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ALICE COOPER-3


ALICE COOPER 

"Paranormal" 

By Dark Starr

I always look forward to new Alice Cooper albums. While I don't love everything he's done, he generally manages to entertain, and I'm a big fan. I was especially looking forward to this one because I knew there were going to be a couple songs with the reunited Alice Cooper band from the original run. Well, this disc did not disappoint. It is one of his most consistent albums. It rocks from start to finish. I'd have to say that this one is likely to make my "best of 2017" list in the long-run. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the new music winds up as Cooper classics down the road, either. The songs with the reunited band are on the second CD along with some new live recordings. That makes all of that bonuses, but they all work well, too. If you've ever liked Alice Cooper, I highly recommend this. 

The first disc opens with the title track. Starting with a picked guitar section, it turns out to a trademark hard rocking Alice Cooper tune. It makes nice use of the balance between the mellower and more powered up stuff. It's tastefully creepy and so cool.  "Dead Flies" is a bit more on the raw hard rocking end of the spectrum. I love the singsong kind of vocal approach on it. It's a stomper that fits well within the Cooper tradition while creating a new vibe at the same time. 
I love the vibe on " Fireball" with the rather distant vocals. It has a meaty kind of hard rocking sound that's just so cool. The cut lands in the vicinity of metal.  "Paranoiac Personality" might be the best tune here. It's clearly the catchiest one. The hard rocking sound is a modern take on classic Cooper. It is just such a great song. 
There is a bit of an Americana vibe to "Fallen in Love." It also feels just a bit like Kiss. I like the lyrical nods to Cooper's musical past. While the cut is fun, it's perhaps not up to the standard of the songs that preceded it. "Dynamite Road" is sort of a nod to a lot of old hot rod rockers. It, as you might guess, has an Alice Cooper twist to it. That said, Cooper uses the spoken vocal trope well here. It really seems mandatory for this kind of song. The tune has some smoking hot guitar soloing built into it. 
A bit more of a mainstream rocker, "Private Public Breakdown" is fun. It's not a highlight of the set. Then again, they can't all be. The thing is, there are albums where the tune would be a highlight. I dig the horns on " Holy Water." The number has a cool old school Cooper vibe to it. In fact, it reminds me of "Muscle of Love" (the song, more than the album) quite a bit on the chorus. It is classy and brings some definite variety. 
Screaming hot hard rock, "Rats" is one of the most fun tunes here. It makes me think of a combination of The Rolling Stones and punk rock in a lot of ways. Of course, Cooper brings his personality to it, too.  Dramatic and a bit mysterious, "The Sound of A" is more of a melodic rocker. It's so classy. It has a bit of the classic Cooper sound from the 1970s built into it. It is one of the highlights of the set as far as I'm concerned. It has a complex and intriguing arrangement that leans toward progressive rock at times. It does a great job of closing the main disc. 

While the live cuts ("No More Mr. Nice Guy," "Under My Wheels," "Billion Dollar Babies," "Feed My Frankenstein," "Only Women Bleed" and "Schools Out" recorded live May of last year), the real stars of the second CD are the two new songs recorded with the original Alice Cooper band. 

The first is "Genuine American Girl." I can't figure out if Cooper is talking about trans-gender people here or just taking the part of a woman. Either way, it is a cool rock and roller that's classic in style. The chorus is catchy. "You and All of Your Friends" fits very well in the old-school Cooper basket. It's catchy, gritty and cool.