Album Reviews

Alice Cooper

Paranormal

Artist:     Alice Cooper

Album:     Paranormal

Label:     EAR Music

Release Date:     7.28.2017

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Alice is back! With his first new material in six years, Alice Cooper shows he hasn’t lost a step in songwriting—and we always knew his performances remain equal to the best in his long history, as he proved on tour last summer.

This double CD has twelve great new songs plus six live performances of Alice Cooper classics like “Only Women Bleed,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “School’s Out.” Safe to say, a number of these new songs will become equal classics. This album is so flat-out terrific, it’s damned paranormal.

Cooper reunited with two of his original bandmates, drummer Neal Smith and bassist Dennis Dunaway to co-write and perform some of the songs. (Smith gets quite a  workout on the new “You and All of Your Friends.”) Another old bandmate, guitarist Michael Bruce performed, as well as luminaries like ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr., Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, and longtime collaborator and producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Deep Purple) who produced Paranormal.

“My definition of paranormal is something that is ‘other than normal’ or ‘alongside of normal’,” Cooper explained. “You could say my whole career has been that. I would look at what was normal and step left of it.”

“Step left” is putting it mildly. In a song that sounds like no other, a “Genuine American Girl”—who may or may not have been a girl at birth—takes us through her beauty routine and plans for the night, but trust me, this raspy romp ain’t no Katy Perry song, boys and girls. Cooper’s idea of a love song lyrics include “She treats me like a dawg, not a cute little pup, But I’ve fallen in love and I can’t get up!”

The “Dynamite Road” story faintly echoes Commander Cody’s classic “Hot Rod Lincoln,” but instead of winning a spirited road race—this time against a limo full of groupies—it ends darkly.  Broken bodies, the smell of burning hair and gasoline, he’s “all wrapped up in bandages in a holding cell,” the band is dead (that’s OK), then the “other than normal” twist: “but did he have to trash the Cadillac?…Man I loved that car to death.”

Over-the-top is the sweet spot for every Alice Cooper concert, and these new songs will fit in perfectly with the ones he performs from his previous six platinum and three gold albums. Alice Cooper is up for induction in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and deservedly so, as he continues to demonstrate with this album of new, exceptional tunes.

—Suzanne Cadgène

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