Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare

 Posted by on March 3, 2013 at 20:45  Add comments
Mar 032013
 

coopernightmare_2011Being able to release 26 albums during a career is quite an achievement in rock music. Arguably the originator of shock-rock, Alice Cooper, has that kind of staying power, with releases going all the way back to 1969. In 1975, Alice released Welcome to my Nightmare as a concept album following the journey through nightmares of a child named Steven. Now, 31 years later, Alice has released the sequel to that album, bringing back many of the original band members and producer Bob Ezrin, to give the album some of that 1970’s feel. When you are legendary figure in music and undertaking a project of this significance, there will inevitably be many current stars wanting to contribute as well, and this sequel album contains everyone from John 5 (Rob Zombie) to Rob Zombie to Kip Winger, country star Vince Gill, and even an appearance by Ke$ha.

Concept albums can be tricky to pull off as it can be difficult to pull out individual songs for listeners to hear and not be confused because they aren’t hearing the songs in context of the story. Welcome 2 My Nightmare though, does work very well, likely because of the reputation of Alice Cooper and his somewhat outrageous stage shows. This notoriety will draw listeners in to see and hear what might be happening. One other aspect working in Alice’s favor is the variety of styles in the songs. As I was listening to this I could just picture Alice strutting about the stage with all sorts of props, blood, explosions, and other theatrics. I would love to see this performed live. Given his longevity in the business, Alice has been around some of the all-time greats including the Rolling Stones, and Alice pays homage to the Stones in “I’ll Bite Your Face Off”, a song that sounds like it could be right off a Stones album, except for maybe the “I’ll bite your face off” chorus. Much of the album has that big, arena-rock 1970’s sound and feel.

Songs like “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever” is a great example of the tongue-in-cheek dark humor that is also a characteristic part of the Alice Cooper experience. The somewhat silly disco part eventually gives way to a rock song with some blistering guitar work by John 5. Just as abrupt, is the next song “Ghouls Gone Wild” with its surf-rock style that musically sounds like it could be a Beach Boys song. Things turn a bit darker in the song “When Hell Comes Home”, which is about an abusive father figure who may be meeting his end by getting one “right between the eyes”. The first time you listen through this album, it’s almost like a game to guess what style the next song will be.

“What Baby Wants” is the track that likely raised the most eyebrows as it features Ke$sha trading vocals with Alice. Again there is a good sense of humor in this track and the verbal confrontations between Alice and Ke$ha do work. Ke$ha sings, “You like my pretty mouth,” to which Alice replies “Yeah, but you got razor blades instead of teeth”, and then later Ke$ha sings, “I’m gonna drain your vein and bathe in your blood…” Over the top lyrics like these are all over this album and fit well with the onstage persona that Alice has created, shocking but at the same time tongue-in-cheek. Overall, the album jumps all over the spectrum in terms of music styles and has lyrics ranging from darkly serious to comical as Alice again describes his nightmare journey, but ends up as a fun listen.

The bonus tracks on the version I received to review include “Under the Bed”, which is a song that continues the nightmare theme and describes the “they” who live under the bed . From a style standpoint, this is more of a straight-ahead rock song similar to “Poison” in a lot of ways. Fittingly, the other bonus track is a live version of “Poison” recorded at the Download Festival. In general, it’s a good live recording, with some good mixing of the crowd singing along. Makes for a nice closing to the album and does reinforce my desire to actually see Alice live at some point.

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson

Tracklist
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 (feat. Ke$ha)
13. I Gotta Get Outta Here
14. The Underture (Instrumental)

Bonus tracks
15. Under the Bed
16. Poison (Live at Download Festival)

Band Members
Alice Cooper – Vocals, harmonica

Additional musicians:
Tommy Henriksen –Guitars,Bass,Keyboards,Vocals,Programming
Michael Bruce – Guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Dennis Dunaway – Bass, backing vocals
Neal Smith – Drums, percussion, backing vocals
Steve Hunter – Guitars
Keith Nelson – Guitars, backing vocals
Dick Wagner – Guitar
Tommy Denander – Guitar
Vince Gill – Guitar
Ke$ha – Guest vocals
Rob Zombie – Backing vocals
John 5 – Guitar
Chuck Garric – Bass
Piggy D –Bass
David Spreng –Drums
Kip Winger – backing vocals
Patterson Hood – Guitar
Damon Johnson – Guitar
Jimmy DeGrasso – Drums
Pat Buchanan – Guitars
Scott Williamson – Drums
Jimmie Lee Sloas – Bass

Record Label: Universal Music Enterprises, Sept. 2011

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Twitter 

Buy the album here:
Holland:
 First Paradox 
Norway:
 Nordic Mission

Video below: Welcome 2 My Nightmare teaser clip:

Video below: “I’ll Bite Your Face Off”:

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