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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare album review

Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare album review
Released through: Universal Music. Release date: Available now

Alice Cooper, what can I say that hasn’t been said about this guy and all that he's done and to be honest, that makes part of this review, of 'Welcome 2 My Nightmare' very easy … Thanks Alice for being such a star!
One thing I would add is that this year was believe it or not, the first time I got to see Alice live in the USA, after living here eleven years!
I have seen Alice before, back in the UK probably three or four times.
To be honest though, a big part of why I have not got along to see Alice here in the big ‘D’ – Detroit, a former home town for A.C. - is that he typically had been a fixture at the Michigan State Fair in Detroit, which was an all ages show, so fact of the matter is yeah, sure it’s Alice, but it was apparently always quite a tamed down show.
Ed's side note: Michigan's state fair was moved from Detroit to Lansing after 2009's show, which featured Survivor as the headline act, not Alice.
You'd think he could've got to close it, wouldn't you?!

That kind of show for me though, is just not Alice Cooper so to have finally got to see him this past summer, I have to say still being on form, was fantastic!

So to the new album, that he only played one song from at Pine Knob this summer, I really do love it!
Now it’s kind of funny because ‘Along Came a Spider,’ his last release, was good, but it was missing something.
‘Welcome 2 My Nightmare’ is meant to be part two of ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’ from 1975 and what is great here, is that Alice has called upon his classic partner in crime, producer, writer, keyboards and so much more in Bob Ezrin, not to mention original guitarist Steve Hunter, playing on most of the album along with many other guest musicians, including various old band mates from Coop's classic period showing up here and there.
Neal Smith, Dick Wagner, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Kip Winger are there too! 

Opening with ‘I Am Made Of You,’ is quite a surprising starter, as with the vocal effect to Alice’s voice, it kind of throws you off as it doesn't sound like him, and then especially as it’s a slower ballad style track, but it builds up and has its most epic moments.
Besides Hunter on guitar it also features the much travelled Tommy Denander on guitar here too!

‘Caffeine’ next up is pure fun, but it rocks out too not to mention some cheesy ‘woo hoo hoo,’ vocals too! Entertaining!

It’s classic Alice for ‘The Nightmare Returns’ which comes across as a lead in / interlude for ‘A Runaway Train.’
I’ve got to tell you, I simply love the lyrics in ‘A Runaway Train,’ seriously great fun stuff and it’s actually co-written with Dennis Dunaway - with Alice and Ezrin - who longtime Alice fans will know co-wrote ‘I’m Eighteen’ and 'Schools Out,’ to name just two, but he played on so many Cooper albums, that he’s classic Cooper himself and he helps out on bass here too!
Vince Gill and Tommy Henriksen also jump in to help out on the track too.

Oh and the fun, tongue in cheek stuff continues with ‘Last Man on Earth,’ which is a big old show-time style number. Out comes the banjo!
‘The Congregation’ starts slow and then rips in, Alice then is almost phrasing the song a little like John Lennon …, weird! It’s an almost Gary Glitter meets Bon Jovi at times as well. It’s all so well done though, as is the whole album I must add.
Guess what? Rob Zombie even steps in as ‘The Guide’ for the fun spoken piece in the middle. Good one!

So to the one track and single that Alice played live this past summer next, ‘I’ll Bite Your Face Off …’
Do these titles come much subtler than that?! LOL!
It’s actually a great piece of kickin’ pop rock, but that adjustable wrench sound throughout, drives me nuts!

You know when Kiss did ‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You’ and ELO did ‘Shine a Little Love,’ I thought … No, not disco ...! And well ..., from Alice here, we get ‘Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever’ … I just laughed! It starts all disco, tongue in cheek and goes that way for around two thirds of the song and then wallop! Rock out guys! John 5 is on fire on guitar here!

‘Ghouls Gone Wild …??!’ I mean come on, what can I say?! Although, I will say that its great fun, kind of Ramones meets the Beach Boys!
  Classic stuff, love it!

Another old Cooper band member co-writes ‘Something To Remember Me By’ with Alice and it Dick Wagner.
It’s a big old ballad, pretty straightforward, yes, lovey dovey style and orchestra too!
Michael Bruce reunites with ‘The Coop’ to help co-write ‘When Hell Comes Home,’ and plays here too.
Sounds like some classic Coop here too, mid paced dramatic, perhaps a little dark in its rock.

The real shock of the album was that ‘The Coop’ was enlisting Ke$ha to sing on here and strangely enough it’s a grower.
Have to say I feel there’s more than an element of Jacko’s ‘Beat It’ about the track in places, BUT …, I could not tolerate a whole album of songs in this vein.

‘I Gotta Get Outa Here,’ is almost Americana meets the Travelling Wilbury’s in its style and Vince Gill is onboard here to, very poppy but it’s blends with the rest of the album with its complete diversity.

To close the album, we have ‘The Underture’ which captures many little moments of Alice’s classic past, with full orchestra, Steve Hunter, Dick Wagner, Tommy Henriksen and two guys that have been the rhythm section for most of the album Scott Williamson (Drums) and Jimmie Lee Sloas on bass and it really wraps the album up well in my book.
Nice one Alice and by now of course, you’ve already had the Top Thirty Billboard album, so welcome back Alice, you call it a nightmare, I call it nice work!

Rating: 4 out of 5
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