Valentines mix would have been an entire CD, 14 tracks, of The Smith's song "I Know It's Over"- which is a truly dismal tune. I think an entire CD of it could probably drive someone into a deep and stolid state of manic depression. True to our characters perhaps, her anti-love playlists are full of fire and vengeance and mine tickle your tear ducts.) I have recreated the 2009 edition on Spotify under its original title: Garden Variety Misanthropy (how legit is that??) I apologize for (and click my tongue at) Spotify's painful lack of Placebo music, though. That playlist should have 2 really choice selections from Placebo, one being "Song To Say Goodbye" and the other being "Infrared" but Spotify isn't perfect yet.

So I can catalogue my sad years by her lists but what's a blissful newlywed to do?

I guess I could sketch Valentine's Day 2013 thusly:

1. "God Gave Me You"by Blake Shelton
This is his choice. He felt love should be like this.
2. "A Place Only You Can Go"by NeedToBreathe
This is my choice. I knew anybody who married me would have to accept my shortcomings, and I have to tell ya,there is nothing like being married to someone amazing to identify in yourself a slew of shortcomings. This song was our First Dance.
3. "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
This is what I feel when I'm feeling in love.
4. "Golden Years" by David Bowie
This tune is pure positivity. I wanted this song played at my wedding reception but somehow the DJ and I miscommunicated and it got skipped.
5. "Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now" by Joss Stone
This song is romance and soul, and I didn't like it til I actually was in a happy relationship.
6. And finally, "Not With Haste"  by Mumford & Sons

I hope your V-day was amazing. Mine turned out to be. I came home from a night shift to find my wonderful Prince Genuine waiting at the table with chocolate, a rainbow array of roses, and a heart-themed stuffed dog. He said,"I'm sorry I'm not as good at being romantic as you. But I wanted you to come home to something special."

Roses or no roses, my friends, I always do. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Turn that darned thing down!

Sorry, but tonight I just have to post an IOU. My work schedule has been turned on its head so I wasn't really able to write today. But don't you worry! I have a couple of fun playlists to share with you on Thursday, and we've got lots of groovy plans for the next few months I'm excited to share as they come. Until then, "Let the children lose it, let the children use it, let all the children boogie!"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

"My advice is to not let the boys in": Bob Dylan

Predictably, perhaps, this post begins with the beginning. In this case, it would have been the car, again, though which car I cannot quite say, nor could I pinpoint the year. I think it was before the tapes came out from the depths of the entertainment center, and well before the surviving vinyl came sneaking into the house. This may even have been before Dad bought me Fleetwood Mac, and maybe even before he tried to impress upon me the merits of James Taylor and Hall & Oates (how would he have guessed I'd pick Judas Priest and Ozzy over both of those respectable acts?*). I can tell you it was nighttime, and the whole family was in there, and Dad said he had a treat for us. He popped a CD in and admonished me to take note of the violin on this album. This seemed like an appropriate connection to make, since at the time I hadn't yet admitted to myself that I'd given up playing it.

Lo and behold, after a few measures of gentle, serious guitar, there it came- the low, husky voice of a violin with a story to tell. At first, I felt curious.

Then, that voice. Not particularly pleasant, especially not compared to the violin, which spiraled like ribbons around it. I put on my best sub-teen sour face and turned it toward the window. My siblings were equally, and more vocally, tickled to mockery by the singer. Mom was on his and Dad's side, and on the verge of chiding us on our poor taste, when the wording in the lyrics turned a little coarse. But in the end, good taste (and a dab of forgiveness for the aforementioned lyrics to "Hurricane") won out. Although it took months of hearing Desire in the car (Mom played "Mozambique" on endless repeat), and some of my own initiative, I ended up falling for Bob Dylan. Like anybody in their right musical mind does sooner or later. 

What was once in my mind was the most obnoxious song on that record, "Isis", is now one of my favorites. And when somebody asks me if anybody asked me about the very best Bob Dylan song, despite my modest gemlike collection of Bob Dylan's catalog, I have to again point to Desire and say the best song is "Sara".

If I have my history right, Desire was recorded at, well, record speed, and it came at a dramatic moment in Robert Zimmerman's personal life, too- his marriage was ending and his wife was in the studio when he recorded "Sara". It was a song for/about her. Again, if my memory serves, he only allowed for one cut of that song, because it was so personal and emotional. If this legend is true, its truth is supported in the recording. You can hear the sorrow and the love of something that was lost. 

I used to have a link to a video of some concert footage where he actually choked up a little in the middle, and you can see a escape his eye, but apparently it has been removed from YouTube for copyright issues. This version is less emotional compared to that, but I think my assessment still stands. 

Above all, I love Dylan's lyrics. I love that he can/could say more in a single song in the lyrical fashion of the bluesmen than some artists say in their entire careers. He changed the game more singlehandedly than anybody since the game was invented. The Beatles changed the way they wrote songs because he once said he'd like them better if their songs had any depth of content. Bowie wrote "Song for Bob Dylan" and put it on his Hunky Dory album, that "his words were truthful vengeance that could pin us to the floor."

Not that it's all been glory and roses where his track record is concerned- I once heard a critic's quote about his Christmas album that ran something like: "When Dylan sings 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' it sounds more like a threat than a promise." But again, that's part of being human, and you could expect nothing less from as fascinating and idiosyncratic an artist as he is. 

I did see him in concert, so to speak. I didn't catch much of the show, and if I felt vindictive I'd suggest you ask my baby sister why that is, but it suffices me to say that we were late and that's OK. The concert was at the Coliseum at the Arizona State Fair, which is a totally acceptable venue for acts that are not Bob Dylan. As it was, his voice rolled like a wave of thunder and static electricity through the place, with the static, unfortunately, winning out. I barely recognized the songs I arrived in time to hear, the sound was so bad. And I think it's a reasonable point to say that an already unique voice has not really aged that well. But I'm willing to let it slide, because he's freakin' Bob Dylan, rock's original anti-hero. (Other acts that came up short for some reason will not be so lucky, but we'll talk about that later.)

Here's why YOU should also like Bob Dylan (search for the playlist under the name "Don't Let the Boys In: Bob Dylan" on Spotify):

For Your Playlist: Side A
1. "Tangled Up In Blue" from Blood on the Tracks
2. "Subterranean Homesick Blues" from Bringing It All Back Home
3. "The Times They Are A-Changin" from the album of the same title
4. "All Along the Watchtower" from John Wesley Harding

For Your Playlist: Side B
1. "Tombstone Blues" from Highway 61 Revisited
2. "Thunder on the Mountain" from Modern Times 
3.  "I Want You" from Blonde on Blonde
4. "Sara" from Desire

*By the way, I appreciate James Taylor and Hall & Oates a lot more now than I did when I was twelve or thirteen. Might just go to show ya that sometimes it's the softer stuff that requires a more mature listener.

"Brats in battalions were ruling the streets": Alice Cooper

First and foremost, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALICE!! I know, it was yesterday (2/4) but our adorable mutant rocker next door turned 65 yesterday, per my mathematics. I hope it was a great one!

There is a journal entry of mine from ages ago (I was probably twelve) in which I, quite gravely and quite hilariously, declare before the record for future generations, that I will never get into music by people as obviously deranged and terrifying as Alice Cooper. The inspiration, I believe, was this: Alice Cooper Marriott Commercial

I explain in my journal that there is a clear and distinct difference between cool freakiness (as exemplified by my middle school posse and myself, since everyone becomes self-consciously awkward and apart at that age) and bad freakiness, like a grown man who wears streaked makeup and chains and calls himself by a girl's name.

I've retracted a lot of promises I made to myself before I was 16, some of them for the worse, some for the better and some for the heck of it. My dissipation of the anti-Alice Cooper pact occurred that fateful night when Dad gave us the tapes. Among them was Alice's From The Inside album, which he gave to us with an admonition to skip a few tracks. Once I took a break from my constant Bowie-ing, I gave it a listen, and I liked it.

It took a couple years for Alice to really work his way into my playlists, but when he did, boy howdy! There are tapes and tapes from that time, loaded with pieces of Billion Dollar Babies, Killer, From the Inside, and of course, "Poison," of which I could not get enough. It helped that I discovered his radio show, Nights With Alice Cooper (to find a station, click here), and fell in love with his sense of humor. He became my kind of rock & roll sailor uncle, in the sense that I felt like I was sitting at his feet each night listening raptly to stories of legendary people and legendary times. I saw him in concert in Las Vegas promoting his Dirty Diamonds album in October (the 17th, I wanna say?) 2005 with my dad & little sister. Our seats weren't all that great and the acoustics at the Joint were, somehow, even less great, but I had a ball just the same. I wore the concert shirt under my school uniform for the rest of the week, despite its being an XL (all the appropriate sizes were sold out- that shirt hugged my curves like a muumuu).

I think what I love about Alice Cooper is the absolute silliness. He can write a perfectly dandy rock song and yes, it is about a gambler in an insane asylum. He can write a concept album about being sent to to H-E-double-hockeysticks and when it's over you don't feel like he took you there, can you feel me? At the end of the day, Alice Cooper is all about vaudeville, caricature, and gag-grotesque, with a little bit of genuine heart thrown in for good measure (he's included a softspoken ballad on every album starting with "Only Women Bleed" on Welcome To My Nightmare, if I've got my facts right). And you know what? I love the streaked makeup and leather and chains, and his hard-earned girl's name.

He rounds out the Triumvirate of my All-Time Favorite Classic Artists, and are a few reasons why:

For your playlist: Side A
1. "I'm Eighteen" from Love It To Death
2. "Welcome To My Nightmare" from the album of the same name
3. "Generation Landslide" from Billion Dollar Babies 
4. "Poison" from Trash (of course)

For your playlist: Side B

1. "Perfect" from Dirty Diamonds
2. "Wish I Was Born in Beverly Hills" from From the Inside

3. "I'm the Coolest" from Alice Cooper Goes To Hell
4. "Halo of Flies" from Killer

I have posted this playlist, plus one super secret bonus track by Alice and one of his shock-rock heirs, on Spotify under the name Brats in Battalions: Alice Cooper. <3 Follow me on Spotify to join the listening party, and show me your supportive rock-n-roll devil horns by subscribing to me here if you like what you've heard so far.

Up next: an artist renowned for both his opaque songwriting and his distinctively weird vocals (but who still sold prodigiously in countries where they don't speak English). Guess who?