Full disclosure here - I’m not the biggest Alice Cooper fan in the world. Lord knows I’ve tried to “get it”. I won’t say that I don’t like any of his music, as that wouldn’t be fair. I appreciate the hits and don’t turn them off if they come on some classic rock radio station. I’ve literally researched enough to listen to each and every album in his overly expansive catalog now, and really don’t have a ton of releases that I love. BRUTAL PLANET is probably my favorite, followed by WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE, THE LAST TEMPTATION and ALONG CAME A SPIDER. As for the old stuff - it just isn’t for me. Maybe the problem is that the first albums of his I owned were TRASH and HEY STOOPID; two albums that fell right in the middle of his down period. Maybe I’m just not into what he does. I’m not sure. What I do know is that listening to PARANORMAL, I’m not moved an ounce toward Mr. Cooper’s work.
This album seemed to have a lot of hype surrounding it as a return to the older style. Well, aside from “Fireball” that was written by Dennis Dunaway from Cooper’s legendary era band, nothing else stands out. Even on that song, it’s hard to understand why you would need to reduce a legendary voice like Cooper has with a megaphone effect. It adds nothing to the song, which is ashame, because this is a pretty strong rocker of a tune. As for the rest of the album, it’s just there. Songs like “The Sound of A”, “Dead Flies” and “Dynamite Road” feel like nothing more than the same nonsubstantial tracks that have filled most of his releases for the past 2 decades. Having Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top play on “Fallen In Love” gives that song a bit of life, but in the end it’s not that great of a track.
PITRIFF RATING - 60/100 - If you just like Alice Cooper and don’t judge his work critically, then PARANORMAL will probably be good enough for you. It’s new sounds that sound like everything else he’s done for awhile. The production is certainly clean and crisp. That said, the songs are what you’d expect from a guy that already has written and recorded several hundred songs in his career. New inspiration is just lacking, most likely because he’s done it all already and done it better. Alice Cooper is still going, and rock fans should definitely appreciate that and go see him live (it’s still an amazing show). As for new music though, this is fairly unnecessary.