Over his 35 year career Alice Cooper has made some groundbreaking records and given birth to a whole generation of theatrical rock from Motley Crue to Marilyn Manson. With his latest album ‘Dirty Diamonds’ we see why Alice Cooper continues to make albums – he is totally bizarre and so are his records.
Kicking off in classic Alice fashion ‘Woman of Mass Destruction’ is classic rock with a nice half time chorus. It’s formulaic and nostalgic – Alice puts his rough 60-a day voice through the chord changes with ease, belying his age (nearly 60). By far the weirdest track on the album is ‘Perfect’ which is a good take on The Beatles – strange but true; Alice is capable of doing a credible John Lennon. The strangeness doesn’t stop there though, ‘The Saga of Jesse Jane’ seems to be something to do with a transvestite having a hard time then getting locked up where s/he hopes s/he’ll find a man. Throughout the 'Dirty Diamonds', Alice puts in these strange lyrical motifs that really encourage you sit down and listen and have a giggle, proving there’s a lot of humour in what this man does.
Production wise the album is fairly raw with few over-dubs and sounds pretty crisp. There’s a freshness to it that is such a rarity in these times of technical perfection – this record has warmth and a ‘live’ feel to it without sounding rough. There’s a real cross over of genres from classic rock in ‘Sunshine Babies’ to mellow blues in ‘Six Hours’ through to dainty ballads in ‘Pretty Ballerina’. Alice provides us with a little taste of everything and sometimes it’s hard to remember it’s the black-eyed-one singing the tracks; such is the range of styles his voice can handle.
Overall, it’s wonderful that Alice can still come up with classic tracks but has the courage to try his hand into different genres. This is obviously not his best album, not even the best of the last decade, but it is certainly one to be remembered. For anyone who hasn’t gotten into Mr Cooper yet, give this album a try and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.