Alice Cooper is a master of blending hard-driving songs with a sense of theatricality, and his newest album, Road, continues that tradition. The 13 tracks on the album were produced by Bob Ezrin, who has been a longtime collaborator, and fans will be pleased that the sound is vintage Alice Cooper, while also having something new to say.
Cooper’s band, featuring Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henrikson and Nita Strauss on guitars, Chuck Garric on bass, and Glen Sobel on drums, were heavily involved in the writing process, and Cooper says this of his choice to involve them so extensively:
“I only see these guys when we’re on the road. So, I wanted them to be as tight as they are for the show but on all new material. When you have a band this good, I believe in showing it off, and this is my way of doing so.”
An Alice Cooper live show is always a theatrical experience and the opening track, “I’m Alice”, sets the stage with a combination of memorable guitar riffs and lyrics that pay homage to what fans expect out of their hero: “For a slice of heaven in this living hell/Come and be with the me that you know so well.” Vintage Cooper, and it works to capture the listener’s attention right out of the gate.
Humour has always been a hallmark of Cooper’s music, and that trend continues with “Go Away”. Heavy guitars at the beginning set up clever lyrics that are genuinely funny, discussing a fan who just won’t leave him alone. The guitar solo break in the middle is brilliant, and I had the chorus of this song stuck in my head for the better part of a day.
“Big Boots” is another song that uses cheeky wordplay, displaying Cooper’s talents for storytelling in his lyrics. This should be a crowd-pleaser when the band showcases this album on tour and is perfectly written to allow for audience participation.
If you look beyond the makeup, props, and the stage show, it has always been the case that Alice Cooper has one of the best voices in the business. He is a great singer, and at the age of 75 his voice is still in fine form.
Cooper may be the front man, but it can’t be stressed enough that this band is simply stellar. It is a tight, well-oiled machine, and he made the right decision to involve them so heavily in the songwriting.
The combination of Cooper’s vocal talents, superb musicianship, and first-rate production make Road a very worthy addition to the Alice Cooper canon. The theme of being on the road that permeates the album speaks to his long and storied career, and the quality of this release is a clear indication that Cooper and his band still have many miles ahead of them.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: ALICE COOPER – ROAD