Thursday 10 August 2017

Album Review: ALICE COOPER - Paranormal

Alice Cooper - Paranormal

01. Paranormal
02. Dead Flies
03. Fireball
04. Paranoiac Personality
05. Fallen In Love
06. Dynamite Road
07. Private Public Breakdown
08. Holy Water
09. Rats
10. The Sound Of A

Disc 2

01. Genuine American Girl (written and performed by the original Alice Cooper band)
02. You And All Of Your Friends (written and performed by the original Alice Cooper band)
03. No More Mr Nice Guy (Live in Columbus OH)
04. Under My Wheels (Live in Columbus OH)
05. Billion Dollar Babies (Live in Columbus OH)
06. Feed My Frankenstein (Live in Columbus OH)
07. Only Women Bleed (Live in Columbus OH)
08. School's Out (Live in Columbus OH)

Alice Cooper is not only one of my heroes, but one of the most important icons in Rock history. His undisputable influence on Hard Rock, Punk, and Heavy Metal has spanned generations, and continues to inspire to this day. As a huge fan, this new album is one I've been looking forward to immensely.

Every fan has their own favourite era of Alice, and it's unrealistic to expect an album that will please everyone. For me, my favourite era was the pre-Grunge 80's Heavy Metal Alice Cooper, more specifically the albums Constrictor, Raise Your Fist And Yell, Trash and Hey Stoopid. However, this new album has more in common with the 70's releases.

Legendary producer Bob Ezrin has returned, and Paranormal sounds amazing. Musically, Paranormal is a straight forward Rock n' Roll album, with a classic 70's feel. There's a plentiful supply of horns and organ on the record too. I was hoping for something a bit more 'Metal' this time, but alas, that's not really where this new record is at. Paranormal is still a very good album though.

I've always thought Alice is at his best when his lyrics are clever social commentary, soaked in a caustic cynicism. Certain tracks hit this spot nicely, such as the cutting Dead Flies, which features the 'very Alice' line, "Your phone knows more about you than your Daddy or your Mother". Each song has been written in the form of a short story, often introducing an interesting character with a 'paranormal' quality, and with Alice's wit and sense of humour often mixed in, the lyrics are always entertaining.

What is also great about Paranormal is that it comes with a bonus disc featuring two brand new tracks written and performed by the original Alice Cooper band, and six live recordings of classic hits.

Genuine American Girl, written and performed by the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper band, is about a transgender tough guy, and while soaked in Alice's twisted humour, is also a great song with that classic sound that will surely please fans of the early records. The other track from this line-up, You And All Of Your Friends, is clearly influenced by The Who, and is a snappy, catchy Rock song with a lyrical theme that'd make it a great addition to a Horror movie soundtrack.

Highlights from the first disc include the 'Pink Floyd-esque' The Sound Of A, the sneering Rock n' Roll Rats, and the title track which is about a romantic relationship with a ghost. My personal favourite is Fireball, with its 'end of the world' lyrics and Heavy Rock riffs.

I think my issue with Paranormal is that there aren't any huge classic anthems or hit singles on here. There's nothing on the album that a fan would necessarily deem as absolutely essential. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike the album, I actually really like it and I'm sure it'll get played in my car several times over the coming weeks. I just wish that a legend like Alice Cooper who has the best producers, song writers and musicians at his disposal, would put out something absolutely amazing, as opposed to just 'very good'. Paranormal just doesn't quite meet my high expectations, but it's certainly enjoyable.


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