Spinefarm Records (label)
30 October 2011 (released)
14 November 2011
After 36 years, Alice Cooper welcomes us to the ‘sequel’ to his original Nightmare album and also reunites producer Bob Ezrin plus some of the musicians from the classic offering. And that’s where similarities, by and large, end.
If you expect pure hard rock-sounds from Mr. Cooper’s years of yonder, you could be in for a bit of a disappointment here. But if you approach the affair with an open mind, then some great tracks welcome you on Nightmare2! In fact, several tracks sound so unlike anything one might associate with ‘Alice the Malice’, you gotta ask yourself whether you’re listening to the right album. Ah, don’t you just love originality and an artist who has a bit of fun with reinvention?
“In the beginning I was just a shadow / In the beginning I was alone… “, sings Alice in ‘I Am Made Of You’, the opener which starts with a keyboard sound reminiscent of a Dario Argento movie. In the second track he informs us that his drug of choice is ‘Caffeine’, for “If I close my eyes, it’ll be the death of me”.
First oddity comes with ‘The Nightmare Returns’. It has a peculiar sounding tune reminding of a vintage music box, before drifting into another tune that might well be a soundtrack to a John Carpenter movie… only to blend out with hard guitar riffs.
‘A Runaway Train’ is a pretty cool rockin’ if rather straightforward affair.
On to the second oddity or surprise, rather: ‘Last Man On Earth’ is pure and brilliantly performed Brecht/Weill cabaret, with some tuba, ganjo banjo and violin thrown in for good measure and cocktail drums, too. What? Watch out, Tom Waits!
Gotta check out some of the cheeky lyrics on ‘The Congregation’:
“Ah, as you can see over here in the Broken Glass Chamber of the boys from Wall Street. Let’s hear it for the boys! (oooh). And here inn the Eternal Mariachi room are the defrocked priests and telemarketers (ohhh). And, of course, in the Fiery Pit of Boiling Death, the lawyers, pimps and mines (ahhhh)”.
It’s getting better still, for this particular chunk is performed by Rob Zombie. Now that’s what I call inspired!
‘I’ll Bite Your Head Off’ is a great rock n roll number, while Alice perfectly demonstrates his wicked sense of humour with the hilariously titled ‘Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever’. It (deliberately) sounds like a cheesy disco tune to a dance-workout DVD. What a send-up!
The tongue stays firmly in the cheek with ‘Ghouls Gone Wild’, another great rock n roll number that should have had Joan Jett joining in on guitars and vox.
Now, I’ve really tried to get into ‘Something To Remember Me By’ but I’m afraid I can’t, sounds all a bit too schmaltzy for my liking. Sorry, won’t remember you by that one.
Things turn the opposite in ‘When Hell Comes Home’, a disturbing tale of a wife-beater and a dysfunctional home. Music sounds as creepy as the track’s lyrical content.
As for the next surprise on the album (and we had a few already), Alice throws a duet with Ke$ha! Yep, you heard me! Like, that’s brave!
Really, at that point nothing can surprise me anymore but wait… how’s for a bit of Tom Petty-influenced roots rock on the first half of ‘I Gotta Get Out Of Here’? Genius!
The album closes with two bonus tracks, the instrumental ‘Underture’ (really love your sense of humour, Alice) and the scorching ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’. This track also features Chuck Garric and Kerri Kelli from the new Cooper band on bass and guitar, and what a scorcher it is. Keep on taking that caffeine, guys!