The man/myth/legend Alice Cooper is back with his astonishing 27th studio album, and this time he’s brought a whole host of friends to help him. The album features guest spots from the likes of Roger Glover, Billy Gibbons, Larry Mullen Jr., and most importantly for fans, a reunion of the remaining members of the original Alice Cooper band on two tracks. As cool as all of that is, I find it annoying that Alice’s touring band plays nothing on the album…way to ram home that they are only hired guns Alice. Moving on.
In short, PARANORMAL is a summation of Cooper’s 40+ year career. The album runs the gamut of his styles, including hard rock, boogie, psychedelia, and balladry, all shot through with Cooper’s always cutting and interesting lyrics. It’s quite the musical smorgasbord and while my preference is for the hard rocks, I can’t say there’s a song here that I feel the need to skip. Highlights include the title track, pure Cooper single “Paranoiac Personality”, and the ZZ Top-ish “Fallen in Love” which features Billy Gibbons on guitar. Through it all, Cooper proves that he is as enigmatic and charismatic behind the mic at the age of 69 as he ever was. Impressive stuff, I must say.
Of course, after raising interest with a few reunion live performances, Cooper set the stage for a recorded return with his original former band mates. While its only a short two songs (about 7 minutes of music), it’s completely worth it. “Genuine American Girl” is a bit of a silly, enjoyable rocker while “You and All of Your Friends” is a purely classic sleazy Cooper song that would fit nicely on an early album like LOVE IT TO DEATH.
Over his career, almost all of Cooper’s albums, post-original band, have been divisive to fans and I’m sure PARANORMAL will be no different. The fact is Alice Cooper has more than earned the right to make the albums he wants and inspire him creatively. The fact that PARANORMAL is a highly enjoyable album is amazing given that its his 27th record! Alice Cooper remains at the top of his game.
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