Date: February 26th, 2021
Is it just me or is this guy actually going infantile instead of senile? I mean, his new record not only carries along a couple of cover songs created back when he was a young and thriving artist, but it is also such a playful and joyous album that one can just dance around with a great big smile on one’s face. Even the (sort of) contemporary themed “Hanging on by a Thread” stands to prove that Mr. Cooper and his band managed to focus on that light at the end of a tunnel.
Okay, this is no “sunshine, lollipops” type of record. You could hardly expect something like that from the old master of shock rock. There’s more than enough sleaze jumping out of the speakers. Just by looking at the cover tracks you will find Velvet Underground in their most rock ‘n’ rolling mood. Then there’s MC5 and it just makes sense on this kind of album. A little bit off the rail, Bob Seger and Outrageous Cherry covers hand out a slice of “romance” to “Detroit Stories”. There’s a touch of brass and sass to the album, brought to you by “$1000 High Heel Shoes”. Bluesy undertones that made the early works by Alice Cooper find their place on the record, too.
And those are just examples of what you might find here. A musical rollercoaster that takes you through almost every type of rock music from its roots and inception to the 1980’s gilded rust.
Now, as the album’s title and the covered artists (well, all but the Velvets) suggest, the album is almost entirely locally based. At least when it comes to lyrical themes. Detroit, Michigan, US of A, of course. With that in mind, Alice Cooper even recorded a new version of “Detroit City” from “The Eyes of Alice Cooper”. The “Detroit Stories” present a full pallet of characters and stories (well, duh) associated with the former titan of American industry. Hence, even an industrial tone to some tracks.
Still, speaking of themes, there are also a bunch of classical rock ‘n’ roll topics browsed through. However, the one song that sticks out in this regard is “I Hate You”. The whole thing is a roast between the band members themselves. Absolutely original idea, bound to have you laughing out as loud as you can.
Naturally, as many of his younger colleagues, Alice couldn’t avoid the topic of the mental state of people during this trying time. The mentioned “Hanging on by a Thread” deals with a grim subject of misbalanced mind, with Mr. Cooper calling you out to seek help. Since this is such a serious matter (not only) these days, and quite familiar to me personally, I must say this song hits the nail right on its head.
It is highly unlikely “Detroit Stories” is the best Alice Cooper ever released, but it surely made for a bunch of quite entertaining spins. Very enjoyable fifty minutes of music is what awaits you on the album. There was always a lot of top-notch musicians, songwriters, producers and sorts around Mr. Cooper, so there was a good chance the album will turn out as strong as it did.
Simply put, form is temporary, but class is forever.