5 of the Most Shocking Alice Cooper Lyrics

Though his eye-popping presentation and hard rock sound are what Alice Cooper is most known for, he’s also been a dedicated songwriter in his more than 60-year career. “Being a songwriter is something I absolutely love more than anything else,” Cooper told American Songwriter in 2020. “It’s fun to play the character, but being a songwriter is greater.” 

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At times, his lyrics can be as shocking as his stage persona, whether for the sheer gory imagery or the surprising thoughtfulness. Check out some of Cooper’s most shocking lyrics below.

1. Baby’s brain and an old man’s heart/Took eighteen years to get this far/Don’t always know what I’m talkin’ about/Feels like I’m livin’ in the middle of doubt (“I’m Eighteen”)

“I’m Eighteen” is a classic Cooper song and marked a turning point in his career when it was released in 1970. Though he was 22 when it was released, Cooper accurately conveys the feeling of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood in “I’m Eighteen.” The lyrics above are perhaps the most compelling, as they don’t merely speak to that transitional period in life, but the feeling of doubt and confusion that often casts over us throughout life. “I’m Eighteen” is one of his most shockingly poetic songwriting.

2. Man makes your hair gray, he’s your life’s mistake/All you’re really lookin’ for is an even break/He lies right at you, you know you hate this game/He slaps you once in a while and you live and love in pain (“Only Women Bleed”)

The lyrics to one of Cooper’s signature tracks, “Only Women Bleed,” are particularly searing. The song could be interpreted as a surprising show of support for feminism, as Cooper digs into the tragic life of a woman trapped in a physically and emotionally abusive marriage at the hands of her husband. The shocking lyrics above drive home the trauma inflicted upon this woman. In typical Cooper fashion, he digs into the darkness of life in a more real way on “Only Women Bleed,” marking some of the best songwriting of his career.

3. I hear you calling and it’s needles and pins/I wanna hurt you just to hear you screaming my name/Don’t want to touch you but you’re under my skin (deep in)/I wanna kiss you but your lips are venomous poison (“Poison”)

The lyrics to one of Cooper’s biggest chart hits, “Poison,” are some of his most vivid. Here, he’s intoxicated by a woman who won’t release him from her dangerous grips–which is just the way he likes it. The aforementioned lyrics demonstrate Cooper’s gift for penning dark and imaginative lyrics that make you feel as though you’re in the story with him.

[RELATED: Top 10 (and 1 Bonus) Alice Cooper Songs]

4. I know all your desires/Your heart is so full of pain/Is there something I can provide/When you feel like life’s passed you by…Kneel down and tell me what you need/Fame and money all for you/I can make your every dream come true (“Gimme”)

“Gimme” is a standout on Cooper’s 2000 album, Brutal Planet. Here, Cooper once again steps into the perspective of Satan, who’s using his devilish ways to feed the ego of his victim. The song could be interpreted as an observation of human greed, with the lyrics above capturing that point the strongest. “Gimme” is an example of Cooper’s songwriting that offers a thoughtful take on modern issues, making for one of his most underrated songs.

5. Welcome to my breakdown/I hope I didn’t scare you/That’s just the way we are when we come down/We sweat and laugh and scream here/’Cause life is just a dream here/You know inside you feel right at home here (“Welcome to My Nightmare”)

Cooper showed off his sinister songwriting with the title track of his 1975 solo debut album. The song transports the listener inside a psychiatric hospital that’s anything but comfortable, with Cooper starring as one of the patients who’s trapped in the darkness of his own mind. The writing is quintessential Alice and makes for some of his most shocking lyrics.

Photo by Didier Messens/Redferns

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