"Billion Dollar Babies" is, song for song, the finest Alice Cooper album. So accessible that it reached the top of the U.S. charts, it remains their most comprehensible, sharpest and smoothest-sounding collection. Such bitingly delivered tracks as "Hello Hooray", "No More Mr. Nice Guy", the title track and "I Love the Dead", covering various lyrical topics from necrophilia to sexual harassment, are all delivered with a satirical tone that at times borders on a political predisposition. Naturally, these lyrics were more accentuated and scandalous in their disturbing subject matter when performed with props and situations in a live setting; most casual fans did not attend their concerts, therefore the band acclimatized their newfound mainstream audience by exhibiting the darker components of their music in a latent fashion. In view of the fact that the sensationalism and all-out assault of vile imagery of their stage performances was not as potent now that the band were heading in a more commercial direction, Alice Cooper opted to amend the grandiose shock tactics, adding depth to dampen the perversity of his lewd lyrical themes, maximizing the tongue-in-cheek whimsicality of each song's loose concept, and to some degree the music, which was, more often than not, decidedly less raw and unprocessed, thus refining the album's overall sound so much so that the aggressive, driving rhythm section and fuzzy guitars conversely wield a pop sheen. Gorgeously catchy and polished as the songs were now becoming to secure mainstream rock radio airplay, Cooper's trashy and androgynous image developed into a villainous persona, and the vulgar live displays in support of the album were aligned with the band's over-the-top fundamental aesthetic, albeit with a greater focus on symbolism rather than shock value.
By 1973, the band had released five albums, all of which were catalysts in broadening their appeal and expanding repertoire. "Billion Dollar Babies" experimented with glam-inflected heavy metal instrumentation and even Cabaret territory, with "Mary Ann" and "Unfinished Sweet" indicating their gentle and jocular side respectively. Cultivating a less confrontational chamber of horrors-adorned guitar-fuelled edgy stomp as on their previous albums, this album was not the first to finely hone Cooper's raspy, sneering vocal delivery or perfect the eccentric, spooky formula they stumbled upon with "Love It To Death", but it did offer a cleaner, slightly more sophisticated variation of the band. After soaking up so many influences and high-energy sounds over the past two years and improving their musicianship, the Alice Cooper Group's stellar sixth album was a more accomplished affair, affronting many of their fans who felt that its candy-coated production and Cooper's upfront vocal opposed the provocative, deeply intense rock 'n' roll irreverence of the compositions. The recording sessions for the album also sparked irreparable dissent within the band. Cooper became a professional rock star using the Alice Cooper moniker and took the act in a corporate direction with a new set of musicians, though it should be noted that the original band were the line-up inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, not Cooper's revised solo roster. "Billion Dollar Babies" is the greatest album to be produced by the original band, formulating elements of their proto-punk and garage rock roots, acuminating such musical attributes and crafting a slicker, tighter set of songs in the process. A luculent, widely accepted classic album of the hard rock category, this exceptional collaborative effort should only be experienced in its entirety and in remastered quadrophonic form to truly appreciate its nuances and sonic brilliance.