on August 30, 2000
A lot of Cooper fans dislike this album;thinking that it's a step down from BILLION DOLLAR BABIES.I believe the opposite.True,the Alice Cooper Group were on the verge of splitting up(Alice wanted to increase the theatrics;the rest of the band wanted them eliminated altogether).However,that did not stop them from trying out new types of music to mix with the ACG's brand of in-your -face rock.Dixieland rock(CRAZY LITTLE CHILD),elctronic music (WOMAN MACHINE)space rock(HARD HEARTED ALICE),a choir(MUSCLE OF LOVE)and the ultimate girl backup group (consisting of The Pointer Sisters,Liza Minelli and Ronnie Spector on TEENAGE LAMENT '74).This does not mean that the hard rock isn't there:witness MUSCLE OF LOVE,WORKING UP A SWEAT,NEVER BEEN SOLD BEFORE,and BIG APPLE DREAMIN'.MUSCLE OF LOVE is a loose concept album,the subjects are sex and making your way in the big,bad city.My favourite track on this album is THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN.All ACG members were James Bond fanatics and they submitted this to be the theme song for the second Roger Moore Bond adventure. Unfortunately,due to the Alice Cooper image,Lulu got the job instead(damnit!)MUSCLE OF LOVE still has Alice and the boys firing on all cylinders,with biting wit in the lyrics and determination in the playing.Don't just go on what some Alice fans tell you;take a listen and judge for yourself.As for me;I rank it highly in the Cooper canon.
I think "Muscle of Love" also has a slapdash feel about it, sort of like Led Zep's "Coda". It's like Alice and crew went through their musical closet and just emptied out left over stuff from previous recordings. But that in no way should indicate these cuts are bad. You have the haunting "Hard Hearted Alice", the Dixie-Jazz "Crazy Little Child", and typical 70's rockers like "Woman Machine", "Muscle of Love" & "Never Been Sold Before". All of the songs are good, just not as good as what had been put out before. I think one of the best tracks on the disk is the failed James Bond theme song "Man With the Golden Gun". I would love to have seen that open the movie (as a Bond fan MWTGG could have used something, as it was one of the worst bond movies ever). But if you are a fan of Alice Cooper, you have to get this landmark recording if for no other reason that to hear the original bands last recording. I always wondered what would have happened had the original band stayed together, but I don't know if they could have made it past the 70's and into the 80's. Just look where Alice went after this with "Welcome to my Nightmare" and where the rest of the band went with "Battle Axe". Two albums that sound completely different. But, now, 30 years later, wouldn't it be great to hear Alice once again with his old mates?! Man that would be a Killer!
on December 25, 2001
Muscle of Love was the last album for Alice Cooper as a band; in its aftermath, the band would split, with frontman Cooper going on to success with Welcome To My Nightmare and the band themselves falling into obscurity as the Billion Dollar Babies.
Yet despite the bad reputation Muscle of Love seems to have, it's certainly a part of the band's golden era, and well worth exploring. It can be a bit of a shock in its chronilogical placing, though; it has little of the theatricality that so liberally peppered School's Out and especially Billion Dollar Babies. Indeed, I've heard (thanks, George S.!) that this decision is due to a comprimise made between Mr. Furnier and the members of his band, who apparently were a bit turned off by some of the excessive theatricality of the previous two albums, which makes a lot of sense. Thus, Muscle of Love has more in common with Love it To Death and Killer, which is certainly not a bad thing; the title track, Big Apple Dreaming, and many others are straightforward, excellent tracks with few pretentions, and even the ballades (Hard Hearted Alice) come off quite well.
The songwriting and execution aren't QUITE up to the level of those previous successes, but it's enjoyable enough, and for those who enjoy Cooper (but don't necessarily go for "I Love the Dead"), MoL is an enjoyable last-hurrah for the band.
on August 9, 2012
For some reason time hasn't been very kind to Muscle of Love but let's be honest here folks, it's a classic. No it doesn't remind me of Barry Manilow or any other soft rock performers. It's probably slightly weaker than what's the normal high standard for Alice Cooper's songwriting, but with that in mind, it's still a near masterpiece. Nobody can really convince me this is a weak effort though. Maybe *weaker* but not weak enough to criticize or even bring the rating down to 4 stars. Nah, it's awesome. All the negative feelings and reviews definitely aren't ones I personally agree with.
"Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)" not only makes me wonder why the word "hippo" is in the song title, but opens with a memorable guitar riff that sounds very Deep Purple-like and an equally memorable verse melody. It eventually leads to a REALLY good chorus. "New York we're coming to see what you're made of, are you as great as you sound?" I also love the way Alice sings "Skyscrapers and subways and stations, staring up at the United Nations". These lyrics actually accurately describe the chaotic, fast moving and adventurous streets of New York City. "Crazy Little Child" is a nice experiment. It's a showtune of sorts with Broadway vibes and old-fashioned jazzy intentions. The piano work is really beautifully implemented which makes it much different from what an overrated ripoff like Marilyn Manson would create. This actually sounds very Elton John-like as well.
"Hard Hearted Alice" has really mysterious vocals that are simply superb. A song like this makes it VERY hard for me to believe or accept that this is supposedly a weak outing by Alice Cooper. I love around the 2-minute mark when the haziness of the vocals drifts away but the same exact melody remains in place but sung more aggressively. The chorus sounds very Beatles-like. Nice heavy guitar solo at the end. "Teenage Lament '74" has an awesome chorus. "What are you gonna do? Tell you what I'm gonna do. Why don't you get away? Well I'm gonna cry all day!" The verse melody has the same kind of sincere and highly exceptional vocal delivery. Weak stuff? I think not. The title song begins with another Deep Purple similarity in the guitar playing before shifting into a trashy verse melody with HILARIOUS lyrics "Holy muscle of love!" The way the pace just suddenly picks up really is cool. It illustrates a muscle... loving. :) "Man With the Golden Gun" has a James Bond atmosphere. Maybe it IS him? The aggressive nature of the guitar riff while Alice sings the verse melody is actually really authentic and not the least bit cheesy.
"Working Up a Sweat" shows another slice of Alice Cooper's diverse songwriting by being more rocking in a crunchy glam rock kind of way similar to Slade or Sweet. It's not rocking in the same way as, for example, "Man With the Golden Gun". It's really good. Yes it's hilarious that "Muscle of Love" and "Working Up a Sweat" go together very well, haha. How appropriate! "Never Been Sold Before" is probably the only weak moment since the verse melody is nothing special and actually resembles Rick Derringer, but it doesn't change the 5-star rating by any means. Generic mid-tempo rock at its most basic and the chorus repeats too many times at the end. "Woman Machine" is an unusually paced hard rock tune with a pretty decent chorus. This is actually a clever spin on the typical rock formula but I can't figure out exactly *what* makes it different. A song like this would sound out of place or filler-ish for most artists but not Alice Cooper. Perhaps the guitar riff resembles early Aerosmith but that's a stretch.
Overall, sorry folks, I can't join in with the crowd and criticize what strikes me as a mighty fine album. The songwriting's up to snuff, the genre variety is pretty impressive, the vocal melodies are really fantastic. Muscle of Love is a winner in my book.
on September 25, 2011
The last album featuring the original Alice Cooper group, "Muscle of Love" is a nice balance of gritty, raw 1971-era Alice mixed with a bit of showy material.
A good but not outstanding opener in "Big Apple Dreamin'" (great strings and keyboards); horn-heavy, flashy glam-rock numbers like "Never Been Sold Before" and the rejected James Bond theme "Man With The Golden Gun". The bland "Woman Machine" is the weakest link and we get a jazzy '30s-flavoured gangster tale called "Crazy Little Child". The poppy "Teenage Lament '74" is irressistible. The best numbers are the sleazy-sounding "Workin' Up a Sweat" with lots of dirty guitar licks and innuendo. The same can be said for the frantic ode to sexual awakening "Muscle of Love", except it's more adventurous tempo changes give it the edge (also best guitar work on the album). The best song of all may be the gorgeous, ethereal "Hard Hearted Alice". Never mind syrupy tripe like "You and Me", THIS is Alice's best ballad, it's haunting opening verse blossoms into a breezy rocker featuring gorgeous harmonies and a "Hush"-like organ interlude.
Less-theatrical than "Billion Dollar Babies" and more straight ahead rock-and-roll, "Muscle of Love" deserves better recognition than it gets. Not the best, but not the worst either. Being an import, this is the hardest ACG album to get a hold of, but highly recommended.
on August 11, 2009
even after 35 years die-hard alice fans still argue over which alice cooper album is the best - proving that alice's music touches people on a very personal level. about the only thing they probably do agree on is that the alice cooper group belong in the rock and roll hall of fame (true) and alice the solo artist hasn't made a decent album since "welcome to my nightmare" (not true). while we all hold our breath for a long overdue reunion, we can take comfort in the fact that @61, alice still performs most of his classics on tour and with each new studio release proves that he at least still has a sense of humor.
the last album released by the alice cooper group (other than greatest hits) was the very underrated, and often overlooked, "muscle of love". centered on a loose sexual theme, including the clever cover, the band got back to basics. although a departure from the darker theatrics of previous albums, this is still classic alice. "muscle of love" is worthy of "killer", "working up a sweat" would easily fit on "billion dollar babies" and "crazy little child" is perfect for "school's out". (with slightly adjusted lyrics to fit each album theme)
although "teenage lament" reflected the classic "i'm eighteen" theme and was a minor hit, d.j.'s should have flipped the disc over and played "workin' up a sweat" instead. it's a great little rocker filled with alice's trademark humor. the best rocker on the album is "muscle of love" and although released as a single, the subject matter of masturbation kept this gem from getting the airplay it deserved. other standout tracks include "man with a golden gun", written for the new james bond movie, "hard hearted alice" about life on the road, and big apple dreamin' (hippo) paying tribute to new york. "never been sold before" deserves mention as well.
unfortunately the success of "billion dollar babies" left the band with nowhere to go but down and although the album "muscle of love" was supported by a short holiday tour, the band was physically exhausted. what most people don't realize is that the alice cooper group recorded five albums with tours after each, in 2 ½ years! how many bands today could pull that off?
the "muscle of love" tour was actually billed as the "billion dollar babies holiday tour" and was an exact duplicate of the previous with the exception of alice and the boys beating the crap out of santa clause at the end of the show. zz top was the opening act. --set list: hello hooray/billion dollar babies/elected/i'm eighteen/big apple dreamin'/muscle of love/hard hearted alice/my stars/ unfinished sweet/sick things/dead babies/i love the dead/school's out/working up a sweat
released november 1973 it reached #10 usa and #34 uk-- singles: teenage lament b/w working up a sweat (#48) - muscle of love b/w crazy little child (#0)
every alice cooper album has great songs that never made radio. it's not the hits, but the deeper cuts that are the real black beauties... blinddog pick: hard hearted alice / big apple dreamin' (hippo)
on November 18, 2013
I don't understand why this disc is not more popular--it has the original Alice Cooper lineup---the lyrics and music are just as strong as the bands previous efforts and although Bob Ezrin did not produce this, his influence is clearly felt. This displays a level of professionalism and musicality that most bands can only hope to achieve. Teen Age Lament was clearly a hit and several of the songs had strong FM radio potential, perhaps it was not promoted properly by the record company so they could whittle away at the band ---rumored to be the outs with the frontman.
on May 20, 2013
There would NOT be an Alice Cooper if not for MICHAEL BRUCE. Look at the credits on "Love It To Death", "Killer", "Schools Out", "Billion Dollar Babies" and "Muscle Of Love. Especially look at "Love It To Death" and "Killer", by far two hugely CREATIVE and CLASSIC albums. These are their BEST Albums. NO BRUCE, NO COOPER. He is one of Rocks GREATEST song writers. 5 albums, 5 CLASSICS. He should have, and should get the credit and attention HE DESERVES!!! Much more than FERNIER(ie ALICE COOPER).
As hard as it is to believe, I've run across several fans that simply don't remember this lp at all, plus a few not very well. 'Muscle Of Love' was the follow-up to their notorious 'Billion Dollar Babies' album. The seventh and final lp by the original Alice Cooper Group, before of course Alice went solo. I've always liked 'Muscle Of Love' for what it was. More straight ahead rock & roll, less glitter / shock like 'Billion Dollar Babies' or 'School's Out' was. Cuts I found to my liking were "Big Apple Dreaming", the title track "Muscle Of Love", the lp's single "Teenage Lament '74" and perhaps 'Muscle Of Love's reply to 'Billion Dollar Babie's "Mary Ann", the somewhat creepy, but well written ballad "Hard Hearted Alice". Did you also know the band actually did a three week tour in support of 'Muscle'? I've seen proof, a decent sounding bootleg. Not a bad find.
on February 18, 2013
I came to be an Alice Cooper fan quite late in the game. I accidently came across "Welcome To My Nightmare" '75 and "Goes To Hell" '76 while visiting a cousin. On the first play, I was hooked...maybe that's why momma forbid me to have any Alice Cooper or Kiss music. Once in college and away from home I purchased "Killer" '72 in late 1980, I realized at this tyme that I had been missing out on a really Xciting artist and would have to collect all the releases as funds permitted.
Now that you know a little of my history concerning the Coop, let me get on with "Muscle Of Love" '73. The Alice Cooper Group had released "Billion Dollar Babies" earlier that year and it was a smashing success with several hits and some very interesting, odd subject matter. If you are Xpecting to hear more of the Alice that did "Killer" & "Billion Dollar Babies", you may be disappointed. "Muscle Of Love" is more of a musical Xperiment, incorporating various musical stylings in with their rock n roll. There is no "I Love The Dead" or "Sick Things" types of songs and there's really no heavier handed rockers like "Billion Dollar Babies" or "No More Mr. Nice Guy". Even so, this album rocks, just rocks a little differntly. Some may think this is just an album of filler material due to the lack of any stand out singles. I agree, for the Alice Cooper Group this could be filler material, but it's pretty darn good. "Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)" and "Hard Hearted Alice" always seem very visual...just seems he's taking me on a journey with his story telling, stimulates my imagination. "Man With The Golden Gun" should have been a FM radio hit, but I've still never heard it on the airwaves...another reason to get XM. "Teenage Lament '74) is the closest thing to a real hit, but it's a cool song and it rocks. "Never Been Sold Before" has some interesting horns going on. "Crazy Little Child" has that New Orleans sound with piano and horns, some may question it, but I think it works well. "Working Up A Sweat" just an upbeat rocker. "Muscle Of Love" fast paced rocker. "Women Machine" is the weakest number to me, but it's still alright and fits in well with the rest of the material.
If you're wanting the Shock Rocker with ghoulish, dark subject matter...this might not be the one for you.