By Jason Wellwood
Here is an album you cannot go into without having preconceived notions. Thirty-six years after the original millions selling ‘solo’ Alice Cooper album comes the sequel. Add to that, the return of the original producer (Canadian legend Bob Ezrin), some of the original players AND a guest appearance by the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper band, this album has speculation running wild. Oh, and of course there’s the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame induction earlier this year. The hype surrounding this album is bound to cause a backlash before anyone even hears it! Thankfully, Alice doesn’t give a crap!
Much like the original album, Welcome 2 My Nightmare is a very theatrical record, made with the stage show, and perhaps (hopefully) a television performance in mind. The flow from beginning to end keeps the listener both interested and on their toes. ‘I Am Made of You’ is very reminiscent of “Welcome To My Nightmare” (and not just because of the piano riff running throughout the song) and that runs into a more modern sounding Cooper on the song ‘Caffeine’ (which actually smacks of experimental 80’s Coop), back to a Steven-esque ‘The Nightmare Returns’ and into a barn-burning ‘A Runaway Train’ followed by ‘Last Man on Earth’ which is really reminiscent of ‘Crazy Little Child’ from Muscle of Love. Although, stylistically the songs are all over the place, they all sound like Alice Cooper and they all flow together very well. The nightmare thread notwithstanding, Alice and company could have given this a different title and stayed away from the ‘sequel’ aspect and still had this be the best, most complete sounding Alice Cooper album in a decade. Yes, even the song with Ke$ha (‘What Baby Wants’) is catchy as hell, if not a little discoesque (ala Goes To Hell).
Admittedly, I had a hard time with the album initially, I was expecting it to blow me away from the first note and I sneered a little at the revisitation of Nightmare’s theme music. By the third song I was quite happy with the album and by the second listen I was sold. If you’re hesitant on the album or perhaps not quite sold on it, give it time. Whether you knew it or not, Welcome To My Nightmare was slowly seeping into your consciousness for years and it might not have impressed you right away either. Welcome 2 My Nightmare is almost as good, and in another thirty-six years might be considered an equal.