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Could be The Best Alice Cooper Album Ever !!
on 14 September 2011
Just to set the scene, I have been a big fan of Alice Cooper ever since his iconic performance of School's Out on Top of the Pops in 1972. Since then I have purchased every single Alice Cooper Album ( Many are reviewed on Amazon ) and I have seen him live some 15 times down the years.
I tend to feel like like many long term Alice fans that his very best work was done in the early days with the original Alice Cooper group ( Bruce, Buxton, Dunaway, Smith ). In my honest Opinion the first seven albums where the best ( Pretties for you Through to Muscle of Love ) with a few ( Killer, School's Out, Billion Dollar Babies & Muscle of Love ) being absolute classics.
After Alice went Solo I felt that nothing really quite rivalled these early classics. That Said, obviously Welcome to My Nightmare was a brilliant album albeit with a totally different feel to the earlier albums. Then down the years a number of albums stood out to rival the early work. From The Inside, A brilliant and classy Concept album about Alice's stay in the sanitorium, Da Da a very dark and underrated concept album was a bit of an overlooked classic, Hey Stoopid was a pretty good album it's own right and I thought The Last Temptation was brilliant and was the first solo album to truly compare with the early classics.
In recent years Dragontown and Dirty Diamonds were both pretty good albums. So, why am I saying all this ? Because I reckon that Welcome 2 my Nightmare represents his very best work ever. As a long time fan I was stunned by just how good this album is.
The opening track, I am Made of You sets the scene with the first notes culled from Steven on the 1st Nightmare album. It's also a ballad ( I don't think Alice has ever opened an album with a ballad before ) and a classy one at that with a top drawer guitar solo from original nightmare collaborator Steve Hunter.
Caffienne is a straight ahead rocker followed by the Nightmare Returns, a short piano piece that sends shivers down the spine half way through as the notes from Steven Dramatically reappear to set the scene for the nightmare.
This is followed by A Runuaway train, co written with Dennis Dunuaway and Bob Ezrin this is a briliant throw back to the old days. Performed with the original band it reminds us what an outstanding drummer Neal smith is and what a great rhythm section he formed with Dennis Dunuaway. Mike Bruce's guitar actually sounds like a train whistle in this fast paced but melodic rocker.
Last Man on earth is a brilliant vaudevilian style number reminiscent of Crazy Little Child from Muscle of Love with Alice trying to imitate Tom Waits with some great piano and Banjo work. The Congregation features a great accoustic and organ intro before building into a great drum driven rocker with some outstanding guitar work and Rob Zombie commentary.
I'll Bite your face is penned by Neal Smith and performed by the original band and could have come straight off Killer. Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever and Ghouls Gone Wild are linked and are both great. The first having disco undertones and the second with a great Chorus with handclaps and a nod at doo wop.
Something to Remember Me By written with Dick Wagner may well be the Best Ballad Alice has ever done. It's amazing with a tremendous vocal performance from Alice. When Hell Comes home is the third song performed by the original band and written by Mike Bruce. Very Heavy guitar sound, pounding drums and Bass at a slow tempo with brilliant lyrics. Again this could be on any Early Alice album.
What Baby Wants is a brilliant collaboration with Ke$ha of all people, but it Really rocks with another great Chorus. I gotta get Outta Here is another great song with great lyrics and melody with the Ambiguous finish ( What part of DEAD don't you undrstand ). It sounds a little like 'It's Much to Late' on Dragontown.
The Final track The Underture is a kind of Labour of Love from Bob Ezrin. It's a band & Orchestra collaboration mixing many of the tunes from the original album and the new. It's great and a fitting Finale to this Nightmare sequel.
I think that the return of Mike Bruce, Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway with a really on Form Alice and Bob Ezrin have contributed to this being the best Alice Album ever. Plus if you are an Alice Fan you must get the Ltd edition with the Classic Rock magazine. It's a fantastic read and a great collectors item with the mask and the School's Out Tie Pin.
What is left to say ? Two things. First I really hiope Alice does a major tour with this album and plays all the songs along with some from the original Nightmare. Second can we please have an album to follow with just Alice, Bob, Mike, Dennis and Neal. Although this is an impossible act to follow.