My how the mighty are still going strong. Last year, Alice Cooper put out his 27th studio album titled Paranormal, and it came to me as a huge surprise as to how much I enjoyed it. Seeing that the previous two efforts Along Came A Spider and Welcome 2 My Nightmare aren’t albums I particularly visit very often, this one came as a nice redemption. Of course, Alice Cooper‘s work past Dragontown is when it began to run together and get somewhat generic, but there are definitely some worthwhile tunes to be had in the legend’s later years. There are some issues that stuck from the previous efforts, but as far as song complexion goes, Paranormal is very much worth your time (especially seeing how short it is).
The title track had me hooked immediately, as it brings on a strong guitar intro, and progresses into a fun spook-fest backed by stellar drum work and one of the coolest rhythms of that year. For the most part, the album as a whole is pretty one dimensional, sticking to a hard rocking style with a web of horror fun painted on top. It’s somewhat cartoonish, a little reminiscent of how Ghost conveys their image, but that’s what makes it fun. No need to take itself too seriously, which is good, since it lacks the raw consistency and killer nature of the early albums. That all aside, it’s a case of some songs are rather forgettable, while others deliver. “Paranoic Personality” is another favorite of mine, as it carries the melodies with no struggle and contains all of the formula ingredients that make this record stand apart from the other newer releases. Songs like “Holy Water” and “Rats” give the same feel, and although they won’t stand out as much, still hold a flame to some of the classics.
The issues that this faces is the hollow tracks that can’t keep up with the better ones, making some of them get boring. I wouldn’t expect much at this point, which is why the good ones are so stellar, but since it’s a short album, it doesn’t hurt too much. The other issue is the use of auto-tune that makes appearances here and there, which was also a fault in recent efforts. They don’t ruin the songs, nor does it carry them, but it hurts the production value a great deal, in my eyes. Some may look past this, I try to, but it’s certainly noticeable. If you get the special edition, there’s a mini live concert (just take that or leave it) and two other songs with the original Alice Cooper band. Personally , the first of the two “Genuine American Girl” is phenomenal, and should have just been part of the whole work. If you ask me, the live ones could have been omitted, the extra songs thrown onto the mix, and you’d have the perfect package deal right there.
Bottom line, it may take a few spins to appreciate the record as a whole, but the title track amongst others can instantly become earworms. For those that are a fan that don’t bother with the newer material, I urge you to reconsider.