Album cover: Let me kick this review off by stating that this cover, to me, summarizes everything about Alice Cooper. The two sides of his on-stage persona and the music that he conjures up. I love the white background with his bizzare image imposed on it with the bloody font of his name. Classic Alice in every sense!
Overall album: I am going to take a stand here and no doubt raise a ruckus (as every Cooper fan has their own opinion and I respect that) that this album – Paranormal – is the quintessential Alice Cooper record. It has everything that covers his sarcastic, spiteful and dark humorous lyrics to the groovy vibe, biting tone and unabashed attitude that have been his signature on display from the point he started out with the original Alice Cooper band (who by the way do play on the record…a nice reunion eh!) to breaking out as a solo artist. There is a classic 70’s feel to it along with a progressive side. Mix that with great production and you have a record that sums him up nicely. Plus, although it is his latest record (for now) I would say that is easily has earned its spot alongside other classics like Welcome To My Nightmare and Trash.
Paranormal: This song is brilliant and nothing short of that. From the opening guitar string arrangement to the delicate and haunting way Alice sings his lyrics of the protagonist (from the world of the dead) to his wife (in the world of the living), you cannot help but fall in love with this track. I would easily pick this and add it to a set of 10 tracks, someone who isn’t familiar with Alice’s music should listen to.
Dead Flies: This is just mad rollicking fun. The social commentary Alice has combined with the hard drum sound make you want to sit up and take notice. There’s a playful atmosphere that is created out here and although it does take a few listens to get into the groove of this song, you will find yourself joining in the chorus now and again.
Fireball: A speedy and gritty number that tells of a person asleep dreaming of prophetic doom, only to find when he awakes that it is actually happening. The riffing here takes you back to how records used to sound in the 70’s and there’s a classic adrenaline surge that courses through it.
Paranoiac Personality: Awesome! The laid back feel of the music along with the vocal delivery make this song very memorable indeed. Though I would add that the bass sound (especially at the start) does have a slight KISS feel to it (though I could get shot for saying that as Alice influenced the latter…Yikes!). The melody and the flow of this number make it very catchy and yes your feet will keep tapping, while hearing it.
Fallen In Love: True Alice Cooper humor here. You cannot help but laugh (in a good way) at the way in which Alice sings this one and the lyrics themselves. It shows that he never takes himself too seriously and is more than willing to poke fun at himself as well as explore new boundaries in his musical evolution.
Dynamite Road: Another gritty hard rocker that flows in a similar vein as the Fireball track. Alice speaks the verses out and you get a sense of how strong his voice sounds. Some very neat guitar and drum work here overall.
Private Public Breakdown: This does take a little while to get into but after you do, then you really do want to hit ‘repeat’ a few times. It kind of reminds me of being almost like a sequel to the track – Paranoiac Personality. There is a lot of melody here and Alice delivers a very interesting vocal performance on this one.
Holy Water: Again here, Alice adopts the speaking style for the verse section. Though overall this songs sort of sounds like it could be used on a Broadway musical production. The chorus is huge and there are a ton of instruments playing off here including a pretty interesting brass section. Like some of the previous songs, this one will put a smile on your face.
Rats: A short hard hitting track that smacks you in the face. It gets the energy going again and has an interesting crunch to it.
The Sound A: Now this one is a total surprise. Perhaps one of the oldest and long forgotten Alice Cooper tracks that was never recorded till now. It has that wild psychedelic experimentation that was witnessed across Pop and Rock music in the 60’s and 70’s. The drone with which Alice sings and the way in which, his band backs him up with this bizarre concoction of sounds is truly mind blowing.
Genuine American Girl: Very catchy and very old school in terms of its approach. A classic Rock number from the house of Alice. This is one of two tracks recorded with the original Alice Cooper band. Lyrically it seems a bit strange for Alice himself to be singing about being a genuine American girl but hey…it’s Alice and we’ll go with it!
You And All Of Your Friends: The second one with the original Alice Cooper band. It is a strong and sonic filled track that has a great vibe to it. It’s very reminiscent to a lot of Alice’s earlier work and fans would enjoy it all the same.
Ultimate Album Song: Paranoiac Personality
The Band: Aside from the man himself, click here