Sound — 7
Welcome 2 My Nightmare is the sequel to Alice Cooper's first release as a solo artist titled Welcome To My Nightmare' which was a concept album based around a child character's nightmares. Alice Cooper began writing songs for this album in 2010 after recruiting former members of the Alice Cooper (Band). Some of the songs were also written or co-written by guest songwriters. This list includes Keith Nelson (from Buckcherry), Dick Wagner, Chuck Garric and Ke$ha. Ke$ha also guest stars on the song What Baby Wants'. There are 14 tracks (15 with the bonus track) on Welcome 2 My Nightmare' and the album clocks in at over 50 minutes, which is a very respectable length. The album ends with the Bonus track, We Gotta Get Outta This Place' (an Animal's cover). There are several different versions of the album being released, with different bonus tracks with each. The one I'm reviewing is a standard version of the album. In addition there is a Fan Pack, Deluxe Edition, Vinyl Edition, Deluxe Digipak CD Edition and an iTunes Edition. The bonus tracks on the other versions range from live recordings at the most recent Download Festival. The other new songs released as bonus tracks are listed below. The Fan Pack has the song Under The Bed' as a bonus track, as well as a live version of Poison' from the Download Festival. The Vinyl Edition includes a song called Flatline' as a bonus track. The iTunes Edition includes a song called A Bad Situation' as the bonus song. I haven't got my hands on these various bonus songs yet, but I hope to in the near future. Welcome 2 My Nightmare' is very reminiscent of Tommy' by The Who, with a slightly harder edge to it. There are some great melodic guitar lines throughout. A lot of the instrumentation has an almost epic character to it that is really appealing to me. This album isn't a rocking type of album so much as a story told in music. It definitely has a classic rock feel to it and it does indeed listen like a rock opera or concept album, but there is a lot of different genres represented throughout the album. I think the album is more an experience than a collection of songs, and is best listened to from beginning to end. Ideally, this would be a part of your vinyl collection if you collect vinyl.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics loosely tell the story about the character from the album Welcome To My Nightmare' carried into a new chapter with Welcome 2 My Nightmare'. The character Steven from the first album is now an adult and once again dealing with a myriad collection of night terrors. Steven tries to avoid sleep, but eventually succumbs and experiences a wide range of nightmares including blood and gore, erotic nightmares, suspense, and a zombie apocalypse in the songs Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever and Ghouls Gone Wild. Alice Cooper's voice is still strong after all these years, though there is a little less growl in it than in most of his previous work. Instead of going over the precise lyrics, I'd rather describe a loose interpretation of the lyrics in the album. The story begins with Steven trying to avoid going to sleep by taking caffeine and amphetamines (the song Caffeine'). He finally falls asleep after a long battle to stay awake in the song The Nightmare Returns'. His first dream finds Steven on a train called Nightmare Express as the train carries him deeper into his nightmare world (the song A Runaway Train'). The train crashes and Steven finds himself alone with no one else around in the song Last Man on Earth'. At first Steven is trying to see the benefit of being the last person alive and not having anyone to stop him from doing whatever he wants. Slowly loneliness starts to bleed into his dream. A guide appears in the song The Congregation' to show Steven around and to show him the others in his nightmare and introduces him to some of them. There is a lot of subtext that instead of this being a nightmare that Steven is actually dead and he is in hell. Steven finds himself in an erotic nightmare next with a beautiful woman pushing him down onto a bed and whispering to him I'll bite your face off (and of course, this is the song I'll Bite Your Face Off'. Next, Steven finds himself in a horrible bloodbath of a dream starting out with a mass execution with corpses beginning to come back to life in the song Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever'. The zombies begin roaming everywhere screaming and running around in Ghouls Gone Wild'. To be honest, I lose the storyline a little at this point. I don't want to ruin the end, anyway, so instead of picking the storyline back up I will let you listen for yourselves.
Overall Impression — 8
Just to be completely honest, I'm a sucker for concept albums and rock operas. I loved Tommy', Quadrophenia', Purple Rain' and others in just about any genre. I am really enjoying Welcome 2 My Nightmare', though I think I do enjoy its predecessor Welcome To My Nightmare' a little more. I think it takes a lot of courage to release a concept album with the music market being what it is now, and I definitely respect the courage to do that. My favorite song is very easily I am Made of You', which to be honest I've had a hard time understanding how it fits into the theme with the rest of the songs. The Congregation' is probably my second favorite song with a very strong classic rock/early metal feel to it. I also like Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever' just because it is so quirky. When Hell Comes Home' is also a very powerful song. Overall, I really enjoyed the album as a whole, but I think it is a situation where the parts have much less value independently than as a whole. Some people are more song oriented vs. Album oriented and they may not like Welcome 2 The Nightmare' as much as me. Personally, I really enjoy it and hopefully will be buying it on vinyl in the near future.