Music Review: Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare

Alice Cooper
Welcome 2 My Nightmare
Universal Music Enterprises
Released September 12, 2011 UK: CD | MP3
September 13, 2011 U.S.: CD | MP3

After the disbandment of the Alice Cooper band, its frontman went solo and in 1975 released his first album: Welcome To My Nightmare. 36 years later Alice Cooper has released its follow-up, Welcome 2 My Nightmare. And you thought Chinese Democracy took a long time to make.

Ok, ok, so it’s not the same thing. Alice has released 17 albums in between (not including the many live albums and countless best of’s) and been constantly busy. His albums have ranged from the brilliant (Hey Stoopid) to boring (Dragontown). Those who were disappointed with 2008’s Along Came A Spider will be delighted with this return to gruesome form.

As with most of Alice’s past albums, much of this is playful in a twisted way. The one-two of the beautiful “Something To Remember Me By” followed by a tale of grizzly revenge in “When Hell Comes Home” is sure to raise an evil smile.

“A Runaway Train” is a good ol’ rock n’ roll stomp-along featuring some breathtaking lead guitar work from guest star Vince Gill. Sneering “Last Man On Earth” sounds like a cross between a country hoe down and a burlesque cabaret act — perfect, as it goes, for Al. And “Caffeine” is pure peanut butter body smearing era Stooges — full of energy and snarling and…GRRR! Yeah!

The guitar work of Keith Nelson, Michael Bruce, and Steve Hunter are inspired on each track they play. They bring a classic sound with a fresh heaviness and the solos on Welcome 2 My Nightmare — with guest spots by Gill and John 5 — are stunningly good. A fantastic decision by Alice and producer Bob Ezrin to bring them in.

Amongst the very good is a small smattering of pretty bad. The absolutely awful yet somehow hilarious “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever” is a disco track. Of course it is an Alice take on the once popular sub-genre of dance music and no disco track has ever, ever had a guitar solo like this that could rip disco balls open at 50 paces. “What Baby Wants” reminds me of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and features vocals by some chick called Ke$ha. I don’t want to hear this from Alic£ again.

There are a great number of bands who owe a huge debt to Alice Cooper. Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson the most recently famous and successful who have followed in Alice’s bloody footprints and in a nice show of solidarity of the macabre, Rob Zombie, John 5 (Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie), and Piggy D (Rob Zombie, Wednesday 13) all feature on the album.

It may be 35 years between nightmares, but it feels like barely a night terror has passed. It is not by any means Alice Cooper’s greatest album, but the good tracks on Welcome 2 My Nightmare are very good and ensures that it is among his best works.

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1 Comment »

  1. I think you’re being too harsh on Dragontown and Along Came a Spider. I’ll grant you that both takes a few listens to really grow on you, and some of the songs get a bit repetitive, but the good songs far outweigh the bad on both of these. Dragontown contains some of my favorite moments from any Coop solo album. And Spider is a classic example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  Besides, I can’t hate an album that kicks off a tune by saying: “You look like you’d fit in the trunk of my car!”

    Comment by Jon — September 28, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

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