#778: Bi-curious

GETTING MORE TALE #778:  Bi-curious

You could tell Mrs. Powers didn’t like Elton John, and why.

I was just beginning my exploration of rock and roll, at a very young age.  I knew who Elton John was.  He had at least two songs that I knew and liked: “Sad Songs Say So Much” and “I’m Still Standing”.  Although in the 80s he had toned down his image, my mom explained that he used to be known for his crazy hats and glasses.

I don’t know how Elton John came up, that day in Catholic school.  It was grade 7 or 8, so 1985 or 1986.  Powers was strict and believed in public shaming.  Like the time she said “Shame on you!” to me for choosing a non-Catholic highschool, in front of everyone.  My sister had Powers a few years later, and got in shit in front of the class because she wasn’t as good at math as (presumably) her dad, who was a bank manager.  She was just a nasty teacher.

However Elton’s name came up that day, it doesn’t particularly matter.  What I remember was what Mrs. Powers said about him:  “And I don’t care that he’s BI-SEXUAL.”  Emphasis on that “BI-SEXUAL” part.  The immediate undertone was that she did care, very much, or she wouldn’t have brought it up.  And her feelings on the matter were in the negative.

Questions swirled in my head.  Elton John, the guy with the glasses and hats — was bisexual?  Most importantly, what the fuck did that even mean?

If you think Catholic school sex-ed curriculum covered things such as bisexuality, or even homosexuality, you’d be sorely mistaken.  She dropped that word, “bisexual” in a sentence and didn’t elaborate.  My immediate assumption (and you can see how I got there in my thinking) was that Elton John probably had both genitalia.  It’s not like I was going to raise my hand and ask.

I don’t know how many years I went about my life, thinking that Elton John had both a wiener and a vagina.  But I did, and it was because of a Catholic school teacher.  Nice, eh?  In many regards, although I went to class every day like anyone else, I think I was largely homeschooled until I got to highschool.  I learned more about history, science, and the arts at home thanks to my mom and dad.  At a young age, I was watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos with my dad, and listening to early Canadian rock and folk music with my mom.

The second takeaway from this story is the negative tone when Mrs. Powers said “BI-SEXUAL” like that.  I don’t need to explain how that just reinforces negative stereotypes.

The irony of course is that, bisexual or not, Elton John has been with his husband David Furnish for over 25 years, and they have proven to be model parents to their two kids.  I wonder if Mrs. Powers has since changed her tune on Elton John.

Advertisements

R.I.P. Eddie Money (1949 – 2019)

Edward Mahoney was a cop.  As Eddie Money, he was a star.  “Take Me Home Tonight” and “Two Tickets to Paradise” will be played on radio stations forever.  Thank you for the music Eddie Money.

At age 70, Eddie succumbed to cancer of the esophagus.  A long hard struggle.  We hope his family finds peace in this difficult time.

 

Rest in peace Eddie Money.

 

 

 

REVIEW: Jim Crean – Gotcha Covered (2019)

JIM CREAN – Gotcha Covered (2019 Visionary Noise)

Jim Crean is steeped in hard rock tradition.  He’s worked with some of the legends, and he’s covered the rest of ’em.  Atypical covers.  Not the usual “hits” but interesting tracks you might know and remember, or will be exposed to for the first time.  In 2019, Crean’s come out with an original album The London Fog, and a covers CD called Gotcha Covered.  Lets see what surprises there are in store.

Right out of the gates, it’s a shocker:  “Hall of the Mountain King”.  You don’t hear Savatage covers every day, and fortunately Crean has the necessary scream abilities.  He sounds like a man possessed by lust for the Mountain King’s gold!

Unpredictability is the theme for this album.  Up next:  Melissa Etheridge.  It’s an oldie from her landmark first debut, “Like the Way I Do”, and you’ve never heard it so heavy.  It sounds as if it was written to be played this way because it’s completely natural.  White Lion are a little more centerfield, and “Hungry” is a killer choice.  Jim Crean can easily handle mid-80s Mike Tramp songs, as they are right in his pocket.  John Corabi is another singer who Crean is naturally suited to cover.  The Scream’s “Outlaw” is definitely an obscure but inspired choice.   Tasty riff.  Badlands get the next nod, with “The Last Time”, the first single from the second album Voodoo Highway.  The high notes are no problem, and the chorus goes on for lightyears.

Then it’s back to left field, with Bryan Adams’ old (pre-Reckless) classic “Lonely Nights”.  You don’t hear Adams covers very often, and usually they suck.  Not this one.  Crean transforms it into a hard rock anthem, something Sammy Hagar could have recorded.  Another shocker is Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”, converted into a classy rock ballad, utterly different from the original.  The Cars’ “Bye Bye Love” is another brilliant choice (not that you can go wrong with any Cars).  It works well as hard rock.  “Falling In Love”, a Scorpions oldie written by Herman Rarebell, adds a heavy kick at the right time.

“Saved By Zero” is the only track that doesn’t sound overly metalized.  The Fixx cover reveals some more new wave roots, and a good song choice it is.  The complex backing vocals sound fantastic.  Crean does justice to his hometown boys The Goo Goo Dolls next with “Lazy Eye”.  This non-album Goos song was on the soundtrack for the ill-fated Batman & Robin.  As you’d expect, it boasts a strong chorus, but the chunky riff may surprise you.  Another obscurity is “The Warning” by Victory, a strong 80s chug.  Onto the 90s next:  Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy and Cinderella’s Fred Coury had a band called Arcade.  “Cry No More” is a ballad from their debut.

The last few songs include Dokken’s slow burning “When Heaven Comes Down”.  Nothing wrong with some Back for the Attack era Dokken.  The Sweet’s classic “Love Is Like Oxygen” brings that pop edge back.  But it’s the closer, Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” that really slams it home.  No horns, just guitars and heavy beats.  The original arrangement is untouchable, but a heavy rock version?  Sure, why not.

A good covers album is hard to come by.  It all comes down to song selection.  In this regard, Jim Crean knocked one out of the park.

4/5 stars

REVIEW: Queensrÿche – Operation: Mindcrime (1988/2003 remaster)

QUEENSRŸCHE – Operation: Mindcrime (1988, 2003 EMI remaster)

After Pink Floyd made history by releasing The Wall in 1979, concept albums fell out of fashion.   Almost a decade later, two heavy metal albums brought the artform of the full-length story back:  Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and Operation: Mindcrime by Queensryche.  Of the two, Mindcrime had the more coherent linear story, but both remain high water marks for each band.

The Queensryche album sold slowly at first, as the band refused to make music videos to let the album speak for itself.  They changed course in 1989 when “Eyes of a Stranger” made it to MTV and MuchMusic.  Fortunes changed dramatically for Operation: Mindcrime.  The album eventually went platinum.

The reason Mindcrime was better suited as an album than music videos was the connected storyline running through each song.  Employing a classic frame technique, we begin at the end with “I Remember Now”.

“I remember now.  I remember how it started.  I can’t remember yesterday.  I just remember doing what they told me…”

The anti-hero Nikki is an angry, aimless addict who fell in with a radical political group called Operation: Mindcrime.  He is a disheartened young American. “The rich control the government, the media, the law.”  Mindcrime’s modus operandi?  Using drugs and brainwashing, would-be assassins are sent out to kill strategic political targets, building to revolution.  Inequality, corruption and the media have made the country an ugly place.  Dr. X, the mastermind behind Mindcrime, has total control over Nikki.  He also uses the nun Mary, a former prostitute, to feed Nikki’s needs.  Nikki and Mary grow closer until he receives the order:  “Kill her.”  She knows too much.

The first two tracks are just setup before you get to the meat.  “I Remember Now” and “Anarchy-X” create a powerful set of images, with anthemic guitars and the sound of massive crowds rallying to a cause.  “Revolution Calling”, the first real song, begins the narrative.  “Then I heard of Dr. X, the man with the cure, just watch the television, yeah you’ll see there’s something going on.”

Nikki is indoctrinated on the title track, an ominous riffy behemoth of a song.  Dr. X uses Nikki’s drug addiction to control him.  With nothing to lose, Nikki falls for the doctor’s words.  “There’s a job for you in the system boy, with nothing to sign.”  Nikki has no use for the government or politicians.  It all sounds good to him.  On “Speak” he receives his first assignment.  “I’m the new messiah, death angel with a gun.”  On a blazing fast track with a thick chorus, Nikki falls into his new life.  “Eradicate the fascists, revolution will grow.”  On “Spreading the Disease”, another kickass track with a chorus that goes on for miles, Nikki tells the story of Mary and his distaste for the church.  “Religion and sex are power plays, manipulate the people for the money they pay.  Selling skin, selling God, the numbers look the same on the credit cards.”

Queensryche take it slower (though not soft) on “The Mission”, as Nikki starts to feel disillusionment.  “I look around, my room is filled with candles, each one a story but they end the same.”  He keeps telling himself that he’s doing what’s right.  “My mission saved the world, and I stood proud.”  But then he is given the order he dreads:  Kill Mary.  This instruction opens album epic “Suite Sister Mary”, 10 full minutes of riffs, choir and orchestra (by Michael Kamen).  The riff alone stands like a monolith.  Vocalist Pamela Moore sings a duet with Geoff Tate as the character of Sister Mary.  As for that riff?  Chris DeGarmo was the master riff composer in this band, a hole they have never quite filled.

The second half of the story commences with “The Needle Lies”.  Nikki wants out, but finds that it doesn’t work that way.  There is no “out”.  Meanwhile Queensryche strafe the speakers with a thrashy blitzkrieg.  Drummer Scott Rockenfield cannot be contained.  Then on the quiet filler track “Electric Requiem”, Nikki discovers that Mary had made his choice to disobey orders irrelevant.  Dead by her own hand, Nikki is broken and tailspins into a mad depression.  This is portrayed on “Breaking the Silence”, another stone cold winner of a song with a mighty chorus.  The chunky guitar riff is to die for.

With his memory failing him, Nikki doesn’t even know if he killed Mary himself or not.  He questions everything on the ever-cool single “I Don’t Believe in Love”, one of the most remarkable of all Queensryche songs.  Once again the writing partnership of Tate and DeGarmo struck heavy musical gold.  Two shorter tracks (“Waiting for 22” and “My Empty Room”) fill in some story points, and Nikki is eventually caught.

Operation: Mindcrime’s biggest song is its final track and first single, “Eyes of a Stranger”.  Memories are but fragments.  “I raise my head and stare into the eyes of a stranger.”  It’s one of Queensryche’s most incredible recordings, a perfect storm of guitars, vocals and melody.  It’s neck deep in drama, with Geoff Tate at his most emotive.  The story ends with some questions left unanswered.  At least until 2006’s unnecessary Mindcrime II….

Operation: Mindcrime took Queensryche to an artistic level that fans and critics always knew they could achieve.  Their debut EP showed promise.  They didn’t live up to that potential until Mindcrime.  Though good, The Warning album wasn’t a stunner like MindcrimeRage For Order was brilliant but alienating.  Even when it was first released, Mindcrime did not blow all the critics away.  Only after it had been digested slowly over time did the masses realize they were sitting on something very special.  Queensryche had done conceptual work before, but more abstract.  Nothing as well-hewn as Mindcrime.  Musically it was like they distilled everything they had accomplished thus far, and concentrated it into pure rock majesty.

The 2003 CD reissue had two live B-sides as bonus tracks.  “The Mission” was originally released in 1991 on the B-side to “Silent Lucidity”.  It is a different recording from that on the live album Operation: LIVEcrime.  “My Empty Room” is a later acoustic recording, released in 1995 as a B-side to “Bridge”.  It’s interesting for its acoustic setting and percussion, but is best heard in the context of the “Bridge” single with its other acoustic counterparts.

Is Operation: Mindcrime a masterpiece?  The story is a bit Hollywood and a tad juvenile, but the broad strokes are remarkably still valid today.  Mindcrime is rivalled by only a few.  It’s a worthy, nay, important addition to any metal collection.

5/5 stars

REVIEW: Queensrÿche – Queensrÿche (1983 EP/2003 remaster)

Part I of a Queensryche two-parter.

QUEENSRŸCHE – Queensrÿche (1983 EP/2003 EMI remaster)

Sometimes a reissue is done so right you just gotta “Take Hold of the Flame”.

The 1984 debut EP by Queensryche is one such release.  The original vinyl runs shy of 18 minutes, leaving plenty of space for bonus tracks.  For this, they included the audio for all 10 songs from their first home video, Live in Tokyo.  Wishes fulfilled.

The original four track EP put the quintet from Seattle on the map.  Opening with “Queen of the Reich”, the young band showcased their knack for riffs and screaming vocals.  Geoff Tate’s opening scream cannot be touched.  Tate seemed embarrassed of these songs later on (all written by Michael Wilton and Chris DeGarmo with one lyric by Geoff).  Though the songs are clearly a starting point, they’re nothing to be embarrassed by.  “Queen of the Reich” remains simple, majestic and powerful.

The “Nightrider” sails away but the riffs go on with pneumatic precision.  Early Queensryche were not that dissimilar from early Iron Maiden, but at least they were doing that sound well.  Curiously enough this self-produced EP was not recorded with the intention to release it.  Queensrÿche is actually just a demo, but the band were starting to make waves on the live scene and so the four songs were released as an EP.  It eventually went gold; very rare for an EP.

Flipping over to side two, “Blinded” is screamy and raw.  Not one of the bands’ most memorable tunes, but soon arrives “The Lady Wore Black”.  This is a metal ballad in the classic vein of “Beyond the Realms of Death” or “Remember Tomorrow”.  Tate’s voice cascades while the band weave a backing track of guitar thunder.  Along with “Queen of the Reich”, it still turns up on live setlists.

The live set in Tokyo, recorded in 1984, contains all the tracks from the EP, a non-album song called “Prophecy”, and several from the debut full-length album The Warning.  Opening with the “Nightrider”, Queensryche don’t let up through a generally fast and heavy set.  “Prophecy” keeps up the brisk pace, with a chorus that is miles ahead of “Nightrider”.  And this DeGarmo-penned smoker was a non-album track!  “Deliverance” from The Warning follows in its ashy footsteps.  It’s an onslaught of Warning tracks:  “Child of Fire” and “En Force” rolled out in heavy fashion.  This trio of Warning songs might be considered the slow part of the set.  They have a soundalike vibe as they steamroll the ears.

“The Lady Wore Black” brings a slower, dark atmosphere.  Tate’s sustain is unbelievable!  Then it’s a blast of classics to close the set:  “Warning”, “Take Hold of the Flame” and “Queen of the Reich”.  Magnificent metal through and through, with “Take Hold” being an unequivocal high point.  From Tate’s vocal to the exalted riffing, Queensryche nail it.

Don’t just get the EP.  Make sure to get the 2003 CD reissue with the glorious Tokyo show included.  You’ll be happy you did.

4/5 stars

 

#777: Road Rage

GETTING MORE TALE #777: Road Rage

On 19 September 2010, a Wikipedia user posted the following on the talk page for the rock band Quiet Riot’s entry on the site.

Hello,
This is the official Quiet Riot band and management. We are slowly and steadily attempting to clean up the vast array of inaccuracies on this page and post a historically correct bio. Please be patent [sic] and please do not come behind us and vandalize or attempt to “correct” this page. Thank you.

This note and a number of edits were allegedly made by Regina Russell, now the wife of current Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali.  This raised a number of red flags, notably conflict of interest.  Nobody may edit their own Wikipedia article, or one they have a vested interest in.*  The edits were made using an account called Pinkmermaid.  Going down the rabbit hole, you could see Pinkmermaid also made a number of contested edits to the Regina Russell Wikipedia article.  But the Quiet Riot wiki became a constant battleground.  For example Pinkmermaid objected to people like Tracii Guns being listed as members, even though he was confirmed as one by Frankie Banali (for a single rehearsal) in an interview with the late C.C. Banana.

There are a few people listed as members that were not. As for me or the band editing the page or “allowing” this person or that person to be listed. That is a joke. Anything that the band camp has edited just gets deleted. I barely began deleting lies and false members (it would be a big job) when the trolls took over so this page is now abandoned by anyone who could verify actual facts. This page is largely inaccurate. Siting [sic] “references” that are nothing more than blogs or interviews that are not truthful. If anyone is coming to this page for info about this band they are just getting a mish mosh of myths & rumors anyway.

The Quiet Riot camp and the Wikipedia community went back and forth over the edits.  At that time, I was writing reviews, and editing Wikipedia articles on the side for fun.  I’m personally responsible for all the Helix articles created on Wikipedia from 2009-2010, and I’m very proud of doing so with proper references.  Obviously, this Quiet Riot drama was as fascinating as a car crash.  I couldn’t look away.  I followed the digital breadcrumbs left by the Pinkmermaid account and attempted to make some fixes, all over Wikipedia.

Things came to a head over the Metal Health article.  Pinkmermaid made an edit to the article claiming that Metal Health was Quiet Riot’s debut.  I changed it back, as it is actually their third LP after two that were released in Japan only.  This sparked an “edit war” between the two of us.  On 7 October, I posted the below on the Metal Health talk page in order to settle the matter once and for all.

This section is to resolve a dispute between Quiet Riot’s manager and the article as it stands, whether Metal Health is the first, or the third, Quiet Riot album.

My feeling is that management is trying to re-write history to make it look like the current Quiet Riot, which contains no members from the album Quiet Riot I, does in fact have original members. I have never in 27 years of being a collector, nor 12 years of running my record store, have ever heard of Metal Health being referred to as Quiet Riot’s debut album. North American debut, yes. But I strongly resist the band’s manager making this change as I believe it is self serving to their agenda, which is legitimizing the current lineup which in actuality has no original members.

The band has posted an interview with DuBrow where he refers to it as their first, however I think this is questionable as many bands like to rewrite their own history. Helix for example are going around saying they are touring with the “original lineup”. When in reality their only original member is the singer. Just because a band says something doesn’t make it so. There are also intefviews [sic] with DuBrow where he refers to QRI as the first album, such as Guitar For the Practicing Musician.

Management are arguing that the original Quiet Riot broke up, and then they started a new band (with two members from the first QR, DuBrow and Sarzo) also called Quiet Riot, and Metal Health is their debut album. I cannot see a single example on Wikipedia of any band whose discography is split between two phases of the band and considered separate entities. Deep Purple, for example.

Please discuss. I think is where a serious conflict of interest comes into play.

Things got nasty.  From Pinkmermaid:  “That IS a DEBUT. I know you are some fan and you have feelings about the subject. You don’t really know much about it though.”  When I asked her if we could agree to disagree and let Wikipedia decide, she answered “I don’t agree with you in any way. I’m just busier than you doing other things. Stalking wiki pages can’t be a full time obsession for me.”

Ouch!  She said “stalking” because I made the mistake of going down the rabbit hole and fixing more of her conflict-of-interest edits.  Big mistake.  Should not have poked the bear.  She did get the “obsession” word right, at least.  My OCD is a stickler for details.   I advised her to review the Wikipedia code of conduct.  She accused me of “stalking” more than once, I guess not realizing that Wikipedia has thousands of people constantly editing articles, including hers.  One day she even turned up on my Amazon reviews.  She didn’t like the part of my Quiet Riot Rehab review where I complained about the reunited Quiet Riot having no original members.  Apparently writing that review was “stalking”.  I hope she never sees my Quiet Riot 10 review….

Ultimately Wikipedia agreed that Metal Health is the third Quiet Riot album, and Pinkmermaid left it alone.

In January 2017, Wikipedia investigated her edit activity and blocked her indefinitely, for “advertising or self-promotion”.  This was in regards to the movie she directed, Quiet Riot’s critically acclaimed Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back.

I wasn’t planning on telling this story.  In 2012, I said all I had to say with “Cum On Feel the Disgrace – A Quiet Riot Rant”.  But a strange thing happened in 2017.  Quiet Riot acquired James Durbin on vocals and made a really, really good album.  I reviewed it, rated it 3.75/5 stars, calling it “Easily their best album since 1993’s Terrified or even before”.  I gave Live in Milan 4/5 stars.  Any beefs I had with Quiet Riot’s trajectory were assuaged.   Until now.  James Durbin is out, and Jizzy Pearl is back in as lead singer.  And strangely enough, I seem to be blocked on Facebook by Frankie “ALL CAPS” Banali.  I’ve never interacted with Banali.  I smell a Pinkmermaid.

That’s why I’ve decided to finally talk about what happened between Quiet Riot and myself.  The backups are all on Wikipedia, can’t be erased, and are available for you to read.  Just browse the talk pages and edit histories and see for yourselves.  As usual, I will continue to judge Quiet Riot by the merits of their music.  If their next album, Hollywood Cowboys is good, you can count on an honest review.  Same if it sucks.  For now, I’m going back to the beginning and playing Quiet Riot I.

“It’s not so funny,
Just a kid, nobody listens to me,
Ain’t got no money to do what I want,
Somethin’s got to set me free.”

* In the interests of full disclosure, I’m no saint and I have broken the Wikipedia rules on Conflict of Interest.  Though I have not touched it since 2010, I did make a small number of edits to the Kathryn Ladano Wikipedia.  

 

HOLD THE PRESS!

Check out Sleaze Roxx for more drama.  Frankie Banali is attacking fans who are questioning why he’s been missing gigs unannounced.  

NEWS: Durbin Out, Jizzy Pearl Back in QUIET RIOT

Just as QUIET RIOT had built some credibility back up with the excellent Road Rage album (and the following Live in Milan), lead singer James Durbin has quit the band.  Back on the microphone is Jizzy Pearl (ex-Love/Hate, ex-Ratt) who previously recorded half of the questionable Quiet Riot 10 album.  Durbin has left in order “to concentrate his time and efforts on his solo career.‬”

This comes during a time when drummer and longest serving member Frankie Banali has been missing shows with no explanation.

Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon broke the news.  Here’s the statement from Quiet Riot:

“We wish James every great success for his future and are grateful for his time with QUIET RIOT.‬ Welcome back Mr. Jizzy Pearl!”

Quiet Riot has a new album, Hollywood Cowboys, due in November.  They will not re-record the vocals, and James Durbin will be singing on it.

This certainly puts a damper on the band, who had made a decent album with the Durbin lineup.  Stay tuned for further developments.

 

VIDEO: Dashcam Idiots #1

I’ve had this camera for just a week, and look at this fool.

 

Sunday Chuckle: Thussy edition

My good buddy Thussy came to visit work a couple weeks ago, with his two beautiful daughters, Emily and Megatron (Megan).  The girls love to visit my office, probably because I have toys and fidget spinners to play with.  They were spending some time in there while Thuss was catching up with someone else.

“Why do you have a picture of my dad in your office?” asked Megan.

It’s true.  I do.  It’s a picture of him that I snapped one day when he was messing up my desk.

“Well,” I explained, “One day your daddy was in here messing with my things…”

“What was he doing to them?” she interrupted excitedly.

“Your daddy was throwing my pens and papers all over my desk, putting tape on my mouse, that sort of thing.  I caught him doing it, and took a picture of his guilty face so I could show it to your mommy and she’d know what he was up to.”

The girls laughed.  But why did I keep the picture?

“Well the truth is, I just miss having your dad around here and having that picture makes me smile.”

I think that’s the best reason to keep anything.  For the smiles.

Just Listening to…Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare

I was very enthusiastic for this album when it came out in 2011:  four copies purchased (to get all the bonus tracks) and a 5/5 star rating.  I can hear what I loved about it so much, even if the feelings are faded today.  That’s what makes these “Just Listening” writings interesting!

The original Nightmare is still a favourite and always will be.  Factors that appealed to me about the sequel album are the musical and lyrical callbacks.  These recurring cues unite both albums quite successfully despite the decades that passed.  Musical sequels can be a dicey affair (Mindcrime 2, anyone?) but Alice Cooper and Bob Ezrin managed to do the near-impossible.

The standard album runs 52 minutes, and that’s just a tad long.  Although there are no obvious duds to cut, the original Nightmare was more effective because it was more concise.  (You want a longer experience?  Adding in all the bonus tracks more than doubles the album’s length!)  Regardless of the digital age that most of us inhabit, there is something to be said for the length of a standard LP.  It just happens to jive with the natural attention spans of the human mind.  The new Nightmare crams 14 tracks into that 52 minutes, and it plays out as a lot to absorb.  Especially after giving the album a rest for a few years.

Another way in which the second Nightmare is inferior to the first is the overall tone.  Nightmare 2 is far more humorous.  A couple tracks (“Ghouls Gone Wild” and “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever”) are there for the laughs.  That’s fine — Alice Cooper does humour in music better than 99% of those who try.  The original Nightmare had its fun, but the tone of the album was far darker, especially with songs like “Steven” and “Only Women Bleed”.  You’re going to have a preference one way or the other too.  I prefer the darker original Nightmare to the more comedic sequel.

These are all very fine hairs to split.  I still like the album, a lot.  I believe it to be Alice’s best from the last two decades.  There’s very little wrong with it.  I just don’t think it matches the first as much as I once did.