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Killer (Killer, 1971)

“Killer” Lyrics:

What did I do to deserve such a fate
I didn’t really want to get
Involved in this thing
Someone handed me this gun and I
I gave it everything
Yeah, I gave it everything

I came into this life
Looked all around
I saw just what I liked
And took what I found

Nothing came easy
Nothing came free
Nothing came at all until they
Came after me

Yeah-hey, yeah

I didn’t really want to get
Involved in this thing
Someone handed me this gun and I
I gave it everything
Yeah, I gave it everything

“In 1971, Alice Cooper (the band) released their fourth studio LP, Killer. Reaching #21 on the Billboard 200, the record continued to propel the group forward into the limelight of the music world.

With songs like “Under My Wheels,” “Be My Lover,” “Desperado,” “Halo of Flies,” and “Dead Babies,” the album dishes up classics that are still often performed some 45+ years later. The Killer LP is definitive Classic Rock and one of the most notorious records of the 70s – raw and unapologetic.

“Now Killer, by some standards, by real rock reviewer standards, some of them say that that is the best record we ever did. (It was) the fifth or sixth biggest selling record that year, and that really was just pure Alice.

We weren’t doing anything on that album that we just wouldn’t have done naturally, except for the fact that we had Bob Ezrin putting it in a really good package.” – Alice Cooper

This week we explore the title track from Killer. The song is a confession of sorts – a dark piece sometimes used during the execution sequence of the Alice Cooper stage show.

It delivers the feelings, thoughts, and mental breakdown of a criminal as they are tried, sentenced and punished for their crimes. The song itself focuses on the crimes of a murderer, yet the stanzas detail the guilt, pain, and consequences of all sin.

What did I do to deserve such a fate
I didn’t really want to get involved in this thing
Someone handed me this gun, and I
I gave it everything
Yeah, I gave it everything

I came into this life
Looked all around
I saw just what I liked and took what I found

Nothing came easy
Nothing came free
Nothing came all until they came after me

Paying close attention to the lyrics, we find that the subject in the song did not seek out to commit their crimes. In fact, the criminal actually passes the blame off on someone or something else, stating, “Someone handed me this gun.

How often do we make such claims? How often do we find ourselves stuck in a lie or a situation that we never intended? If or when that’s happened to you, where do you turn? How did you handle it?

The song is a 3-part production resembling the crime committed and life on the run, followed by an arrest, trial, and conviction. Ultimately, Alice is executed for his crimes. The music in the song perfectly accompanies these transitions.

The song is more than a story; it’s a journey. As the listener, you witness Alice’s sinister, nonchalant declaration of committed crimes accompanied by a Rock-based breakout session (which perhaps symbolizes life on the run).

From there, an instrumental postlude (dominated by an organ playing a funeral-like melody) leads us to Alice’s trial and execution. At the very end of the song, mass chaos ensues – all hell breaks loose.

Eerie screams and sounds chillingly dominate the end of the track, which shock you to your core – like nails scraping across a chalkboard. Could this be the sound of a soul descending into Hell? The sound of fate bestowed upon someone for their crimes? Someone with no representation as they stand in judgment before the Father?

The visualizations of what is taking place during each phase of the song are incredibly laid out; your imagination runs wild as you think about this character’s ordeal. It’s Shock Rock at its finest – music that makes you ponder and reflect a little deeper.

When we think of sin, we often think of the worst among us – murderers, thieves, sexual predators, etc. However, sin is sin. Murder, blasphemy, pride, dishonesty, lust, and so on, and the consequence of sin is death.

From that perspective, we are all “Killer(s).” We kill ourselves and those around us with the sins we commit. While these sins may not lead to physical death (although there is an element of that), we actually find Spiritual death at the core.

Stop and give some thought to that.

How many times do we rationalize sin by belittling it?

  • Well, it’s just a little white lie.
  • I didn’t really mean to hurt anybody else.
  • It’s not my problem; I’m above such things.
  • At least, I never “killed” anyone.
  • It is what it is.”
  • And so on…

We are all guilty in some form or fashion, and we all play the game. It’s that age-old trap that humanity often allows itself to believe. That ancient LIE telling us that somehow we don’t sin, and we don’t truthfully need the covering of our Lord.

However, we must know that sin can define us if we allow it. It is often the difference between what we’ve become instead of who we were created to be. It’s a painful yet vital lesson to learn.

“13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.” – Romans 5:13-14

A good portion of this week’s post comes from the book of Romans. The Apostle Paul had much to say about sin and its consequences. He was a man plagued by the guilt of his past and the crimes he had committed.

Paul does an incredible job illustrating the choice we all must make. The bottom line is this; we serve one of two different masters. However, there is a tremendous difference between the two.

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:15-23

As discussed in the above-listed verses, one master keeps us enslaved (in bondage) while the other allows us to live freely even as we serve Him. Whom then shall we choose to serve – ourselves (sin) or God? While the decision is free to make, it is not free from consequence.

A few characteristics of the two masters:

OURSELVES (SIN)
GOD
Shame.
You’re not good enough
Acceptance.
We are His Creation (His Children)
Emptiness.
A constant need for more
Fulfillment.
Hope and comfort supplied by Him
Lies.
If only this (or that), I’d be happy
Truth.
Joy is found in serving Him (and others)

Of course, there is a much longer list of characteristics, but this should help paint the picture. Choosing to walk with Christ does not mean you are free from sin. However, it does mean that you are no longer a slave to it. Sin no longer controls or consumes you.

Alice made a significant statement in an interview from a few years back. He stated that “premeditated sin is the same as 1st-degree murder.” What a profound proclamation? A statement that parallels the song, “Killer,” and its lyrics perfectly.

Stop and think about that. Do we find ourselves planning when, where, how, or why we will commit our next sin? If so, we must ask ourselves another question. Who are we ultimately serving in the process? There are only one of two answers that address that question.

7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life, and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.

13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now, if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature, a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:7-25

It’s easy to get caught up in perception. There’s this notion that being a slave or submitting to something is a form of weakness. That somehow a life lived on our own apart from God is freedom. However, the above-listed verses depict a much different narrative.

Ever since the original sin, committed in the Garden of Eden, humanity has been “infected.” With the enemy’s constant “venomous” whispers in our ears, we have decided that rebelling and choosing our own path is a better approach. The world has somehow convinced humanity that our Father (our Creator) doesn’t really know what He’s talking about, that we know better.

However, when we choose to submit to Christ and follow God’s Word, we recognize Him inhibiting us from actions and attitudes that ultimately harm us. We can then see that His laws are placed there to keep us from hurting ourselves and others around us. They are regulations set there by His Love – the Love of a Father for His children.

Wrapping up this post, read the lyrics to the song one more time. Do you notice the attitude, the brash comments, the arrogance, and the transfer of blame? This person somehow believes they are the victim, and the world owes them. Does that resonate? Do we see ourselves this way? Are we the victims?

Many of us have indeed been victims of crimes here on Earth. But does that give us the right to commit crimes of our own? Two wrongs do NOT make a right (1 Thessalonians 5:15). Sin is not destroyed by sin. It is instead erased by obedience (Acts 3:19).

We are not asked to adhere to a tyrannical dictator but rather comply with a loving father – our Heavenly Father. The One who loves us and wants nothing more than for us to grow and prosper as His children (1 John 4:9-10).

So, where do we go from here? Life is a matter of choices, decisions. Do we choose Love? Hate? Sin? Him? Who do we choose to follow? The Author of Life or the author of lies. Unfortunately, there is no third option – no grey area.

There is no line teeter-tottering between the two. It is merely a choice that must be made at some point in this life, not after. Unfortunately, we can’t ask for counsel and representation from our Lord while we stand before the Father. We can’t request Christ to represent us when we were never willing to accept Him.

Life is no simple matter. It has some pretty steep highs and some pretty deep lows. As we walk through it, we must constantly ask ourselves some pretty tough questions. Perhaps the most difficult is the daily decision to serve Him instead of ourselves (sin) – to choose life over death.

In conclusion, “Killer” is a fascinating track and album. With its predecessor, Love It To Death, these two albums ultimately define Alice Cooper and form the nucleus of their stage show.

The Alice Cooper character has been tried, convicted, and executed on stage thousands of times in the past 50 years. He’s met his fate by electrocution, hung from a noose, and beheaded by a guillotine. Yet, like Phil (Bill Murray) in the film “Groundhog Day,” he continues to come roaring back, living out the same scenario night after night.

In the early ’70s, the concert would often end with Alice hung at the gallows. The show would end, and no one would know if it was just a trick or had they just witnessed the actual hanging of a man, a criminal, or a victim? Did they just witness the death of Alice?

With time, the show has evolved to feature Alice returning to the stage. Often presenting his own head to the audience, hoisting it up as if to say, “you can’t kill me.”

He’s also often dressed all in white with blood on his clothes. Is that his blood? Or could this Alice, all dressed in white, be the product of His Savior? A new creation washed white as snow with reminders of the blood spilled for him and all humanity – the blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

That’s it for this week. Be well and catch you next Friday!

In the meantime, Keep Walkin’ in Faith and Rockin’ with Alice!

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?

If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer:

"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

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