Sunday, November 1, 2015

Welcome to My Nightmare - Alice Cooper

For numberous reasons outside of my control I wasn't able to complete this review in time for 10/31. But at least I got some extra time with it you know. Closing this very special 2015 October month themed Halloween extravaganza revenue I picked a very special album. The album I picked is this, the best Alice Cooper album. I think of it as a coda to a string of records I consider to be really really good, dating back to their 1969 debut. The end of the Golden Age if you will. Even though I lose interest in AC's output after this album, minus a few tracks here there and The Alice Cooper Show live record (Which puts a hole in my "Only the original bands material is good,  it sucks when he went solo" theory), I don't think anything post this is terrible. Its just not the golden age. So, as i just mentioned, this is when Vincent began releasing solo material under the name Alice Cooper. This is something he continues to do to this day, considering I think it's now been legally changed to it. This is also a concept album, I believe the "group's" first, and it takes place through the nightmare of a character who would later be a reoccurring character in the Cooper universe. Kinda like the continuing adventures of either the character or archetype taken from Tunnel of Love forward, by Bruce Springsteen. This part in particular takes place when he's a child, Steven. I almost forgot to mention that the lucky bastard had a television special promoting the album with Vincent Price as the narrator. Oh... plus Lou Reed's (most of it) joined to play on the record.
  1. Welcome to My Nightmare: Opening the album is a number that kicks ass. It starts off with a hitting of the cymbals and an acoustic guitar chord. Then comes in the vocals, with a quite more dreamy feeling song. The bass here sounds really neat, and I'd almost not think this is a Cooper song. Until we get the more rocking section. But it's a bit too much going on for it to be "rock". There are very interesting textures in this song, horns, what sound like a clavichord and I almost feel like Brian Eno produced this (Here Come The Warm Jets). This is a very good show starter, and it is very theatrical. If you were as intrested as I am, you could listen a number of times and still not pick up on all the sounds in that track.
  2. Devil's Food: This title reminds me of In the Wake of Posiden, specifically the tracks Cat Food and The Devil's Triangle. This is much more straightforward than the last track. I mean there are still there like weird changes in production styles that are going on within song, but I dig the vocals. And is that an interlude with Vincent Price. It is.... The bass in that section is awesome, the rhythm has this military feeling to it. It's funny, half of this song is like a voice over with the song pushed way back. He's giving us a history lesson on the Black Widow, but.... You gotta give it to Price, he makes it very intresting. The song begins to come back in
  3. The Black Widow: This is a sinister track that makes me think of Holy Diver. This chorus is very memorable and I love the guitar here. The chorus is so hypnotic I feel like if you listen enough, or are high, you'd be tripping balls. This could easily be a tripping balls song in a movie. Or a going to hell song. I also love the like variation on the theme that could be played in an overture. That is not something I'd expected (I've heard this before but the first time). This over all is a solid rock song, that isn't something I'd quite consider to be a rocker.
  4. Some Folks: This is a cabaret number that harkens to the vaudeville days. I might be wrong on that vaudeville thing, but still. This song is very can cany. This has a very Alice Cooper feeling to the song. It actually reminds me, after the intro, a hint of Man With The Golden Gun. That chorus is very catchy, poppy, but not shitty. I kinda wish I could sing along, and the post "baby baby" section, that fucking piano. And that guitar and the tempo....... Great. This song goes from sick to cutsey (well as cutesy Vincent can get) to weird to all over the place. And that BASS..... YES! GUITAR SOLO.... YES! It's like spit fire, only down side is didn't last longer, thought the ending is very tasteful.
  5. Only Women Bleed: I never once thought this was about menstruation, whats the point? I mean... I guess seeing the groups humor with songs like I Love The Dead and Dead Babies, monthly bodily cleansing from Mother Nature isn't that crazy of a topic (its much more natural at least..... Well kinda, I mean child neglect isn't something I'd consider natural nor necrophilia but some may disagree). I always thought of it as more of a woman bleeding, or maybe a tongue and cheek anti-woman track... I don't know,  does it really matter? I don't think he's actually having intercourse with corpses, so cool off. The thing is you could also look at it as only women truly struggle, I mean there are a lot more for them to put up with and society expects certain things of them. Now maybe not so much now, but women still feel pressures to look a certain way. And they are expected to live a certain way, and that's kinda what this song is about. I mean it's about abuse (or a bad relationship), but women are still kind of expected to get married, back then they certainly were. It's very sad if you actually think about it, like I get that gut feeling that hits me right there. This song musically really is a masterpiece. Lyrically this song is great at painting a picture of this terrible occurrences that happen. It only really hits you when you take the time to realize it.
  6. Department of Youth: This has a very Foreigner feeling (with the organ) in the beginning, but also this song reminds me a hint of Elected. I do get a laugh out of that weird accent, but this song has him singing as he would for the rest of his career you know that almost impish sound he does. As poppy this song is, there is something that makes it a little off that I can't quite say it's pop. Form the placements of synths (or organs or whatever keyboard instruments pop up). This also has some very nice and,  great to me, backing vocals and harmonies.
  7. Cold Ethyl: This his a rocker that would sound that crazy on a maybe a Stones record. Maybe not so much them as a like generic rock band from the 70's or 80's. The solos are nice, but they are more generic here. And while its generic rock here, I still like the humor of the song. I think that's the best part, and the front to back changes of style you know.
  8. Years Ago: Here we get their take on a Fixing A Hole. Rather than using it to be psychedelic there is a circus meets evil meets Halloween feeling to this song. I feel like this could open a horror movies, maybe a low budget or cheep 70's or 80's one, but none the less. For that reason also there is a spot in my heart for this. I think this is where the story starts. It's the first mention of Steven, it might not be the first in the story, but I also don't care enough to look into it. I'd rather enjoy the music and lyrics but not as a story.
  9. Steven: Tyler? Perry?  Which one? This starts out with a quotation of a classical piano piece that I can't quite pin down, but I will add later. This is a neat enough song, but I don't dig the fact the whole beginning relies so heavily on that quotation. I do dig the later part. Like if there did this song exactly the same, without the quotation, maybe I'd LOVE it but I can't say I love it because of that you know. Don't get me wrong this has great guitar, gorgeous strings and is expertly arranged. Bob Ezrin my hat is taped off to you. And that ending................ Oh it kills me that the beginning reminds me so much of that one thing. I'd give the song a 10.
  10. The Awakening: This has this electric piano, and piano in the beginning I love how the accompany each other. They really do each other justice, and the whole lucid (right, that's the right word) of that beginning..... it's nice. This song almost borders on psychedelic. I love the almost classical electric guitar part that that reminds me a bit of Brian May. The worst part about this song is it fades out. Also that it's a bit rushed, this could totally be much longer to let the parts flesh themselves out.
  11. Escape: Closing the LP we get a glam rock track. This is another simple song, but it works. There isn't any expert arrangement here, but it's like a very satisfying closer to this album. It's like, what I feel like, "Eff Yeah, We made a killer record!". This is very solid.
Overall I have to give this album a 8.9/10. This album is easily the best "solo" Vincent Furnier album, and is in the top 5 Alice Cooper albums. This is a bit baffling, how come he never made anything this good after this. Seriously, think about it. I mean this album this is kind of a masterpiece. It's very well arranged, I don't know about the theme (but the music makes up for it so much). The reason this album is so great is most every song has a distinct sound of it's own. And yet it still works and is cohesive of an album. Now I don't really care to look into the story because it seems to not really happen until like the B-Side..... I don't know. And Even though I bolded some over others.... just check this thing out.... it's really really really good. Don't ask about Welcome 2 My Nightmare.... I don't like to think about that.

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