What does it sound like?:
I have a theory that everyone in the world likes at least one Alice Cooper song – School’s Out, No More Mr Nice Guy, Elected, Hello Hooray, Poison, whatever. I well remember as a teenager buying the School’s Out album, which came with a free pair of paper pants inside, Billion Dollar Babies, with it’s enclosed billion dollar bill, and Muscle Of Love which was presented within a cardboard box.
Well, the good news is ‘The Coop’ is back with this two disc set, his first studio album since 2011’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare.
Produced by long term cohort Bob Ezrin, it features collaborations with luminaries such as Billy Gibbons, Larry Mullen and Roger Glover. It marks a change from the horror concept theme of his last release, going instead for a very acceptable collection of radio friendly, straight ahead commercial rock songs, somewhat in the vein of his Trash album of yesteryear. While it doesn’t quite scale the heights of that album, there are nevertheless plenty of catchy songs here, which I suspect will work well when performed live. Maybe it’s a little overproduced at times, but it’s none the worse for that.
The real treat of this release though comes on the second disc, where the remaining members of the original Alice Cooper Band (Glenn Buxton passed away in 1997) reconvene after far too many years to give us two new songs. The better of the two is Genuine American Girl, a tune that wouldn’t have been out of place on School’s Out. The other, You And All Your Friends, is ok without being especially stand out, but the two pieces together certainly bode well for the upcoming UK dates with this line up later in the year, and hopefully they are just a taster for future collaborations. The remainder of the second disc is given over to half a dozen classic tracks recorded live in May 2016 with the then current line up of the band – and really you can’t go wrong with songs like Billion Dollar Babies, No More Mr Nice Guy, Under My Wheels and of course School’s Out.
What does it all *mean*?
This is a very decent album – ok, so it’s not a classic to rank alongside albums like Killer, School’s Out or Billion Dollar Babies, but that would surely be too much to expect from Alice in 2017. Overall though, despite a couple of forgettable moments, it’s certainly a creditable effort, with standouts like Rats, Dead Flies and the aforementioned Genuine American Girl, showing that there’s still life in the old dog yet.
Goes well with…
Mascara and snakes.
Might suit people who like…
Straight ahead FM friendly rock tunes that don’t demand too much of the listener, but still stick in your mind.