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Dirty Diamonds

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Album Review

When the big fat advances from big fat record companies dried up, Alice Cooper pared down his sound and came to terms with his inner garage on the nearly overdubless The Eyes of Alice Cooper. The album was worthy redemption from the big-money blandness of his mid-'80s recordings and a nice return to form after flirting with the industrial-flavored metal that defined his late-'90s material. Dirty Diamonds stays the course, and while it's not Killer or Love It to Death, it at least sounds like it's from the guy who was responsible for those classics. Fortunately, Alice is well aware of his age, and without teen angst as his focus, he turns to hedonism, sexy women, and sly, sicko humor played bar band style by one of the tightest crews he's ever fronted. Delivered in an exaggerated Johnny Cash style, "I'm in jail in a Texas town/In my sister's wedding gown" opens the bizarre "The Saga of Jesse Jane," a tale of a trucker who drives his rig all night listening to Judy Collins. It's inspired, as is the cover of the Left Banke's "Pretty Ballerina" (harpsichord, flute, and all), the reckless party tune "Steal That Car," and the slinking "Six Hours," which smells a lot like Cooper during his Bob Ezrin heyday until the dramatic bridge comes along and makes the likeness uncanny. The album is filled with surprises, but recalling his Flush the Fashion era with the robotic snarl on "Your Own Worst Enemy" takes the cake for Cooper fanatics. The catchy "Perfect" is a worthy single and the filler is clearly marked "bonus track." Ending the album with the Southern-fried, horror show "Zombie Dance" would have made more sense, since "Stand" with rapper Xzibit — lifted from Unity: The Official Athens 2004 Olympic Games Album — is silly and forced. Those are traits the rest of this fine album avoids like they were poison, or for that matter, "Poison." [The U.K. version of Dirty Diamonds replaces "Stand" with its own bonus track, the much more fitting rocker "The Sharpest Pain."]

Customer Reviews

Good Ol' Alice

Growing up with Alice Cooper, I have always had an inner soft-spot for him even though it seemed that after his 'Trash' comeback he had started to lose his way (with exception to 'Lost in America'). I almost didn't want to listen to Dirty Diamonds because (and I hate to say this) but I judged the album by it's cover. It reminded me that Alice seemed to be playing 'catch up' with music trends of late, rather than just being him! Needless to say, by about the third track on Dirty Diamonds I was shouting "YEAH!! ALICE!!!" out my window to the horror of my neighbours. Alice is back. And I mean the REAL Alice! You know, the one who wrote (with help from his band) Killer, Love it to Death and Billion Dollar Babies. Yeah.... him. The one with the whacky sense of humour, that if anyone else tried to copy it would come off as tacky. The guitar has an old school rock n roll tone, not attempted metal/grunge, and with solid, catchy riffs. The songs themselves are clever and solid with 'Sunset Babies (all got rabies)' sounding like it was maybe an outtake on the 'Muscle of Love' album. The 'Saga of Jesse Jane' is one of those good ol' Alice stories reminiscent of 'Be My Lover'.
Alice has stripped it back here. He has stopped following the pack and looked back on what makes HIM great. A couple of tracks aside (don't bother with 'Stand', and 'Steal That Car' even though it isn't a bad song, isn't up to the standard of the others) I think this is his best album since his hey-day. And DON'T judge an album by it's cover!!


Born: 04 February 1948 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Originally, there was a band called Alice Cooper led by a singer named Vincent Damon Furnier. Under his direction, Alice Cooper pioneered a grandly theatrical and violent brand of heavy metal that was designed to shock. Drawing equally from horror movies, vaudeville, heavy metal, and garage rock, the group created a stage show that featured electric chairs, guillotines, fake blood, and huge boa constrictors, all coordinated by the heavily made-up Furnier. By that time, Furnier had adopted the name...
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