ALICE COOPER – Welcome 2 My Nightmare

ALICE COOPER - Welcome 2 My Nightmare
  • 8/10
    ALICE COOPER - Welcome 2 My Nightmare - 8/10


Universal Music Enterprises
Release date: September 13, 2011

User Review
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The King of Shock Rock has teamed up again with Producer Bob Ezrin to deliver Part 2 of Alice Cooper’s Nightmare some 36 years later.  After reaping great success from 1971 – 1973 (releasing studio albums at a blistering pace – 5 total in that 3-year time frame), Alice Cooper the band became Alice Cooper the man in 1975 when he paired up Ezrin to conjure up one of the greatest concept albums of all time:  Welcome To My Nightmare.  That murky, foggy, psychotically unbalanced work of genius showed Alice Cooper could indeed survive without his teenage chums, and also took Shock Rock/Theatrical Rock to a new level in the studio.  Welcome To My Nightmare delved into the inner recesses of the distorted and malformed mind of Steven – Alice’s alter ego – and the inclusion of horns, orchestras, and the spine-chilling charm of Vincent Price added to the wonderfully off-kilter ambiance of that masterpiece.

Similar to it’s predecessor, Cooper’s and Ezrin’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare sequel is likewise filled with “unusual” musical and atmospheric nuances, along with a host of guest musicians and co-writers.  In particular, original members of Alice Cooper (the band) – Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith – are brought back into the fold to collaborate on (perhaps) the 3 best songs included in this album … however, there are other recognizable names too, most notably Ke$ha, Desmond Child, John 5, Piggy D, and old-time friend Dick Wagner.  Each adds a signature stamp to this release, and each contributes varied elements to Alice’s multi-faceted nightmare.

The story this time starts out with a “reflectively serious” tone via “I Am Made Of You,” but then shifts with “Caffeine” to show Alice somewhat comically trying to stay awake for fear of falling into the sinister clutches of his own mind during his frightful passages of sleep.  As you can certainly guess, his efforts to avoid the inevitable fail, and “The Nightmare Returns.”  From that point forward, the story line takes on various semi-serious/semi-humorous turns, which can best be compared to the running vibe present in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Both musically and topically, there are twists, curveballs, and a couple of change-ups.  If you don’t like one style of music in any particular song … don’t worry … something very much different is coming at you next.  As Alice reluctantly opens and walks through the various “funhouse” doors of this nightmare … he comes face-2-face with the harsh realization that this “dream” may have indeed become his new reality … perhaps even for all eternity.

What’s Good

Alice’s penchant for keeping the listener off-balance by coupling elements of shock/horror with humor is firing on all cylinders throughout this album.  Also, the choice to delve into various musical subgenres called for a wide array of production tricks of the trade, and hands down this album just sounds great no matter where it goes.  Whether the soundscape was required to be light and upbeat, like in “Ghouls Gone Wild,” or dark and disturbing, like in “When Hell Comes Home” (which deals with an abusive father/husband), or emotionally heart-wrenching, like in “Something To Remember Me By,” Alice and Ezrin unequivocally meet each of the many challenges in spades.  Lyrically, Alice shines too … there’s plenty of imagery painted that’s both sobering and jovial … and bar none, Alice just knows how to tap into the emotive inner recesses of relational love, which is beautifully exemplified yet again via the “Something To Remember Me By” ballad.   In pouring out his heart, Alice professes:  “I just wanna give you something to remember me by / Something that lasts forever / ‘Cause our love is for all time.”

What’s Less Than Good

Many may expect the Nightmare sequel to be as consistently thematic as the 1975 original.  Certainly Welcome 2 My Nightmare is not.  The first 6 songs, up through “The Congregation,” initially lead you to believe Alice (and perhaps Steven) will pick up where they left off, but once the chorus from “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” rings through, you’ll realize pretty quickly Alice has chosen to lighten things way up this time around.  In a way, this decision comes through as a disappointment, because it seems like the “nightmare” is figuratively emasculated and repressed before it ever had a full chance to become truly … disturbing and memorably peculiar.

In A Nutshell

Nothing could be more difficult as a musician than to make an attempt to follow-up a hugely successful and critically acclaimed theme/concept album.  Queensryche tried it with Operation Mindcrime: II a handful of years ago (and it was met with a lukewarm reception), and other bands too have generally had mixed levels of success at best.  Alice Cooper and his vast array of cohorts have done an admirable job of creating a very entertaining and varied “theme” album.  There are plenty of musical and lyrical variations on this one … and you won’t find Steven lurking somewhere alone in a closet … but overall this album is a highly recommended “buy” for fans of Alice Cooper, especially those who have enjoyed his tendency to shift back and forth amongst musical subgenres over the decades.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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