Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler...Former teacher... Scientist... Published author... Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published October 3rd 2019
Welcome to his New Album
Alice Cooper has been around as a band and as a persona for nigh on fifty years. In fact, one of the first cassettes I bought was Welcome To My Nightmare, and the song 'Poison' spent a lot of time on rotation at our teenaged parties, while 'Lost In America' was my favourite protest song for a while. I have grown up with Alice Cooper, grown old with his music, came to realise he was more than just a freak show on stage, but had some great things to say in his lyrics, and so when I heard there was a new EP available, I went and ordered it.
Yes, this is an EP. Six tracks, that's all. I have discussed an EP once before, and this is another fine one to add to the collection. Which is fine by me it means an album was not padded out with rubbish, but kept tight and only the best is put out there.
So we have Breadcrumbs by Alice Cooper, an album that serves as an homage to Detroit, the city young Vincent Furnier grew up in.
Look, it may seem to regular readers as though the only music I am listening to this year has been made by the old guard of rock music. Well, yes, a lot of it is, but not all. I am listening to a lot of new music as well, though not all of it warrants a review. The problem is, when compared to the old guard, not enough new stuff stacks up. This is my seventeenth album review this year, and only three are from artists who started their careers in the 2010s; one is from someone who started her career in the 2000s, and there are two who started in the 1980s. The rest started in the 1970s or earlier. Maybe that's my bias, or maybe the old rockers still know how to make superb music.
This, then, is the latest by Alice Cooper. And his guitarist on this album is Wayne Kramer from MC5, a band virtually unknown here in Australia, which is a shame, because they were punk before there was punk.
And so to the album!
'Detroit City 2020' Straight away, we know this is an Alice Cooper song guitars and that unmistakable voice. He still sounds like he did back in the 80s! This is a love song to rock music and, specifically, the music that came out of Detroit. This is a re-recording of an older Cooper song, which amps up the rock quotient nicely. Somehow. Yes, he is rocking harder here than he did in the 2003 original. For those familiar with the original, however, it is different enough to almost count as a new song. Great opener.
'Go Man Go' A new Cooper song, and a fine addition to the canon. And that guitar work! It compliments Cooper's voice really well, and is some of the best guitaring Cooper has had on an album. It has the sound of a 60s garage band, the proto-punk sound, which, judging by the album's concept, was what was probably being aimed for.
'East Side Story' This is an old Bob Seger track, but it is a different take on it. I was not familiar with the original (it's from the 60s apparently), so I had a listen, and Cooper rocks it up a bit, but remains surprisingly faithful to its sound and intent. The harmonies are something I was not ready for, and this is a strong cover version.
'Your Mama Won't Like Me' This is a classic Suzi Quatro track, and he has funked it up a little. There is a brass section punctuating it, and it is a strong performance. As good as Ms Q's? No, I don't think so, but still a good interpretation.
'Devil With A Blue Dress On/Chains Of Love' The Mitch Ryder classic, here changed up. For a start, I seem to remember Ryder doubling it with 'Good Golly Miss Molly', but here it is paired with the Motown funk of a J.J. Barnes song I am not a huge fan of. The biggest change is that he has slowed it down, taken away the urgency and turned it into something smoother. Not sure what I think about this, because the original is one of the greatest songs (in my opinion) to come out of Detroit. It's different, and it's not bad; I think a few more listens and it'll grow on me. Kudos for trying something different, that's for sure.
'Sister Anne' This is the old MC5 song. This is going to sound sacrilegious but I think I like this version better than the original. It's a little tighter across the board, and the modern recording techniques make it sound cleaner. And Kramer knows this song inside out and so his playing is just masterful here. Throw in a harmonica and Cooper sounding in great voice, and this is the best track on the album.
Okay, I know this is only six tracks, and I had to get it as a digital download, but Cooper has maintained the sound in his voice he has had for years. I don't know what it is (maybe it's the golf, all that fresh air), but he does not seem to have aged. And this album, a homage, as I said, to the music of his younger years, shows that fine music also does not age. Yeah, this is great. Twenty minutes of music at its peak. You won't be disappointed.