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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Alice Cooper

Dragontown (Special Edition)

Review by Gary Hill

This Special Edition version of Alice Cooper's Dragontown contains the entire original album as the first CD of this 2 CD set. A second CD has been added wiuch contains four previously unreleased songs and two videos. The whole set is encased in a nice sleeve, and it is a limited-edition numbered release. All of these things should make the release collectible. The Dragontown album at its original release was a strong set, just not as strong as its predecesor, Brutal Planet. The additional material here doesn't add too much. Of course, I should point out that I could not get the videos to play on any of my PC's. Since they apparently are quick time movies, I believe that they are only playable on PC's, but I tried 4 different machines with not one able to run the movies. The track by track reviews here of the original disc are strictly reproduced from my original review, as that disc is exactly the same here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Triggerman
This one starts the album off in much the same manner as Brutal Planet. It comes in hard and fast. This is a gritty, mean piece that has a catchy chorus.
Deeper
Starting with effects type tones, this one jumps in brutally hard, but drops to a more sparse, mellower creepy tone for the verse. The chorus is created by the harder edged sound and a great spooky sounding vocal break completes the picture.
Dragpntown
A haunting, more melodic style starts this one with a bit of an eastern tinged tone. The lyrics here are brutal. The cut features a hard-edged gritty segment that serves as contrast to that melodic section. It features a great catchy chorus. The composition fluctuates between these three sounds. It also includes a break that feels like the classic era Cooper of the harder variety.
Sex Death and Money
A techno beat creates the backdrop for this tough song. The lyrics are a great take on a complaint about the sex and violence in our society. It is delivered in a classic Alice nearly spoken mode. This is another that feels a lot like an updating of the classic Coop sound.
Fantasy Man
This bouncy, but still gritty cut is a tongue-in-cheek praise of testosterone soaked living. It is fairly light hearted and fun.
Somewhere in the Jungle
Describing vicious war in Africa, this is a mid-tempoed hard rocking number with a lot of character.
Disgraceland
This one could have been called "Dead Elvis". It is based around a classic '50's rock and roll riff and Elvis styled vocals. The lyrics are an irreverent, darkly humorous take on Mr. Presley. This is good fun.
Sister Sara
With a modern hard-edged gritty tone, this one screams out and features a classic Cooper vocal line. It includes a playful quirky segment with female vocals that really calls to mind that '70's Alice sound.
Disc 2
Clowns Will Eat Me
This is a hard rocking but rather generic cut. The chorus however has some definite flair.
Go To Hell (Live)
A strong live rendition of this Cooper classic, it is well recorded and produced for a definite winner of a track.
Ballad of Dwight Fry (Live)
This is another strong live recording. This cut, one of my all time favorites from the Cooper Catalog always works, and Alice's performance ehre is quite theatric and powerful.
Brutal Planet (Remix)
Did you ever expect to hear a techno/dance remix of an Alice Cooper cut? Well, that is exactly what we have here, and although it comes across as rather odd, I have to admit I like it.
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