Written by Lisa Melograno
Detroit Stories, Alice Cooper’s 21st album is available now, via earMusic. Born in Detroit, Cooper’s career spans over 50 years, and it shows in his new album.
Detroit Stories was produced by Bob Ezrin, a longtime collaborator of Alice Cooper‘s, and features members from MC5, The Detroit Wheels Grand Funk Railroad, and a special appearance by Joe Bonamassa. Detroit Stories is as eclectic as Cooper himself. His influences were British bands such as The Yardbirds, The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones.
In an interview with BBC2 Radio in 2007, Cooper listed his all-time favorite tracks as “Nineteenth Nervous Break Down”, “Turning Japanese,” “My Sharona,” “Beds Are Burning,” “My Generation,” “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Over Under Sideways Down,” “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” and “A Hard Day’s Night.”
Detroit Stories encompasses the presence of these bands and the influence they have had on Alice Cooper. With this broad taste in music, it is no surprise that Cooper’s album honoring his hometown makes its roots in a variety of genres and musical styles. Detroit Stories is a mix of musically diverse originals and covers that Alice Cooper has kept tight, fun, and enjoyable.
“Rock and Roll” a Velvet Underground cover written by Lou Reed opens Detroit Stories, setting the tone for a ride to the streets of Detroit. “I Hate You” and “Go Go Man” are punkish along the lines of the Ramones and Sex Pistols. “Go Go Man” with its simple riffs and basic hooks takes you on a ride fast wheeling through the city. soul, rhythm and blues, and funk are present in Detroit Stories with “1000 High Heel Shoes” resonating the Motown R&B sound with the presence of horns.
The track, “Drunk And In Love,” will have you thinking you are listening to a Muddy Waters or Buddy Guy song with the horns and harmonica. But Alice Cooper’s rebellious and uninhibited lyrics tell the story of a homeless man in love in a way only Cooper can.
Detroit Stories is not without hard rock and rock. Covers of “Sister Anne” and “Wonderful World” fulfill that along with “Hail Mary” another energetic rock original.
Cooper shows a more serious side with some messages and optimism for the crazy times we are living in. “Our Love Will Change the World” is an upbeat optimistic and pleasant addition with catchy hooks. On the track, “Shut Up and Rock,” Cooper clearly states, ‘We don’t want to hear about your politics’, sending a message to celebrities. The most serious tone is in “Don’t Give Up” a track delving into mental health and suicide, with mostly spoken lyrics Alice Cooper explains to the listener, times are rough, but you are not alone.
Detroit Stories while not the typical “Godfather of Rock’s “bloody horror and the theatrical album” is a refreshing and vibrant album for the times. The eclectic, well put together, variations in the genre are a story, Alice Cooper‘s story. The combination of covers and originals is a nostalgic walk-through time and the city of Detroit in the mind of Alice Cooper. And a pleasantly enjoyable one at that.
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