on 13 September 2011
I've been waiting for this album to be released for months; since Alice first tweeted about it way back when .... and it's worth the wait.
Since the original 'Welcome To My Nightmare' I've bought numerous Alice albums but it was always going to be difficult to beat that classic. Now let me be clear, 'Welcome 2 My Nightmare' doesn't match the original but it is the best album since without a SHADOW of doubt (in my opinion).
Clever clever start with the piano hook from 'Steven' (original WTMN album) leads into the excellent 'I Am Made Of You'. Up-to-date and a little 'Kanye' as the song begins
Track 2 ('Caffeine') is a strong rock track and then 'The Nightmare Returns' and the intro to 'A Runaway Train' promises touches of inspiration a la original WTMN ..... but slips into some solid but not memorable rock.
Banjo and oompah music are hugely entertaining in the brilliant 'Last Man on Earth' and then there's 'The Congregation'; love it!! LOVE ..... IT .... !!
The next three tracks are ok but the 10th track ('Something To Remember Me By') is a weak ballad I'm afraid; it feels like a placeholder, a poor substitute for a track that should have been a 'Only Women Bleed II'.
'When Hell Comes Home' is an edgy and GREAT track about the horrors of abuse and is followed by a good link up with Ke$ha (yes, I know ..... me too) in 'What Baby Wants'.
The next track is ..... bland but then it's followed by an instrumental medley from the original 'Welcome' album. Bonus track is a cover and is okay I guess.
So in summary I'd say four things: -
- This is a definite 4 *'s but I can't give it a '5' because it doesn't quite match the original 'Welcome' album.
- there are some tracks on here that I WILL definitely listen to death; brilliant
- shame about 3 of the 15 tracks; feel like poor subs or space fillers
- I'm about to listen to the original 'Welcome' album again as this (W2MN) is a great follow-up album AND it reminds me that the original 'Welcome' is just IMMENSE and should be in everyone's collection. I can see this album re-igniting interest in the original for sure.
Alice, sit back and feel bl**dy smug mate; job well done
It's been a long time since Alice Cooper, Godfather of theatrical shock rock 'n' roll, came up with anything that could be described as Classic Cooper.
In the 70's - on just about every album after the first two psychedelia and Zappa influenced releases - the Alice Cooper Band, then Alice Cooper the solo artist, were responsible for some of the best conceptual, diverse and greatest music in rock.
But for a man who once decided to Flush the Fashion the reality is that, for the last three decades, it's primarily been formulated 80's and 90's Trash 'n' roll and Millennium melodic metal.
There have been exceptions, such as 1994's The Last Temptation (a serious return to form) but the chances of Alice Cooper ever revisiting the classic era or recreating something quintessentially Cooper, seemed remote. At best.
But who could have dreamed...
Welcome 2 My Nightmare is, as the name suggests, a sequel or themed follow up to the classic 1975 original.
Cooper had at first considered a sequel to his 2008 album Along Came a Spider, but Bob Ezrin (producer and influence on just about every Alice Cooper release of the 70's) wasn't taken with the idea and the pair decided to go further back for inspiration and return to nightmare's past.
And good move it was too, because Welcome 2 is a startling return to form, diverse in content and themed around the nightmarish scenarios of the original without ever copying or rewriting that classic material. The Lyrics vary from dark and black to the thoughtful and downright funny.
Having Bob Ezrin back at the controls (and contributing to the writing and arrangements) has also paid dividends. It's a clean production but intentionally and successfully captures the vibe of the original Nightmare and that 70's sound.
And it doesn't hurt that members of the original Alice Cooper Band - Michael Bruce (guitars, keyboards) Dennis Dunaway (bass) and Neal Smith (drums) all make appearances on the album and have individual co-writing credits on the their three featured numbers (the other ACB original, guitarist Glen Buxton, sadly died in 1997).
Guitarist Steve Hunter, who played on a number of ACB albums (and worked with Cooper in the latter half of the 70's) also gets to flex his six-string fingers on a few of the tracks.
The album opens in grand fashion with `I Am Made of You.'
The song starts with a familiar chill courtesy of the revisited piano intro from the original Nightmare's `Steven` (the central player of the 1975 album and a recurring character on other Cooper records). The mid-tempo number builds from its piano-vocal opening to become a theatrical piece that is almost rock opera in scale.
It's already being hailed as a classic Cooper song.
For all the darkness of the concept there is a serious amount of fun to be had with Welcome 2.
`Caffeine' is infectious fun-filled rock and roll, based on the dangers of grabbing yourself too much of that stimulant - a too-wired-to-sleep nightmare for many.
`A Runaway Train' (featuring the ACB musicians) thunders down the rock and roll tracks in the tradition of `Under My Wheels' while `Last Man on Earth' is an observation after the Runaway Train crash, sung and arranged in a Vaudeville meets Cabaret style.
And although Cooper has stated `The Congregation' was inspired by the Beatles, it's loudly and clearly the greatest song Green Day and Oasis never got together to do.
Just about every song carries a macabre theme however.
Some are very dark in tone, such as 'When Hell Comes Home' (dealing with family abuse), while some levity is restored with the surf rock of 'Ghouls Gone Wild' and 'Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever.'
The latter is a truly awful song (but then that's the point), presented in a very specific musical and lyrical form to reinforce the fact that disco, sadly, never dies.
Even when everyone else does.
For all its diversity, Welcome 2 still manages to throw up a surprise or two.
Female singer/ rapper Kesha guests as the Devil in `What Baby Wants' while the soft rock ballad `Something to Remember Me By' would seem to be a strange choice for an album full of nightmares.
But this is an Alice Cooper album and things are never as they first appear...
'Something to Remember Me By' actually sat unused and unsung for over thirty years but here has finally found a home. And a fitting home it is too - musically it's the nicest piece on the album but lyrically it's being sung to parts of a corpse.
As you do.
The album closes with the instrumental `The Underture,' another rock opera piece.
The track revisits themes from both Nightmare albums and features guitar work from Dick Wagner, another musical sparring partner of Cooper's from the 70's and early 80's.
The very nature of the piece means it should be the opening number but, again, this is an Alice Cooper album - so where else would it be but the end.
The Alice Cooper Band releases, from Love it to Death onwards, helped define 70's rock. And there's an argument for Killer being THE Alice Cooper album.
But as regards the individual and performer known as Alice Cooper, three solo albums stand out as showcases for the musical diversity and originality of the artist...
Welcome to My Nightmare is the 1975 album that set Alice Cooper on his way as a solo artist and theatrical shock and roll performer.
From the Inside is another concept album, this one based around the singer's stay at a sanatorium due to alcoholism and health concerns.
Released in 1978, Inside is his finest 40 minutes and most accomplished work.
Zipper Catches Skin takes its musical lead from early 80's post-punk new wave and features lyrics that are tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic and just plain funny.
Zipper was not well received and didn't chart in the US or the UK, but it's a sometimes humorous, sometimes bizarre and a genuinely unique Alice Cooper release.
Nightmare themed rock... biographical conceptual rock and roll... quirky off-the-wall musicality. Each helps define Alice Cooper.
As does Welcome 2 My Nightmare.
Some 36 years after the album that inspired it.
on 1 October 2011
As a huge Alice fan, i have been let-down by the last few albums ..sure there were some good songs on each but thats a so what? .. i heard Alice was going back to the nightmare, i must admit i was pleased but being a sequel or follow up to the classic nightmare i wasnt sure he could pull it off! im pleased to say that after what seems like years of waiting for Alice to show up, he finally does! there are a host of styles which compliment the original, Alice seems to have woken up to the fact not everyone wants to here garage rock n roll album after album, the opener - i am made of you is the first song to grab me and make me a believer in Alice again.. the song uses effects to suit alices brilliant singing voice to the max! plus its the music that makes this outing better...a host of collaberators with his original band, plus steve hunter and bob ezrin, rob zombie and john 5 , plus also a welcome return of Kip Winger pity he is on backin vocals and not bass too..but this is a album of class there is only one point i would have liked Kane Roberts on Guitar for a couple of tracks but still its a great return for Alice ..My Mate Ziggy would be proud!
on 15 April 2012
The title is something of a misnomer since the 'plot' really recalls 'Goes To Hell' and, like that album, the music is eclectic with a capital E! Alice is re-united with his old A.C. band mates, plus legendary producer Bob Ezrin, whilst there's a string of musical guest appearances.
1. 'I Am Made Of You' ***** Shock, horror - Alice uses auto-tuned vocals!! Actually, this makes the track into a very effective anthem. It's an instant classic.
2. 'Caffeine' ***** An excellent rocker that has translated well into his stage show.
3. 'The Nightmare Returns' **** A short, yet effective, piece that uses some of the instrumental motifs from the original 'Nightmare' album.
4. 'A Runaway Train' ***** Very Bob Dylanish in its 'stream of consciousness' and no chorus. Terrific.
5. 'Last Man On Earth' ***** Alice tips his blood-encrusted hat here to Tom Waits. Excellent.
6. 'The Congregation' *** After five great tracks, things start to falter somewhat. Glitter Band drums; Oasis guitars; Lennon vocals, with a pointless Rob Zombie monologue. It's a tad boring.
7. 'I'll Bite Your Face Off' **** I've got a bit fed up of this musical homage to The Stones/Who; it's good, but over-familiarity has bred a bit of contempt!
8. 'Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever' **** What could have been a disaster actually ends up being rather inspired. Bonkers, in a lol way!
9. 'Ghouls Gone Wild' ** Sounding like Scooby Doo meets Eddie Cochran and The Beach Boys (and not in a good way!) the production is over-fussy, whilst the song is a definite dud.
10. 'Something To Remember Me By' *** The ubiquitous ballad. Okay, if a tad sappy. Not in the same league as 'Only Women Bleed' or 'I Never Cry'.
11. 'When Hell Comes Home' **** In some ways this tale of domestic abuse could easily fit on 'Billion Dollar Babies', having the same vibe as, say, 'Sick Things'. It's overall effectiveness, though, is a little diluted by over-fussy production (again); sometimes less is more!
12. 'What Baby Wants' *** The Kesha duet that pinches the 'Beat It' tune lock, stock and barrel. It's okay.
13. 'I Gotta Get Outta Here' **** Country-pop with some very humorous lyrics from Alice.
14. 'The Underture' ** I hated this three years ago, and it hasn't really grown on me. Guitarist Dick Wagner instrumentally threads together bits of themes from each Nightmare album; unfortunately it's a bit of a classical rock conceit.
Overall then, the album ultimately lacks the effortless majesty of the original 'Nightmare', because it doesn't have that record's musically dark cohesiveness, nor much of Alice's trademark sneer. After a superb start it starts to fall apart somewhat, but just manages to have enough remaining good tracks to merit four stars.
on 7 November 2011
Wanna know what happened to Steven??? Well, according to Alice Cooper's previous album, 2008's `Along Came A Spider', he is stuck in an insane asylum suffering delusions that he is a serial killer and giant spider who wraps his victims in silk and delights in eating their limbs. You won't find out anything about him on the good-time rocker, `Welcome 2 My Nightmare'.
Perhaps `Along Came a Spider', despite its comparatively superficial, heavy metal, comic book approach, was the real sequel to 1975's complex, career-defining `Welcom To My Nightmare'. And perhaps Alice, realizing the missed titling and marketing opportunity too late, decided to nevertheless officially stamp his next record as the "official sequel", despite the fact that there is nothing even faintly as dark as man-eating black widow spiders, terrified little boys, necrophilia and blood-soaked alcoholic blackouts on this "sequel" - and despite the fact that there is nothing really linking the 13 new songs together in any dream-related narrative.
Sure, he throws in the odd reference to nightmares, ghouls, souls, death, burning beds and blood. But this album, though far more slickly produced, has much more in common with his genre-hopping, garage-rock infused `Dirty Diamonds', from 2005 (Dirty Diamonds 2, anyone?!), than it really does to anything quite as perverse as the first `Nightmare' or the original band's shock-rock efforts before it, like `Billion Dollar Babies', `School's Out', `Killer' or `Love It to Death'.
So, shrewd businessman that he is, Alice has also assembled the remaining members of the original band and the uber-producer, Bob Ezrin, who made all those albums - and more - into massive hits for the Coop in his heyday.
And, once you get past the failed promise of the title, it works quite well. There are dabbles in the Vaudevillian style of the Alice Cooper band of old, but they are more of a nod that a full embrace. Throw in a few bits of tinkling piano and moments of orchestration that hark back to the original, along with the horror references, and you might fool the passing listener. But the rest of us will judge it as a strong, slick, late career rocker from the Ezrin-Cooper team, tapping their winning approach of old while giving it all a modern, good-time spit and polish. And the result is mostly high energy, humorous, rockin' fun...
Things kick off with the rather beautifully auto-tuned and moody `I Am Made of You', which sets up a suitable level of intrigue before it is dashed by fast paced pop-rocker, `Caffeine'. Some rapid fire rockabilly with `A Runaway Train' is soon followed up with a Parisian whiff of Tom Waits in `Last Man on Earth', an echo of Oasis in `The Congregation' and the Stones-esque swagger of `I'll Bite Your Face Off'. There's the overdone tongue-in-cheek cheese of `Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever', which is saved by a switch to a thrash ending, followed by the Green Day tinged `Ghouls Gone Wild'. The rather beautiful Cooper-Wagner ballad, `Something to Remember Me By', takes on a sinister overtone when followed up by the album's only truly dark or perverse track ,the magnificent but sleazy domestic abuse opus, `When Hell Comes Home'. Things shift back into high party mode with the slick pop of the infectious `What Baby Wants', a duet with Kesha, before ending in the embarrassingly naff wrap-up track, `I Gotta Get Out of Here'. An orchestral suite of the original and the sequel is tacked on the end.
Not the sequel the title would suggest (though, the cover art probably provides a hint of what to expect), `Welcome 2 My Nightmare' is nevertheless a slick, high energy, celebratory party album. And its stacks of camp fun!
on 29 August 2013
Just a fantastic album, should be in everyone's collection. Fleetwood Mac at their best, with a whole load of favourite tracks. So good it could be a best off. One of my favourite groups, and definitely a favourite album, so go and buy your own copy.
on 10 March 2013
I have been a fan of Alice Cooper since I was a young girl that is a very long time!!!!! This album certainly does not disappoint quite the opposite. Alice Cooper is a talented and creative song writer and performer and I enjoy listening to this album as well as all the others.
This is brillian because it is the continuation of the first Welcome to my Nightmare and you can follow the story line running through it and the music is simply brilliant! Long may you rock, Alice
on 6 January 2012
Like most reviewers I'm a long time Copper fan, and like most reviewers I've found this album a welcome return to the classic age of Cooper.
Sure there's a couple of songs that don't do it for me but there's also a treasure trove of brilliant lyrics, musical composition and dark, dark humour.
No point spoiling the discovery for others...if you are an Alice Cooper fan and don't have this album yet, buy it now!
on 12 November 2012
Bought this album for a good friend of mine, as he was going to see Alice on tour. Having had a listen to the album, I can thoroughly recommend buying it. This is getting back to the persona at its best. Some of the tracks ease you into the mood before Alice commands the story. Buy it now
'Welcome 2 My Nightmare' is not the kind of Alice Cooper album to please some of his longest standing fans. There is a pop sensibility going on, a few tracks have 'borrowed ideas" ('Summertime Blues = 'Ghouls Gone Wild, 'Beat It' = 'What Baby Wants), Alice attempts to rap on one song and there are even moments when Cher, Madonna and Aqua -(Yes! Aqua of 'Barbie Girl' fame) spring to mind!
Sounds awful huh? Well, wait until you listen to this album!
'Welcome 2 My Nightmare' is as crammed full of great songs, fun ideas, storming riffs and violent mood swings as any of the very best Cooper albums from the 1970's. Unlike the distinctly average, 'Along Came A Spider' set, all of the songs here sparkle with invention, sound fresh, current and have either well crafted, menacing or witty lyrics. I admit that Alice doesn't quite have the demonic rasp to his voice these days and in some respects a lot of the songs here have even a slight sense of Cooper sending himself up but it all works spectacularly well and 'Welcome 2' comes together effortlessly as an album.
Opener, 'I Am Made Of You' is a shock to the system right from the off! With Alice using Madonna/Cher like vocoder effects on his voice and William Orbit like beats you wonder whether Cooper can really pull a song like this off? Can he, OH YES he can! Lyrically brilliant, the song sets the scene for the daring and diverse ride to come and the guitar solos have a majestic quality about them as if to advertise that this record is something special. 'Caffeine' seems to be a return to the Cooper of old being much more what you'd expect but this is quickly followed by the short, creepy 'The Nightmare Returns' and we realise that Alice has a good few tricks up his sleeve to come yet...
'Runaway Train' sounds like heavy metal meets Morrissey's rockabilly period! 'Last Man Standing' is Alice Cooper with a touch of Vaudeville Jazz Band and Dixie! 'The Congregation' sees Alice mix The Sweet with Cheap Trick and The Beatles for a STORMING rocker! 'Ill Bite Your Face Off' has a kind of 'dirty, lowdown rock' n roll melody' and is the first single from the album. 'Disco Bloodbath Fever' is a TOTAL pi**take of the worst rap and pop C*A* that we all have to put up with and is all the more hilarious for it and then, 'Ghouls Gone Wild' sees Cooper mugging Eddie Cochrane for his 'Summertime Blues' song and turning it into a pop/rock radio smash - expect it to be a single soon!
Then, as this brilliant album has a habit of doing, just when you think Alice has turned the whole album into a parody and comedy fest, along comes the tender, Beatlesesque, ballad 'Something To Remember Me By'. A beautiful song, Alice sings it as if he really means it and that comes through and helps to mellow you out for the next installment. Another potential single in my opinion.
Good job we are all mellowed out as it turns out because the next track, 'When Hell Comes Home', is the most disturbing and sinister thing on the album. A REAL throw-back to the feel of the first 'Welcome To My Nightmare' set, the song is brooding and lyrically unsettling. Next, almost hilariously, Michael Jackson is the next recording artist to feel Alice's cosh on the back of his head as 'What Baby Wants' utilises a well disguised 'Beat It' riff to underpin a pop/rock duet. 'I Gotta Get Outta Here' echoes The Rolling Stones in spots and The Backsliders in others but is lyrically all Alice.
To finish the actual album we get the wonderful instrumental 'The Underture' - a mini film soundtrack, all strings, tinkling piano and soaring rock guitar solos - WOW!
Depending on which version of the album you buy, there are a number of 'Bonus Tracks' to be had as well but they are frankly extra icing on an already perfect cake.
So what are you waiting for? Put simply, this is not just the best Alice Cooper album for a VERY long time, it is THE BEST album of 2011 for me.
Long live Alice Cooper!