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The Sound of A (Paranormal, 2017)

“The Sound of A” Lyrics:

The sound of A is in the air
The sound of A is everywhere
With the sound of a gun
And you run
Yeah, yeah, yeah

The sound of A is all around
The sound of A is underground
It will creep into your bone
When you’re alone
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys
Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys
Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys

The sound of A will keep you down
With that cruel, peculiar sound
It will shoot into your brain
And remain
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys
Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys
Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys

Paranormal is the 20th (solo) studio LP recorded by Alice Cooper. Released in July 2017, the album features many musicians and artists, including original Alice Cooper band members Neal Smith (Drums), Dennis Dunaway (Bass), and Michael Bruce (Guitar).

Musically, the LP is pure Hard Rock and “accidentally” became a concept piece. Every song has a story or character with abnormal or paranormal issues to deal with or resolve.

“My definition of paranormal is something that is “other than normal” or “alongside normal.” You could say my whole career has been that. I would look at what was normal and step left of it. That’s what get’s people’s attention. They’d listen to our music and see our show and say, “That’s so strange… oh yeah, that’s so Alice.” – Alice Cooper

This week’s song, ‘The Sound of A’ fits perfectly into the LP’s “concept.” It’s a creepy song heavily influenced by the psychedelic movement in the late 60s.

Dennis Dunaway, the original Alice Cooper bass player, re-introduced the song for consideration on the Paranormal album. The song is reportedly the first written by Alice, dating back to 1967 – a fact Alice had forgotten.

Many interpretations and suggestions have been made about the song – from the ‘A’ meaning “Alice Cooper’s music” to a more ambiguous meaning of whatever you want it to be – the sound of anything.

However, after hearing it again some 50 years later, Cooper soon remembered his thought process behind the song.

We were talking about the idea of doing a sci-fi thing where the sound of A (the musical note) was piped into every house and kept everybody on a kind of even keel,” Alice states. “If they wanted to change your mood, they would change the tone. To A-minor. Or C. Or some augmented chord. And the sound controlled you.” – Alice Cooper

What a concept. A straight out of ‘The Twilight Zone’ type of idea, and ironically, it parallels where we are today. In prophetic fashion, it describes where humanity resides at this moment in history. “Meaningless noise” guides and depicts our routines and moods. 

Tweets, text messages, alerts, newscasts, etc., keep our phones and devices informing us of the events and need-to-know things transpiring in the world around us.

It’s Orwellian when you think about it. Noises set our day’s tone (telling us how to feel, what to fear, and what to think) – beeps, chimes, and ringtones that link us (if only digitally) to one another and the world around us.

It’s odd, but technology has connected us with people all across the globe (shrinking the size of the world), yet it also seems to be affecting the amount of time we spend with those around us.

You can almost hear the voice of the Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling narrating a state of fantasy describing the things mentioned above – yet now we are living out the reality between ‘light’ and ‘shadow’ – the ‘dimension of imagination.

What’s even stranger!?!? Today’s reality seems to have also flip-flopped morally. Standards, principles, and etiquette that were once considered fundamental aspects of our culture are now rarities or oddities. Instead, social media and influencers have become the gospel by which opinions and beliefs are formed.  

There’s no need to make a list of ethical values and topics. Our consciences are still intact. We are inherently programmed to know what’s right and wrong, what works and doesn’t, and where peace comes from (John 16:33). However, we rarely use that discernment.

We see debauchery all around us, yet instead of turning it off or deleting it from our lives – we decide, “Eh, it could be worse.” So then, we keep allowing our feeble minds to soak up the smut, the unrest, and the lies. Ultimately, we decide to drown out our moral compass.

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
    keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil.
Proverbs 4:23-27

The above-listed verses help explain what this post is about. It isn’t some vitriolic rant about or against the world; instead, it calls us to guard our hearts and minds against what we know is wrong.

We mustn’t be afraid to voice concerns about uncomfortable things, but we must do so amiably. Any act done with malice or hate is NOT from the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:9-17).

Defending our faith and what we believe should be achieved with Love and compassion towards all our fellow men and women. Lifting those we disagree with, showing them Love despite any disagreements (the same way Christ loves us) (Ephesians 4:29).

We have been called to be different (Romans 12:2). To do our best to cut out the ‘meaningless noise” and replace it with His meaning and purpose. With Faith. With Hope. With Love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

We must stop and think about the thoughts and things we preoccupy ourselves with. We spend a reasonable amount of time worrying about, wishing for, or wondering about things that may never even come to fruition.

We struggle with this notion that happiness can be found in possessions and status – a better car, a better house, a better spouse, better friends, a better family, a better job, etc.

A wise pastor once said, “The grass is NOT greener elsewhere; It’s greener where you water it!” That applies to our walk with the Lord as well.

When God speaks, it’s often a whisper (Matthew 10:27, 1 Kings 19:12). And with the ‘Sound of A(nything)’ drowning out His voice, it’s often hard to hear or know what He’s saying. Our relationship with God closely resembles the relationship parents have with their children.

Our Heavenly Father wants us close to Him, and we need to be close to Him to “hear” what He is trying to tell us. He yearns for closeness and relationship(s), much like a parent wants to embrace and comfort their child(ren). 

The world is intentionally trying to get our attention by screaming at us as loud as possible (so loud and impersonal that we can hear the deafening clamor from across a room or building). It’s an intentional act keeping us distracted from Him and His voice.

To hear His whispers, we must seek a relationship with Him. Which bears the question, “How do we get close to Him?” “How do we hear His whispers and find comfort in His presence?”

The blueprints for such a relationship are written within God’s Word. We find various instructions about closeness with God.

A few of which include:

  • Communicating with Him through prayer (Philippians 4:6-7)
  • Loving others (1 John 4:7-8, 19-20)
  • Renewing our minds (Romans 12:1-3)
  • Trusting in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It takes time, practice, and patience – it’s a process. Yet there’s always something new to learn. There’s no right or wrong way – it’s the progression that works and strengthens us.

We tend to keep Him at arm’s length instead of allowing Him to wrap His arms around us, and what is inevitably true is that He is not far from ANY of us (Acts 17:27). Let us come to notice this and invite His guidance and Love to lead us. 

Wrapping up this week’s post, this song brings up an interesting concept – an idea echoed throughout God’s Word and the life of Christ – a simple plea for us to Love EVERYONE.

But how are we all supposed to get along? How are we supposed to love everyone? With so much ‘meaningless noise’ streaming into the air, how are we supposed to live in harmony? During our day-to-day interactions, both positive and negative, are we genuinely trying to approach others with Love?

With those questions, let us ask ourselves one more. If and when we ever show genuine love, how were we treated in response – positively or negatively?

It’s time we start searching for a sincere, honest, compassionate way to treat others. It’s how we were created to be. We are programmed with the Spiritual DNA to embrace and love others, but we can only tap into and awaken that through Him.

By removing His blueprint, we’ve lost the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others. As a result, society no longer knows how to “agree to disagree” respectfully.

It’s as if there can be no amicable way to see things differently, yet we are all yearning for the same thing – to be Loved, respected, and admired, not just surface-based approval, but something more genuine, more profound.

We must ask ourselves what matters most. Theories? Talking points? Ideology?

It seems we all have a different viewpoint or narrative, but how many of us are concerned with loving others as we do ourselves?

Maybe we should hone into the Sound of ‘L’ – the sound of nails being driven into wood. The sound of compassion poured out for humanity. The sound that has the power to heal and forgive. The Sound of Love.

Morality applied with Love is a rare but contagious thing. Therefore, we must allow Him to transform our hearts and minds – not with ideas and concepts – but with His Love being shared with others (John 13:35).

In conclusion, Paranormal has all the elements of any Alice Cooper record – modern or classic. It pulls all the stops – a paranoid personality, a love story, dark humor, a look at saving grace, a touch of insanity, and more.

Well-written (by Alice and various writers) and masterfully produced (by Ezrin with the help of Tommy Henriksen and Tommy Denander), Paranormal, like many of Alice’s LPs, is a tad bit overlooked due to such an immense catalog (filled with classicks).

However, this LP is just as good, if not better, than many of its predecessors. If you haven’t listened to it cover to cover, you should. Then listen to it again and again.

That’s it for this week, be well, and we’ll catch you next Friday!

Until then, Keep walkin’ in Faith and Rockin’ with Alice!

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"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

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