Sound — 8
Overall the instrumentation shines due to new blood in the Alice Cooper monster - namely guitarist Davey Johnstone and bassist Dee Murray, fresh off a stint in Elton John's band. "From the Inside," "Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills," and "For Veronica's Sake" are particular highlights. While at times it does sound dated due to over-use of glam-rock inspired synthesizers and vocal harmonies, it translates quite well to more stripped-down modern rock and several songs have since become staples of Alice's live shows.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics on this album feature a much more intimate profile of the man called Alice than many of his previous albums. As always, the lyrics are presented with a wink and a nudge, but you can frequently hear how personal they are to him, particularly on "How You Gonna See Me Now" and "The Quiet Room." This is in no small part due to the contributions of Elton John's frequent lyrics collaborator Bernie Taupin, who co-wrote lyrics on this album.
It seems at times like Alice is trying to write about a deeply personal experience, having just been released from a mental institution to treat his alcoholism, but at the same time is trying to de-personalize it. Other artists would treat the subject with complete sincerity, but as always Alice is an entertainer first.
Overall Impression — 8
Alice Cooper's 1978 album "From the Inside" is remarkable not only for its concept and production, but for the combination of some of the two biggest bands of the late 1970s - that of Alice Cooper and Elton John.
There is a dramatic improvement in musicality and lyricism over some previous efforts which may be attributed to the infusion of fresh blood into the Alice Cooper monster - namely songwriter Bernie Taupin, guitarist Davey Johnstone, and bassist Dee Murray. Former collaborators of Elton John's, they bring an excitement and energy to the album that bolsters the outrageous lyrics while allowing Alice to maintain his own personal voice.
While some of the makeup-smeared arena rock sheen may not have aged gracefully, there are a number of tracks whose hooks and lyrics encourage the listen to give it another spin. "Serious," co-written by Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, features a chorus that just refuses to leave the listener's head once heard.
"Wish I Were Born in Beverly Hills," a concert staple, satirizes the stereotypical vapid Hollywood lifestyle in typical Alice Cooper fashion - it's the story of a failed actress who loses her mind one day in Cartier. It's this similar lifestyle that Bret Easton Ellis would later go on to write about in his first novel, "Less Than Zero."
"How You Gonna See Me Now" gives the listener a more personal look into his mind than any previous Cooper ballad, with a sincerity and emotion that suggests that the story told is less a fiction than a recollection of his own reunion with his wife after a stay in a mental institution.
While this album does give into the over the top "more is more" production philosophy frequently seen in mainstream rock during the late '70s, often it serves to accentuate the unstable mental state of the songs' protagonists. My recommendation: turn out the lights and spin this record from beginning to end. The experience is worth it.