Alice Cooper, Detroit Stories (earMUSIC 2021)

Rock and Roll icon Alice Cooper takes a nostalgic strut through the historic musical verity of Detroit.

I don’t have to tell you who Alice Cooper is, right? I have written many times about how his music, together with Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, and Nazareth, were the first sounds I heard that turned me toward the heavy. He did have a period of metal music, but that is not the way he started out and most of his work is in the hard rock lane with plenty of pop rock/metal orientation. Oh, and Shock Rock. Yeah. He did that first.

Cooper was born in 1943 and so he is now 73 years old. How is that affecting his musical composition and performance? Not in any apparent negative way, I can tell you that. I saw him at the Greek Theater in LA a couple summers ago and the show was amazing. The performance was just as energetic and exciting as it was decades ago. I don’t know how he still does it, but he definitely still does.

If you look at his recent studio albums, they are up to a high standard as well. The most recent one was Paranormal in 2017, and it is filled to the brim with rockers and bangers, crisp and cracking. He continues to cover a lot of the same subjects as he has in the past, and if anything he his music has become less gimmicky, leaning more towards a straight-forward rock approach.

There are fifteen tracks on the new album. Cooper’s voice is strong and familiar. And unique. The music is guitar driven hard rock, running radio length. There are a couple songs that are a little longer, but they are all designed to be digestible. There are a couple of stylistic homages in there, but mainly these songs are bangers that cook and move in all the right ways to get you on your feet and going. Songs that have a slower pace tend toward blues or mysteriousness. No ballads at all. The album is exactly what I was hoping for, and it is the perfect follow-up to Paranormal, showing that the quality of that album was no fluke.

When big live shows come back the first thing I am going to do is buy a ticket for wherever Alice Cooper is playing and go see him live again. I didn’t really need any additional motivation to make this oath, but Detroit Stories is nevertheless an extra push. Highly recommended.

You can get Detroit Stories starting now. There are many bundles and versions. The one I liked best is a basic one – the CD and DVD combo that includes A Paranormal Evening At The Olympia Paris. That was a great concert and if you didn’t pick it up already when it came out then here is a great chance to get the add-on.

Links.

Website, https://alicecooper.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AliceCooper/

Alice Cooper, Detroit Stories (earMUSIC 2021)

Marilyn Manson, We Are Chaos review (Loma Vista Recordings 2020)

Marilyn Manson is the monster you know. On his newest album, he shows us we cannot hide from the chaos we see because it is everywhere.

Heaven Upside Down was three years ago, The Pale Emperor two years before that. Marilyn Manson has been keeping up with regular new releases, and it was time for another. But 2020 is a weird year, strange days, and We Are Chaos is an odd album in the artist’s canon. The Shock Rock persona is in there somewhere, and we get flashes of it throughout this new one, but there is less revelry this time around and in its place there is a pervasive dolefulness.

“We Are Chaos” was released as a single ahead of the album launch, as was “Don’t Chase The Dead.” Both of these songs are basically ballads (especially the title track) and it left us all to wonder what the rest of the album was going to sound like. I mean, I am used to Marilyn screaming, or giving us the sinister whisper. The first song, “Red Black and Blue,” has that pulsing energy I expected with punching percussion, strong guitar riffs, and distressed, urgent vocals. Next are the two singles, and then another sweet ballad, “Paint You With My Love.” “Half-Way & One Step Forward” has a very creepy feel to it, and it is quiet, too, although it does get a little louder there at the end. “Infinite Darkness” conveys a spacey odor and has a bigger guitar presence than the previous four songs. It is heavy on the narrative and has a stomping momentum. “Perfume” sounds like it might be the next single – it is very radio friendly (is there still radio?). There is a nice heavy punch to “Keep My Head Together,” and a committed recklessness that is very appealing. The eeriest song is probably “Solve Coagula” with its hopelessness and caustic violence. It also has the great line, “I’m not special, I’m just broken.” The album wraps up with “Broken Needle.” The opening acoustic guitar riff is a quiet signal, a statement that this subdued entry in the history of Marilyn Manson is understandable on the surface. It is exactly what it seems. “Are you all right / ’cause I’m not OK / all of these lies / are not worth fighting for.”

Out now on Loma Vista, We Are Chaos is available in many formats and features. Suggested links are below, but you can get some form of the album pretty much anywhere.

Photos by Wayne Edwards from Aftershock 2019.

Links.

Wesbite, https://www.marilynmanson.com/

Buy Music, https://marilynmanson.lomavistarecordings.com/

Buy Merch, https://store.marilynmanson.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MarilynManson/

Marilyn Manson, We Are Chaos review (Loma Vista Recordings 2020)