[ALBUM REVIEW] Alice Cooper | Paranormal

 

I know The Coop’s new album, Paranormal, has been written about a few times in our little corner of the intranet already, and I did think about not writing one for that reason… for about a second!  My stance is, it doesn’t matter how many times something has been written about or reviewed.  It hasn’t been done in your voice until you make the effort.  Only you can only do you!  And really, what miserable prick complains about having too many delicious things to read anyway?

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But, enough about my philosophy, you’re here for a review.  To give you some context of where I’m coming from, I’ve always have had mad respect for The Coop.   His past albums, Love It to Death, Killer, and Welcome to My Nightmare are favorites of mine.  Some choice rarer tracks like “You Look Good in Rags” and “Novocaine” are a couple of tunes I like to share with people who don’t know much about his music.

With that said, I am positive I have never bought a new Alice Cooper album before.  I have listened to a lot of A.C. from used CDs, streaming, YouTube and perhaps some mp3s from the Dark Web may have found their way onto my hard drive.  The only legit piece of Coop music I have bought is when I picked up the Wayne’s World soundtrack (which featured “Feed My Frankenstein”) on cassette in 1991.

I was intrigued enough to check out Paranormal after reading Mike Ladano’s review, then moved it to the top of the recommendation pile after it received another glowing review from Deke.  I downloaded the album onto my phone through Groove Music and listened to it… twice back to back.  I can’t remember the last time I did that.  I knew right then how I needed this in my LP collection.

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Besides the music, this is an interesting set for a couple of reasons.  It is a double LP with the playback set to 45 rpm.  Those extra rpms deliver a higher quality record, but it also means there are only three songs per side.  I like having reasons to get off my ass more frequently because I need them, but the track order is different from the CD and streaming versions.  I guess this was done to fit everything nicely onto two discs.  It doesn’t really hurt the flow of the album since only the last few songs are effected, but it is worth noting.

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Also, the extra bonus live tracks are on a separate CD.  Odd way of doing it all, but it works.  Besides, the quality of new songs warrent the 45 rpm treatment.  Now, onto the song breakdown!

Paranormal
Creepy tune that you would expect from the Coop.  It is co-written and features Roger Glover from Deep Purple on bass.  The song opens to Coop’s delicate voice then builds up to some rockin’ guitars.  Solid start to the album.

Dead Flies
Riff rockin’ track.  Not my fav, but good times.
Choice lyric: 
Your sister is high on Angle Dust and so’s your porno brother

FireBall
This tune is about the our little planet Earth succumbing to the impact of an asteroid.  This is really where the album took off for me on the first listen.  Is that a Hammond organ I hear?  The liner notes say it is none other an early Coop producer Bob Ezrin jamming away on it.  (He produced the clean sound on this album too.)  Roger Glover sounds like he’d be more at home on this track than the one he wrote.

Paranoia Personality
Bass line in this one kind of sounds like Ozzy’s “Believer” and is the most darkest, 70’s sounding tune on the album.

Fallen In Love
ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons makes a cameo with his fuzzy guitar tone ever-present.  Of course with Billy on board this one will have a blues-y vibe.  It’s like a Welcome to My Nightmare’s version of  “My Head’s In Mississippi”.

Dynamite Road
I like my rockin’ tunes, so of course I love this hard rock drivin’ track.   Finishes on the line: Did he have to trash my Cadillac, I loved that car to death.  Sooo Coop.

Private Public Breakdown
This one has some heavy lyrics about a politician who is about to do a Peter Pan off of a bridge or building.
Choice lyric: By strange behavior, I got elected, because I’m the savior resurrected!
Hmmm…. Trump vibes, anyone?

Holy Water
Big production number with the horns, background singers and the hollow bone sound of drum sticks tapping away on a hard surface.  One of those Coop tunes with a vaudeville vibe.  This one is about an older evangelist lusting after (and getting) a younger woman.  Rock that cradle.

Rats
Straight up rocker.  Has me singing out loud “Give the Rats what they want!”  Kind of an odd thing to say.

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OK, now here is where the order is different.

You and All of Your Friends
This is the first of two that features the OG Alice Cooper Band from the late ’60s early ’70s with both writing and performing credits.  Catchy, garage rock tune.

Genuine American Girl
This is my favorite song on the album.  It has and old-timey, rockin’ doo-wop groove and it is REALLY awkward to sing along to.  The lyrics belong to those of a teenage girl, but damn does The “pushing 70” Coop pull it off.
Choice lyric: I’m only 30 out of 50 shades of grey
Crank this one up!

The Sound of A
On the CD this is after “Rats” and is the last OG song before The Alice Cooper Band takes over.  This is another creepy tune and I have no idea what “The Sound of A” is or means.  But there is one line that goes “Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys”.  An appropriate line to hear while my neighbor runs a vacuum cleaner under my open window as I try to take this album in.

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Overall score: (5/5)
One of those albums that gets better after repeat listens.  After linking Deke’s blog to this post I had to double-check that it was only August 30th when I first listened to it.  I already feels like I have been soaking this in for six or seven months.  As for the live tracks, I only casually listened to them once.  They are good enough but really the new songs are the reason to get Paranormal in you anyway you can!

 

9 comments

  1. Excellent review, man… easily one of my favourite albums this year. It’s very accessible cause, well, the songs are just so good. Definitely gets stronger after the first two or three tracks. It’d be a solid 4 Js from me…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Excellent review and thanks for the link and shout out!
    This vinyl set looks real slick!
    Liked your spin on the track by track breakdown and your right about Glover and Fireball! I thought of that as well especially with a Purple album named Fireball!
    Its a very good release and thats awesome when we can each review stuff that we all can get into!
    Nice pics as well!
    Got my psyched to listen to this one again!
    Can hardly wait to see what your cooking on your next Monday Mars Music Series!

    By the way I’m glad Mullin Jr got from out under Bono’s dress and pounds the drums on most of the Coop stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another happy buyer!

    The Sound of A is apparently a really old song that bassist Dennis Dunaway wrote. It does sound like one of those baffling old Cooper tunes when they would unafraid to do anything!

    Seconded on Mullen Jr…it must be nice not having to record your drums 1000 times with 10 different computers before you’re replaced by a drum machine.

    Like

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