Review by Michael on October 31, 2023.
Ladies and gentlemen, please take a seat and enjoy the next 48 minutes full of entertaining stories told by Vincent Damon Furnier, better known as Alice Cooper. But let him introduce himself with the very catchy light rock song 'I'm Alice'. This one is a fantastic song that has so many reminiscences to his old works back from the 70s – starting with the sound, continuing with the guitar riffs and of course his distinctive voice. Alice Cooper sounds as fresh as back in his heydays and for sure not like a 75-year-old guy. And the lyrics in this song are so full of irony and self-reflection (with many winks):
...They hang me from the gallows and they chop off my head
But like Lazarus I'm rising; I come back from the dead
The shameless pretenders have come and they've gone
But I stand here and the legend lives on!...
I mean, hell yeah, Alice is a legend but I guess to state that so obviously is so pretty much exaggerated that I only can be meant with a lot of irony, can't it? The next song 'Welcome To The Show' then kicks off with some really casual stop and go-riffs and hacked up and hasty drumming before another really fantastic song develops. The chorus is so unbelievably catchy that you are instantly forced to sing along with that one. And when Alice is giving some commands to his band, you clearly can see that this time it is a real band who did the songs together and not some collaboration between Alice Cooper and somebody else. 'All Over The World' is a stomping rock song with a lot of blues vibes in the guitars and the trumpets blowing here and there. Again the guitar work here is absolutely fantastic and although the song is pretty anachronistic it doesn't sound old-fashioned. Even bluesier are 'Dead Don't Dance' and 'White Line Frankenstein' where he deals with his addiction to cocaine back in the early 80s. In these two songs you find almost doomy elements like Black Sabbath did on their first four albums crossed with the typical melodic Alice Cooper choruses. So this really kicks ass with its heavy vibes and thundering drums. 'Go Away' starts like a 90s glam rock song with the typical tunes guitars like Skid Row, McQueen Street or Guns n' Roses had back in those days. Lyrically it could also be something that could have been sung about there – a bugging girl who stalks Alice. Need proof? Here we go:
...I met her once back in 92
At a Detroit show, now she sticks like glue…that's her...
'The Big Goodbye' is maybe the heaviest song on the album with very powerful guitar riffs that are more heavy metal than hard rock. But the heaviness is always softened by Alice's charismatic voice and the melodic choruses he performs. With 'Road Rats Forever' even some big band feeling crept in one song on Road. The piano and the pace of the song are something that is completely different from the rest and could be a total radio friendly song. And from these two elements and again the fantastic and rousing chorus the song lives and breathes its energy. 'Baby Please Don't Go' is the mandatory ballad on the album and like all other ballads he ever did, this one also doesn't miss its intention. Alice sounds really sad while singing his lines and the acoustic guitar also puts you in this very special sad mood when you listen to his ballads (at least it works like that on me every time). Maybe it isn't the best ballad he ever did but it totally fits on the album. '100 More Miles' is a typical Alice Cooper song with this creepy melody which could also work for a horror movie. But he doesn't sing about chopped off heads or zombies but only about wanting to come home. And after much too short 48 minutes the album closes with a cover of The Who. 'Magic Bus' isn't too far from the original but of course it got some heavier tunes with the electric guitars. But somehow the vocal lines remind me of this song the guys in the army always sing in the movies if you know what I mean. And the worst thing is that I always have the image of Alice Cooper flying around with Ms Frizzle in the Magic School Bus…….
What? I forgot two songs to mention? No, I just kept them for the end because they are maybe the most remarkable because of the very nice funny lyrics. 'Big Boots' is a groovy rock stomper, spreading some bar feeling with the piano tunes and very melodic vocal lines. Lyrically it goes about the waitress Fancy with em… her big boots. Pretty nice that Alice Cooper is still in puberty, hehe!!! And the last one is 'Rules Of The Road'. Guess John Lee Hooker was the godfather for the beginning of the song. It is very untypical and so goddamn bluesy but makes it really fun! And the lyrics are so full of irony, I always have to laugh when I hear the song:
...So, if you wanna be like me
Here's the rules 1,2,3
You gotta find a killer band
Then bust your ass, you understand?
And if you follow these simple rules, by the age of 27, well…
You're gonna die, hahaha...
That laughter and the “Howgh!” at the end of the song clearly emphasizes the not too seriously meant lyrics.
Well, many words for a great album – let's finally sum it up in one sentence. Road has become the best Alice Cooper album since My Last Temptation from 1994 with all killer, no filler songs and it is probably the best rock album for many many years.
Rating: 10 out of 10 big boots245