“Welcome 2 My Nightmare” by Alice Cooper

Artist: Alice Cooper
Title: “Welcome 2 My Nightmare”
Label: Universal Music
Release Date: 9/13/2011
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4.25/5

Sometimes sequels can be a very scary thing and I think that when it comes to the one and only Alice Cooper that this is exactly the mindset that he wants to leave you with. In 1975 Alice delivered his “Welcome To My Nightmare” album, and this was not only a concept record that delved into the mind of the insane, but also Cooper’s very first solo album outside of the works done with his original Alice Cooper Band. The singer brings us back to the storyline that he began all those decades ago and to increase its value is joined by producer Bob Ezrin and three members of the original band who drop in on a few tracks for good measure. It’s an interesting listen and one that follows a number of different musical avenues as it progresses and when you consider the albums overall theme this seems to work out to its benefit. It begins with a soft, almost ballad kind of number in “I Am Made Of You” and the only downside to this track is the overuse of the auto tune stuff. Please Mr. Cooper, leave that for the Pop crap and don’t give it to us. It takes away from an otherwise very powerful opener that makes you feel as though the opening to a film is happening in your mind. A fun and quirky number dedicated to “Caffeine” follows this and it appears as though our protagonist Steven is hoping to stay alert and awake and not fall into the slumber that brings the eventual nightmare’s to his mind.

That not so good night does take hold as “The Nightmare Returns” and finds the musician waking on a “A Runaway Train”. This tune is a rocking and energetic one and just speaks to the live stage in terms of how well it creates a visual in your mind. There is a slight Country twang to it and some solid drumming that also has Denis Dunaway, Michael Bruce and Neal Smith delivering the musical good as the train screams into the endless night. “The Last Man On Earth” is an odd one and I instantly picture Alice in top hat and tails with his signature cane as he snarls about his own importance to the larger scheme of things. “The Congregation” is an instant winner right out of the first few notes and delivers some solid riffs and solid rhythmic power but when they slip into “I’ll Bit You’re Face Off” you will think that you are listening to The Rolling Stones with the similar groove and vibe that it puts out. We get Bob Ezrin on additional vocals and piano in this one and at a couple of turns I thought it was Jagger based on the inflection in his notes. It was not though. Cooper plays with our Rock senses by tossing in a very Techno-Disco feel for “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever” and while this might send some of his fans for the door I encourage you to brave it through since some ripping lead guitar from Damon Johnson and a heavier level of riffing takes over after a little over two minutes. “Ghouls Gone Wild” continues the playful nature and one can best relate this to a Pop-Punk groove. I liked it. It’s also time to mention that joining Alice in the band for the recording is Steve Hunter who’s worked with him in the past as well as other iconic musicians such as Lou Reed.

The second ballad is found with “Something To Remember Me By” and it was not all that bad but this is quickly overpowered by “When Hell Comes Home” as the musician speaks to domestic abuse and the violence that it continues to breed. Dramatic vibe and serious lyrical content make this probably the darkest of the albums offerings. Cooper stressed that he would shock and surprise his fans with some of the album and perhaps the most surprising would be the very Pop-centric “What Baby Wants” that finds him doing a duet with Ke$ha. This might actually end up being a radio hit for Cooper so let’s see what happens. The storyline closes up with “I Gotta Get Outta Here” and with this number Alice reflects upon the happenings in the albums previous tunes. He seeks to escape but as the tune draws to a close we learn just where he has ended up and I will leave that discovery to your own ears now that I have offered up my views on its contents. There is a great instrumental closer to the album in “Underture” and it gives us some of the melodies from the original “Welcome To My Nightmare” release and a little bit more. I love this kind of stuff when it’s done right and this was an absolute success.

Lyrics are included in the booklet to give you listeners a better understanding into the storyline but there are no real photos to speak of and instead we only get two painted images of Cooper on the front and back page. Oh well, I guess you cannot have everything but I was happy for the lyrics which are presented to you on blood spattered pages. At the end of the day I will say that you will not find any instant classics like “Billion Dollar Babies”, “Elected” or even “School’s Out” but you still have a very solid and well-produced bit of maniacal fun. It’s not so much a Shock Rock release in its overall presentation but more a cinematic ready piece of music that should translate well to the concert stage if delivered from beginning to end. I’ll admit that some of the tunes found me scratching my head upon the first listen but after a couple of more turns I felt that the whole thing was quite enjoyable. It’s very likely that this is one of the more solid Alice releases in recent years and I felt that if you are a new fan that this might be a good place to pick up with what he is doing and then go snare yourself some of that classic back catalogue or an anthology piece if you are missing it in your collection. My hope is that he presents some kind of video with this album eventually as it really worked.

Track Listing:
1. I Am Made Of You
2. Caffeine
3. The Nightmare Returns
4. A Runaway Train
5. Last Man On Earth
6. The Congregation
7. I’ll Bite Your Face Off
8. Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever
9. Ghouls Gone Wild
10. Something To Remember Me By
11. When Hell Comes Home
12. What Baby Wants
13. I Gotta Get Outta Here
14. The Underture

Official Website: http://www.alicecooper.com

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