Alice Cooper started out this decade trying out a new sound on 2000’s Brutal Planet and 2001’s Dragontown. The sound of these albums, besides the occasional ballad, sounded almost like Cooper was forcing himself to be a Rod Zombie clone.This is odd, because Zombie was inspired by Cooper. The albums were far from awful, but they sounded like he was really trying to bandwagon. They got good reviews however, but the independent record labels that Cooper has been recording for have been unable to kick in the money necessary to make the albums major hits.
Then came 2003’s The Eyes of Alice Cooper, in which Cooper suddenly decided to give each of his musicians only one overdub in an attempt to make the album sound as raw as possible. The album had some of his best songs in years, but some wound up actually sounding a little too under-produced. The album was an attempt for Alice to return to the sound of the original Alice Cooper group, but in the end was only partially successful.
But with his 24th album, Dirty Diamonds, he has perfected the Alice Cooper sound for this decade. The songs are better overall and the musicians were allowed as many overdubs as were necessary to make the songs work. What they wound up with is not only his best album of the four from this decade, but arguably the best album he has done since 1978’s On the Inside.
If this album is not quite as strong as his early 70’s classics, it certainly sound like it is from the same artist and is definitely on par with the classics.
“Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies)” really could have been done by no one else but Alice Cooper. Another cut, “Perfect,” despite its reference to J-Lo, could easily be a follow-up to “Be My Lover” and “Steal That Car” and “Your Own Worst Enemy” nicely continue the spirit of Alice’s rebellious classics of yesteryear.
On more experimental notes are a blues ballad, “Six Hours,” and the interesting “The Saga of Jesse Jane,” about a man who put on his sister’s wedding gown and went on a crime spree.
Overall, 12 of the album’s the album’s 13 songs work quite good. And then there’s the cut marked ‘bonus.’ “Stand,” with rapper X-ibit, is Alice’s first and hopefully last, foray into the land of hip-hop.
But despite that one misstep, Dirty Diamonds is a solid album, and even more impressive considering Alice just celebrated number 58.