It’s been a long wait but yes, the inimitable King of Shock Rock, the one and only Alice Cooper, is back with his first album of original material in six (count ’em) years. It’s titled ‘Paranormal’ and it’s a weird and wonderful collection of guitar-driven delights, but what else would you expect from the composer of beautifully warped classics like ‘Under My Wheels’, ‘I’m Eighteen’ and ‘Billion Dollar Babies’?
Alice Cooper: ‘Paranormal’
Released Friday 28th July 2017 (earMUSIC)
Words: Johnny Main
‘Paranormal’ is produced by long-time collaborator Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Deep Purple), and features guest musicians including ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, U2 drummer Larry Mullen, Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, as well as a highly anticipated mini-reunion of the original Alice Cooper band members, and the album is full of surprises and riveting turns.
Alice’s last release, 2011s ‘Welcome 2 My Nightmare’, a sequel to the 1975 classic album ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’, was something of a mixed bag aimed more at the huge Alice Cooper fanbase more than the average rock music fan, but it’s clear from the very first listen of ‘Paranormal’ that Cooper has returned to a more straight-forward collection of songs rather than a concept.
The album may start off on a slower pace with the almost melancholy guitar intro of the title song, but things soon pick up as the drums kick in and there’s no looking back after that. Alice’s voice is clean and clear and is shows that even when his singing is subtle it has enormous power to it, and he’s lost none of his charisma either.
‘Paranoiac Personality’ is as close as it gets to a foot stomping rock track and it’s complete with anger-tinged vocals, a solid and steady drum-beat and short but inventive guitar solo. Add in an easy to remember shout-along chorus and what’s not to like – it’s classic Alice Cooper through and through.
‘Dynamite Road’ quickly made its way onto my August 2017 playlist and it’s another great Cooper song that’s not yet a classic track, but I’m sure it’s soon to be deemed as such. The fast paced lyrics name-check Detroit, Cadillacs, alcohol, pick up girls and Goons in a boogie down the self-titled road, all before the guitar solo takes hold and takes the song in a totally different direction.
‘Holy Water’ is bombastic and tremendous fun with its stop-start funky guitar solo and Cooper sounds like he’s having enormous fun with the performance while ‘The Sound Of A’ closes off the album in a more serious fashion. Cooper’s vocals are shrouded in effects giving this song a unique sound to it while the slower more melodic pace allows the guitar solo to shine while Cooper gives a more straight down the line performance and sometimes that’s the strongest card in his pack.
For those more hardcore Cooper fans, the real bonus on the second disc is an historic two-song mini-reunion with his former bandmates, guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith, the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper Band.
First up is ‘Genuine American Girl’ which is a fast paced rocker with Smith leading the way. With a different, more basic sound, these songs motor along at a fair pace with almost Beach Boys sounding backing vocals while ‘You And All Of Your Friends’ has another memorable performance with Smith’s drums again leading the charge, swiftly followed by Bruce’s guitar.
Cooper’s voice has a touch of effect to it but it’s a less prominent vocal that some of the other tracks; that’s not to say that it’s not a great song though, because it absolutely nails what Alice Cooper is all about – him and all his bandmates rocking out and just having fun.
In addition to those two tracks, there’s even a clutch of live tracks including ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’, ‘Under My Wheels’, ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ and the ubiquitous ‘School’s Out’, recorded live in Columbia, Ohio back in 2016 with the current line-up of the Alice Cooper band.
Copper is great on record but he’s immense on stage and these live tracks show that he’s lost none of his zest for performance so if you’re going to see him on his extensive upcoming tour, then you’ve got a lot to look forward to.
You can see Alice Cooper live here:
Wednesday 26th July: Liseberg, Göte
Thursday 27th July: Groena Lund, Stockholm
Saturday 29th July: Qstock Festival, Oula
Monday 31st August: Trakpilis, Vilnius
Wednesday 2nd August: Junge Garde, Dresden
Thursday 3rd August: Fezenfest, Szekesfehervar
Saturday 5th August: Wacken Festival
Sunday 6th August: Lokerse Feesten, Lokeren
Saturday 12th August: The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas
Sunday 13th August: The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles
Tuesday 15th August: Ak-Chin Pavilion, Phoenix
Wednesday 16th August: Isleta Amphitheater, Albuquerque
Friday 18th August: Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands
Saturday 19th August: Starplex Pavlion, Dallas
Monday 21st August: Chastain Park Amphitheatre, Atlanta
Wednesday 23rd August: Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow
Thursday 24th August: Bb&T Pavilion, Camden
Saturday 26th August: Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh
Sunday 27th August: Xfinity Center, Mansfield
Monday 28th August: PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel
Wednesday 30th August: Klipsch Amphitheater, Indianapolis
Friday 1st September: KeyBank Pavilion, Pittsburgh
Saturday 2nd September: Budweiser Stage, Toronto
Sunday 3rd September: DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston
Wednesday 6th September: Tinley Park, Chicago
Friday 8th September: Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Saint Louis
Saturday 9th September: Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls
Sunday 10th September: Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati
Thursday 21st September: Cidade do Rock, Rio De Janeiro
Saturday 23rd September: Live Curitiba, Curitiba
Tuesday 26th September: Allianz Parque, Sao Paulo
Saturday 7th October: Mother Of All Rock Fest, Monterrey
Saturday 14th October: Loudpark, Saitama-Shi
Tuesday 17th October: Perth Arena, Perth
Thursday 19th October: Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Friday 20th October: Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Saturday 21st October: Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park
Monday 23rd October: AIS Arena, Bruce
Tuesday 24th October: Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Broadmeadow
Wednesday 25th October: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane
Friday 27th October: The Trusts Arena, Auckland
Saturday 28th v TSB Bank Arena, Wellington
Wednesday 8th November: Olympia Theatre, Dublin
Thursday 9th November: Olympia Theatre, Dublin
Saturday 11th November: First Direct Arena, Leeds
Sunday 12th November: The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Tuesday 14th November: Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham
Wednesday 15th November: Manchester Arena, Manchester
Thursday 16th November: The Sse Arena At Wembley, London
Saturday 18th November: Königpalast, Krefeld
Monday 20th November: Sparkassen-Arena Aurich, Aurich
Tuesday 21st November: Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt Am Main
Thursday 23rd November: Tempodrom,, Berlin
Friday 24th November: Große Jurahalle, Neumarkt
Saturday 25th November: MHPArena LB, Ludwigsburg
Monday 27th November: Wiener Stadthalle, Vienna
Wednesday 29th November: Samsung Hall, Zurich
Thursday 30th November: Alcatraz, Milan
Friday 1st December: L’Amphitheatre Lyon
Sunday 3rd December: Salle Pleyel, Paris
Monday 4th December: 013, Tilburg
Tuesday 5th December: Brielpoort, Deinze
Thursday 7th December: l’Olympia, Paris
Tickets for all UK shows are available right here.
Fallen In Love
Private Public Breakdown
The Sound Of A
Genuine American Girl*
You And All Of Your Friends*
No More Mr Nice Guy**
Under My Wheels**
Billion Dollar Babies**
Feed My Frankenstein**
Only Woman Bleed**
School’s Out **
* – Brand new song featuring the original Alice Cooper band
** – Live in Columbus-Recorded with current line-up of the Alice Cooper band
The Alice Cooper Band are:
Alice Cooper – Vocals
Ryan Roxie – Guitar
Nita Strauss – Guitar
Tommy Henriksen – Guitar
Chuck Garric – Bass Guitar
‘Paranormal’ is Alice Cooper’s first album in six years.