This is the very first album Alice Cooper did as a solo artist, he needed it to solidify his independent standing, and without a doubt it packs a mighty punch, 45-years later the music and lyrics includes masquerading as a horror film and a charming ballad. His reputation ever increasing from there, with sick slick stage theatrics, that arose from pure insanity and chaos, those words are synonymous in the hard rock/metal world, but he brought them into his personal life and body. For those unaware the Alice Cooper Band broke up in the spring of 1974 and Alice turned on the internal switch and began penning this creation, it also became his only release with Atlantic Records.
It’s a rough concept album, Cooper telling a story of the character Steven who’s having nightmares, some songs string together and others stand alone in the corner, hiding in the shadows. The opening track is “Welcome to My Nightmare” song heard on various Halloween themed releases, and concert favorite, it features wonderful arrangements, while the lyrics just unleash so much of a macabre style. The video for the track is a bit kooky and aged badly.
Next up, “Devil’s Food” and “The Black Widow” solid combination of tracks often played back-to-back, it is a rarity however just like Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” so fittingly they go together just two puzzle pieces. Here, the listeners experience a museum of dealing spiders with horror star Vincent Price reciting a long and winding monologue perhaps taking the suspense a tad too far but otherwise a fine treat for fans of Alice’s music and firmly placing in the horror fan camp too. This too had a music video:
Then there’s a series of random tracks which include an almost cabaret style track called “Some Folks” that allows for chorus enjoyable sing-along, but obviously it’s more for Cooper’s stage performance.
A very moving ballad entitled “Only Women Bleed” which was originally composed by Dock Wagner for his band Frost, but Cooper supplied this as a title for the song; Wagner and him created new lyrics, this all occurring under the watchful of eye producer Bob Ezin who had worked with the Alice Cooper Band and continued onward with the artist’s solo career.
Then giving the horror fans another twisted track of delight, all about necrophilia, yes, a bit shocking for 1975, but he was into the he shock-rock “Cold Ethyl” it’s short track under 3-minutes in length but it does contains a catchy rock-n-roll vibe. “Years Ago” / “Steven” / “The Awakening” sequence, there’s truly no way to break them down as individual tracks, therefore let’s dive right into the mix, “Years Ago” starts softer, with little creepy noises, Some have suggested the intension was of an adult version of a boy lost in himself. However, the songs suggest loneliness, and rather than the common thought of abandonment something much worse abduction. Listening carefully, Steven’s friends went home, he’s broken inside (abuse) and we hear his mother calling for him to come home, the child-like voice, damaged mentally and emotionally, recalling that years ago the carnival closed, and he wants to return to his childhood, but it’s all lost. “Steven” starts with a piano piece similar to The Exorcist, the telling of cover the eyes to make the nightmares and screams go away it is phenomenally well-performed, and deeply distributing and thoroughly creepy. “The Awakening” the music upticks greatly at a certain point, and eventually simply trails off into the bleakness. The album concludes with another good rocking track called “Escape” which is just fun to listen; too.
Welcome to My Nightmare
The Black Widow
Only Women Bleed
Department of Youth
Alice Cooper – Vocals
Dick Wagner – Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Steve Hunter – Electric and Acoustic Guitar
Prakash John – Bass
Pentti “Whitey” Glan – Drums
Vincent Price – The Curator
This album helped excel his career, so much it inspired Alice Cooper: The Nightmare (1975) and his worldwide tour in the same year however the release found mixed critics, and fortunately over time the release was considered by many as his finest album, with plenty of well-defined music, and incredible lyrics. His title tracks also become a hit on then Muppet Show that aired on December 15, 1979. Its, extremely easy to find, numerous versions of it exists on various formats, and actually led to a release in 2011 called Welcome 2 My Nightmare, nearly impossible to capture the magic of his original design.
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/5.0