Alice Cooper – The Last Temptation (1994, Epic Records)
1. “Sideshow” … 6:40
2. “Nothing’s Free” … 5:01
3. “Lost in America” … 3:54
4. “Bad Place Alone” … 5:05
5. “You’re My Temptation” … 5:10
6. “Prayer” … 5:37
7. “Unholy War” … 4:11
8. “Lullaby” … 4:28
9. “It’s Me” … 4:40
10. “Cleansed by Fire” … 6:13
Alice Cooper – Lead Vocals
Stef Burns – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Greg Smith – Bass, Backing Vocals
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards, Vocals
David Uosikkinen – Drums
Chris Cornell – Lead Vocals (“Stolen Prayer” and “Unholy War”)
Dan Wexler – Guitar (“Lost In America”)
John Purdell – Keyboards (“You’re My Temptation”, “Lullaby”, “It’s Me”)
Lou Merlino, Mark Hudson, Craig Copeland, Brett Hudson – Backing Vocals
Produced by: Andy Wallace, Don Flemmin, Duane Baron, John Purdell
One of my favorite Alice albums and it was also the second Alice album I ever bought. I FINALLY now own this on CD, after originally having it on cassette. I always wanted to upgrade to a CD, but because I was already so familiar with the album, it took me years to finally do it. The $6 price tag I found online recently convinced me to go for it.
This is a concept album and it’s a departure from his two previous efforts, Trash and Hey Stoopid. Those albums were full-strength pop-metal releases and while some of that sound is still here, it’s a much more serious affair and Alice has incorporated the sounds of his mid to late ’70s output. The more serious theme of this album is reflected in the absence of pop-metal songwriter Desmond Child and there are no cameos by pop-metal stars like Jon Bon Jovi, Steven Tyler, Slash or Nikki Sixx. Instead, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell shows up for some vocals (I have read that Extreme’s Gary Cherone was also going to sing on the album, but scheduling problems arose).
This is a dark album that deals with Steven (from Welcome to My Nightmare) battling his temptations to join the traveling carnival of The Showmaster (aka – the Devil), where he would have to sell his soul. There’s some debate as to how this ties in Welcome to My Nightmare. Is it a prequel? Or is it a “reboot” of the Steven character? Who knows? Its even more confusing when you consider 2008’s Along Came a Spider, was another concept album, and it dealt with a serial killer called The Spider who is credited in that album with the name of Steven. On an interesting note, the original title for this album was going to be Along Came a Spider. There’s obviously a connection between all three, but I guess only Alice knows where the pieces fall. It’d be pretty cool if he adapted these albums into a Steven novel someday.
Speaking of stories, to coincide with this album’s release, there was a three-issue miniseries released by Marvel Comics written by Neil Gaiman that fleshed out this album’s story (Cooper AND Gaiman came up with the album’s concept).
Just a fantastic release that I never get tired of listening to, there is no filler at all. “Sideshow” definitely sounds like classic Cooper. I remember when my dad heard it for the first time (a Killers/School’s Out Cooper fan), he made that comment. “It’s Me” is one of my favorite Alice ballads.
Highlights: “Sideshow”, “Nothing’s Free”, “Lost in America”, “You’re My Temptation”, “Unholy War”, “It’s Me”, “Cleansed By Fire”