By Robert Bayley
Few come above Alice Cooper in the pantheon of rock royalty. Since his debut in 1969, the shock rock pioneer has released consistently (on average) brilliant albums such as the classic Trash and his solo debut, 1975’s Welcome To My Nightmare. Cooper’s 26th and newest offering is the cleverly titled sequel Welcome 2 My Nightmare.
It’s a worthy successor to the influential album which defined his style and takes the eclectic mix of genres to a level where the album almost feels like it has multiple personality disorder. Cooper and his long-time producer Bob Ezrin deliberately showcase this ideology with the highly contrasting opener I Am Made of You and Caffeine.
The first track is a haunting and eerie piano driven song with auto tuned vocals and lies somewhere between Tubular Bells and a more sentimental song from Chinese Democracy. Caffeine, a stand out track, jars this with a sudden guitar riff and vintage Cooper delivery. A brilliant hook, odd electronics and some truly paranoid lyrics give the song the quality of a Rocky Horror tune.
Welcome 2 My Nightmare is a hard album to pin down. Songs greatly switch styles, often very particular to another artist, from the Tom Waites alike Last Man On The Earth to the lead single I’ll Bite Your Face Off akin to vintage Rolling Stones.
It’s also an album that proves Cooper tackles everything with a clear sense of humour and is still ready to experiment. In what must be the most brilliantly named song of recent memory, Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever has Cooper have a go at rapping and lampoons gangsta music. The entire thing is utterly bizarre to the point where it almost doesn’t work, before changing gears and ending with a truly impressive piece of guitar work from John 5 of Rob Zombie (Zombie himself performing backing vocals on The Congregation).
What Baby Wants sees Cooper duet with Ke$ha which somehow results in something very Michael Jackson. Again it’s completely weird yet somehow works.
Sequel concept albums are always a risky move, never mind to one that’s over thirty years old. The story itself is enjoyable with an ending superior to the original, with Cooper fading out, confused as to how he’s still singing if his character’s now dead.
Welcome 2 My Nightmare, as a whole, can only be summed up by how varied and deranged everything is. Tongue firmly in cheek it also never forgets to also be good music and is always entertaining.
Download: Caffeine, Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever, What Baby Wants (feat. Ke$ha).
Welcome 2 My Nightmare is out now