By 1989, shock-rocker Alice Cooper had faded from the spotlight of the rock and metal worlds, thanks in part to the coming of punk, new wave, and 1980s pop. He continued to make records during this time, but his 1980s solo career seemed to offer diminishing returns. So it was that in 1988 he decided to work with the then-hot producer Desmond Child, who had helped to establish Bon Jovi’s sound and, more importantly, helped to helm Aerosmith‘s 1980s comeback.
It was a wise decision, as the combination resulted in Trash, Cooper’s eighteenth album, and his most commercially and critically successful solo record. The song’s opening track, “Poison,” is a thrilling rocker, and one that quickly–and justifiably–became the smash hit that reintroduced the metal legend to the MTV generation–including this writer. The other singles from the album, the powerful blues-rock of the title track and metal ballad “Only My Heart Talking,” both stand the test of time. Unlike many metal albums of the era, Trash isn’t a case of two or three singles surrounded by filler material, as “This Maniac’s In Love With You” and “I’m Your Gun” tap into Cooper’s keen and dark sense of humor, and they highlight the bridge between Cooper’s classic, established style and contemporary metal.
Trash was a career highlight, one that reestablished the legend, and though his comeback would once again be buoyed by a radical musical sea-change, he’s still an active artist, still touring and regularly releasing albums. Trash is the work of a master musician, returning to reclaim his role in the rock world he helped define.