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“Only Women Bleed” is not Alice Cooper’s best power ballad. No, that honour goes to 1991’s “Might As Well Be On Mars” from the unevenly genius Hey Stoopid album. The album itself is a bit of a leftovers collection of songs co-written with hitmaker Desmond Child—who took Cooper to yet another commercial comeback with 1989’s Trash—and features guest musicians galore.

But the song…though co-written by Child, with longtime Alice Cooper guitar hero & power ballad penner Dick Wagner, “Might As Well Be On Mars” features no high profile guest musicians. Too long for radio, the wrong fit to feature in Cooper’s conceptual concert setlists, two parts glam metal but one part Frank Sinatra’s Only The Lonely—it’s a “deep cut” if there ever was one, placed unceremoniously before the heavy hitter “Feed My Frankenstein” (y’know, the song that *does* have all those famous guest musicians and accompanies the famous “we’re not worthy” scene from Wayne’s World). Cooper may as well have been on Mars, indeed, for how far this track was gonna land from any potential audience. But the song…it’s lush. It’s tortured. It’s cinematic. It’s a bit cookie-cutter until it modulates into something angular and alienating. And it’s a fine vocal performance from a man whose make-up often overshadows his pipes. Hey stoopid, add this song to your Alice Cooper/Power Ballad/90’s playlist.

By Craig E. Bacon

Husband, Father, Philosopher, Music/Beer/Comics Enthusiast—Craig has written for The Prog Report and ProgRadar, and now serves as de facto progressive music editor for MusicTAP. Please direct interview requests & review submissions to [email protected]

2 thoughts on “#MetalMonday: “Might As Well Be On Mars” by Alice Cooper”
  1. Thank you for calling attention to “I Might As Well Be On Mars!” I so agree with you!!! It’s a monumental song on every level. As you are aware, Dick Wagner penned a number of stunning ballads with Alice Cooper, including Only Women Bleed, You and Me, and I Never Cry. In fact, they wrote over a hundred songs together, some not released but equally potent. (On a side note… I was Dick’s manager for the last ten years of his life.) As you mention, Dick and Alice co-wrote I Might As Well Be On Mars, as well. Dick told me that he and Alice had already written most all of Mars together, and Desmond Child’s participation on the song was a smaller contribution. Dick was brilliant at melodic and majestic orchestrations, and he built his guitar solos like a songwriter. Here is an exquisite rendition of Dick performing “I Might As Well Be On Mars” solo — he’s playing all the instruments and singing lead vocals.

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