Certain Songs #89: Alice Cooper – “School’s Out”

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Album: School’s Out.

Year: 1972.

Alice Cooper didn’t fuck around. He became one of the most unlikely artists to continually dent the Top 40 because he didn’t write pop songs, but rather pop anthems. And those anthems were nearly always aimed at teens, and always covered in hard-rock guitars.

And the greatest of them all is the eternal “School’s Out,” which is so awesome, it’s the only song in popular music history to successfully incorporate the dread kiddie choir. Singing a fucking schoolyard chant, of all things. 

It shouldn’t work, but over the big-ass bolero drumbeat and flash guitars that ace producer Bob Ezrin, it seems absolutely natural, and for the rest of time, kids of all ages will sing this:

Well we got no class
And we got no principles
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes!

School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
My school’s been blown to pieces

As a guy who hated school until I got to college and met college girls, allow me to philosophize a bit about as to why this song still resonates with me. “School’s Out” isn’t just about the end of the school, but rather about the end of just any responsibility that you really don’t want to do.

It’s really about freedom. Or at least the illusion of freedom. Two times in the past decade, I’ve taken a vacation between leaving one job and starting another. And those were the sweetest vacations, because for those couple of weeks or so, I didn’t have to worry about what was going on at work.

I think that “School’s Out” taps into that feeling: school isn’t just out for summer, but it’s out forever; out completely; blown to pieces.

“School’s Out” performed on Top of the Pops in 1972

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