The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
www.therockpit.net Alice-Cooper-Wecome-2-My-Nightmare-CD-review-Nov-2011

ALICE COOPER
Welcome 2 My Nightmare
2011, Sony

 


By Shane Pinnegar

 

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way from the start: Alice Cooper is no more likely to produce an album which matches the lyrical and musical – and, perhaps more importantly, the ground breaking artistic levels – of 1975’s “Welcome To My Nightmare” than Robert Plant is to produce something as haughty as “Led Zeppelin IV 2.0”, Ozzy Osbourne is to create “Another Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, or Axl Rose is to release “Appetite For More Destruction” - it just ain’t gonna happen.

 

Sure there had been concept albums before WTMN, but none had been the soundtrack to a particularly disturbing horror movie in its chief creator’s mind – this was a CONCEPTUAL concept album. One full of man-eating spiders, dead chicks in fridges, a particularly terrified young lad named Steven – and a touching ballad about domestic violence that became a bonafide pop chart hit song.

 

Which brings us to 2011 – and Alice Cooper has reunited with WTMN’s producer Bob Ezrin to create an entirely new, modern nightmare – and boy oh boy, are we in for aa few surprises!

 

Starting out with ‘I Am Made Of You’, Alice delves straight into the nightmare that is modern pop music by plugging into – GASP – an autotuner! ‘Caffeine’ describes Alice’s attempts to stay awake and avoid the nightmare that awaits – but the Nightmare must return, and it does, in style.

 

The songwriting is great throughout – and diverse!! Much like the original Nightmare, and some of Alice’s other Seventies work, he proves able to flit from rock and glam, through to pop and cabaret and even disco – all done in his inimitable, in-your-face, horror-movie auteur style.

 

It doesn’t always work 100% - but like some of the best art, it always challenges and it works as a whole piece.

 

‘Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever’ for instance, is a great idea – disco being one of Alice’s worst nightmares – but the song itself grates next to the real rock on offer.

 

Thankfully this is more than accounted for by the Rolling Stones swagger of instant classic ‘I’ll Bite Your Face Off’, the pop schlock rock horror of ‘Ghouls Gone Wild’ and the darkness of ‘When Hell Comes Home’, delving into child and spousal abuse. It’s no surprise that the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper Band feature on three of the album highlights - "When Hell Comes Home", "Runaway Train" & "I'll Bite Your Face Off", and Steve Hunter – veteran of 4 70’s Alice albums and member of his current touring band - also contributes in fine form.

 

Another surprise rears it’s head with ‘What Baby Wants’, a duet with pop star Ke$ha, which is pretty cool – though not a long way removed from Alice’s duet with Nicole Sherzinger on Slash’s solo album, ‘Baby Can’t Drive’.

 

The album wraps up with a clever segue through the original WTMN tracks, titled ‘Underture’, wrapping things up nicely as Alice emerges from another horrifying Nightmare.

 

No, it’s not a bonafide uber-classic like the original – but no-one has the right to expect it to be. What it is, is one of the best post-70’s Alice Cooper albums, and a very worthy sequel.