Alice Cooper delivers more of his famous brand of strange and comedic heavy rock ‘n’ roll on his 26th studio album. This is the 69-year-old singer’s first release since 2011 ‘Welcome 2 My Nightmare’, which was a sequel to his classic 1975 record ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’. And with ‘Paranormal’, the nightmare continues, with the kind of with that’s unmatched in rock music.
The record opens with a late 70s-flavoured intro to the spooky title track that’s about an unusual love story: a man’s ghost is in love with a woman, whose home he visits again and again, always leaving behind some kind of a trace that serves as a reminder of his presence. Roger Glover from Deep Purple plays the bass on the song, contributing to the melodic hard rock sound.
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‘Dead Flies’ wanders to the terrain of social commentary with Cooper singing: “And your phone knows more about you / Than your daddy or your mother”. He then goes on to criticize modern cults like Scientology and televangelists who promise salvation if one can afford it: “They’ll take your wealth and fame / In exchange for the blessing / And they’ll kill you with their gospel / Full of psycho-babble vomit”.
‘Paranoiac Personality’ stands out musically with its heavy bass line and guitar solos, combined with a catchy chorus. ‘Fallen in Love’ is a great example of Cooper’s sense of humour in his songwriting: “She treats me like a dog / Not a cute little pup / I’ve fallen in love / And I can’t get up”. It has a Southern rock feel reminiscent of ZZ Top, so this is probably when metal fans will stop listening.
‘Holy Water’ joyfully blends old school rock ‘n’ roll with a Dixieland frontline. It’s the type of tune that’s fun to sing along to while driving fast on the motorway. ‘The Sound of A’ brings a change of tone: it’s a pleasantly melancholic and slightly creepy ballad that would have fit perfectly on any Cooper album in the late 60s or early 70s. ‘Genuine American Girl’ is Cooper at his best and most entertaining. He forgets about his age and gender when he sings: “I’m a genuine American girl / A bona fide beauty in an ugly world / The vision of pure femininity”.
‘Paranormal’ was produced by Bob Ezrin, Cooper’s long-time collaborator. It features Larry Mullen of U2 on drums, which may seem like an unlikely choice, but Mullen does a terrific job in a genre that’s quite different from what he’s used to, although hardly any more challenging. Bassist Dennis Dunaway, guitarist Steve Hunter and drummer Neil Smith from the original Cooper band appear on three tracks towards the end, including ‘The Sound of A’, recreating the classic sound that made them famous before their breakup in the mid-70s.
‘Paranormal’ will probably not appeal to metal fans, but those who like Cooper’s earlier work will find it very engaging. He departs from the much heavier sound of his previous few albums, but finds a connection with the mood of his classic material, which his true, long-time fans are guaranteed to enjoy. His quirky personality and uncompromising attitude shines through his brilliant songwriting, and time hasn’t damaged his distinctive vocals.
‘Paranormal’ is out now via earMUSIC. The full track-listing for the album is as follows…
02. Dead Flies
04. Paranoiac Personality
05. Fallen In Love
06. Dynamite Road
07. Private Public Breakdown
08. Holy Water
10. The Sound of A
11. Genuine American Girl (with the original Alice Cooper Band)
12. You And All Of Your Friends (with the original Alice Cooper Band)
13. No More Mr. Nice Guy (live in Columbus with the current Alice Cooper Band)
14. Under My Wheels (live in Columbus with the current Alice Cooper Band)
15. Billion Dollar Babies (live in Columbus with the current Alice Cooper Band)
16. Feed My Frankenstein (live in Columbus with the current Alice Cooper Band)
17. Only Women Bleed (live in Columbus with the current Alice Cooper Band)
18. School’s Out (live in Columbus with the current Alice Cooper Band)
You can also see the artist at one of the below dates…
06/09 – Mankato, MN @ Vetter Stone Amphitheater
06/12 – Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre
06/13 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kingsbury Hall
06/16 – Lincoln, CA @ Thunder Valley Casino Amphitheater
06/17 – Eugene, OR @ Cuthbert Amphitheatre
06/18 – Airway Heights, WA @ Pepsi Summer Outdoor Concert Series
06/20 – Bakersfield, CA @ Rabobank Theater
06/21 – Temecula, CA @ Pechanga Theater
06/22 – Tucson, AZ @ AVA Amphitheater
06/24 – El Paso, TX @ KLAQ Streetfest
08/12 – Las Vegas, NV @ Chelsea Theater at The Cosmopolitan *
08/13 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Greek *
08/15 – Phoenix, AZ @ AK Chin Pavilion *
08/16 – Albuquerque, NM @ Isletta Amphitheatre *
08/18 – Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion *
08/19 – Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion *
08/21 – Atlanta, GA @ Chastain Park Amphitheatre *
08/23 – Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live *
08/24 – Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion *
08/26 – Wantagh, NY @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre *
08/27 – Boston, MA @ Xfinity Center *
08/28 – Holmdel, NJ @ P.N.C. Bank Arts Center *
08/30 – Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Amphitheater *
09/01 – Pittsburgh, PA @ KeyBank Pavilion *
09/02 – Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre *
09/03 – Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre *
09/06 – Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre *
09/08 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre *
09/09 – Cleveland, OH @ Blossom Music Center *
09/10 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center *
* = w/ Deep Purple