Friday, November 4, 2011

Alice Cooper - Ghouls Gone Wild

Article first published as Music Review: Alice Cooper - "Ghouls Gone Wild" from Welcome 2 My Nightmare on Blogcritics.

Just in time for Halloween, I'm tackling Alice Cooper's "Ghouls Gone Wild" from his latest album Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a sequel to his 1975 masterpiece Welcome To My Nightmare. The song is a throwback to the surf-rock era with witty lyrics and a surprise ending that connects this song to the original 1975 album. Here's the video of myself playing the song:

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine about how most "classic rock" bands/artist seem to lose their fire or passion in making music, and their new releases just seemed forced and lackluster. This new Cooper album is a definite exception: its full of great songs, stellar performances by every musician, pristine production, and lots of Cooper's twisted sense of humour.

"Ghouls Gone Wild" is a clever play on words in reference to the very popular videos Girls Gone Wild, but that is only the beginning of a series of funny puns and double-meanings in the lyrics. My favorite is "We're gonna dance our heads off and we're gonna keep it tight/ If we keep ourselves together we might make it through the night."  It immediately summons the image of decaying bodies dancing to the song. The song would fit perfectly in one of the Scary Movies or Teen Wolf.

Mark Volman, singer from The Turtles, makes a guest appearance here singing the back up vocals. I'm particularly fond of the second chorus where the back-ups answer the main vocal line. Check out what Cooper has to say about the song and Volman's involvement.

The bass part is pretty simple, mainly keeping a steady eight-note rhythm throughout. At the third chorus, the song shifts up a tone and the bass line has a lot more movement and melody.

The guitar solo section is the only "modern" sounding part of the track. It has a harder edge to it, and builds nicely with that chromatic run. In the video I played that part on a different place of my fretboard the second time through. I'm not sure why I did it that way; it just happened naturally.

Scary Ending
If you were a big fan of the original Welcome to My Nightmare record, you might get chills when listening to the end of "Ghouls Gone Wild": if you listen carefully there is the same creepy "backwards" piano sample as in the end of the song "Steven" on the original album. Both songs are track number nine on their respective records.

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