Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare [Classic Rock Fan Pack Exclusive Limited Edition] (2011, Universal Music Enterprises/Spinefarm Records UK/Nightmare Inc.)
1. “I Am Made Of You”
3. “The Nightmare Returns”
4. “A Runaway Train”
5. “Last Man On Earth”
6. “The Congregation”
7. “I’ll Bite Your Face Off”
8. “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever”
9. “Ghouls Gone Wild”
10. “Something To Remember Me By”
11. “When Hell Comes Home”
12. “What Baby Wants”
13. “I Gotta Get Outta Here”
14. “The Underture”
15. “Under The Bed”
16. “Poison” (Live at Download Festival)
Alice Cooper – Vocals
Steve Hunter – Guitar
Damon Johnson – Guitar
Tommy Henriksen – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Chuck Garric – Bass
Glen Sobel – Drums
Michael Bruce – Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Dennis Dunaway – Bass, Backing Vocals
Neal Smith – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Ke$ha – Vocals
Dick Wagner, John 5, Keith Nelson, Tommy Denander, Vince Gill, Keri Kelli, Patterson Hood, Pat Buchanan – Guitar
Piggy D, David Spreng, Jimmie Lee Sloas – Bass
Jimmy DeGrasso, Scott Williamson – Drums
Rob Zombie, Kip Winger – Backing Vocals
Welcome 2 My Nightmare is a reunion for all different eras of Alice Cooper. Take a look at the credits! The surviving members of the original group are here (Bruce, Dunaway & Smith) and they have some co-writing credits too, the original Nightmare era guitar duo of Steve Hunter (back in the band full-time) and Dick Wagner are present, more recent Alice gunslingers Kerri Kelli and Damon Johnson (who recently left and has been replaced by Orianthi of all people!), Jimmy DeGrasso, Piggy D (who worked with Alice on “Keepin’ Halloween Alive”), Kip Winger sings backing vocals, Desmond Child co-wrote “I Am Made of You” and Bob Ezrin is producing!
I think pretty much all eras of Alice are represented! I’m surprised Alice didn’t bring back Eric Singer, Derek Sherinian, Ryan Roxie, Eric Dover, Kane Roberts and Jason Hook! In addition to all of those people, Rob Zombie, Vince Gill, John 5 and Ke$ha also perform.
All of this star-power and buzz over doing a sequel to Welcome To My Nightmare has worked as the album sold roughly 21,ooo copies and debuted at #22 on the Billboard charts. This is Alice’s best chart debut since Trash.
Before I get into the music, I want to say that this Alice Cooper Fan Pack from Classic Rock magazine is just outstanding. I had ordered the Fan Pack for Whitesnake’s Forevermore and while that was a good package, this is even better. Not only do you get the album (in what I guess what is the standard hardcover booklet format for these Fan Packs) but there’s a School’s Out pin, Alice Cooper face paint, Alice cut-out face mask, 2 two-sided posters and finally the 132 page magazine called Classic Rock Presents Alice Cooper.
With that out of the way, I will agree that this album is a “return to form” in that it has returned Alice to his old school schizophrenic ways. After dabbling in industrial metal and garage rock for the last decade, Alice is back to genre-hopping. Auto-tune, Rolling Stones, disco, pop-rock, surfer music, symphonies, Tom Petty, rag-time… It all has a home on this album.
The good/bad thing about Alice is that he’s never been afraid to throw his blood-stained top hat in to practically any genre of music. Case in point, after starting off with the piano from “Steven”, “I Am Made of You” is a ballad complete with vocals done in auto-tune and some electronic beats in the background and a piano. I did not like it when I first heard it, but the song has grown on me and is now one of my favorite tracks here. Next, “Caffeine” kicks in with some rowdy rock ‘n’ roll. My first thought when hearing it was that it sounded like Velvet Revolver. Well, I wasn’t too far off because song was co-written by Buckcherry’s Keith Nelson. This and “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” (with its Stonesy vibe) are the most straight forward rockers of the bunch. “The Nightmare Returns” is a short instrumental still incorporating parts of “Steven”.
“The Congregation” is a pretty good Beatles-inspired number that sounds like a track from The Last Temptation but it took me a few listens to get in to. And hey, what album would be complete without that classic Alice ballad? Here that song is “Something To Remember Me By”, a great companion to those late ’70s ballads of his. The next highlight on this album for me is “What Baby Wants”. A true guilty pleasure for sure, it’s a pop/rock song featuring Ke$ha. The final two standouts is the Tom Petty-ish “I Gotta Get Outta Here” and the Fan Pack exclusive “Under The Bed”, a mid-tempo ballad that could’ve come from the Hey Stoopid era.
So, like I said, there is good and bad when Alice attempt to cover so many genres. When he succeeds, he really succeeds. When he fails… yuck. With Vince Gill on guitar, the country-rocker “A Runaway Train” can’t go away fast enough but I can kinda here old school Alice in it. Immediately following is the vaudevillian rag-time of “Last Man on Earth”. Just awful but I can’t decide if it’s worse than “When Hell Comes Home” (which is garnering rave reviews for featuring all the surviving members of the original group).
As for “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever”, that’s just goofy fun. Something you might hear from Alice in the early ’80s. Basically filler as is the surf rock of “Ghouls Gone Wild”. “The Underture” closes out the standard edition of the album and it’s an instrumental bring in pieces of songs from both Welcome To My Nightmare and this album.
Overall, the songs are just so varied I think you have to really be patient and let it all soak in. After the first listen, my head was spinning was variety of music. With each listen, I’m picking up on songs more than I had before and while there are some really bad songs on this disc, they are few and far between and the songs I like I like A LOT. Having said that, Welcome 2 My Nightmare is easily Alice’s best since The Eyes of Alice Cooper if not The Last Temptation.
Highlights: “I Am Made Of You”, “Caffeine”, “The Congregation”, “I”ll Bite Your Face Off”, “Something To Remember Me By”, “What Baby Wants”, “I Gotta Get Outta Here”, “Under The Bed”
Welcome 2 My Nightmare continues a rather disturbing trend of offering different bonus tracks depending on which edition you buy: the regular edition of this album has no bonus tracks, the Classic Rock Fan Pack has “Under the Bed” and a live version of “Poison”, the deluxe edition features a cover of The Animals’ “We Gotta Get out of This Place” and live versions of “No More Mr. Nice Guy” & “The Black Widow”, the vinyl album has “Flatline” and finally iTunes gets the exclusive “A Bad Situation” (which you can’t even purchase as a single, you HAVE to buy the whole album to get it).
I really couldn’t care less about the live tracks but there are four brand new tracks scattered about that I would have loved to have been included on at least ONE edition of the album so I could just buy that one! It’s a cash grab and I don’t think this practice is very fair to the fans. I can’t imagine a significant number of fans are going to buy all of these albums to get those handful of bonus tracks because you’re looking at someone having to spend $80-100 total to snatch up all of these editions. I really don’t understand the thought process here and Alice isn’t the only artist guilty of it. If anything, this only seems to increase the likelihood of illegal downloading.
After that little rant, I have to be honest: I have two copies. The CR Fan Pack and then a standard edition (no bonus tracks) that came with Alice’s autograph when you pre-ordered… Hey, at least I didn’t buy an extra copy for bonus tracks!