Album Review: Alice Cooper, Paranormal

By Samantha Schneider

Alice Cooper released his first album in six years on July 28thParanormal is his 27th studio record and the first album he’s made with his former band mates since the 70s. Although known to have dabbled in metal this album seems to provide more of a rock n roll vibe across the board.

Front man Vincent Damon Furnier created the theatrical metal band called Alice Cooper. The name derived from a witch that Furnier summoned while using a Ouija board. He was told that he was the reincarnation of a 17th century witch.  The name would prove to be successful as a band and as a solo career.

In 1968 members of Alice Cooper moved to California where Shep Gordon became their manager and Frank Zappa signed them. They worked on their albums and in 1969 they released Pretties for You.

In 1970 they released another album that fell flat. The band felt that if they wanted to play a prominent role in music that they needed to move.  They packed up and headed to Detroit where they found relevance. Two years later they released their breakthrough album School’s Out.  The album became number two hit and they sold over a million copies.

School’s Out was a success but the aftermath wasn’t.  The band struggled to produce another good hit. When times got tough the band split. Furnier then changed his name to Alice Cooper and decided to take on a solo career. He put out albums here and there but much like the band he began to fade.

In the late 80’s he made a comeback and continued to release songs and tour. In 2012 he toured with Iron Maiden and a few years later he toured with Motley Crue as their opening act.

Fast forward to modern day, Alice Cooper’s latest offering, opens with Paranormal. The song has solid vocals however it didn’t come across as the Alice Cooper we love.

Dead Flies brought out the original and creative theatrical side that the band descended from. It opens with heavy drums and a simple guitar riff.  Slowly it goes into the lyrics “your sister’s high on angel dust and so’s your porno brother and your phone know’s more about you than your daddy or your mother.” The song has some twisted lyrics throughout but they flow so well.

The song Rats was my least favorite. The intro was creative using the sound of screeching rats but it felt like something was missing. Granted it was a more upbeat song but I felt like it didn’t flow with the rest of the album.  Lyrically it wasn’t anything special and with his talent he could have eliminated the song all together or created a better one.

The album isn’t super consistent with one sound however Rats was simply out of place. The Sound of A had a Pink Floyd vibe that I loved. It was creepy and kind of psychedelic.

Fireball is my favorite song on the album. It contains a classic Alice Cooper sound. The vocals are faded out but they fit the song nicely. The consistency of the drums and the guitar make you wish you could see this one live.

The bonus album includes 18 tracks 5 of which are Live Songs recorded in Columbus Ohio. Some of the bands more famous songs like School’s Out, Feed My Frankenstein, No More Mr. Nice Guy and a few more are featured.

Paranormal had some good songs but I felt like the bad outnumbered the good.

Alice Cooper‘s past albums were dark and warped but this one didn’t provide that, much at all.

School’s Out was an album that had a lot of great guitar but it was also a much lighter sound. Poison had a darkness that I was hoping to find in Paranormal. I guess I had high expectations.

As always Alice Cooper provided us with descriptive and awesome lyrics, however the execution fell short for me, this time around. This man is the definition of a comeback artist, but this album wasn’t a comeback album. If you are an avid Alice Cooper fan then the album might be for you. Though, if you’ve never been a huge fan then this isn’t the album that would convince you otherwise.   5/10

1. Paranormal
2. Dead Flies
3. Fireball
4. Paranoiac Personality
5. Fallen in Love
6. Dynamite Road
7. Private Public Breakdown
8. Holy Water
9. Rats
10. The Sound of A

Bonus Tracks (With Members of original Alice Cooper Band)
11. Genuine American Girl
12. You and All of Your Friends

Bonus Tracks (live in Columbus, Ohio, May 6, 2016 with current Alice Cooper band)
13. No More Mr. Nice Guy
14. Under My Wheels
15. Billion Dollar Babies
16. Feed My Frankenstein
17. Only Women Bleed
18. School’s Out

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