||From the Vault...
"Welcome To My Nightmare"
© Atlantic Records
The Black Widow
Only Women Bleed
Department Of Youth
Alice Cooper related sites:
"Welcome To My Nightmare"
Alice Cooper returns this week, with his first solo album -- His previous albums were considered as "The Alice Cooper Band," and what a band it was.
Every album was rocking. Welcome To My Nightmare would be a different approach to how we knew him before. This album was considered a "concept"
album, a theatrics album, a story-telling album. The story was based on the character "Steven," as he journeys through the nightmares in being a child.
It inspired a TVZ special and concert tour in the year it was released. A concert film was also released the following year. A sequel, Welcome To My
Nightmare 2 would be released, decades later, in 2011. It would be first and only album for Atlantic Records, as his previous albums were on Warner
Bros. It received mixed reviews, as fans/critics expected where Alice left off from his previous albums. The title track would probably be its close
comparison to that. A hit ballad would emerge from it, Only Women Bleed.
The album begins with the title track, being the long version, clocking in at over five minutes. I had the 45, and its B-side, Cold Ethyl was
also from this same album. (A rocking song as the B-side was.) This single would be the only one I would have back then. And I was thinking, yes, this
album probably did continue in the typical Alice Cooper fashion. Well, it didn't.
As the "concept" album idea is, the next two tracks seem to be a story being told. Of course, it was the story of "Steven." "Devil's Food" is
an "ok" track, as it is more of a more of a spoken word story. "The Black Widow" merges from "Devil's Food," have a somewhat Black Sabbath
feel. Then there's the Broadway-ish "Some Folks" into "Some Folks." This particular style would later emerge in other Alice Cooper albums.
He would tend to get away from the harder rock sound, as he would achieve more popularity, especially with ballad songs. This would be the case of the
next track, the hit single, "Only Women Bleed." The title of this track would be renamed as "Only Women," as the orignial title just wouldn't
fit right with AM Radio.
"Department Of Youth" (another single from the album) is another "ok" track. "Cold Ethyl" is next, as it was a rocking song, for the B-side
of the title track.
But then the album gets a little darker and errie: "Years Ago," "Steven" and "The Awakening" continues the story of "Steven." To
summarize, these tracks are just strange, and eerie. This is probably no different in not only Alice's music, yet the character he achieved, with the
makeup, and stage antics: Playing with snakes, and head chopping (guillotines). The last track is just as different, "Escape" is not a rocking
song, yet it does have a typical 1970s sound, that was different in Cooper's normal hard rock repretoire.
In summary, Welcome To My Nightmare was a whole different direction. He was away from his "Alice Cooper Band," a new label, a whole new
different style in music for him. The title track is the standout track. Maybe the ballad "Only Women Bleed." Most fans didn't think a ballad
would make the name for Alice Cooper. Yet, in the next decades, many hard rock bands would try their hand at ballads, and become more popular than their
rocker tunes. (Remember Kiss' "Beth" ? I think that song was the start of what would be called in the 1980s, "Monster Ballads.")
This album may grow on you, after some repeated listens. Alice Cooper is best known for his more harder rock tunes. Yet his ballads would make another
name for himself. Maybe the nightmares were really that of Alice's. He would later focus on his own personal demons on From The Inside (1978), and
probably what would become his best ballad was from this album: "How You Gonna See Me Now." (Honestly, one of my all-time favorite Alice Cooper
Welcome To My Nightmare is an average album. Alice Cooper would achieve better status with his "new approach" in music on an upcoming album,
Alice Cooper Goes To Hell. (1976) "I Never Cry" would be another hit ballad from this album. But still, this is Alice Cooper, a rocking
superstar, a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2011). [His Alice Cooper Band was inducted; now to wait for his "solo" work will be inducted.] He
would experiment with different styles of music in the late-70s and 80s. Yet he return back to the classic makeup and harder rocking tunes in the later
decades. He is now in a band called the Hollywood Vampires, with Johnny Depp and Aerosmith's Joe Perry. That all-star lineup is quite an interesting
group of superstars. That album will be reviewed at a later date.
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