Original '75 release digitally remastered. Includes 3 bonus tracks - 'Devil's Food', 'Cold Ethyl' & 'The Awakening'- all alternate takes. Remixed by original album producer Bob Erzin from original master tapes. WB/Rhino R... more »ecords. 2002.« less
Original '75 release digitally remastered. Includes 3 bonus tracks - 'Devil's Food', 'Cold Ethyl' & 'The Awakening'- all alternate takes. Remixed by original album producer Bob Erzin from original master tapes. WB/Rhino Records. 2002.
Psychedelic Cowboy | Burbank, CA United States | 04/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The sound of this remaster is gorgeous! I usually ho-hum at remasters, and can't tell much difference, but this is an exception. The sounds are sharper, crisper. Little sounds and lost instrumentation have been brought up from the background. and some of the weird noises have been given more prominence. I listened to both CD versions back to back, and I could hear major differences. The original CD seems to have been designed to suit more classic rock tastes, but this one seems to have been mastered to suit the tastes of Alice fans. This reissue was produced by Brian Nelson and David McLees. Sound was produced by Bill Inglot. It was remastered by Dan Hersch at Digiprep-not by Bob Ezrin as the editorial review incorrectly states (check the liner notes before reviewing!)It comes with a ten page booklet with some nice archive photos (that made me wish there were more photos and that they were larger!) from the "Welcome To My Nightmare" tour and a text piece by Jeffery Morgan-which basically praises Alice to death and doesn't tell fans anything they didn't already know-but it's still nice to read.The three alternate songs were taken from Alice's ABC TV Special, "The Nightmare," co-starring Vincent Price, which was first broadcast 4/25/75. This is not the "Welcome To My Nightmare" concert video-this is a series of vignettes acted out by Cooper and Price that is nearly impossible to find by conventional means. Maybe this CD will generate interest and they will re-release it. In any case, they do not detract from the album at all...in fact, they add a little closure to it. "Devil's Food" has alternate lyrics-probably mandated by television executives, but in my opinion the lyrics are even more potentially offensive! Leave it to Alice to pull that off. The music is different as well, trippier, more far out. The end of "Devil's Food" is played out without the Vincent Price monologue. "Cold Ethyl" is much the same with perhaps a more enthusiastic performance from Alice, he really gets into the "ooooooh so cold" bit. "The Awakening" has radically altered lyrics that fit just as well...it is a sweeter, more innocent alternate ending to the nightmare closed out by Vincent Price's lovely voice telling Alice the nightmare is never over. Now as to the original tracks on the album: The title song begins the album with a whispery invitation to sample some of the disturbing images in Alice's haunted toy box. The song features creepy guitar work by Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter and ends with a rousing fanfare of horns welcoming you into the nightmare. The bizarre guitar work is really brought out in the remaster, up to the level of the horns, it gives it a much weirder sound.Next up is "Devil's Food," a song about the Devil getting ready for a hot date or maybe a hot meal. As the song winds down Alice treats us to a monologue by Vincent Price, a full eight years before Mr. Jackson would do the same on his "Thriller" album. He portrays a museum curator with an obsession with spiders. This leads us right into "The Black Widow," Alice's Spider King who demands that we love him or be devoured. The little sounds are really brought out here and Alice's vocals sound more distinct. The two guitars are more clearly separated.The next three songs are fun tunes that add musical diversity to the album. "Only Women Bleed" was Alice's first ballad and would mark the beginning of a string of melancholy hits throughout the rest of the seventies. "Some Folks" is a Broadway kick-line number about anger, violence, lust and pain. "Department of Youth" is a pre-teen anthem about kids running the world-the scariest thought on the album! All of them sound crisper and more precise. The violins on "Only Women Bleed" are much more prominent.The chilling mood returns with "Cold Ethyl," the most upbeat song about necrophilia ever written. "One thing I miss is Cold Ethyl and her skeleton kiss...We met last night making love by the refrigerator light." There is a woman moaning excitedly under the music in this song-which is really brought out in this remaster. I like the extra edge it gives the song."Long Ago," "Stephen" and "The Awakening" form a story about a little boy (or is he a great big man?) with some sort of multiple personality disorder who can't figure out why all his friends are gone, all his toys are broken and people keep dying, until...well, buy the album and see for yourself. "The Awakening" is one of the coolest punch-lines to an album I've ever heard. The eerie tone of these songs is served well by the sharp ultra clear remastering of this CD. The creepy sounds, hidden voices, and far off calling of Stephen's mother are all more prominent in the mix of sounds. It made the listening experience all the more chilling."Escape" closes out the album and is about escaping from the nightmare. Because Alice at heart is a sweet guy all his stories have happy endings. "Welcome to My Nightmare" is no exception. In the end, we wake up, and wipe the cobwebs from our eyes, and realize that we are back in the daytime world. Don't worry; we can get back to the nightmare if we need to. After all, aren't nightmares just a way to escape from our sometimes mundane lives?If you are debating getting this remaster because you already have the CD of "Welcome To My Nightmare"-and it is already a perfect CD, I urge you to take the plunge. I believe this is even better, or at least as good, but delightfully different. The three alternate songs are a must for any fan. The improved clarity of sound, and the brightening of some of the background instrumentation make it well worth buying."
Things that make noise in the night
Pamela Scarangello | 08/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have owned this cd for about 10 years and have only recently rediscovered its beauty. The images and stories described in these songs have inspired my writing and give light to the darker side of me.The most noted song on this cd is the single "Only Women Bleed". While this is a great song, three other songs stand out in my mind. "Black Widow" and "Devil's Food", which could be one song in itself, tell the story of spider taking over the world from the view of a mad scientist. The highlight of the cd for me is "Steven". Steven is the character that makes regular appearances of Alice's cd. This song allows Steven to speak directly to the listener. Alice sings this song in a child-like voice. "Escape" , "Welcome to my Nightmare", and "The Awakening" are other great songs. An awesome cd, and a must for any fan of Alice Cooper. So are your nightmares like this?"
"These words he speaks are true. We're all humanary stew"
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 10/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alice Cooper is arguably the most underrated and influential frontman in rock history. He's a household name and everybody knows at least one of his songs, but how often does he get his due, really? He has been destroying stages and releasing classic album after classic album since the late 60's, has heavily influenced every era of hard rock, single-handedly invented rock music as horror theater, rocks on to this day, and has one of the most unique voices ever to grace a microphone and yet he remains uninducted into the fraudulently-named "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame". But Madonna gets in no problem. WTF, much? Folks like Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, KISS, and even Ozzy Osbourne owe him their very careers. He opened the door and married horror themes, theatrics, and rock music while taking the brunt of the conservative media backlash; everybody else just walked on through and built on the foundation Cooper laid for them all nice and neat. Well, this Halloween season I'm giving Alice's best album the love it deserves. "Welcome To My Nightmare": tag, you're it!
After a string of staggering classic rock albums with the legendary line-up of the Alice Cooper band, visionary frontman Vincent Furnier took on the name himself and hired his own ego-free backup band to truly explore the merger of his two passions: horror and music. The result is a masterpiece that can never be duplicated. It's original, hard-rocking, grooving, psychedelic, ambitious, and just plain brilliant. The variety and theatricality of the music itself is something that never would have been done in the Alice Cooper band with their focus on classic rock stylings and individual instrumental prowess; but stripped of the band's democratic process, Cooper was free to explore as freely as he chose. And he chose well. I love this album so much that I'm going to take you through it track by wonderful track.
Right away, the listener is greeted with a creepy and evocative psychedelic jazz number that is unlike anything else I've ever heard. "Welcome To My Nightmare" is Cooper's statement that the asylum doors have opened and he's about to take you on a trip into his world. "Devil's Food" is a unique and memorable little tune ("I knew your precious life/ and I know your death") that primarily serves as an intro to "The Black Widow". At this point we are greeted with a catastrophically awesome performance by my favorite horror icon, Vincent Price, who plays a madman leading a tour through a spider exhibit. "If I may put forward a slice of personal philosophy, I feel that man has ruled this world as a stumbling demented child-king long enough!", he rants, espousing the virtues of the treacherous spider as a fitting successor. That man was a true genius. "The Black Widow" is a rocking number that envisions a world where the evolved arachnid has brainwashed and enslaved humanity. "Some Folks" is another left turn for Alice Cooper and resembles some sort of old Broadway show or revue. In fact, Cooper used to bring out a parade of dancing creatures -including a line of synchronized kicking skeletons- onstage during performances of this number. One of my favorites. "Only Women Bleed" is probably the best known song on this album and is far from the macho chest-thumping anthem the title would lead you to believe. It is a tender ballad about an abused woman trying to share her feelings with her callous husband. Classic.
Alice Cooper has always been among the most underrated and flexible songwriters in rock music and this album displays that fact on nearly every track. His ability to change gears from the horrific to childish humor or genuine emotional vulnerability and back again from song to song is on full display. "Department of Youth" is Cooper showcasing the kid in him, leading a child chorus rebellion against the old order. It's a goofy song, but catchy as can be. "Cold Ethyl", however, is the funniest song on the album; a Nekromantik tale of a girlfriend on ice filled with killer guitar work and darkly humorous lyrics. Try not to laugh when Alice exclaims "Cold Ethyl, I'm stuck on you!" Next comes the album's magnum-opus: the three-song horror opera consisting of "Years Ago", "Steven", and "The Awakening". The story is a first-person exploration of a child killer's dual-personality and his descent into madness as the two sides fight over a young child's life. It is the most chilling thing I've ever heard and is as bold, black, and evocative as music gets. Some of the music brings to mind horror classics like Halloween and The Exorcist and also features what sounds like creepy carousel music. This show-stopping display should have ended the album, but Cooper decided to let us off on a high note so "Escape" follows. It's a light-hearted rocker with a catchy riff and lyrics about music, horror, and performance as a way to deal with the true horrors of the world at large. Escapism, in other words. I can truly relate. It's a great song, but it seems out of place after the devastating intensity of the story in front of it. But then again, Cooper is a light-hearted guy who wouldn't want to leave us in a depression, so I understand his intent.
"Welcome To My Nightmare" is my favorite horror/rock album and I am sure you'll love it. Classic rock doesn't get much better. The guitars sound killer, the arrangements are all outstanding, and Cooper has seldom been more consistently amazing. This is the perfect album to augment your Horrorween season, so buy it and love it to death."
A Dream Come True
Joseph McCarthy | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States | 05/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Welcome to my nightmare. I think you're gonna like it. I think you're gonna feel you belong." So starts out the first track as Alice Cooper invites us into his classic concept album of the seventies. It begins with the soft picking and strumming of guitar strings accompanied by the slow tapping of a cymbal, and continues as Alice joins the instruments, singing in a soft, quiet voice as if to avoid waking a sleeping person. Gradually the song picks up pace and volume as Alice introduces us to his "breakdown" and opens the door to the rest of the journey through this album.After you've entered the album through the first song, "Welcome To My Nightmare," you'll find youself in the second track, "Devil's Food." Don't worry, the devil's not there. At least not in person. No, you'll find yourself in far better company than Satan, for Vincent Price awaits you as the curator of a deadly reptile and insect museum. As the voice of this master actor of old black and white horror films guides you on the tour, you come to realize that you are the "food" being led into the next song, "The Black Widow," to be eaten by a spider. If you've escaped song three, you might find refuge in song four, "Some Folks." But I doubt it. Here we find Alice pleading, "Baby, come on and save me." But the lyrics are ambiguous. Does he want to be saved from celabacy? "Some folks crave a blue lady... I'm just no good without it, I'm not a man at all." Or does he want to be rescued from the nightmare he's caught in? "Some folks love to feel pain, some folks wake up every morning. Some folks live for no reason, some folks die without a warning." The message isn't clear, except for the fact that the character in the song is not in a happy predicament.And don't assume that song five, "Only Women Bleed," will save you. Of course, you'll be better of if you're the man in the song, who "smokes and drinks and don't come home and all." But if you're the abused women, you just get to bleed on those occasions when he does come home.But you could make your way to the "Department Of Youth," track six, an anthem of youth rebellion against adult authority. Perhaps you could hide among the juvenile delinquents as they sing along with Alice about how they've got the power. (The Summerhill Children's Choir join Cooper on vocals)But when the department of youth closes and you have nowhere to go but song seven, "Cold Ethyl," you might want to walk fast and get out of there quickly. The song is only two minutes and fiftyone seconds long; but for those three minutes you'll be doing husband and wife things with Ethyl. That wouldn't be a problem, if not for the fact that the reason Ethyl is cold is because she's a corpse.In "Years Ago," track eight, you'll mentally regress to your childhood. You'll long for that era. You'll think you're there, yet, somehow know you're not. "I'm a little boy. No, I'm a great big man. You will realize that all your "friends went home - years ago." You'll admit that "all my toys are broken. And so am I inside, mom." You'll hear your mother calling for you to come home as you wander into the next track. Song nine is "Steven." He's you. He's the one trapped in this album; this nightmare. He's struggling to grow up. Part of this unhappy adventure is the struggle, in song nine, to accept the death of a loved one, most likely Steven's mother. He keeps hearing her, or someone else calling his name. The lyrics of this song might lead you to believe that Steven is losing the battle against the demons of his mind.But then you wake up in song ten, "The Awakening." You're in the basement and don't know how you got there. You think that perhaps you're sleep walking. You get up from the chair to look for your wife. You follow a trail of blood and realize it's dripping from your hands. Is Ethyl your wife? Is she dead because of you? Did you kill your mother? Are you the reason that only women bleed? But then song eleven, "Escape," brings freedom from the nightmare. After this song, you can exit the record and re-enter reality. You can finally pinch yourself and know that it was all just a rock and roll dream. You're safe at home in front of your stereo."