Release Date: Jul 28, 2017
Record label: Ear Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Being an influential musician that has been in the game for over 40 years and is still active has gotta suck. Sure, the infinite accolades and money are nice, and nobody can stop you from producing new music because you're a legend. But, the fires of brilliance can only burn so hot for so long. It's gotta hurt to know that your new material will most likely collect dust after one or two plays while your classic albums get spun on the regular.
Paranormal, Cooper's first studio album since 2011's Welcome 2 My Nightmare, is a welcome surprise. Songs like the horn-accented "Holy Water" and the throwback title track represent Cooper's legacy quite well. The two gems on this release, however, are the two songs written with Cooper's original 1970s band. And both deliver on the hype, especially the upbeat "Genuine American Girl," which finds Cooper full of all the joy and vigor of those good old days.
Alice cooper is rightly credited as a pioneer of “shock rock”: He's always had a penchant for the sinister and the macabre, and his catalogue is filled with songs that are alternatingly ghoulish and lecherous. To characterize him solely by his creepy lyrics, though, is to shortchange his gifts. Consistently undergirding his campy titillation is a foundation of churning, riff-heavy hard rock, every bit as significant and as influential as his theatrical songwriting.
I don't want to alarm you, but the fate of rock'n'roll's future lies in Alice Cooper's bony hands, and if this album is garbage, then we're doomed. I mean, you should know that much right now. At this point in his career, Alice is one of the very few 70s era rockers still vying for relevance. Sure, he'll play I'm Eighteen when he's 81, until he needs those stunt crutches for real, but he's also concerned with writing solid, biting, hook-heavy rock'n'roll songs right now, and he's still dreaming of his next big hit and his next major cultural comeback.
A lice Cooper made headlines recently when he unearthed a priceless Andy Warhol print in a storage unit, forgotten since the heady days of socialising with the pop-art icon. Whether or not it was a PR stunt for his 27th studio release, it reminded the world that the gravel-tongued shock-rocker can be relied on to bring some rock'n'roll weirdness to proceedings. That's what the bonus disc of Paranormal shows, too, featuring exuberant live recordings of his greatest hits including School's Out and No More Mr Nice Guy.
Mass appeal is what every artist wants but almost never asks for outright. There's no better way to insure the longevity of one's career than by capturing the widest audience possible. And no current working artist exemplifies this ideal better than Alice Cooper. Nearly five decades after the release of Pretties for You, the little bit glam/little bit art sleaze album from 1969 that introduced his sinuous vocals, Cooper has found a way to endear himself to a diverse cross section of the pop universe.
Six years since the venerable Alice Cooper released his last studio album, a sequel to his best-known work called Welcome 2 My Nightmare (get it?), here's another one. Paranormal lacks both the nostalgia factor of its predecessor and a concept such as the one behind 2008's Along Came A Spider. It also can't claim to be a return to heaviness such as Dragontown from 2001.