There’s comfort in knowing that what you’re about to hear is exactly what it says on the tin, but Detroit Stories upgrades Alice Cooper’s wheelhouse thanks to bonus WHAT-the!? moments of unexpected delight (see: the soul-injected $1000 High Heel Shoes, which deals classy brass, Motown-esque BVs and swag to spare).
Another of the 15 Detroit Stories is Cooper’s “song born out of consequence”, Don’t Give Up – released in 2020 to raise our collective fighting spirits.
Cooper served 2019’s Breadcrumbs EP – similarly “inspired by the [Detroit] punk scene in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s” – as a canapé to whet our appetites for Detroit Stories. March 2021 marks 50 years since Cooper’s Love It To Death album put this irresistibly creepy mouthpiece and his brilliant band on the world map, and the release of Detroit Stories marks this auspicious occasion while also celebrating Detroit’s rich musical legacy.
Bob Ezrin, long-time Alice Cooper producer/collaborator, labels Detroit Stories “made in Detroit, for Detroit, by Detroit denizens,” and he’s not wrong! This album features badass players from seminal Motor City bands including MC5, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels and Grand Funk Railroad as well as all surviving members of the OG Alice Cooper band. Blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa lets rip on lead single Rock n Roll (The Velvet Underground cover) and guitar wizardry is matched by explosive drumming throughout.
Cooper’s theatricality automatically gives him license to thrill as Shock-Rock Narrator, and witty lyricism abounds (see: the entirety of Independence Dave and Shut Up And Rock). Drunk And In Love, which features a thigh-slappin’ harmonica solo, is a shoo-in for Best Opening Live Ever: “I saw you, baby, and I pissed my pants…”
I Hate You sees each OG Alice Cooper bandmember – The Great Man himself, Mike Bruce, Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway – taking a verse to roast a fellow bandmate (eg. “I hate you, your spider eyes/ A guillotine? Oh, BIG surprise!”) before closing out the song in unanimous unison, “But, most of all, we’re filled with rage/ At the empty space you left on stage.”(Rest In Power, Glen Buxton.)
Detroit Stories by Alice Cooper is out February 26 via earMUSIC/ Sony.
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