This new Alice Cooper album has been described as a band creation. Alice has a bloody great tour band with bandmembers that have been playing together for a very long time and have become a rock n roll machine. On this album they also played an active role on the studio recordings. The album concept is to cover the everyday life of a band on the road. It may sound like a good idea, but I am not particularly satisfied with the end result.
The songs deal with the Alice character ("I'm Alice"), showtime ("Welcome to the Show"), being on tour ("All Over The World"), the road crew ("Road Rats Forever"), coming home ("100 More Miles"). The rest of the songs are also loosely connected to touring as a band.
I think the new album suffers from several problems. It sounds like Alice Cooper, but it doesn't really feel like it. Several songs are over-produced and they are more sugar and cream than pure rock n roll and raw feelings. "I'm Alice" is a good example. It tries to cover the Alice character, but it doesn't quite work. The song is a bit too weak. It's not the worst of the lot though.
"You Gotta Rock, You Gotta Roll
You Gotta Shock, Lose Control"
"All Over The World" feels lame with pointless lyrics and the song "Big Boots" is complete trash. Big Boots / Big Boobs? Yeah, we get it. The song is repetitive and the lyrics are not funny at all. "The Rules of the Road" is also an attempt at humor and this one works much better. It is a fine tune that combines a good groove with some funny lyrics.
"If I Wasn’t In A Band, I’d Probably Be A Criminal
I Estimate My Options Would Be Absolutely Minimal"
Even when the music is rocking in a solid way, like it does on "Dead Don't Dance" and "Go Away", it doesn't really grab you by the throat. There is this hollow and empty feeling. I don't really feel this album. I don't feel it like I felt the previous album "Detroit Stories" . An album that kicked ass and had tons of raw energy.
"Can’t Seem To Get From A To B
There’s No Reality But My Own
White Line Fever’s Running Wild
Still A Hundred More Miles Till I’m Home
And All That I Need Is Just A Little More Speed
And I’m Home"
The best side of the album is side 4 of the 2LP. It begins with a standard Alice ballad "Baby Please Don't Go", something Alice always does well. Then comes "100 More Miles" that is the best of the tour related songs. It has fine lyrics and the music to back them. If only the rest of the tour related songs had been this good. The album ends with a The Who cover "Magic Bus". It's rather saying that a cover version is among the best songs on the album.
Interestingly enough the last song ends with a drum solo and then we hear the noise from the crowd as the song fades. I don't know if that is a hint to put on the Hellfest 2022 live DVD (or Blu-ray if you also bought the CD version of the new album.)
The new "Road" album is a step back from "Detroit Stories" . "Road" is not an awful album, it is just not among the best Alice Cooper output. The legend has been around for more than 50 years, so it wouldn't be fair to expect a masterpiece every time. That said, I had expected more from this album because Alice's tour band are all bloody great live musicians.
Maybe producer Bob Ezrin just didn't manage to capture the band's energy well enough? Maybe Alice and Bob Ezrin just didn't write enough great songs and lyrics for the project? The album has a few good tunes to remember and a bunch of songs that I have almost forgotten already.