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Main Category: Hard Rock
Also applicable: Arena Rock
Starting Period: The Interim Years
Also active in: The Punk/New Wave Years, The Divided Eighties,

From Grunge To The Present Day



Disclaimer: this page is not written from the point of view of a Kiss fanatic and is not generally intended for narrow-perspective Kiss fanatics. If you are deeply offended by criticism, non-worshipping approach to your favourite artist, or opinions that do not match your own, do not read any further. If you are not, please consult the guidelines for sending your comments before doing so. For information on reviewing principles, please see the introduction. For specific non-comment-related questions, consult the message board.

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Wowee, the All-Music Guide really loves these guys... And if you're a hardcore Kiss fan, please please please go away right now and never come back. Real intro coming soon.



Year Of Release: 1974
Overall rating = 9

In which the phrase "kiss and make up" is given a whole new meaning, and the world becomes a wee bit crazier than it was before.


Track listing: 1) Strutter; 2) Nothin' To Lose; 3) Firehouse; 4) Cold Gin; 5) Let Me Know; 6) Kissin' Time; 7) Deuce; 8) Love Theme From KISS; 9) 10,000 Years; 10) Black Diamond.

I used to hate this album when I wrote my original review. Today I have more serious things to hate in life than a stupid KISS album, so let's not get all Shakesperian about it. The motto, after all, is "keep it simple, stupid", so let's keep the review simple and stupid as well. Which would be fairly easy to do, because one glance at the album cover is enough to make me feel simple and stupid, and we haven't even begun to discuss the music yet.

And the music is... simple and stupid. Big, dumb, riff-rock as flashingly obvious as a hobo's vomit in a subway carriage (and occasionally - but, granted, not always - just as hard to swallow). Traditionally KISS defenders like to point out that this kind of music was so lacking in the air in those prog-overtaken early Seventies that a band like KISS just had to appear. But guess what: these people are dead wrong. Just a bare glance at the year 1973 reveals names such as Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, T. Rex, the Faces, Mott the Hoople, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Budgie, the New York Dolls, and gazillions of other names - with all of these guys churning out loud, heavy, easily accessible rock product with enough quantity, quality, and diversity to please all kinds of demanding, or not so demanding, tastes. It's not like ELP and Genesis were the only thing played on the radio. Oh, but that's right: most of these guys were simple, but few of them were STUPID. STUPID is the key.

Yep, it would be fair to say that KISS, the album, is not only completely devoid of artistic ambition, but is proudly devoid of said ambition. Is that a problem? Not at all. (Not to mention that anything that is consciously 'defying' artistry and making a point of it is a kind of artistry itself - see the Ramones for more detail). The problem is I'm not sure if there's anything particularly good on here that could easily compensate for this lack. Like almost everything that KISS ever did, the album is remarkably flat. The boys just churn their heavy rockers out, one by one, and considering that the main point of all of them is to serve as modernistic mating calls, it begins to get on my nerves two or three songs into the record. Granted, you could probably download a bunch of porn clips from the Web, superimpose the music and have yourself a real good time. But what shall be left with you after the procedure?

The melodies? Hmm, difficult question. A few, maybe. Again, I used to count one good song on the album; today, I count as much as four, only because these are the four that actually have interesting, memorable, and even meaningful riffs. But four out of ten isn't really a lot of fun. And besides, as retribution for the decent riffs, you'll have to sit through even more of Paul Stanley singing. Do you like Paul Stanley's singing? Great range and all? I don't. A great rock'n'roll singer, in my humble opinion, must either come across as subtle and clever or as rough, tough, and dangerous. Stanley comes across as neither subtle (that's definitely not among his intentions) nor dangerous (because, after all, KISS is music for housewives, isn't it?). He just comes across as boorish, clownish, crude, and monotonous. No colour to his delivery - whatsoever.

The best combination for me, then, is when the most talented member of the band - guitarist Ace Frehley - joins writing efforts with the best singer in the band - bassist Gene Simmons. Simmons, unlike Stanley, has a good dose of true nastiness in his raspy voice, and comes across as a real delinquent whenever he takes lead vocals, rather than someone who's watched one too many pornos, frequented one too many gym sessions, and came to the conclusion that nothing further was ever necessary. Unfortunately, there's exactly one example of such an explosive mix on the entire album, 'Cold Gin', which does have a memorable nine-note riff, an interesting 'playful' mid-section, and a hungry-tiger-like vocal melody that conveys man's basic instincts in a far more convincing way than Paul Stanley could ever provide (even considering that Simmons, according to his own words, was never a big alcohol fan).

On the other hand, the best song on the album is still 'Strutter', even if there's more Stanley all over it than fleas on a street mutt. It's the first KISS song on the first KISS album, and since all KISS songs sound the same (at least, all the semi-decent ones), it's only natural that the first could be the best. (I often feel the same way about AC/DC as well - no matter how great the classic period albums are, I find myself going back to 'Baby Please Don't Go' all of the time). There's the glamorous Seventies for you - that pompous mid-tempo start wouldn't be out of place on David Bowie's Aladdin Sane, although, of course, the inane chorus ('Strutter! Strutter!') certainly would. But I do like the sleazy riff they produce after each chorus. It's sort of surprising and also sort of out of place, but the sudden shift from rather toothless glam to simplistic grinding hard rock and back again is certainly attention-grabbing.

Yes. Well, 'Deuce' is actually pretty good, too. Simmons singing again, which is relaxing, and a fairly complex riff which apparently was created by playing the Stones' 'Bitch' backwards and finetuning the results. Why the heck did they have to let Stanley in on the chorus, though? Did they think he wasn't getting his money's worth? Finally, 'Nothin' To Lose' is tolerable party fun, unassuming barroom rock with a few unimaginative pop hooks thrown in, and 'Firehouse' is... not awful. Well, it is, most of the time, but not when the main riff is playing.

Everything else is wretched. 'Let Me Know' is in the same barroom rock vein as 'Nothin' To Lose' but with even less creativity and this time, Stanley hitting all the notes again. 'Ten Thousand Years', which would later be chosen to be the band's centerpiece during live shows, is generic mid-tempo boogie which had been written and played a million times before. 'Black Diamond' hints at 'artsy' - horror! - with its mild acoustic introduction, as Stanley sings about the hardship and toil of street workin' wimmen while the rest of the band goes 'ooh ooh ooh' in quite a solemn way, completely forgetting to keep it stupid and getting it far more stupid than stupid is as a result. Equally horrible is the decision to end the song with a minute of bombastic power chords and then slow down the tapes, maybe so they could get a kind of 'gradually descending into hell' effect. But look, boys, I'm here to hear 'Strutter' and get a boner - why are you feeding me this faux-artsy shit?

The most obvious offenders are 'Love Theme From Kiss' - a completely pointless, primitive instrumental that's stuck somewhere in the middle between timid pop and pure soundtrack muzak; my guess is they simply put it together at the last minute to fill in space - and 'Kissin' Time', a dumb, offensively sappy, slowed down rewrite of 'Sweet Little Sixteen' that's awful per se and twice more awful in the general context of the album. In KISS' defense, though, it wasn't even credited to the band's name (because the rewrite itself goes back to 1959, although I forget the "author"), nor was it even present on the first pressing of the album; they were all but forced to do the song by their management that was desperately seeking for a hit single, and reportedly hated it themselves. It was their biggest "party anthem", though, until the arrival of the obviously superior (well, anything would be superior) 'Rock And Roll All Night'.

In retrospect, KISS is actually one of the band's strongest albums, just because the schtick was still fresh and the band members weren't coming to the table with nothing - obviously, most of these songs had been stuck in their minds and undergoing elaboration for quite some time before their schedule switched to sparing a few minutes of creativity in between endless hours of applying makeup and washing it off. Certainly in comparison to the next two albums this is a goddang classic. But it's also telling that the American public was not to be convinced upon first try: didn't the album sink like a stone on the charts? It certainly did, because, contrary to all the cries of "KISS just had to appear at a time like that!", the KISS niche was firmly occupied at the time, and it took 'em more than a bunch of mediocre songs to oust all competition.



Year Of Release: 1974

Wowee zowee, looks what we got 'ere! Kiss get diverse! There's one atrocious power ballad on here and one energetic FAST rock'n'roller, no, no, wait, a whole TWO of them! Whoever said all Kiss records sound the same? Was it me? No, it was Dr Jekyll...

Anyway, Hotter Than Hell is an excellent record that never even once breaks the 'keep it simple-stupid' credo and contains about the same percentage of absolute rock classics than a limited edition collection of raw demo versions of Frank Sinatra's earliest performances. Maybe a wee bit more, as this time around there's a grandiose total of two songs that I kinda enjoy (in headphones, preferrably when no one's around). 'Parasite' is nice because it features a cumber... er, thundersome trash riff that precedes trash, well, you do your little counting here to find out how far it precedes whatever. And 'Let Me Go Rock'n'Roll' (does anybody have the least idea of how should I set the punctuation straight? 'Let me go, rock'n'roll!'? 'Let me go (and) rock'n'roll!'? 'Let me! Go rock'n'roll!'? 'Let! Me! Go rock! And roll!'? Whatever!) actually shows that when these guys wanted, they could set up a good old rock'n'rolling groove that was fast and really really exciting. Hmm. All of a sudden, even Mr Ace Frehley doesn't look so gruesomely incompetent, letting go with a great guitar solo that's not only speedy, but is also catchy and energetic. Did I really miss something?

Returning to the other tracks, probably no. Okay, so add 'Parasite' and that bastardized punctuation ditty to my growing collection of good Kiss songs (that already makes three songs per two albums - at this rate, I might even overexploit a whole side of C-90), but the rest can definitely go to a place hotter than hell for as long as I care. I mean, just take that title track. Are those two chords or just one? And if you make a one chord-based song, you might at least make it fast and funny, not slow and stupid. Subject matter: the guy invites a hot lady to his place but she shows him 'her wedding band', apparently knocking him off balance. Question: if she's 'hotter than hell, all dressed in satin and lace', what is she doing in a place where horny KISS members are roaming? This can only mean that Kiss members are, in fact, far less horny than they pretend to be... but that would mean... oh me, oh my... oh bother...

I could easily discuss the rest of the lyrics in the same way, but I guess I shouldn't, because why the hell should I bother to make fun of Kiss lyrics? I might as well be making fun of commercial ditties. Instead, let me just ask myself this one question: how come the band managed to be so dorky that it actually comes up with real riffs instead of power chords and yet manages to make only one or two of them memorable AT ALL? Isn't the riff of a song its main anchor and stepping stone? Especially if it's a hard rock song? Well, it probably is, but I guess that there are riffs and riffs, plus, there are different ways of making these riffs turn into good music. Black Sabbath, for instance, used to have their riffs real slow, real heavy, real echoey, real thunderous, and real repetitive, so that you got the impression of the earth slowly sinking from under your feet. AC/DC used to have their riffs real fast, real mean, real crrrunchy, real cyclic, so that you got the impression of, er, dirty deeds done dirt cheep. Kiss just have their riffs real mid-tempo, real artificial, real messy and real simplistic, so you get the impression of a bunch of young talentless dorks pretending to play classic hard rock when actually anybody could play it better than them. And did I mention yet that the singing everywhere is completely rotten? Maybe if they at least had a super-duper nasty vocalist like Bon Scott...

Let me finish this review on a positive, life-asserting note: Simmons' power ballad 'Goin' Blind', co-written by him with a certain Stephen Coronel, is a tuneless mess and, as somebody like Mark Prindle would say, 'sucks donkey's ass'. Okay, maybe Mark wouldn't have said that - he's a big Kiss fan, after all. Sometimes I wish he were ten years older, so he'd grow up listening to the Byrds instead of listening to Kiss and Aerosmith...

P.S. None of the other songs are even worth mentioning. And pardon me if I have unintentionally offended sixty million Kiss fans. Before they flame me, here's my sincere apology: 'Excuse me, please, but Kiss suck donkey's ass!'



Year Of Release: 1975

Any hope that Kiss would eventually be able to grow into something a little more respectful than a bunch of distalented crooks is effectively quenched with the release of their third album, easily the most tasteless and dumb record they'd released up to that time. Maybe they were dressed to kill, but the only thing that this record is able to completely kill off are your braincells. Ah well, after all, the band members themselves always said they were after that exact purpose, didn't they? In that respect, this stuff just might work.

Yes, it's the album that features the band's most notorious anthem, the ultra-dorky 'Rock And Roll All Night' that finally earned them their megafame when it was released as a live version. And if you ask me, it's the only reason I didn't give the record a glorious one star; it's so defiant and irresistable in its utter foolishness and idiocy that it manages to salvage even such a worthless pile of shit from a minimal rating. Besides, who could resist a song that features a refrain as glorious as 'I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day?' Come on now, who doesn't want to do all these things? At least sometimes?.. Eh? That said, I still wish that they'd at least write a couple more lyrical lines for the song. After all, these guys ain't exactly Ramones, and lyrical sparseness only makes them look even more stupid than they are.

But the rest of the album is a complete disaster. Two things in particular bug me so much that I dropped the rating even further. First of all, it's 'Rock Bottom', for which the credits gloriously go like this: 'Intro: Ace Frehley, song: Paul Stanley'. Have you heard that intro? Kiss goes acoustic and atmospheric! With nice, sparse, minimalistic techniques, too: Ace Frehley picks up the guitar and plays a cycle of exactly three notes for exactly two minutes. Three notes. I counted. Three notes. I don't play guitar, you know, but just so as to have a little experiment, I took a guitar and selected a cycle of four notes which I mastered in ten minutes. It actually sounded even moodier and more thought-provoking, I guess, not to mention far more complex and inspirational. See now? I, too, can be a Kiss member! On second thought, maybe no. I can't stand make-up.

The second thing is that on one song ('She', I guess it was), the same Mr Frehley rips off... no, not even the melody - an entire guitar solo off the Doors' 'Five To One'. You heard. He just takes the same exact Robby Krieger note sequence (which he can't keep up with anyway) and tries to play it just like in the original. For me, this is amazing; I mean, okay, I've witnessed a certain number of 'classic' boogie solos being replayed in the same manner, but to lift off a creative rock song guitar solo like that? Were they so dumb they couldn't even have invented a guitar solo of their own? Or was it just a defying move? Bah.

Geez, I'm so distressed I don't even want to talk about the other songs. Must I? Must I talk about these 'songs' when the first one, 'Room Service', starts as a super gross cock rock number and ends up like a hidden protest against child molesting? And should I mention that none of the other 'songs' have anything even distinctly approaching an interesting melody or a captivating performance? 'C'mon And Love Me' has a few nice vocal harmonies, I think, and the riffage on 'Love Her All I Can' and one or two other numbers is at least halfway decent, but for the most part, this is just stupid, dumb, irritating party-cock-rock without the slightest edge or the slightest menace or a tiniest whiff of real fun. If it weren't for 'Rock And Roll All Night', I'd feel free to say this is easily the worst Seventies' hard rock album I've ever heard. Come to think of it... it might earn that distinction even with 'Rock And Roll All Night' on it, as well.


ALIVE! ***1/2

Year Of Release: 1975

Well, the word of the day is: if there's any worthwhile Kiss lying around, it's gotta be live. I could, of course, pull a complete asshole and say that live Kiss sucks just as much as studio Kiss, but would that be objective? Certainly not. Even more, that statement is so much true that I don't really see any need for you to go collecting Kiss studio albums unless you're an absolute diehard. Kiss Alive! is pretty much the equivalent of the band's first three albums, but it's better than all the three put together, because a) it throws out a large part of the dreck - not all of it, of course, but hey, if they threw out all the dreck, there'd hardly be a space even for a single LP, let alone double; and b) the band's live energy, which is undeniable, sometimes makes even the dreck come "alive!". The studio production had the guitars sound much thinner and often downplayed Gene Simmons' bass. The live production, on the other hand, makes the guitars fatter and heavier, while the rhythm section bashes with such verve that could only be dreamt of in the studio. On top of that, the vocals (I don't know who was the main vocalist - was it Frehley or Stanley?) are even raunchier and redneckier than before. So it's an ultra-experience, the hottest in stupid, uncontrolled, brash, loud, vulgar, proletarian rock'n'roll, lacking both the comical and the professional punch of their main competitors (AC/DC) but certainly beating them when it comes to 'party' spirit.

It's not that the songs become better themselves. They don't - and when it comes to technique, I'd even say they become worse, because the band is obviously way too busy bashing around the stage in their hideous make-up to pay much attention to whether they're hitting the right notes or not. But does this really matter? After all, it's Kiss we're discussing here, holy cow. They're out to rock'n'roll all nite and party every day, see? In order to prove that, time after time the band interrupts the songs to have as much dumb participation with the audience as possible. The endless '100,000 Years', for instance, is endless precisely because of that: after a lengthy, but not particularly ugly Criss phased drum solo, come the obligatory replicas like 'I wanna ask you one question - how many people over here like to party? Allright, I got a question for everybody over here - how many of you people like to get high? Ah yeah, I wanna know how many people tonight believe in rock'n'roll?' And so on. Way cool, dude.

Anyway, the actual performances roooole with an unprecedented level of guts energy. 'Strutter', 'Parasite', 'She', 'Cold Gin' and lots of others blow away the studio versions, for one. Plus, it is very nice to see that the majority of the tunes come from the band's debut album, which - so far - was still their absolute best (okay, that's not a Kiss category, exactly, but let's make an assumption here...). Thus, even the minor material comes out relatively strong, like 'Nothin' To Lose', for instance. And, of course, the record is simply bound to include the Kissnational anthem, but due to sloppy performances and all, it isn't all that distinguishable from among the other numbers.

In brief, Alive! defines the very essence of the expression 'guilty pleasure' - it's a record that should suck from every logical and nearly every illogical point of view, and yet there's something there that directly touches your central nerve system. What it is, I don't know (and frankly speaking, I wouldn't want to know - this is one of those few times I don't feel like messing around with my libido). It sure as hell wasn't there when I listened to the studio albums, but the live performance adds it up and makes me wanna rock'n'roll and party. Of course, it goes without saying that Alive! is one of the greatest party albums of all time; of course, it also goes without saying that I would rather have my arms cut off than to go to a party where they would have Alive! in the tape deck; of course, it goes without saying that I will sometimes have the urge to - at least secretly - return to this record (although, frankly, I'd rather go back to Back In Black). Whatever the truth be, this album is a very interesting phenomenon, and is well recommended for rock'n'roll students to analyze public psychology.



Year Of Release: 1976

Artistic growth? Or a particularly nasty case of Ezrinization? Make your decision, oh ye potential Kisse worshipper. In any case, Destroyer is somewhat of a strange glossy bug on Kiss's unpolished coat of the Seventies. Now that they were superheroes, millionnaires, and protagonists of comic books, Kiss had apparently opted for something more 'artistic' than before - and went to Bob Ezrin, the vile master of hooplas, gimmicks, and authentic nightmarish production when Alice Cooper or Pink Floyd are involved. Bob sure did a fine job for them, cleaning out the production, overdubbing all kinds of echoes and whatever they were used to overdubbing in the mid-Seventies, and came out with... a thoroughly overproduced Kiss album.

Seriously now, I can't really decide if the production of Destroyer is a plus or a minus. On one hand, it definitely adds a light touch of diversity that was sorely lacking on the band's lacklustre studio albums of 1974-75; on the other hand, joining generic Kiss power chord rockers with esoteric Ezrin production makes the record in some way even more sterile and lifeless than before. At least on records like Kiss, you could just put 'em on and dig the unabashed stupidity without second thought. Here, the same stupidity is trying to be 'masked' by lots of different things - echoes, sonic effects, reverberation, silly otherworldly screaming, and all those totally useless 'intro' and 'outro' noises which probably make sense when joined with the comic book that would from now on accompany every Kiss album, but without the book, they're useless. Heck, I dare say they're useless in any case.

The good news, then, is that the band is - very gradually - starting to improve as songwriters. Only a little, mind you (there was never a moment at which I could proclaim any Kiss member a fully accomplished songwriter), but overall, these songs are just a wee bit more listenable than before. Particularly cute is the Simmons 'pomp-ballad' 'Great Expectations', with some impressive guitar licks and a really memorable chorus. So what if it's theatrical? If you're listening to Kiss, you gotta be used to theatrical excesses. And, of course, this is the album where you'll find Peter Criss' "greatest: contribution to the Kiss canon, the orchestrated ballad 'Beth' that does possess some emotional power, although I would rather hear the song performed by the real Elton John; at least, Mr Dwight could have turned it into a great vocal performance. Still, you'd never expect a Kiss drummer to come up with something that explicitly romantic, could you? Groovy.

As for the rockers, a large part of them is still as uninteresting as before, but Kiss seem to have hit upon a slight, yet very successful, modification of the older formula: however boring the song itself might be, it has to contain - at the least - a repetitive and memorable chorus. So, unlike stuff like 'Cold Gin' or 'Deuce', which was lumpy and forgettable, they try to come up with something like 'King Of The Night Time World', where the chorus just gotta lay some vile germs in your brains. Likewise, 'Shout It Out Loud', a not too successful attempt at penning another 'Rock And Roll All Night', has the chorus so tight and compact and repeated for so many times that you're at least bound to recognize it when you hear it, and that's something already.

That said, even the good news are undermined by the fact that Kiss are finally trying to exploit their 'Satanic' image, which they really hadn't done on the previous albums. 'God Of Thunder' does exactly that, and sounds thrice cornier than Spinal Tap. The Ezrin production is supposed to draw analogies with Alice Cooper, but Alice Cooper would never write something like 'God of thunder and rock'n'roll/The spell you're under/Will slowly rob you of your virgin soul'. At least, not until his pathetic decline into complete shitty self-parody in the mid-Eighties. But Kiss were already self-parodying themselves in the mid-Seventies! Bastards!

I don't like this album. Is that clear?



Year Of Release: 1976

On the contrary, I almost get to like this album. If you wanna get a Kiss studio album - by any means, that is, just as a historic curiosity - this is probably your very best bet. Ezrin is gone, swoosh, and with him are gone all the production excesses. Kiss are back producing unabashed raw rock'n'roll! And their new modified formula actually works! (Sometimes). Many of these songs finally manage to be catchy and even somehow involving. Many of these songs even happen to be diverse, and there's enough stylistic differentiation not to make me yawn at any given time.

For instance, 'I Want You' begins as a quiet sissy folkish ballad for the first fifteen seconds or so, and then wham, it turns into an overdriven stupid rocker, and then it goes back to folkish sissiness again and back on to rocking one more time. Isn't that artistic growth? You tell me! (Remember, we're talking Kiss standards here, not Beatles standards). And 'Hard Luck Woman' is an acoustic folk-rocker that sounds almost exactly like all those classic Rod Stewart rockers - very close to his inspired rendition of Dylan's 'Mama You Been On My Mind'. If not for the fact that whoever is singing on that one still can't match the hoarse expressivity of Rod, as well as for the fact that the guitarwork is still definitely inferior to Ronnie Wood's magic games with the six-string on Rod's albums, I could have easily made a mistake about that one. Cool song.

Everything else is rocking just like the title suggests, and it's about fifty percent crap and fifty percent decent, but what is obvious for me here is that the guys actually try going beyond the standard 'bash-it-up' trick by adding something distinguishable to almost each song. Let me just show it track by track, my beloved method that renders the review particularly boring. (If you still haven't understood that the more boring a particular review is, the closer do I get to achieving all my goals, you haven't yet really understood what an irritatingly dull person I am. Why are you still reading this?). Anyway, 'Take Me' has this thick AC/DC-esque guitar tone and all the idiotic 'ah ah oh yeah' in the chorus. Plus a good riff. 'Calling Dr Love' has goofy falsetto backing vocals which make a nice contrast to Gene Simmons' hoarse blabbering 'they call me Dr Love...'. 'Ladies Room' is completely forgettable (although it does feature perhaps the dumbest lyrical line in the entire Kiss catalog: 'You're such a jewel in the rough/You wanna show me your stuff'), but 'Baby Driver' is catchy beyond measure. Do I hear ZZ Top influences on that one? The chuggin' rhythm and the fat distorted guitar tone? Okay, at least it's good to know these guys could really be influenced by somebody above their level... even if it happened to be ZZ Top.

Then, 'Love 'Em Leave 'Em' has that repetitive sticky chorus I've been talking about. Then there's 'Mr Speed' that has the most generic rock'n'roll riff imaginable, but see, the problem with Kiss so far wasn't that they used generic rock'n'roll riffs - the problem was they didn't use enough generic rock'n'roll riffs, relying on crunchy power chords and tremendously simplistic, unimpressive chord sequences in general. This is just good old-timey boogie, and while I could easily live without it, it doesn't offend my ears one bit. 'See You In Your Dreams Tonight', more of the repetitive sticky chorus. And 'Makin' Love' is arguably the best song on the album, fast, punchy and even funky. Is the way that Stanley growls out '...all night looooooooooong...' supposed to be an obscure reference to Robbie Plant? It probably is, because Kiss records are so chock-full of "references" like that it would take a full-time specialist to reimburse everything these guys have stolen from others. Which would probably leave them penniless. Aw shucks, perhaps somebody should do that work...

In any case, Rock And Roll Over is definitely more adequate than anything previously recorded by the band. No production excesses, no showing off (Ace Frehley's solos are moderate and up to the point and hardly stolen from the Doors any more), and a somehow more diligent approach to songwriting. It's still a guilty pleasure, of course, as most of the songs are as dumb as required, but it is a guilty pleasure - unlike, say, Dressed To Kill, which was more like an aural equivalent of a guillotine.



Year Of Release: 1977

Did I say 'guilty pleasure'? Did somebody mention 'artistic growth'? All I hear is BACK TO SUCK!

For some totally unexplainable reason, this is often considered Kiss' studio pinnacle, not to mention that it got to #4, just about the highest chart position of a Kiss studio album. I am completely, totally, and absolutely dumbfounded by this. Okay, I can understand that fans love it when a record features nothing but ballsy, brawny cock-rockers; but what makes it any better than any of their first three albums, then? It's just the same old formula - metallized barroom boogies that relies more on power chords than inventive riffs and on sleazy smuttiness than on more decent rock'n'roll thematics (the lyrics happen to be just about the most sexist on any given Kiss album - true to the title, all but two of the songs are dedicated exclusively to celebrating the joys of the phallos).

At least Rock And Roll Over had some damn diversity to it. There was this pseudo-Rod Stewart song, and there was this weird 'I Want You' stuff that alternated acoustic and electric parts, and the guitar tones were kinda different, and the Robbie Plant-imitating vocals on 'Makin' Loooooove', and... well, I know it ain't much, but it sure poured some soothing balm on the formula. Love Gun has us returning to the absolute basics again, with disastrous results.

For the life of me I can't understand how anyone can actually call these songs 'catchy'. You have a catchy song when you get a main melody that's not coinciding with the standard 4/4 beat, or a wicked chorus that differs from the main melody, or all kinds of 'build-ups' and 'fall-downs', or clever variations in singing, at least. The guys were REALLY stupid to have included their misguided cover of Phil Spector's 'And Then I Kissed Her/Him' (re-titled 'And Then She Kissed Me', probably to emphasize Paul Stanley's irresistable sexuality): it shows how Phil Spector, with just one old pop tune, can completely blow away the entire Kiss catalog. Although, to be fair, Stanley's pedestrian vocals which he has serious trouble with modulating do manage to bring the song's charms down significantly, but even so, he can hardly ruin this near-perfect pop melody.

Pretty much everything else sucks, though. I have listened to the album the usual three times in a row and nothing sticks out - looking back at the track listing, just about the only title that says something to me is 'Hooligan' because the cretinic chorus 'I'm a hooligan, won't go to school again' somehow didn't find a way out of my head at the right time. The naghty boy. Probably was too full of vodka drained out of the belly of Mr Peter Criss, responsible for this piece of garbage. Mmm, let's see about stylistic diversity... I've got one! 'Christeen Sixteen' has some piano in the intro! And further on down the line, too, although I mostly can't hear it because the guitars are in its way. But didn't they already write that song before? Probably did. 'Tomorrow And Tonight' is another weak attempt to one-up 'Rock And Roll All Nite', and it also has the most generic melody imaginable.

Maybe Gene Simmons' 'Plaster Caster', Stanley's 'I Stole Your Love' and Frehley's 'Shock Me' have a couple of moments of their own. Wouldn't be too surprised if they did - they at least have choruses that stick out a little bit. I can even sing along to them while they're on, and perhaps with a couple more listens they can be forever embroidered in my brains! Problem is, by that time there won't be too much brains left anyway. Ah, c'mon, I know you're not supposed to be turning on your brains while listening to Kiss, but how am I supposed to be reviewing these Kiss albums without turning on my brains? Let me turn off my brains for a moment and see what happens while I try to review this album...

fjjj cool dude great groovy gtar snd bang bang BANG bang BANG dee-dee-dum yeaaaaaaah grrrl you make me overload shock me baby shock me shock me shock me shock me shock me where da heck is dat volume control this crap sure ruuuules a lot too bad i missed the last kiss tour fuckin kiss when they comin' Moscow agin bang bang sigh I won't be able to afford the ticket anyway swish boom bang bang ah fade out damn those capitalist swines this record roooles a sure ten out o ten

Way to go, ladies and gentlemen. I just created a thoroughly accurate Kiss review for you. Enjoy!



Year Of Release: 1977

Duh. The shameless commercialization continues. 'You wanted the best and you got it, the hottest band in the world... KISS', goes the booming voice of the announcer, and hey, this does symbolize everything about this album. Hah hah. Kiss fans wanted another double live album, and they got another double live album, even if it's been just two years since the previous one. The good news is that there is absolutely no overlap with Alive!: all the performances are taken from the recent three albums, and even if this probably makes the record somewhat less full and rounded-out than its predecessor (hey, can you really imagine a Kiss live performance without 'Rock And Roll All Nite'?), this at least saves the band from accusations of total self-indulgence.

The bad news, then, is that with this approach the band simply didn't have enough material to fill up an entire double-record set. But the set had to be a double record one (duh), so the fourth side has to be padded out with five new studio recordings. Are they any good? Well, one of them is - Stanley's 'All American Man' is, amazing as it is, one of the guys' finest rockers, chock-full of nice rhythms and decent melody twists, although, to tell you the truth, it doesn't even sound that much like Kiss: if not for Stanley's distinct 'powerhouse' vocals, I'd say it was something like Grand Funk Railroad (another band I'm not too hot on, of course, but at least they had more songwriting talent than Kiss). There are also two completely forgettable Simmons tunes (including 'Rockin' In The USA', the guy's take on the 'rock travelogue' thematics that can't even hold a candle to John Entwistle's 'Postcard'), a weak Ace Frehley vamp ('Rocket Ride', which has a decent riff in the intro but relies too much on gimmicks like excessive phasing to mask the banality of the melody), and - continuing Kiss' romance with the Golden Oldies - even a cover of the Dave Clark Five' 'Any Way You Want It'. As if any further proof was needed that Kiss should forever stay away from covering superior material! The only thing they did to the song was take out the Sixties-sounding guitars and replace them with Seventies-sounding metal blasts; the harmonies are lifted off the original note for note, and Peter Criss even goes out of his way to imitate Clark's booming sound. Who needs that?

The live material isn't that enlightening, either - we all know that Kiss sound better when they're live, of course, but I'm simply not that hot about the Destroyer and Love Gun material. I'm kinda pleased they didn't veer off into their usual ten-minute amateurish rave-ups (Criss does get a short drum solo on 'God Of Thunder', but it's really short and inoffensive) and concentrated on just delivering the main goods, but who cares about the main goods if the main goods are that cheesy? The two oddballs of the record are, of course, 'Hard Luck Woman', done worse than in the studio because it lacks the Rod Stewart-like production polish and Stanley can't concentrate on his vocal impression all that much, and 'Beth', done in a really short and a really unpretentious way - actually, without the pathetic strings it sounds way better than on the studio record, with some earnest and moving passionate vibes, just about the only time in the entire Kiss catalog.

The rest is the rest, you know the rest. Generally, the songs are improved upon in the live setting ('Tomorrow And Tonight', for instance, works far better than in the studio, I think, because a 'party anthem', no matter how dumb it is, will always sound more appropriate in a real party setting, you know), although a couple of tricks don't work anyway - did they really need to have Stanley go through that hideous accappella demonstration on 'I Want You', just to show that his voice can't really go beyond belting out the usual cocky lyrics to a high metal blast? Ugh!

All complaints voiced, though, I'd really recommend getting Alive II instead of the three studio records anyway. You'll miss out on much of the crap, you won't miss out on most of the good stuff, you'll avoid the boring Ezrin-style production of Destroyer, you'll get enough headbanging material, you'll want to rape your girlfriend, you'll wanna paint your face and spit blood, in general, you'll just wanna have a good time. Get on with it.



Year Of Release: 1978

Okay, so I'm probably lying to myself and perhaps this ain't really a four-star record even on the MP3 scale; but I still feel a desperate need to stress its importance. Put it this way: I had an absolute shock when hearing it for the first time, and I'm trying to transmit this shock to you through the exaggerated rating. 'Kay?

The well-known Kiss commercial move of 1978 is, well, well-known: release four solo self-titled albums by each of the band's members on one and the same day so that the musical press'd be talking about this curious event for months. In the long run, it caused Kiss nothing but further reputation troubles (damn the gimmicky thugs), and I guess nobody bought the records anyway, apart from the most diehard Kiss fans.

Which is a relative shame, because - and I'm not afraid to say it - at least one of these records is not just good, it might be the best Kiss album ever. And I tell you, I wasn't really expecting that Mr Ace Frehley would suddenly uncover some real songwriting talent. I mean it! All of a sudden, Ace Frehley, whose regular Kiss contributions never really impressed me, puts out an album consisting of a bunch of cleverly-written, well-performed rockers. Not only that, they're damn catchy! Really catchy! Imagine that! These songs are what I call catchy - featuring intricately looped, repetitive riffs, memorable expressive vocal melodies, all kinds of delicately structured climaxes, and a minor whiff of diversity (as diverse as a 'rocker' can be). If only all Kiss albums sounded like that, I would definitely never have had a problem with the band.

Just look at this: we begin with the upbeat stomp of 'Rip It Out' that rolls along like a generic memorable piece of rock'n'roll should roll plus the meaty punch of Kiss style lumpy arrangements. From there, we go on to the hilarious 'Speedin' Back To My Baby', which is almost Beach Boys-ish in its essence and features all kinds of cool key changes and additional riffs to beef up the importance of chorus (like those gruff five notes that repeat every time after the 'speedin back to my baby' chorus - classic!). Then we get around to 'Snow Blind', which is not a cover of the Black Sabbath song, but might as well be: cool metallic riffage (again, extremely catchy) and lots of drive that I'd even call sincere - isn't it supposed to be dealing with Frehley's alcoholism? 'Ozone' is a rip-off of something I can't remember right now, but it's a good rip-off. Terrific acoustic/electric double-tracking on the song. Then, 'What's On Your Mind' is kinda slight, more like an amped-up sappy country rocker, but what's wrong with amping up country rock if it's done well? The cover of Russ Ballard's 'New York Groove' is hilarious. 'I'm In Need Of Love', with its echoey guitar sound, seems like a Destroyer outtake, but it's still better than most of the songs on that album... hey, perhaps it's because of the echoey guitar sound. 'Wiped-Out', on the other hand, reminds me of 'Makin' Love': stupid and cocky, but irrresistible as it grabs you by the collar with its swirling (and constantly changing) tempo and proceeds to kick the shit out of you.

Of course, the album finishes on a bad note - 'Fractured Mirror' is a primitive instrumental that recalls me of the intro to 'Rock Bottom' with its simplistic, nagging acoustic chords - but golly gee, that's just one song! ONE bad song on a Kiss member solo album? Lord save me!

Seriously now, I can't explain this phenomenon. See, it's not too difficult to write a solid hard rock number - the problem is, Kiss apparently never even tried writing as such, just playing whatever came into their heads and throwing on some dumbass lyrics at the last minute. So for the first time in years, Ace Frehley really took this opportunity to do a solo album to take the time and come up with a bunch of songs that were well thought out. I respect hard work and meticulous effort. The hooks are strong, and even the lyrics are rarely offensive - generic, yes, but no crap like 'Ladies' Room' on here. Heh. Please buy this album even if you aren't a Kiss fan. It's really really worth it.



Year Of Release: 1978

Well... Gene Simmons used to write songs for Kiss too, you know, so it's probably okay that he agreed to the idea of putting out a solo album. It's probably also okay that he never ever released another solo album. Good riddance to bad circuits.

That said, I sure heard worse Kiss albums. And Simmons, unlike Frehley, does follow the Kiss pattern, except that he relies a wee bit too much upon sappy ballads (again, though, I admit that the sappiness of Simmons is nothing compared to the pathetic sappiness of Paul Stanley. Isn't it ridiculous that some of the worst excesses on the part of these supposedly "ballsy rockers" comes in the form of cheap sentimentalism?). The rockers are far more straightforward and dumb - from the very beginning, when Gene roars out 'she's radioactive, she's very selective', you know you're in for the usual Dumb Dumb Dumb ride.

This sure as hell ain't good news. Where Frehley's solo exercise was literally brimming with hooks, you'd be hard pressed to find a good bunch of hooks on here. The first two tracks are actually okay - 'Radioactive' is dumb, but it at least manages to stick to your head, plus, it earns extra points for the goofy instrumental intro which I personally can only take as a cruel parody on a pretentious ELO introduction. So far, so good. 'Burning Up With Fever' boasts a good riff and a nice time signature change, but otherwise, it's no great shakes. And did I mention yet that while Simmons does try to make something in the Kiss vein, the production doesn't actually make the album sound like Kiss? The guitars are kinda sissy, and there's lotsa female backup vocals around that'll hardly appeal to hardcore Kiss lovers. I suppose I should specially mention that these solo albums were really solo albums - it's not that the band members just grouped around one songwriter on each of the four LPs, no, they really recorded solo albums with session musicians and all sorts of crap that goes with it. And hoopla, you have a Kiss album that ain't a Kiss album at the same time. Get the joke?

Gene sure got it, as he takes up the vibe of Stanley's 'Hard Luck Woman' and makes a John Lennon/Rod Stewart hybridization out of 'See You Tonite'. Believe it or not, but sticking a Beatlesque vocal hook on top of a classic 4/4 Rod Stewart beat turns out to be the best idea of the album. I swear I almost shed a tear while listening to this stuff. Amazing thing, but the only good song that can be found on the album after that is 'Mr Make Believe', which rips off - or tries to rip off - the Beatles again. Vocal harmonies, cool falsetto stylings, this is pure Fab Four imitation, mister, and not a bad one. I think the Fab Four would have never allowed the corny orchestration in the background, but otherwise, the style is obvious.

However, returning on more secure territory, this is where Mr Simmons finally fails, once and for all. Out of ideas, he even re-records 'See You In Your Dreams' from Rock And Roll Over (in an inferior version), and clogs the rest of the space with all these typical Kiss rockers that walk the brink between acceptable and offensive. No, I won't say they are particularly offensive, actually, because the lyrics aren't all that cocky (although they sure are trite, but hey, I don't expect the mind of a Keith Reid from the Kiss bass player); they're just boring. Boring as hell. 'Tunnel Of Love' is boring - and hey, scrap that stuff about the lyrics not being cocky, because in this song the title is certainly not a very spiritual metaphor, but rather an anatomic one. 'True Confessions' is the kind of lazy, harmless pub-rock that arguably works well when you're sitting in a bar with a couple of chicks around you, but that's not my style and if you want something lazy and harmless, make it catchy and fast, at least, and without these ridiculous gospelish choruses.

And just so as to stabilize the complete loss of good taste, Simmons ends the record with 'When You Wish Upon A Star'. All I can say is - he doesn't have a bad voice, which is nice. (Then again, I have a pretty good voice too). But I'd better listen to Sid Vicious doing 'My Way'; at least, that gimmick was funny. This one is just kinda aimless, which means it's kinda excessive, which means it kinda stinks. Which brings me to the final conclusion: Gene Simmons isn't the least talented individual on Earth, but he should better refrain from solo albums anyway. Thankfully, he did. After this one.



Year Of Release: 1978

It all comes back to me now. If you ever wondered what was the main driving force behind all of Kiss' stupidity and obnoxiousness, if you ever had any freakin' doubts, here's the answer to you: Paul Stanley. Out of the four Kiss solo albums, this one's easily the worst. As I already said, Frehley's solo project displays an amazing mastery of clever guitar riffs and vocal hooks, and Gene Simmons' contribution is at least diverse and not entirely hopeless. And heck, I can even get something out of the Peter Criss album due to its 'good-time party atmosphere' and relative lack of lapses of taste. But this album is a piece of dreck, pure and simple. It is such a huge piece of dreck, in fact, that I can only wonder how all those Kiss records could have turned out had they effectively banned Mr Prime Idiot In Rock Music from composing. I do agree that his lead vocals work well, but singing and songwriting are known to be two different matters. Aren't they?

This record is a nightmare. It is more or less equally divided between the usual flatfoot Kiss-type rockers and the usual flatfoot non-Kiss-type power ballads. A few non-power ballads, too, but that hardly makes a difference. There ain't a single truly memorable moment on the album, and the few that are "untruly" memorable are mostly due to their repetitiveness. Like in the album opener, 'Tonight You Belong To Me', where Stanley exploits his old trick of merging together a sissy acoustic part and a hard-rocking aggressive part - the chorus might seem catchy, but it's mainly because it's repeated for a zillion times.

And there's no musical essence at all. It's very easy to see the difference between Frehley's and Stanley's approach: Ace actually tried to base his rockers on real riffs, you know, riffs, that are based on distinct notes and chords, as opposed to Stanley's primitive sloppy bunches of power chords that he'd already replayed to death on all of the preceding Kiss albums. What good is that? No good at all. The only half-decent rocker on here is 'Love In Chains', I think, and even that one works only if you listen to it very closely and notice that Paul is actually playing a nice funky rhythm from time to time. Otherwise, it's just generic mid-Seventies hard rock once again, with generic vocals and generic guitar solos. Blah.

The cheese stinks even more when we move on to the sappy ballads: 'Hold Me, Touch Me' almost sounds like... like... like something the Carpenters could have performed on a particularly bad day. No, screw that, Karen Carpenter was a good lass and she could never stoop that low. I already mentioned above that Kiss' major lapses of taste mostly came in the ballad department - it is, indeed, amazing to realize that the band's "dumbness" shone through so brightly in any style they attempted to tackle. Or, at least, in any style he attempted to tackle.

I don't have anything else to say right now, so I'll leave you with a brilliant Mark Prindle quotation: 'Jesus, what do you want from me, a 500,000-page thesis on the Paul Stanley solo album?' I couldn't agree more.



Year Of Release: 1978

Peter Criss filled up the official position of drummer in the rock band Kiss from 1974 to 1979. This could be the beginning and the end of this album's review, but I'll supposedly have to explain why I deem this information to be so self-sufficient.

See, this is a drummer's solo album, and, unless we're speaking of a drum solo album which we're not, most drummers' solo albums sound alike. At least, the ones I heard so far, which were by Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and, sure enough, Peter Criss. (And I'm not itching with desire to hear any more - heck, I would never really have dreamed of reviewing this album if it weren't so important a piece of the Kiss legacy). They are, of course, all slightly different in quality, but the essential principle is the same: drummers' albums are never supposed to ever advance beyond the level of good-time party fun. So the drummer pens a couple songs, then invites friends/session musicians/professional songwriters to pen everything else, and records a sloppy, rambling, incoherent collection of boogies and ballads, then releases it regardless of consistency or quality.

It ain't necessarily bad, but it all depends on multiple factors: you have to invite good session musicians, you have to sing well, you have to have your songs written in a catchy and - desirably - funny manner, etc. Now since Peter Criss was still a Kiss member at the time, and we all know that his biggest contribution to that band had been 'Beth' and even that song wasn't really too hot, what could you expect? I have not the least idea about the backgrounds of the guys who contributed to the songwriting (Vincent Poncia appears in the credits a couple of times, but that's about it), and I could care less, as an absolute majority of the songs on here are not only forgettable, they're not even fun.

The good news is that Criss is no Paul Stanley, and he actually manages to sound less monotonous and offensive, but what good is that if the songs slide by with no staying power at all? It's not like there aren't no hooks at all; it can be seen that the songs have really been written by professional writers, but that's the problem - they're slick and formulaic, with not an ounce of real feeling or anything. Just lifeless slabs of half-decent melodies - I suppose you could praise the discoish 'You Still Matter To Me' for being "well-written" to a certain extent, but Criss' singing is so detached and the musical backing is so sloppy and robotic that it bores me to death instead of making me jiggle my feet like I do when I hear, say, a classic Bee Gees disco number. Go figure.

A couple retro rockers are all right, I suppose, but even when you get nice singalong hooks in numbers like 'Tossin' And Turnin' or 'Rock Me Baby', I don't really feel that there's enough good-time atmosphere on here to justify their existence. I mean, if they were performed by Ringo Starr, we would all have had a good laugh and a good smile, but in the hands and lungs of Criss, they sound humorless and sterile. Again, I'm not saying they're completely worthless, but considering the zillions and zillions of songs written and performed by other musical artists in the past thirty years, I find myself hard pressed to explain why I should be wasting time trying to find something of real value in the rockin' part of Peter Criss' self-titled solo album.

A couple nice ballads, though: 'I Can't Stop The Rain' is at least a bit more humble and humane than the faceless schlock of Paul Stanley (even if it steals its main masterful vocal hook from Deep Purple's 'Soldier Of Fortune' - coincidence?), and 'Kiss The Girl Goodbye' is easily 'Beth No. 2'; not that I ever was a big fan, but I don't see how 'Beth' could be any better than this one. Funny how the old drummer boy turned out to be the best balladeer of the entire gang.

Of course, the worst thing about the album is that it actually inspired "Criss Cat #1" to finally leave the band and start his own pretentious cocaine-drenched career, something he'd probably never have dreamt of doing had he not been forced into creating this inconsistent, feeble bunch of "compositions". Which makes me wonder - was the guy whose idea it was to make these four solo albums secretly dreaming that such a move would help in breaking the band apart? What a great guy. Alas, it didn't work anyway.



Year Of Release: 1979

Back to the band now! The rumours of Kiss having significantly changed their sound for this one are mostly unconfirmed. Of course, Kiss were among those bands whose commercial stature wouldn't let them ignore the trends - and the first song on here is the disco anthem 'I Was Made For Lovin' You', which even I can't deny the catchiness of, relatively speaking. Since Kiss are essentially 'dumb rock'n'roll', this new twist is certainly 'dumb disco', and without a saving touch of humor to redeem it, but hey, there's been worse disco songs written. I suppose. Haven't heard 'em, but there could be. I'm not a disco specialist anyway.

But apart from 'I Was Made For Lovin' You' and another Stanley-Poncia collaboration, 'Sure Know Something', there's nothing discoish about the album. Yeah, these two songs do point at the 'mellowization' of the Kiss sound that would reach its peak on the next record (and they're also better than almost anything on that second album), but the rest certainly don't. The question is: are the rest of the songs any good? Well, by now, I'd say, it was obvious that the only more or less credible songwriter in the band was Frehley, and he doesn't exactly disclaim that title here. The main trouble is that he only gets to have two songs on the whole album - and as far as rockers go, they beat the crap out of everything else.

'Hard Times' is a pretty powerful number, with driving riffs, expressive vocals, somewhat decent lyrics about what the title suggests, and a catchy refrain with Ace singing in unison with the guitar riff. It's not a masterpiece of a song, but it's a clear and understandable rock song with a structure, a purpose, a melody, and an adequate arrangement and rendition - what else do we want? And Ace also contributes the closing number, 'Save Your Love', which is pretty routine, but again shows that Ace has actually taken a liking to refrains that are indeed catchy, not just distinguishable because they're louder than the verses and follow a slightly different chord sequence, but distinguishable because they employ catchy and involving vocal melodies.

Still, Frehley is Frehley: he's only one of the four members, and since Stanley is the leader, it's probably up to Stanley to decide how many songs the actual band members contribute. But whoever actually made that decision must be a complete jerk - I can somewhat understand how Peter Criss' 'Dirty Living' made it onto the album, what with it also being written in collaboration with Poncia and all, but Simmons' 'Charisma' gotta be in my Top 10 Stupidest songs of all time. I dunno, just a single song like that in a respectable band's catalog would ruin their appeal for me till the end of time. I can stand the fact that there's no melody. I can stand the fact that the lyrics go like 'Is it my fortune or my fame? Is it my money or my name? Is it my personality or just my sexuality?'. I can stand the fact that the chorus goes 'What-iz-mah cha-riz-mah? What-iz-mah cha-riz-mah?' What I can't stand is how the damn bitch song has NOT A SINGLE hint at humor or non-seriousness. It's just a glorious statement of... ah, well, that's rather typical of Kiss, no? I just wanted to say that 'Charisma' is very typical of Kiss spirit, maybe the best candidate to play to your friend to show him the essence of Kiss: if he runs away screaming 'No! No! Mr Brain, don't flee from me!', invite him over here, he's my kind of guy. But if he goes like, 'wow, these dudes rock, man', then he's among the Select Few. Or the Select Many. Fortunately for my nervous system, I've never tried counting diehard Kiss fans all over the world. If I did, I might have called for a world-wide referendum to reinstate concentration camps.

Did I mention yet that the second track on this album is a cover of the Stones' '2000 Man'? And that it's easily the best song on the whole album? In the part that preserves the Stones' vocal melody, of course, because the actual instrumentation on the song has been stripped away and all the delicate alternations between acoustic and electric parts have been replaced by a single steady chug-chug-chug. Well, what else would you expect? This is called 'presenting the old classic in an entirely different light', if I'm not mistaken. Or 'adding new, previously undiscovered, dimensions to the established sound'. Or 'brilliantly reinventing a golden oldie to appeal to a new generation of intelligent, respectable listeners'. Or some other crap like that. Buy this album. I know it may be hard to believe, but Kiss got even worse after it.


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