Alice Cooper - Paranormal review


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Band: Alice Cooper
Album: Paranormal
Release date: July 2017

01. Paranormal
02. Dead Flies
03. Fireball
04. Paranoiac Personality
05. Fallen In Love
06. Dynamite Road
07. Private Public Breakdown
08. Holy Water
09. Rats
10. The Sound Of A
11. Genuine American Girl [bonus]
12. You And All Of Your Friends [bonus]
13. No More Mr. Nice Guy [bonus] [Live in Columbus, Ohio]
14. Under My Wheels [bonus] [Live in Columbus, Ohio]
15. Billion Dollar Babies [bonus] [Live in Columbus, Ohio]
16. Feed My Frankenstein [bonus] [Live in Columbus, Ohio]
17. Only Women Bleed [bonus] [Live in Columbus, Ohio]
18. School's Out [bonus] [Live in Columbus, Ohio]

After the cavalcade of risks and fresh sounds that populated Welcome 2 My Nightmare, Alice Cooper decided to circle back around to regular, ol' rock'n'roll of the type that everyone can grasp immediately. I'll admit to some disappointment that Paranormal doesn't quite see Alice reinveinting himself for the umpteenth time, but with that said, this is a 27th album that is enjoyable and doesn't drag, so I'll take it.

"Dead Flies" and "Fireball" pick up the album with a fat, heavy, vaguely psychedelic blues-rock sound that Alice largely avoided back when bands like Deep Purple and Uriah Heep were hitting their stride, and one that, for this reason, doesn't feel like a return to roots so much as Alice simply trying on a new hat that's already quite old. That's not a knock, merely a curiosity, and I'd say "Fireball" is one of the highlights (no surprise that Dennis Dunaway receives primary writing credit). Paranormal mostly comprises like-minded nostalgia pieces: pounding, three-minute heavy rock tunes tempered in some measure of wry humor or raucous troublemaking. This album embraces a very comfortable sound for Alice; the songwriting follows from albums like Along Came A Spider and Dirty Diamonds, but with an even more polished and laidback production, taking Alice even further away from The Eyes Of Alice Cooper, the album that started this trend. "Public Private Breakdown" hits closer to the Alice of old, and the jazzy, upbeat "Holy Water" and ghoulish "Dynamite Road" (a descendant of "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," I think) make for good fun, with deliveries reminiscent of the last album.

Unsurprisingly, the two best songs on the album are the singles and nothing else quite reaches the same level of quality, but it is a great pair of singles. "Paranoiac Personality" has a stomping swagger reminiscent of "Go To Hell" and, yes, it sometimes sounds like "Cult Of Personality"; meanwhile, much like DaDa, the title track opens this album with a sinister and fascinatingly creepy specter that promises great things, if only the rest of the album would continue in that direction. Once again, not so, but I'd love to hear an album's worth of material done in the style of "Paranormal"; after the monumental power of songs like "I Am Made Of You" and "Last Man On Earth" from Welcome 2 My Nightmare, it's clear that Alice still has a lot to gain from experimenting with different styles.

Paranormal reunites the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper on several tracks, a move precipitated by "I'll Bite Your Face Off," "A Runaway Train," and "When Hell Comes Home" from Welcome 2 My Nightmare. Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith, Michael Bruce, and Steve Hunter make scattered appearances throughout the album, but they join together with Alice as a band for two bonus tracks, "Genuine American Girl" and "You And All Of Your Friends." The two songs are stylistically quite similar to what can be found elsewhere on the album, but Alice himself sounds so much more enthusiastic to be back with his old bandmates, and while the songs aren't as conceptually interesting to me as the aforementioned singles, they stand a cut above the rest of Paranormal. I said I'd like to see Alice experimenting again, but just as much, I'd like to hear a full album's worth of reunion material.

Paranormal isn't a very deep album, and it won't take more than one listen to understand the album's spirit, or more than a few songs to sense the direction. Still, Alice is nearly 70 and can still make raucous rock'n'roll to match the best of them, and even on album 27 there are a handful of songs I'll count among his career best.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7


Written on 12.09.2017 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 146 users
13.09.2017 - 07:00
Lord Slothrop
I think this review is spot on. It's a solid album, but nothing spectacular. I liked his last effort more, but this is far from a disappointment. I imagine it'll end up somewhere in the middle of his catalogue critically.
13.09.2017 - 20:54
Greg L.
Great review! Sums up a lot of my thoughts about the album as well. I feel like Paranoiac Personality was a sort of homage to Cult of Personality and you are right, it totally reminds me of it! Not a bad album! Just saw him live with Deep Purple a few weeks ago in Pittsburgh and it was quite an enjoyable show! They didn't sell that many tickets I feel (they moved the lawn up to the seated area), it was quite cold and windy, but both bands didn't let it phase them (at least they didn't visibly show it)!
19.09.2017 - 19:09
Spot on here with the review i thought

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