Thursday, July 20, 2017
Alice Cooper : "Paranormal"
Alice Cooper was my second concert as a kid so we go back a ways. This new album finds him going for a sound more akin to his later 70's work and less of the overt metal he had been stomping around in since his return in the 80's. I am not sure if it's the production or not , but his voice sounds amazing. It's like these are vocals lifted right from the 70s. Perhaps these are the paranormal powers at play and the christian golfer was just a joke and Vincent sold his sold his soul to the devil to retain the voice of his youth. If so it's worth it because I almost can't believe my ears. While he sounds good I am not sure of the Hendrix like funk that propels "Dead Flies" . Bob Ezrin is working with Cooper again which helps him find his way back to his more classic sound. "Fireball" is just well written rock song. There is a filter on his voice which sets him back into the mix along side the guitars. It's good to hear him singing more and not just relying on what had become his trademarked gritty narrative.
He steps out of the 70s and into his take on modern radio rock with "Paranoiac Personality". He steps back into a more familiar role vocally to blend this with his more post- Trash body of work. The backing vocals even remind me a little of Def Leppard. "Dynamite Road" is the first song that I am digging because it sounds like a cross between "the Devil Went Down to Georgia" and "Radar Love" and is not really the kind of rock that Alice does best. "Private Public Breakdown" is an improvement, but not as strong as the first few songs, opting for a more Rolling Stones school of rock. "Holy Water" is not totally removed from some of the other songs Alice has acquired over the years, but it it's not my favorite either. It did grow on me on the second listen. "Rats" is another case of where it's not totally out of left field for him and while he does cover a wide range of rocks many flavors, this one is just to vanilla for me.
The more Pink Floyd / Dada like tone of "the Sound of A" is more satisfying for me as it's darker and seems to wink and the weird new wave time period of Alice that I love. The last two songs are preformed with the original Alice Cooper band, who have preformed in the past as Billion Dollar Babies/ He plays it pretty safe on the cross dressing ode "Genuine American Girl" where he claims to be only 30 out of 50 shades of gray. "You and All Your Friends" captures the more radio friendly sound of classics like "Elected" or perhaps to a less bombastic extent "Under my Wheels" Lyrically one of the smarter songs as Alice makes a political statement more veiled than some he might have espoused in the past. The playing of the Alice Cooper band on these songs is failry conservative and far from the more progressive slant of an album like "Killer". The same could be said for this album as a whole, it starts very strong and show a more melodic side as it progresses sinks into a safer rock n roll formula. So I'll round it up to an 8.5 for now , but that is lagging way behind his more classic work. '