REVIEW: Alice Cooper – Detroit Stories

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In Europe, we may know Detroit as the historic heart of the American automotive industry, but in rock music, we know it as the birthplace of legendary shock rock act Alice Cooper. Alice Cooper has been working along with producer Bob Ezrin now for some years and has produced several legendary albums, as well as multiple hit songs. The perfect homage to the motor city comes in the form of a brand new album, “Detroit Stories,” released on February 26th, 2021 through earMUSIC.

While the hippie movement was flourishing over the world during the beginning of the ’70s, Detroit apparently was known for energetic rock acts such as MC5, THE STOOGES, Ted Nugent, the EAGLES, and of course, Alice Cooper. Even bands who were not based in Detroit, paid homage to the city – think of KISS‘ hit song “Detroit Rock City.” How do you honor a city with one of the more interesting music histories in the world? From blues and jazz to rock music, Detroit had it all. For the occasion, Alice Cooper managed to invite musicians to play on this record that all share those Detroit roots: guitarist Wayne Kramer (MC5), bass player Paul Randolph (JAZZANOVA), and drummer Johnny Bananjek.

Apart from original music, this album contains four cover songs: the opener “Rock and Roll” (originally by THE VELVET UNDERGROUND), MC5‘s “Sister Anne,” “East Side Story” by BOB SEGER AND THE LAST HEARDS, and finally, “Our Love Will Change the World,” by OUTRAGEOUS CHERRY. All these songs are tied back to the concept of this album, Detroit. Of course, this wouldn’t be an Alice Cooper album if he didn’t give his own spin to these songs, although arguably, this album is more versatile than his previous studio efforts, “Welcome 2 My Nightmare” and “Paranormal.” This might be because of the fact that all the musicians involved in this project have such a different background. Of course, songs like “Rock and Roll,” “Go Man Go,” “Hail Mary,” “Detroit City 2021” (a re-recording of an earlier Alice Cooper track), and “Social Debris” have an unmistakable trademark Alice Cooper sound and they are absolutely fun rock tracks that are insanely catchy.

The album includes a couple of exciting tracks that are influenced by other genres: “$1000 High Heel Shoes,” for instance, is infused with funk and will surely make you want to dance along to the music. “Drunk and In Love” is one of my favorite tracks, because it has this dirty, edgy blues sound, which is very well balanced out with Alice Cooper‘s gritty vocals. His vocal performance is outstanding here, sometimes mellow, sometimes expressing agony, as it should be with proper blues. Even though “Our Love Can Change the World” is a cover song, it has a certain THE BEATLES-esque feeling to it, somehow it feels like an odd song for Alice Cooper (it just sounds so incredibly positive), but that makes it so ingenious; it’s a very uplifting song too, which is perfect for the situation we’re all in now. While focusing more on rock ‘n’ roll, “Independence Dave” is another amusing track with a powerful chorus and funny lyrics.

The most incredible track on this record is probably “I Hate You,” which features old members of ALICE COOPERMichael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith, and Alice Cooper each contribute to the vocals on this track. This track is basically one big roast, where they each sing a line about why they hate each other. At the end of the lyrics, there’s a small tribute to guitarist/founder Glenn Buxton, who passed away in 1997.

“Hanging on by a Thread” is a song about the situation where we are in right now, this track definitely puts things into perspective, as Alice Cooper sings that we’re all in this together and that we’re not gonna give up. It’s a dark, grim song, with heavy guitar riffs, but somehow it’s infused with lighter keyboard sounds that make it sound a little bit more hopeful. After the somewhat emotional track, logically it’s time for some more rock; “Shut Up and Rock” is the ideal track to break the tension and it has an easy-to-sing-along-to chorus. The album ends with “East Side Story,” another fine track that perfectly serves its purpose.

All-in-all, “Detroit Stories” is an incredibly diverse record that embraces all the Detroit music genres from Motown, gospel, and blues, to rock music. Under the moniker Alice Cooper, of course, this record’s main sound is (hard) rock music, heavy, and often humorous. If you’d think that longtime fans would be disappointed because of the re-recording and a bunch of cover songs, make no mistake, this album is a lot of fun and has plenty of new material to offer too. More importantly, “Detroit Stories” truly is the best rock representation of the city’s music history and later on, might hit the history books too.

Tracklist

  1. Rock & Roll
  2. Go Man Go
  3. Our Love Will Change The World
  4. Social Debris
  5. $1000 High Heel Shoes
  6. Hail Mary
  7. Detroit City 2021
  8. Drunk And In Love
  9. Independence Dave
  10. I Hate You
  11. Wonderful World
  12. Sister Anne
  13. Don’t Give Up
  14. Shut Up And Rock
  15. East Side Story

Lineup

Alice Cooper – Vocals
Wayne Kramer – Guitar
Paul Randolph – Bass
Johnny Bananjek – Drums

Label

earMUSIC

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