Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Would a supergroup by any other name sound as sweet? What about old people playing old songs? What about celebrities exploiting their friendships for cash? It’s hard to imagine a band more negligible than The Hollywood Vampires—which “boasts” a lineup of Alice Cooper, Joe Perry, and, for some reason that probably has nothing to do with marketing, Johnny Depp—nor an album more masturbatory than their eponymous debut. Named for an erstwhile famous rock-star drinking club, The Hollywood Vampires seems mostly like an excuse for Cooper to give interviews about how cool he was back in the ‘70s. Now, in 2015, we have the opportunity to pay $9.99 to listen to aging rock stars play songs by their dead friends, as well as a bunch of other famous people lending their voices to a project whose selling point is less sound than the behavioral economics principle that people buy what they already know. The music is good, technically. How could it not be? These are the best musicians from the best bands playing the best songs from the best bands, and also Johnny Depp is there. If the music was bad, the album would surrender one of the only two things it has going for it: recognizable names and leftover talent. “Whole Lotta Love” and “My Generation” sound as nice as they did 40 years ago, and there’s little Cooper, et al. could change about that. Good musicians covering good songs produce good music; we’ve seen it thousands of times from house cover bands in bars across the country. Only I’ll never buy the Chicken Slacks’ album no matter how many Thursday nights I spend dancing at The Cantab. While the individual covers are pleasant enough, Hollywood Vampires is ultimately 50 humdrum minutes of whatever with a dash of who cares. Outside of the late Christopher Lee’s awesome opening vampiric monologue, Cooper and company offer little outside the ordinary, though that is where they most excel. The mash-up of Harry Nilsson’s “One” and “Jump Into the Fire” is weird but uninteresting, not helped by the careless tacking on of Nilsson’s novelty “Coconut.” Similarly, the pairing of “School’s Out” with “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” is cute—school themes!—but lazily relies on lyrical connections without building an actual musical relationship. At least Cooper’s original compositions, two loud songs about death that bookend the album, are less boring by comparison. They’re just bad. Attempts at creativity leave the Hollywood Vampires looking at best confused and at worst old and made insignificant by time. Perhaps I should give The Hollywood Vampires more credit. They never pretend to be something they’re not. They do, however, pretend that what they are is worth our attention. When you can make a phone call and get Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl into a recording session, you’re bound to generate some buzz. But everyone involved is at least two bands removed from their best music, and Hollywood Vampires, nostalgia aside, isn’t going to bring them any closer. While this is an awesome project for Cooper, Depp and Perry to do as friends, most of us can’t run our friendships through a sound system and come out with dollah, dollah bills—even if they end up donating most to charity. Hollywood Vampires is a monument to irrelevance. A haunting portrait of the power of time to render even our boldest celebrities impotent outside our wallets. A testament to Johnny Depp’s chameleon-like ability as an actor: he’s even almost believable as a musician. In the end, the only thing super about the group is their age. Soon, Hollywood Vampires will fulfill its destiny as the most popular album in retirement homes across the country.