Alice Cooper – Road Review

For saying that Alice has been in the music business since the 1960s, his voice, with it’s dark, trademark raspiness, is superb.

Released: Out Now

Label: earMusic

Genre: Rock

Members:

  • Alice Cooper – vocals
  • Tommy Henriksen – guitars
  • Ryan Roxie – guitars
  • Nita Strauss – guitars
  • Chuck Garric – bass
  • Glen Sobel – drums

Track Listing:

  1. I’m Alice
  2. Welcome To The Show
  3. All Over The World
  4. Dead Don’t Dance
  5. Go Away
  6. White Line Frankenstein
  7. Big Boots
  8. Rules Of The Road
  9. The Big Goodbye
  10. Road Rats Forever
  11. Baby, Please Don’t Go
  12. 100 More Miles
  13. Magic Bus

Be afraid – he’s back. School’s out, so lock up your daughters, your mothers, even your grandmas, because larger-than-life legend and bona fide member of the metal monarchy, Alice Cooper, is on the loose again.

This latest album by the 75 year-old Detroit-born megastar, entitled “Road”, is about exactly that: the joys and the excess, the highs and the lows (and even the heartbreak) of life on tour with a hard rock band.

For saying that Alice has been in the music business since the 1960s, his voice, with it’s dark, trademark raspiness, is superb. “Road” is his 29th album (and his 22nd as a solo artist) and was produced by his long-time collaborator Bob Ezrin (who also co-wrote eleven of the thirteen tracks), and as a result it’s lavishly produced and sounds great. From the opening seconds of track 1 this album whisks us away on a rock and roll adventure. The songs are filled from end to end with cracking solos, fun lyrics and rock-solid grooves, and (like his outrageous stage shows) are definitely not to be taken too seriously.

“I’m Alice” is the mid-tempo opener, which isn’t anything particularly special, but it sets the scene nicely as he introduces himself as the MC, the ringmaster of chaos, with “a cane and a silk top hat” – someone that you’re kind of scared of, but in a good way.

“Welcome to the Show” follows, where the pace picks up and we are treated to a ripping solo and a lively, catchy chorus. “All Over the World” is, like a lot of the songs on the album, as much about the storytelling as it is about the music. This one is, you guessed it, about playing and partying, well, all over the world. I love the groove of this song, enhanced by some great licks, plenty of cowbell and Ezrin-inspired horns.

Other stories include an adoring fan that won’t leave Alice alone, even after 30 years (“Go Away”) – oh the vexations of being a global rock superstar! Life as a member of the road crew is touched on in “Road Rats Forever” (love the drum intro, plus the lashings of piano really work well), and the obligatory tale of a potential hook-up (a waitress in a burger joint, no less) in “Big Boots”. The chorus is only just this side of ridiculous: “She got big boots, baby got boots, she got big boots, oh yeah.”

“Rules of the Road” switches the tempo up a notch. Chuck Garric’s bass intro is great, and Alice wastes no time sharing some of his pearls of wisdom as life as a rock star. Some of the lyrics are laugh out loud, for example, “You gotta buy a mansion and a flashy car, in case you actually do become a star.”

As tongue-in-cheek as most of the songs are, the album is not without it’s more serious moments. Things take a harder turn in “The Big Goodbye”, where we are reminded that, inevitably, Alice will at some point need to hang up the top hat for good. That said, the riffs are punchy and Glen Sobel’s drum fills are gorgeous. We are even treated to a ballad, “Baby, Please Don’t Go”, which speaks of the pain of leaving your loved one to go out on the road, and is a tender change from the preceding ten rockers.

The penultimate song, “100 More Miles”, is a dark and slow-tempo affair, reflecting on the constant gypsy life of the rock star – one who is, you feel, relieved to be finally heading home. The album closer is an odd choice, which doesn’t really close things off on a high: “Magic Bus” is the Who classic, but it’s been given a total rock and roll overhaul. Some of the lyrics have been subtly altered – Who fans will know what I mean – and incorporates a thunderous drum solo from Sobel (perhaps as a nod to the late, great Keith Moon?).

“Road” is so easy to listen to, and I love it. The tunes are infectious – a barrage of pure rock and roll, played with passion and energy – and the heavily-clichéd lyrics are just pure fun. If you’re hoping for majestic anthems or epic chronicles of the ten-minute kind, then this isn’t the album for you. Instead it’s the kind of stuff that you don’t need to think about, just crank it up, sit back and enjoy, or stick it on in your car and then try to keep to the speed limits.

The Frankenstein of rock is back with a vengeance. Be afraid – but in a good way. Welcome to the show!

Score:9/10.

Reviewed by: Brian Parker

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