Alice Cooper - Dirty Diamonds

Spitfire Records
Produced by Steve Lindsey & Rick Boston

Everyone knows who Alice Cooper is. "That's the bloke who did School's Out, right?". Yeah, and to the equally ignorant, Motorhead are just that band that did Ace of Spades too. But we're talking more than that. Alice is, and has been for a long time, one of the most underrated and versatile songwriters in hard rock.

This man's ability to pen a good song in any style is almost unparalleled. Alice's music isn't just about tongue-in-cheek rockers like Feed My Frankenstein, or the big hits like Poison. It's not even just about rock all of the time, as this album quite readily demonstrates.

Alice, as most know, rarely stays the same from album to album. There was that patch in the late 80s/early 90s with the albums Constrictor, Raise Your Fist And Yell, Trash and Hey Stoopid where he seemed to aim exclusively at the stadium rock side of things, but otherwise, never two albums alike. He has, however, generally stuck to one style or sound on an album. If he was making a heavy metal album, all the songs were metal songs, including the ballad. If he was making an atmospheric album, like Welcome To My Nightmare, all the songs fit the bill. With Dirty Diamonds Alice is mixing it up a little, taking in a multitude of different styles and sounds on the one album, all tied together with Alice's trademark snarl. That never changes at least.

While some of the songs are classic 70s Coop' (something he tried to achieve on previous album The Eyes of Alice Cooper), like Woman of Mass Distraction and Perfect, there are plenty of other styles to keep you on your toes. For example, the title track comes across almost like a Queens of The Stone Age song, while Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies) sounds a bit like the Rolling Stones. There's even a hip hop crossover track in Stand, which has the funkiest bass line you've ever heard on an Alice record and a guest appearance by Xzibit. And for the classic Alice comedy, check out The Saga of Jesse Jane, where Alice adopts his trusty Elvis voice and sings about a cross-dressing hillbilly truck driver. The funniest Coop' song since Thrill My Gorilla.

This is one of those albums where everyone who listens to it will pick a different standout track. Being a fan of the heavier side of Alice Cooper, Run Down The Devil is easily my favourite, but Stand is a close second, and with a disc that is as varied as this without compromising the quality, I'd challenge all but the modest ardent drum 'n' bass/trance fan to not find something to like on here.

“ versatile ”

Tracklist: Woman of Mass Distraction / You Make Me Wanna / Perfect / Dirty Diamonds / The Saga of Jesse Jane / Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies) / Pretty Ballerina / Run Down The Devil / Steal That Car / Six Hours / Your Own Worst Enemy / Zombie Dance / Stand

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2005, Albums, Hard/Heavy Rock,

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