FOT Forum

FOT Community => General Discussion => Topic started by: buffcoat on May 27, 2009, 03:42:40 PM

Title: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 27, 2009, 03:42:40 PM
If there is any band in need of a thorough critical reevaluation, it's the original Kabuki act from NYC.  Best to worst, makeup-era only, live albums included, from 1974 to 1982.  No post-makeup work included - what happened to the bloated corpse is not appropriate in a person's CV.

First review later today.

1974 Kiss
1974 Hotter Than Hell
1975 Dressed to Kill

1975 Alive!
1976 Destroyer 
1976 Rock and Roll Over

1977 Love Gun
1977 Alive II
1979 Dynasty
1980 Unmasked 
1981 Music from "The Elder"
1982 Creatures of the Night

CODA:

1978 Ace Frehley
1978 Gene Simmons
1978 Paul Stanley
1978 Peter Criss
1982 Kiss Killerz
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on May 27, 2009, 04:33:36 PM
Finally! Don't forget to tease out the influence of Sean Delaney and Bob Ezrin! Looking forward to this - I have been listening to Love Gun and Ace Frehley Solo pretty regular these past few months...
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on May 27, 2009, 04:51:49 PM
Clearly, "People Let Me Get This Off My Chest," is the best solo album by a member of KISS.

ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLRIIIIIIGHT!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 27, 2009, 05:14:53 PM
Clearly, "People Let Me Get This Off My Chest," is the best solo album by a member of KISS.

ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLRIIIIIIGHT!

There will be stage-banter mentions in the very first review! 
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 27, 2009, 05:15:32 PM
Finally! Don't forget to tease out the influence of Sean Delaney and Bob Ezrin! Looking forward to this - I have been listening to Love Gun and Ace Frehley Solo pretty regular these past few months...

I will be addressing some of the controversy in the very first review!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on May 27, 2009, 05:42:21 PM
All of this sounds very promising buffcoat. I will be checking back here often.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Matt on May 27, 2009, 06:00:37 PM
How about reviews of the four simultaneous solo records? And perhaps a suggestion for a mix containing the best material from each?

Kind of a big task, but I heard Ace Frehley's "What's on Your Mind?" over at Recidivism and fell in love with it. It got me intrigued about Kiss, a band I couldn't care less about. Just a gloriously stupid power-pop song, with one of my favorite lyrics (and I'm omitting the second half of it, but so what): "I can't express the words to tell you 'bout the feelings I got." Awesome!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 27, 2009, 06:46:21 PM
How about reviews of the four simultaneous solo records? And perhaps a suggestion for a mix containing the best material from each?

Kind of a big task, but I heard Ace Frehley's "What's on Your Mind?" over at Recidivism and fell in love with it. It got me intrigued about Kiss, a band I couldn't care less about. Just a gloriously stupid power-pop song, with one of my favorite lyrics (and I'm omitting the second half of it, but so what): "I can't express the words to tell you 'bout the feelings I got." Awesome!

Simultaneous solo album reviews are coming!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: masterofsparks on May 27, 2009, 07:50:24 PM
Dressed to Kill is clearly the best.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 27, 2009, 11:11:36 PM
#1  KISS Alive!

KISS Alive! is simply one of the most fantastic live albums recorded during the 70s.  Yes, much of it was overdubbed or redone in the studio, and frankly the cover art looks staged, too, but man what a live album.

Alive! captures what the fans loved about KISS in the first place, the titanic, energetic stage show.  Detractors argue that this means the KISS experience was all about the fire, blood, and drum rising, but YOU CAN'T SEE ALL THAT when listening to Alive!, and it's still phenomenal.

Track by track, Alive! smashes other top live albums of the 70s.  Frampton Comes Alive! seems a quaint relic today, but at the time it was considered to be groundbreaking work.  

As upsetting as it is to know how much it would please Gene Simmons to know it, the album opener "Deuce" really is a kickass rock song, though it falls short of being the new national anthem.  "Strutter" is better live, and here matches some of the energy found in the original demo but missing from the studio version.

"Got to Choose," "Hotter than Hell" and "Firehouse" all exceed their studio versions as well, but the album really takes off with the first Peter Criss sung track, "Nothing to Lose."  Perhaps fairly maligned as a drummer, Criss' vocal work here stands out.

Multiple-offense substance abuser Ace Frehley always was the premier instrumental talent in the group, and his solos on (especially) "Parasite," Wicked Lester chestnut "She," and "Watchin' You" make the live versions interesting.

Peter Criss adds a somewhat pointless seven minute drum solo on "100,000 Years," but this track also unveils KISS Alive! (and KISS') 's secret weapon: Paul Stanley's stage banter.  

Stanley is the true master of this craft, unequaled to point where an Internet wag has put together not one but two 70+ track recordings of Stanley exhorting the crowd.  "I wanna heeeeah everybody HERE TONIGHT say 'Rocknroll!"  And the crowd, regardless of whether the noise is fake elsewhere on the record, screams lustily along.

The curiously sweet harmonies at the beginning of "Rock Bottom" are here muted compared to the version on "Dressed to Kill."  "Cold Gin," features more crowd work from Stanley and strong riffs.  "Rock and Roll All Nite" sounds considerably muddier than the album version.  As closer songs go, "Let Me Go, Rock and Roll," despite its odd use of commas, is extraordinarily fun.

The best song on Alive!, however, and maybe one of the best in the KISS catalog, is "Black Diamond."  Stanley's tale of a maddened streetwalker crunches in the right places and is extremely strong when played loud.  Frehley's guitar work and Criss' frantic drumming make for a powerful, early-days of metal number that brings the house down.


Up next, album #2!






Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Forrest on May 27, 2009, 11:15:55 PM
Mr. Coat, do have any thoughts or opinions on Chuck Klosterman's writing about the solo albums in which he compares each to a woman with which he is romantically involved? Will you be drawing similar parallels to your own experiences with the fairer sex?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 27, 2009, 11:24:09 PM
Forrest, it's good that you ask that.

Thankfully, I have never had a relationship with a lady as awful as the Peter Criss solo record, so I won't be taking that tack in my reviews.  But I have attempted to use the song "Living In Sin (at the Holiday Inn)" on the Simmons record to make time with a woman.  You can guess the results.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on May 27, 2009, 11:27:19 PM
Will you be reviewing any of the sundry, non-musical projects of KISS band members? For example, you could offer a review of Gene Simmons' Family Jewels or a painting by Paul Stanley.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 27, 2009, 11:33:52 PM
Sorry, TRG, only the makeup-era studio and live albums.  I may mix in commentary on those subjects, but only in context.

I _might_ do Killers.


Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 27, 2009, 11:42:50 PM
Finally! Don't forget to tease out the influence of Sean Delaney and Bob Ezrin! Looking forward to this - I have been listening to Love Gun and Ace Frehley Solo pretty regular these past few months...

Here's a little gem from Wikipedia:

Delaney was asked while producing Simmons' solo album to also contribute to Criss' solo venture. Criss was involved in a car accident around this time, and because of this and other behind-the-scenes distractions, was incapable of getting any new original material together. After delving into the back catalogs of former bands Lips and Chelsea for any remaining material he and Stan Penridge had written, and after sprinkling in a couple of covers, the drummer found himself still short of a full album.



Any guesses as to some of those "behind-the-scenes distractions?"
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on May 28, 2009, 12:05:07 AM
Sorry, TRG, only the makeup-era studio and live albums.  I may mix in commentary on those subjects, but only in context.

I _might_ do Killers.




Eh. My idea was stupid anyway.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: JonFromMaplewood on May 28, 2009, 12:33:10 AM
Thankfully, I have never had a relationship with a lady as awful as the Peter Criss solo record, so I won't be taking that tack in my reviews.

For some reason I do not understand to this day, the Peter Criss solo record was the only one of the four that I bought. I liked it as an 8-year-old.  I shudder to think what it would sound like to me now.

I cannot wait for this review, Buffcoat.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 28, 2009, 05:45:03 PM
Sorry, TRG, only the makeup-era studio and live albums.  I may mix in commentary on those subjects, but only in context.

I _might_ do Killers.




Eh. My idea was stupid anyway.


Don't beat yourself up!  There's enough respect under the Gene Simmons-endorsed KISS tent for everyone!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 28, 2009, 05:46:37 PM
So, any excitement for Unma..., er, the #2 KISS album of all time, or is everyone bored of this already?










I have a very short attention span, but I can make it to 2 reviews.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on May 28, 2009, 06:15:12 PM
The anticipation is killing me buffcoat.







Or it might be that salad I ate for lunch.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 28, 2009, 10:13:20 PM
#2 Creatures of the Night


In latter day KISSdom, Creatures of the Night, the last of the consecutive makeup albums, has received a makeover.  Like the first VU album, everyone wants to pretend they were fans of this disc the moment they heard it.

Wrong!  Mostly wrong because they never heard it.  Who expects a band's heaviest record to follow three albums that 1) experimented with disco, 2) experimented with Grease-level pop, and 3) experimented with Andrew Lloyd Webber?  

Nevertheless, Creatures of the Night stands as a monument to KISS' power as a heavy metal band.  Sporting half their original lineup in the studio, and three-quarters on the cover, KISS finally released the return to hard rock that they'd promised for years.

Other reviews note Creatures as the heaviest KISS album since Love Gun.  Admittedly, outrocking "Then She Kissed Me" must have been daunting to Vincent Vincent (nee Cusano), but the new KISS Guitarist and songwriter painted on a pathetic "Ankh Warrior" look and got down to the rocking.  

Vincent's solo work is appalling, and he seems to be quite a weird dude (although he's just another in a long line of people that Paul Stanley let Gene Simmons screw over in the name of KISS).  On Creatures of the Night, he's an exciting guitarist and a solid songwriter.

Eric Carr, the "Fox," steps into his own after fully replacing Peter Criss, even on the cover this time.  Carr brought a much heavier drum sound to the group, and it works here better than it did before or after.  Criss' vocals are missing, as is his Gene Krupa-style "anyone can drum" moxie, but this album clearly needed a thundering sound that Criss couldn't deliver on his most sober days.

Stanley debuts a new songwriting style on the record, one that he would pretty much return to again and again, with decreasing results, through the rest of his career.  Simmons gives one last try to writing songs about ANYTHING but dirty chicks, and he comes through with several of his best songs since the first album.

Most songs on the album are co-written with a variety of songwriters, including Vincent for three songs and, er, Bryan Adams for one.  Once they gave up on the idea that they were Paul and John rather than Paul and Gene, Simmons and Stanley learned that they worked better with others, resulting in more solid songs.

The title track sets the tone for the album.  Entirely lacking in flutes and distant British voices, it must have sounded strange to the 20 people who bought it the week of its release.  It's actually *good,* as well.

On this record, Simmons introduces a stripped down, streetwise writing style.  "Saint and Sinner,"  "Rock and Roll Hell" (which sounds like a song that Bryan Adams might sing if he wore bat makeup) and "Killer" are no more than they claim to be, which is album-oriented hard rock.

Simmons two more famous songs from the record, "I Love it Loud" and "War Machine," showcase the harder edged sound of the group's two new (and younger) members.  Drums are thunderous, and the guitar is aggressive.  The solos don't match Ace Frehley's imagination, but they fit well with the stripped down sound.

Paul Stanley sings three more songs on the record: "Keep Me Comin'" and "Danger" which are aggressive, rock-y numbers, and "I Still Love You," at 6:06 one of the longest ballads of his career.  Unlike later Stanley ballads, though, there's nothing whiny or "look at me" here.  "I Still Love You" is a hard rock song merged with a power ballad.  In more popular (at the time) hands, it might have been a lighter-waving moment for years to come.  But the album's commercial failure doomed most of its songs ("I Love it Loud" being the exception) to KISS' deep cut dustbin.


Up next, what's #3?  And when will this guy feel like writing this much again?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on May 28, 2009, 10:27:32 PM
Great review, buffcoat. It reads like Lester Bangs minus his tendency for excessive pedantry and snark.

I don't know if you've ever read the Sound Opinions Messsage Board, but some posters have actually reviewed entire back catalogs of artists. It's pretty amazing. I don't think that I'd have the time or the patience to embark on something like this.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Trembling Eagle on May 28, 2009, 11:58:59 PM
Do you guys think KISS might have had a slight Doo Wop influence because of where they are from?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on May 29, 2009, 03:01:33 AM
Do you guys think KISS might have had a slight Doo Wop influence because of where they are from?

No. But I do hear the strong influence of money.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on May 29, 2009, 09:37:24 AM
Vincent's solo work is appalling, and he seems to be quite a weird dude (although he's just another in a long line of people that Paul Stanley let Gene Simmons screw over in the name of KISS).  
Can you expand on this at all? I like to refer to Vinnie Vincent as The Most Evil Member Of KISS, but I can no longer remember why I started doing so. I think it was due to some rockumentary (or, more likely, KISSumentary) where Gene and Paul were doing sit-down interviews about the various independent contractors who have worked for them as part of KISS Co., and when they got to Vincent, they just looked at each other for a few seconds and then mumbled something about him being a problem. They may have also fired Ace three or four times during this segment. My memory is hazy.

Most songs on the album are co-written with a variety of songwriters, including Vincent for three songs and, er, Bryan Adams for one.
I also wonder how that process works, when someone other than Gene or Paul but still employed by the band got a song on the album. Did Ace have to send his songs into the general KISS mailing address just like anybody else on the street and hope it got through Gene's people in the mailroom? Probably, right?

Entirely lacking in flutes and distant British voices, it must have sounded strange to the 20 people who bought it the week of its release.  It's actually *good,* as well.
What? How dare you. You better write at least 15,000 words on Music From "The Elder" to make up for that.

"Rock and Roll Hell" (which sounds like a song that Bryan Adams might sing if he wore bat makeup)
I would have enjoyed his career about forty thousand times more if he'd done that.

Some other random thoughts: What do you make of Eric Carr on the original cover of the album, where they all have the glowing eyes? Does the goofy little smile ruin the mood of the cover and thus the album, or is it just impossible for any KISS drummer - be they Catman, Fox or KISS Chicken - to even pretend to look imposing?

Also, Wikipedia claims that "The first initial pressings of the album featured on one side, John Mellencamp's "American Fool" and the album with one side of "American Fool," is RARE and highly sought after by collectors..." Is this true? If so, you should also review half of American Fool as part of this review, just to be complete.

And whether or not it is, shouldn't KISS and Mellencamp do this again? If Gene ever goes down or sells his half of the business to Paul, Paul should bring in Mellencamp to sing Gene's songs. Mellencamp could nail "Christine Sixteen" I bet. But what would his make-up be? They couldn't have The Catman and The Cougar in the band at the same time.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on May 29, 2009, 01:36:28 PM
good stuff
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 29, 2009, 03:50:03 PM
Quick answers to Wes' Questions:


1.  I don't have much of a grasp of VV, except that the VVI album was really, really bad - so he apparently could only write with such lights as Stanley and Simmons.  That Messrs. Witz/Klein and Eisen are not big fans does nothing to disqualify him, though.  

Did you mean that Ace was fired 3 or 4 times during the documentary?  Perhaps as he walked stumbled back and forth through the scene? Because I bet he was fired multiple times in the same day on more than one occasion.

Not to go too far down the path, but those videos are terrible.  Terrible.  So much more soulless than typical softcore porn.  At least the 80s Showtime variety, which is all I know of that genre.


2.   Ace and Peter had five minutes of each session where they could, after abasing themselves, crawl across the floor to Gene...

's personal assistant.  After they uttered the magic phrase, "KISS is Gene (pause) (pause) and Paul," they were allowed to present a copy of their songwriting suggestion, along with a waiver of all rights to the song in perpetuity.


3.   Oh, I'll have some things to say about "Music From 'The Elder.'"*  Don't you worry about that.


4.  Bryan Adams actually wanted to wear full leather and makeup for the "Prince of Thieves" videos, but Kevin Costner, in one of his few wrong career moves, nixed the idea.


5.  Heaven knows how many times Eric Carr was beaten for that half-smile.  They spent years and years remaking that album cover, as their faces drooped and wigs grew, trying to make up for that error.

No KISS drummer was ever masculine.  Even wearing Gene's boots, Eric Carr was only able to get to 5'4".  Peter Criss was already 47 when the band debuted.  And the less said about the blonde one, the better.

Speaking of KISS Chicken:  http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=97176 (http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=97176)

Quote
The musicians' menu while in Bulgaria consisted of meat and vegetarian dishes. The four KISS members prefer chicken and lamb meat as well as different vegetable soups. They have insisted that their dinner is served in china plates and with silverware.



6.  I meant to mention the "American Fool" debacle.  I actually bought tickets to see John Mellencamp once - Son Volt was opening.  I, uh, didn't stick around for the closing act.

I want to hear "The Cougar" do "Ladies in Waiting" at Farm Aid 2014.



*  Probably sometime in 2012.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on May 29, 2009, 04:39:12 PM
a friend of mine made a mix called "Victims of the Moment" :

Brian and I have combined forces to bring you the latest entry in a continuing series of mixes that attempt to reassess or reveal the hidden greatness of an act whose oeuvre has been beaten and bloodied by the public at large, KISS: Victims of the Moment (1978-82). This mix doesn't spotlight the 1978-82 years as much as it casts a black light over them, revealing glowing neon evidence of unspeakable acts committed in the name of "artistic integrity" and the pursuit of cold hard cash. By '78 KISS were ridin' high on the backs of huge albums like Destroyer, and the Alive! & Alive II releases that showcased the band's gimmick-fueled stage show, while the callused fingers of third world children were being worked to the bone to supply the cheap KISS-themed merchandise that flooded the market. Ready to conquer the world, KISS found themselves either out of ideas or full of bad ones, unleashing in rapid succession a series of albums that jumped from one genre to the next, confounding audiences and keeping cut-out bins well stocked for decades to come. Assembled from the wreckage of this five-year fall, these 21 tracks run the gamut from hard rock killers to disco pop mutants, and whether a hit or buried obscurity, each in it's own way was a Victim of the Moment...

Initial copies will include a limited-edition KISS collectible, guaranteed to appreciate in value over the years - get yours before they're gone!



from Ace Frehley (1978)
1. Rip It Out
2. New York Groove
3. Snowblind
4. Wiped Out


from Paul Stanley (1978)
5. It's Alright


from Gene Simmons (1978)
6. Radioactive


from Dynasty (1979)
7. 2,000 Man
8. I Was Made For Lovin' You
9. Sure Know Something
10. Hard Times


from Unmasked (1980)
11. Shandi
12. Is That You?
13. Naked City
14. Talk To Me


from Music From The Elder (1981)
15. The Oath
16. A World Without Heroes
17. Dark Light


from Killers (1982)
18. I'm A Legend Tonight


from Creatures Of The Night (1982)
19. I Love It Loud
20. Keep Me Comin'
21. Creatures Of The Night
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 29, 2009, 11:43:54 PM
#3 Alive II


This is a tough call.  Alive II is basically a 3-side live album with a pretty lousy studio side tacked on to fill it up.  Here's the story of the Alive II concert recordings, per Wikipedia:

Quote
Most of the live tracks on Alive II were recorded during the band's August 26-28 residency at the Los Angeles Forum while on the Love Gun tour. The 3:00 PM soundchecks at the August 26 & 27 shows were recorded, and later used on the album (i.e. "Tomorrow And Tonight") with crowd noise being dubbed in later. "Beth" and "I Want You" were lifted from the aborted Japanese live album and used on the finished Alive II.

So once again, a KISS live album really isn't a KISS live album, at least most of the way through.

So what?  It rocks, again.  The songs are better live, again.  Paul Stanley proves himself the best crowd-worker in rock again.  Ace shreds.  Peter croons.  Gene drools blood on the cover.  

Plus, it comes with TATTOOS, man!


Alive II's first three sides are as good a rock show as Alive!, which is saying something.  The album starts with a 1-2 punch off Destroyer - a blistering rendition of "Detroit Rock City" and its followup track "King of the Nighttime World" (ohhhhhhh yayehhhhh I'm the KING of the NIGHTTIME WOOOOOOORLD).  Ace's solo on "Detroit Rock City" is among his best work, and he imbues it with real feeling here.  Peter is gamely thumping along.  You can hear Paul preening through the microphone.

Gene "leads it to the 'Ladies Room'" next.  The faked crowd noise gets a little annoying and, frankly, embarrassing.  But it does capture what it was like to be at a KISS show - in the 1980s, in Australia or Brazil.  

"Makin' Love" and "Love Gun" continue the tradition of being better versions than the studio cuts (as do the later "I Stole Your Love" and "I Want You," the latter featuring an extended call-and-response session courtesy of Stanley).

Side Two features two of Gene's better middle period numbers, "Calling Dr. Love" and "Christine Sixteen" (see Love Gun review for content discussion).  Peter Criss' second major ballad, "Hard Luck Woman," and the somewhat limp "Tomorrow and Tonight" round out the second side.  

But the showpiece of this portion is Frehley's vocal debut "Shock Me," a song based on a real life electrocution he suffered in Lakeland, Florida in 1976.  A word of warning - Frehley absolutely cannot sing.  But his guitar work, and the Paul gem "ACE FRAAALEIGH, LEAD GUI-TAWWW" at the end of the song raise it to show-stopping.

Side three features a treacly "Beth" and, as closer, the follow-up to "Rock N Roll All Nite" known as "Shout it Out Loud."  The best song on side three is the seriously reworked (and improved) "God of Thunder," which actually does sound like a song about a rock god, as opposed to the Destroyer version, which sounds like a pervert yelling at a dwarf.

Side four almost ruins the album.  Again, per Wikipedia:

Quote
Although Ace Frehley was originally credited for lead guitar on the studio tracks, the remastered version released in 1997 confirmed what had been speculated by Kiss fans for years - Bob Kulick actually played lead guitar on three tracks ("All American Man", "Rockin' In The U.S.A." and "Larger Than Life"), not Frehley. Frehley's sole involvement for the studio songs was to handle all guitars and bass guitar for "Rocket Ride." Paul Stanley played all guitars on "Any Way You Want It" which was originally recorded by the Dave Clark Five in 1965.


Seriously, the Dave Clark Five?  "All American Man" and "Rockin' in the U.S.A." are typical Paul and Gene fillers.  Not terrible, not great.  The highlight is Frehley's "Rocket Ride," which may or may not feature any other members of KISS.  It does feature co-writing by Sean Delaney, the carnie-roadie-driver-choreographer known as the fifth member of KISS.  

Alive II side four is probably where what was going wrong started to eclipse what was going right.  But it's a good record up to that point.


Next up, #4 - it's taken this long to get to a 70s studio album?


Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 29, 2009, 11:52:53 PM
Also:

Quote
In November 1972, the trio played a showcase for Epic Records A&R director Don Ellis, in an effort to secure a record deal. Although the performance went well, Ellis hated the group's image and music. On top of that, as he was leaving, he was vomited on by Criss's brother.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 30, 2009, 02:19:09 PM
It's very surprising to me that no women are participating in this thread.  I thought KISS fans were almost all professional women.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Matt on May 30, 2009, 05:42:19 PM
Seriously, the Dave Clark Five?

I don't know what this is supposed to mean. The Dave Clark Five rocks.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 30, 2009, 06:29:22 PM
Seriously, the Dave Clark Five?

I don't know what this is supposed to mean. The Dave Clark Five rocks.


Lots of things rock, Matt.  Tuna and peanut butter are both delicious, but I wouldn't like a tuna and peanut butter sandwich.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Julie on May 30, 2009, 11:13:48 PM
It's very surprising to me that no women are participating in this thread.  I thought KISS fans were almost all professional women.

Now you aren't surprised, but this is the best I can do.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on May 30, 2009, 11:17:51 PM
Tuna and peanut butter are both delicious, but I wouldn't like a tuna and peanut butter sandwich.

How about a bacon and peanut butter sandwich?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Julie on May 30, 2009, 11:20:11 PM
Tuna and peanut butter are both delicious, but I wouldn't like a tuna and peanut butter sandwich.

How about a bacon and peanut butter sandwich?

What, are you from Toledo?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on May 30, 2009, 11:35:28 PM
Tuna and peanut butter are both delicious, but I wouldn't like a tuna and peanut butter sandwich.

How about a bacon and peanut butter sandwich?

What, are you from Toledo?

Pennsylvania, actually. Thanks for asking, though.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Julie on May 30, 2009, 11:40:29 PM
Tuna and peanut butter are both delicious, but I wouldn't like a tuna and peanut butter sandwich.

How about a bacon and peanut butter sandwich?

What, are you from Toledo?

Pennsylvania, actually. Thanks for asking, though.

Do you like to dip bologna in peanut butter?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on May 30, 2009, 11:41:52 PM
I don't touch that stuff. Bologna, that is. We do like to put french fries on our sandwiches here, however.

Strange isn't it?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 01, 2009, 05:13:03 PM
is it over already
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 01, 2009, 05:15:16 PM
is it over already

Check back tonight to find out!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 01, 2009, 10:07:31 PM
#4 - KISS


Now, where were we?


Wikipedia is helpful in learning about the first three albums reviewed here, but it really hits it out of the park with this one.  Whoever wrote it is either very knowledgeable or a great liar.  Who cares which?

KISS, released in 1974 and now featuring a song that wasn't on there then, is the best studio record the band produced in the 70s.  Not that the other ones aren't good, because some of them are.  Not all of them, oh, no.  But some of them.

The best story about this album on Wikipedia is this:

Quote
According to Criss, photographer Joel Brodsky thought Kiss were literally clowns, and wanted to place balloons behind the group for the shoot.  Brodsky, however, has denied this, chalking it up to imagination.

"Strutter," a song originally called "Stanley the Parrot" and written by Gene Simmons before he ever met the real Stanley the Parrot, is quite a first track in a band's career.  Loud, aggressive, streetwise and somehow still as feminine as the subject of the song, "Strutter" is a fine piece of early 70s rock and roll.  When you think of some of the crap that still gets played from this period, it's amazing it wasn't ever a hit.

Please, if you are in any way a KISS fan, find the demos for the first album.  "Strutter" is worth the price of admission and may be the best version of this song.

"Nothin' to Lose" is KISS at its most playful and fun.  Sure, Gene is singing about what he always sings about, but this time it's almost like a hard-R rated version of a 60s beach song.

"Firehouse" is the inspiration for North Carolina based band "FireHouse."  It features a loud siren.

"Cold Gin" is a KISS classic written by Ace Frehley, LEAD GUI-TAWH.  Frehley was too nervous about his voice to sing it himself.  Time would show that he was right.  It's funny, because this song, not written by Simmons, along with "Dr. Love," became Gene's signature songs.

"Let Me Know" is an underrated song.  Its tacked-on coda is preserved as the tacked-on coda to "She" in concert.  Either way, it's a good coda.

"Kissin' Time" is the late addition to the album.  Hoo boy, the throwback pop mention above turns ominous.  The label made them do this one, and it shows.  The vocal harmonies are all wrong.  The whole thing is all wrong.  Gene would never let anyone but himself exploit him this way again.

"Deuce," like "Cold Gin" and "She," written in the same era, are all KISS live staples.  Which means they've played them so many times that it's hard to tell whether they are good or not.  Gene says he doesn't know what the lyrics mean, which puts him in the same boat as everyone else, except the odd henpecked husband who has for years thought of himself as "Old Jim."

"Love Theme from Kiss" is a kiss instrumental.  Yup.   Not a rocker, either.  And not interesting.

"100,000 Years" is pretty great, although the lyrics are difficult to understand.  "I'm just about to ooh yeah" makes perfect sense, but the rest doesn't.  A light drum solo here, especially compared to the 7-minute monster on Alive!

"Black Diamond" on KISS is gargantuan.  5:12 and half made up of an extended train-sound fadeout, the song is really cool for a 70s rock record.  Again, the demo is more energetic and more exciting.  Please download it.

Some people might be forgiven for always having thought that the second line was "bitch has only begun," until they heard the drummer from Superchunk say it on the radio right after playing it on an airhorn.  By the way, Peter Criss sounds like he sings, which is a strange thing.  He also sounds a little like what a cat might sound like if it sang.  


This one's good.  There are a few more that are more good than bad, and a couple that are equally good and bad, and then a couple that have some good songs, and then two that have to be listened to for the first time in decades to determine just how bad they are.


Title: Paul Stanley Stage Banter Contest, Part One
Post by: Wes on June 02, 2009, 09:54:01 AM
Black Diamond - in all forms, but especially air horn - is definitely one of the band's finest efforts. I'd say it's the second best song in the KISS arsenal, but I'll save my thoughts on the best song in their arsenal for when you get to the review of Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey: Music from the Motion Picture. I like to think Paul was inspired by I've Just Seen A Face when he wrote the intro.

Meanwhile!

Paul Stanley Stage Banter Contest

Since 2009 is the historic fourth anniversary of Paul Stanley's People, Let Me Get This Off My Chest, buffcoat has agreed to host a series of contests in this thread honoring the second best solo KISS album (Ace Frehley's Ace Frehley is the best) during the breaks between his album reviews. The goal is simple: attempt to replicate what the incomparable stage banter of KISS frontman and Co-Chairman Paul Stanley might have sounded like in each of the presented, partially fictional scenarios. For example:

***

Scenario: KISS actually mounts a tour for Music From "The Elder" in 1981 and plays a show on the night that Ronald Reagan has been shot.

Paul Stanley Banter: People, I guess maybe you all mighta heard the news today that, uh, that President Reagan was shot and is currently in surgery with a collapsed lung. WELL I GOTTA TELL YOU SOMETHING, people! You know that KISS does not condone the assassination of any member of the government of the United States, the greatest country on the planet, but listen: that don't mean that KISS wants to see GUUuuuuUUNS get banned. Cuz you know, people, KISS has some guns that the Constitution will always protect. Are we talkin' 'bout...tommy guns? (Gene holds axe bass like a tommy gun, pretends to fire at the crowd) NO! Are we talkin' 'bout...machiiiiiiiiiine guns? (Eric Carr plays technically competent machine gun roll on his drums) NOOOOO! Uh, this one's called Love Gun.

***

Obviously, they don't have to be that long. Anyway, your entries will be judged on historical accuracy, KISStorical accuracy, use of the words "people" and "listen", general Stanley-isms and the proper introduction of a relevant song. Feel free to attempt as many as you wish.

Scenario 1: During the Destroyer Tour, KISS plays a show in Greensboro, NC the day after the the Susan B. Anthony Dollar is introduced in the United States.

Scenario 2: (Year and venue choices optional) Paul receives word from authorities during the show that a serial killer is on the loose and was last spotted near the stadium.

Scenario 3: March 27, 1999 - KISS plays a show the day after the internet is attacked by the Melissa worm and Dr. Jack Kevorkian is found guilty of second degree murder for his role in the administration of lethal injection.

Scenario 4: Dressed to Kill Tour, 1975 - Paul introduces "Rock and Roll All Nite" into KISS' live setlist; also Peter Criss wandered into the desert five days ago and has not been seen since.

Scenario 5: (Year and venue choices optional) Paul receives word from security that a baby was found in a basket outside the stadium.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 02, 2009, 12:12:35 PM
Are there prizes involved?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 02, 2009, 01:01:50 PM
I apologize, because this kind of sucks. But I took a stab at it anyway.

Scenario #2:

ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT Piscataway! Is this or is this not the rock and roll capital of New Jersey? (Crowd responds in affirmation) How does everyone feel tonight! You feel good? (Crowd responds) I can't hear you! I said DO YOU FEEL GOOD? (Crowd responds) Listen, we just found out that there was a serial killer spotted outside the stadium. Let me tell you something, KISS does not like serial killers because murder isn't cool people. So if anyone spots this guy it's your duty to report it to the police. Then we can ROCK AND ROLL ALL NIGHT AND PARTY EVERY DAY! (Song begins)
Title: Re: Paul Stanley Stage Banter Contest, Part One
Post by: Wes on June 02, 2009, 02:23:19 PM
On the contrary, that was an excellent entry and you are currently in the lead. Unfortunately, while there was going to be a series of incredibly fantastic prizes, asking whether there were prizes involved has tainted the whole thing and the prize closet has been closed and locked, so now you're only competing for the satisfaction of a job well done and the admiration of your peers.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 02, 2009, 02:37:41 PM
It would be nice to win the admiration of my peers. Although, a t-shirt would have been nice, as well.

Anyway, I hope I win.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 02, 2009, 02:39:58 PM
Scenario 1: During the Destroyer Tour, KISS plays a show in Greensboro, NC the day after the the Susan B. Anthony Dollar is introduced in the United States.



PEOPLE!  People.  Applause.  LISTEN.  I was talkin' to somebody back stage befowah.  ... PEET-AH CRISS, people!  Spanish-inflected drums.  NOW, people.  Now.  Peet-ah was tellin' me about the NEW DOLLAH THAT'S OUT ON THE MAW-KET!  Crowd quiets - confusion.  YAY-EHH.  Theahs a new dollah out on the market, people.  It's fow-ah... I said IT'S FOW-AH... Pause.  SU-ZIN B. ANTHONY PEOPLE!  Yay-eh!  Now, Gene and I have met LOTS OF LADIES ON THIS TOW-AH, people!  Scattered screams.  And I just wanna tell yawl somethin'!  

People are always putting down Ms. Anthony as frumpy, or as a hypocrite based on her beliefs about issues other than women's suffrage.  I think that is likely a misreading of her character.  More importantly, I think it's a desperate attempt to tear down a feminist icon by applying the standards of today to a person who lived in another time.  That's inherently unfair.

ANYWAY.  WHOOOOOOH.  OH YEEAAAAAAAH!  They say she's UGLY, PEOPLE.  I just wanna tell yawl that ALL of the ladies of the world are BEAUTIFUL.  And ALL the ladies are ESPECIALLY BEAUTIFUL in the eyes of KISS.  Cheering.  SO ALL YOU SUSAN B. ANTHONY DOWNAHS can FUCK OFF!  WHOOOOOOH!   COLD GIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 02, 2009, 02:45:59 PM
COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on June 02, 2009, 03:50:34 PM
An amazing entry, buffcoat, but I can't help but think that would have been the perfect time to go into She instead of Cold Gin. As such, I'm not ready to declare who has the lead in the contest at this point.

This means the field is wide open, so I hope everyone is still working on entries, as I've spent most of my afternoon coming up with additional scenarios for later rounds, including a hostage situation, an historic moment in recent US history and a scenario involving KISS winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Oh, and doing work. I've also spent the afternoon doing work.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 02, 2009, 03:57:31 PM
I have to say that buffcoat is in the lead right now. He obviously put a lot of time and effort into that. I, on the other hand, wrote my entry in about 10 minutes.

SU-ZIN B. ANTHONY!  ;D
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 02, 2009, 04:05:16 PM
An amazing entry, buffcoat, but I can't help but think that would have been the perfect time to go into She instead of Cold Gin. As such, I'm not ready to declare who has the lead in the contest at this point.

This means the field is wide open, so I hope everyone is still working on entries, as I've spent most of my afternoon coming up with additional scenarios for later rounds, including a hostage situation, an historic moment in recent US history and a scenario involving KISS winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Oh, and doing work. I've also spent the afternoon doing work.


I was going for a non-sequitur.  But I accept the comment.



And, TRG, one of my only talents is writing fast.  Beginning to end less than 10 minutes.  Those album reviews take about 25-30.  

I understand you will doubt, so you are invited to come to my office with a stopwatch.


I thought your entry was good.  Paul is a swaggerin' man, but he will always stand up for the police, America and apple pie!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 02, 2009, 04:07:58 PM
On that note, I am also open to comments about the reviews.  Do you think "Strutter" is pure garbage?  That Peter Criss could drum Eric Carr into an even smaller body?  I welcome your comments and challenges.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 02, 2009, 04:09:52 PM
There are no losers in this contest. We are all winners.

Who am I kidding? I'm just saying that to feel better about myself.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 03, 2009, 10:11:26 AM
Wes, is "God Gave Rock and Roll to You II" really your favorite KISS song?  And is the Elder really your favorite KISS album?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Julie on June 03, 2009, 01:10:04 PM
When will you get to Beth, the only song by that band I know?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on June 03, 2009, 02:53:02 PM
Wes, is "God Gave Rock and Roll to You II" really your favorite KISS song?  And is the Elder really your favorite KISS album?

I don't know if I'd say favorite, and I'd definitely not say their best song. It can't be, after all, since it doesn't have Ace on it. But I do think it's the most KISS song, if that makes any sense. It kind of encapsulates everything enjoyable about KISS, from the way you can tell they really love straight ahead old-time rock music to the awesome, majestic goofiness that is the band's true legacy.

But anyway, it's got everything you could ever want in a KISS song that doesn't involve Ace getting electrocuted or Peter drowning: outsized guitars, Paul singing like Paul, Gene getting a token line, lyrics about the magical powers of rock 'n roll and that bit where it gets really quiet and Paul starts whispering the chorus of the song like rock has been destroyed, but then the whole band comes back in and the universe is saved by the mystical magic of KISS music, as used to best effect in the end credits of Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.

And my god, that spoken word section at the end, where Paul says "I KNOOOOW sometimes life can get tough! And I KNOW life can sometimes be a draaaag! But we have been given a GIFT, we have been given a ROAD, and that road is...RooooOOOOOOoooock and RooooooOOOOOOOOooooooOOOOOLLLL!" If that's not the most defining KISS moment, I don't know what is.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 03, 2009, 03:11:03 PM
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He6t9JkDUMY[/youtube]

"Actually, I'm a plumber." Ace Frehley sounds like one of those guys that calls up WFAN all the time.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 03, 2009, 05:08:40 PM
Good lord.  I've never watched that clip all the way through.  That's quite a laugh, Mr. Frehley.




I'm torn over the next record.  It isn't going to be Hotter than Hell, but "Goin' Blind" is one of their best songs.  So let me say that here.  Hotter than Hell, though, sounds like it was recorded in the crawlspace BENEATH the phone booth where they recorded the other albums.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 03, 2009, 05:41:00 PM
Meanwhile, the lyrics from "Rip and Destroy," the version of "Hotter than Hell" that appears in KISS Meets the Phantom.

[Verse]
It's time for everyone to listen good
We've taken all we can stand
You've got the power to rip down these walls
It's in the palm of your hand

[Chorus]
Rip, rip, rip and destroy
You know the hour's getting late
Rip, rip, rip and destroy
Break it down and seal your fate (whoa)

[Solo]
[Verse]
[Chorus] X2
[Verse]
[Chorus] X2

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 03, 2009, 11:30:54 PM
#5 - Rock and Roll Over


First off, it must be said:  Destroyer is not in any way a bad album.  But these reviews are an honest reassessment.  Maybe, in retrospect, using the symphony and the choir so much wasn't the best idea.


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/519SYF1XQJL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

The album cover is cool this time.  Look at Peter Criss on Destroyer.  That's ridiculous.  This cover implies that Ace's hair makes a perfect semicircle.  Of course it does.

A certain North Carolina youngster made a tracing of the Rock and Roll Over album cover in his misspent youth.  He might even be able to find it again if he looked hard enough, and could explain to his mother why he was in the attic.

A return to rock and roll, with just the four musicians.  Peter Criss recorded the drum tracks in the bathroom at the studio.  No, really.  Stickers.  Released November 1976, platinum in January 1977.  That's how you do it.


This, to me, is the last time the original lineup really worked.  Mistakes were made during Love Gun, mistakes that cost the band its cohesion.  Maybe it was inevitable.  But Peter and Ace are mostly still important members of KISS on Rock and Roll Over, and that's a big thing.

The songs are classic, as Ace seemed to discover a new way to play guitar for this record.  A lot of spacey sounds come out of the Spaceman on "Take Me," for example.

The three traditional Paul Stanley tracks are sort of similar.  "I Want You" is written for a call-and-response performance, which he gives with gusto on Alive II.  "Take Me" is another one of Paul's pleas to be loved, you know, physically.  As is "Makin' Love," which features the most no-means-yes oriented lyric on any KISS album (!) - "She says 'stop baby' GO GO GO."  That cannot be countenanced.

Three Paul songs ("Makin' Love," "Take Me") were written with longtime roadie/weirdo/managerish type Sean Delaney.  More on the third on in a minute.

Gene's contributions are uneven, but feature one of his best songs ever: swaggering rocker "Calling Dr. Love."  The opening guitar tracks are hugely crunching.  This is a remarkable hard rock song, with cool if not exactly forward-thinking lyrics, the type that should be played more often on Classic Rock stations.  Do they really have to play "Shooting Star" so many times a day?

Gene Simmons is the perfect answer to the age-old question, "What if my high school English teacher was a sex pervert who wrote rock songs?"  We'll cover this more in-depth with one particular song on Love Gun.

"Ladies Room" is ok on this album, better live.  "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em" compares favorably to Gene's work on the 4th side of Alive II, which isn't saying much.  Gene hated the version of "See You in Your Dreams" on this album so much he remade it on the solo record with a bunch of weird chicks in the background.

Peter Criss gets two songs on Rock and Roll Over.  The first is "Baby Driver," which he wrote, and which makes no sense at all, musically or lyrically.  The second is his second signature song, "Hard Luck Woman," which is pretty good because it was written by Paul Stanley for Rod Stewart.  Gene made Paul give it to Peter instead.  It's possible that money was involved.

Saved the best for last.  "Mr. Speed," by Paul Stanley and Sean Delaney, is one of the best KISS songs of all time, and, along with "Goin' Blind" on Hotter than Hell, among their most unappreciated work.  It's possible that Mr. Speed works because it doesn't really sound like KISS.  The bass work is GOOD in the context of the song.  Which is something you don't get to say too often about Gene's work.  "100,000 Years?"

It doesn't sound like the Paul Stanley Solo Album either.  It sounds like what a 70s fun rock band might play if they had any talent.  Kudos, Mr. Eisen.




Next up, #6.  After the next one, your humble reviewer may have to take a refresher course.  He can't honestly remember what "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em" sounds like all that well.  When it comes to Unmasked, the only song he can remember is "She's So European," mostly because it was played on that "Running with the Cheetah" show.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Bryan on June 04, 2009, 09:57:29 AM
Please keep it coming, buffcoat. This is really wonderful work.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Julie on June 04, 2009, 10:22:23 AM
Yeah, and I really want to see some KISS artwork!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 04, 2009, 11:00:21 AM
Scenario 5: 1391 BC, Egypt. Paul receives word from security that a baby was found in a basket outside the stadium.

WELLL ALLLL RIIIIIGHT! Do you feel good? (light crowd response) I said DO YOU FEEL GOOD EGYPT? (louder response). I CAAAAN'T HEAR YOU! (response clearly dubbed from another concert). Now, I know alotta you out there got a special someone that you like to call "baby." AM I RIGHT, EGYPT? Now, let me get serious for a second here. I was talking to someone backstage, and he let me know that another kind of baby was found outside this here stadium. (Peter Criss rattler fill) Now, this little rocker was just bawling his lungs out in his wet little basket. I THINK WE GOT A LITTLE ROCK AND ROLLER ON OUR HANDS HERE! (light cheers) Now, what kinda woman would just leave a baby outside a rock and roll show? What kinda woman would abandon her little baby when the Pharoah has decreed that all newborns be put to death? WHAT KINDA WOMAN, EGYPT? (garbled screams) WHAT KINDA WOMAN? (louder, still garbled, screams) I'll tell you what kinda woman would do something like that! A HAAAAAARD LUCK WOMAN!
Title: Paul Stanley Stage Banter Contest, Round 2
Post by: Wes on June 04, 2009, 12:19:30 PM
Scenario 5: 1391 BC, Egypt. Paul receives word from security that a baby was found in a basket outside the stadium.

WELLL ALLLL RIIIIIGHT! Do you feel good? (light crowd response) I said DO YOU FEEL GOOD EGYPT? (louder response). I CAAAAN'T HEAR YOU! (response clearly dubbed from another concert). Now, I know alotta you out there got a special someone that you like to call "baby." AM I RIGHT, EGYPT? Now, let me get serious for a second here. I was talking to someone backstage, and he let me know that another kind of baby was found outside this here stadium. (Peter Criss rattler fill) Now, this little rocker was just bawling his lungs out in his wet little basket. I THINK WE GOT A LITTLE ROCK AND ROLLER ON OUR HANDS HERE! (light cheers) Now, what kinda woman would just leave a baby outside a rock and roll show? What kinda woman would abandon her little baby when the Pharoah has decreed that all newborns be put to death? WHAT KINDA WOMAN, EGYPT? (garbled screams) WHAT KINDA WOMAN? (louder, still garbled, screams) I'll tell you what kinda woman would do something like that! A HAAAAAARD LUCK WOMAN!

YES.

mcphee wins Round 1.

Paul Stanley Stage Banter Contest, Round 2

Scenario 1: Gene debuts the KISS T-Shirt Bass, a fully playable axe bass with a t-shirt cannon attached which can fire coupons into the crowd that are redeemable for a KISS t-shirt for only $5.99. Between songs, Gene fires it into the crowd, injuring a fan.

Scenario 2: Ace falls asleep in the middle of his solo during "Black Diamond" and Paul has to re-introduce the song.

Scenario 3: July 28, 2006 (second show at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, CA, final show of the Rising Sun tour) Paul has taken Netflix up on its recommendation to watch Mulholland Drive and, having seen it for the first time earlier that day, is so taken with the film that he wants to explain what he thinks the movie was about while introducing the next song.

Scenario 4: Psycho Circus Tour, date and venue optional - A deranged gunman rushes the stage and takes Peter hostage. Paul has to introduce the next song, and if he can work it into the introduction, talk the gunman out of shooting Peter. Note: The band has already played Love Gun earlier in the show.

Scenario 5: Summer 2009 - KISS travels to North Korea and plays a concert as part of their efforts to broker a sit-down discussion regarding the reduction of North Korea's nuclear arms; Paul also announces that this is Tommy Thayer's last show with the band and that Tommy could use a ride home back to America after the show, as Ace will be re-joining the band immediately per Kim Jong-Il's request.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 04, 2009, 01:08:35 PM
Peter seems to suffer a lot in these scenarios.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 04, 2009, 01:16:02 PM
Scenario 5: 1391 BC, Egypt. Paul receives word from security that a baby was found in a basket outside the stadium.

WELLL ALLLL RIIIIIGHT! Do you feel good? (light crowd response) I said DO YOU FEEL GOOD EGYPT? (louder response). I CAAAAN'T HEAR YOU! (response clearly dubbed from another concert). Now, I know alotta you out there got a special someone that you like to call "baby." AM I RIGHT, EGYPT? Now, let me get serious for a second here. I was talking to someone backstage, and he let me know that another kind of baby was found outside this here stadium. (Peter Criss rattler fill) Now, this little rocker was just bawling his lungs out in his wet little basket. I THINK WE GOT A LITTLE ROCK AND ROLLER ON OUR HANDS HERE! (light cheers) Now, what kinda woman would just leave a baby outside a rock and roll show? What kinda woman would abandon her little baby when the Pharoah has decreed that all newborns be put to death? WHAT KINDA WOMAN, EGYPT? (garbled screams) WHAT KINDA WOMAN? (louder, still garbled, screams) I'll tell you what kinda woman would do something like that! A HAAAAAARD LUCK WOMAN!

Just brilliant. I can't stop laughing.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 04, 2009, 08:20:47 PM
Good job, McPhee!  Peter has probably been saving the rattler fill since Paul quit telling the "baby with a long tongue" story about Gene after Mr. Simmons' vasectomy and/or senesence.

Rank in order of credibility nowadays: Paul Stanley, Lou Reed or Jimmy Page?


Think carefully about "Come With Me" before you answer.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 04, 2009, 11:03:26 PM
1. Paul Stanley-Because he's one of the funniest human beings alive.
2. Lou Reed-Although, he released an album of music for tai chi, his work with the Velvet Underground is legendary.
3. Jimmy Page-"Come With Me" was atrocious. As was the movie Godzilla (1998). Does he still live in Aleister Crowley's old house?
.
.
.
.
.
1001. Ted Nugent-If you disagree, just peruse the book, "Ted, White, and Blue."
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 04, 2009, 11:06:42 PM
1. Paul Stanley-Because he's one of the funniest human beings alive.
2. Lou Reed-Although, he released an album of music for tai chi, his work with the Velvet Underground is legendary.
3. Jimmy Page-"Come With Me" was atrocious. As was the movie Godzilla (1998).



Agreed, completely.  Who would ever have thought this in 1979, when "I Was Made for Lovin' You" hit the radio? *


I would say:

Paul, because he's still completely what he always was.
Lou, because he's now more known for being a crank than anything else.
Jimmy, because how on earth can you explain his decisions in the last 15 years?








* Or when he sported the "aerobicize" haircut - see some cover pics from Killerz.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 06, 2009, 03:08:33 PM
#6 - Destroyer

KISS learns to play music.

Unlike the Monkees, KISS could "play their instruments" from the start.  They could even write songs.  And yet,

Quote
During the recording sessions Ezrin resorted to numerous tactics designed to increase the quality of music Kiss recorded. Because none of the group were trained musicians, Ezrin halted the sessions at one point to provide lessons in basic music theory.  In an effort to instill a sense of discipline, he wore a whistle around his neck and exhorted the band with sayings such as, "C'mon campers, let's get going!"  When Simmons stopped playing early during the recording of an outro Ezrin yelled at him, saying, "Don't you ever stop a take unless I tell you!"


Having heard what he did for Alice Cooper (?), KISS decided to bring in producer Bob Ezrin for Destroyer.  Good idea, although it would eventually cost them (see what is likely to be the second to last entry in this series).

Destroyer is undoubtedly a whole lot more ambitious, musically speaking, than Dressed to Kill, the band's previous studio effort.  Dressed to Kill, for example, features a total of zero carnival or wind effects. 

The reason Destroyer is #6 on this list, vs. higher on other people's KISS rankings, is that the songs that are better musically aren't all that great.  The ones that more closely resemble songs from the first three studio albums are better, although they're STILL BETTER LIVE than in their studio versions.

Breaking it down:

"Detroit Rock City" and "King of the Night Time World" are as good back-to-back opening tracks as the band ever did.    The intro on "Detroit Rock City" is clever and interesting, although it's a bit morbid because it chronicles something that really happened to a KISS fan (although who the hell knows whether this is true).  There's some disagreement about whether Gene is the newscaster in the intro.  Put that to rest.  It's Gene.  Paul's humming is funny, too.  The car stereo playing "Rock N Roll All Nite" is good.  Whoever came up with this idea was very clever.

Bob Ezrin helped write these two.  They are certainly better produced than anything KISS had done.  The phone-booth recording effect is gone, as is the mud sound that ruined Hotter than Hell and damaged Dressed to Kill.

By the way, whoever edited Double Platinum is an asshole.  He ruined "Detroit Rock City."  Whatever they had to pay that dude, they should have paid him to just leave the songs alone.

"God of Thunder," the studio version, is terrible.  The little kid/dwarf/catamite talking in the background is discomfiting.  The song is way too slow and sparse.  Live, "God of Thunder" is actually a great track.  Whoever decided to go with this version, mega-producer or not, was wrong.

"Great Expectations," as chronicled in comedy bits, is a terrible joke.  The narrator is, in fact, suggesting that the woman/women being addressed have "great expectations" to sleep with him (or at least give him a handjob).  The choir is unnecessary and stupid.  This track is embarrassing.

"Flaming Youth" is standard Ace Frehley writing for Paul.  It's anthemic in the way that Ace writes.  It's a bit silly, but not bad.  The carousel bit could have been left out.

"Sweet Pain" is not a bad Simmons tune from this era.  It has an interesting guitar sound.  Lyrically, it's the same ground he always covers, this time it's about sadomasochism.  "My whip is always beside me."  Ugh.  Check out the Gene Simmons sex video (or don't!).  For someone who has been with so many women, Gene is not exactly the most sophisticated boudoirist.  I apologize if I introduced the concept of this video to anyone who didn't know about it.

"Shout it Out Loud" is a lame, lame, LAME followup to "Rock N Roll All Nite."  You can't sit down and write a sequel to your #1 ballad, although you can try.  One of the most overrated songs in the catalog.  Where the first was fun and goofy, this is forced and didactic.  They're ordering us to have fun in the name of KISS.  We decline.

"Beth."  Beth, Beth, Beth.  If this song hadn't been recorded by a makeup wearing, blood drooling, firework shooting group of terrifying clowns, America would have laughed at it, or more likely, ignored it.  But listening to the freak in the cat makeup croon about a woman other than his wife (disputed, but this is the version I'm going with) touched the heart of many people.  There's no accounting for taste.

"Do You Love Me?" is actually a good Stanley song.  It's actually kind of about something, which is maybe Bob Ezrin's contribution, but I doubt it.  Paul sometimes writes about things that other people can understand, unlike, say, Gene, who only writes about dirty women, and Ace, who writes about things that pop into the mind of a drug-addled escapee from Stranger in a Strange Land (the Heinlein novel, not the Iron Maiden album).

"Untitled," which is coupled with "Do You Love Me" on the CD, is exactly the type of crap you would expect Bob Ezrin to stick on the end of an album.

Wikipedia sum up:


Quote
Rolling Stone referred to "bloated ballads," "pedestrian drumming," and "lackluster performances" in its review.

Uh huh.  (The expression, not the John Cougar Mellencamp album).




NB: My iTunes brought up, in addition to the songs on Destroyer, the following tracks: "Destroyer" by the Kinks, "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" by George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and "Search and Destroy" by the Stooges.  I don't like the Stooges, but the other two songs would rank about third or fourth best on Destroyer.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: dave from knoxville on June 06, 2009, 05:14:36 PM
Buffcoat, when this project is complete, could you do the same for Blue Oyster Cult?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 06, 2009, 06:35:18 PM
Buffcoat, when this project is complete, could you do the same for Blue Oyster Cult?



Don't fear the reaper, Dave-O.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 07, 2009, 12:05:56 AM
Buffcoat, when this project is complete, could you do the same for Blue Oyster Cult?



More cowbell, Dave-O.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 07, 2009, 12:08:41 AM
Buffcoat, when this project is complete, could you do the same for Blue Oyster Cult?


I think you mean Öyster, Dave-O.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 07, 2009, 12:15:00 AM
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo2Aypi0R2c[/youtube]

A disturbing video in so many respects.

And Buck Dharma. He's no Paul Stanley.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 07, 2009, 10:27:39 PM
While I am still going to follow this thread and enjoy the process from a clinical standpoint, I am distancing myself emotionally. You've shoved a rusty dagger in my back, Buffcoat, and twisted it around and around, causing my heart to cry warm tears. And also blood. Why? Why you ask? Because Shout it Out Loud is one of the best songs they ever wrote (if not the very best). And, whether or not they were just ripping themselves off, it's a much better song than Rock and Roll All Night. A few reasons for this:

1. Paul sings most of it.
2. The lyrics are unbelievable. Paul at his most winningly "I love my life and you should love yours, even though it's clearly nowhere near as awesome as mine." I mean, c'mon: "If you don't feel good / there's a way you could"? It doesn't get much better than that.
3. "Rock and Roll All Night" alternates between music's oldest double entendre and a paean to partying sung by a guy who doesn't, and hasn't ever, "party/ied." "Shout it Out Loud" is about actually having a party. Calling your friends over to hang out. Playing music loud. And that's about it. It's basically a Jonathan Richman-level manchild jubilee.
4. "Rock and Roll all Night" sounds like the Bay City Rollers doing a Van Halen cover. Which is a fine enough thing, I suppose. But "Shout it Out Loud" sounds like Cheap Trick with Gorham/Robertson writing the riffs.

I could go on. Actually, I probably couldn't. But that'sonly becauseI think mytears justshortedoutmy spacebar.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 07, 2009, 11:21:12 PM
Well, it's about time!  I've said a lot of junk about you all's precious KISS and only now someone takes umbrage?  Shame on you, KISS Army.  Good job McPhee.


I only have these words of advice for you, McPhee.  They just came to me.

If you don't feel good, McPhee, there's a way you could.  Please don't sit there broken-hearted.
In fact, call all your friends in the neighborhood (hello!) and get your party started.
McPhee, don't let them tell you that there's too much noise.  They're too old to really understand.
Just get rowdy with your girls and boys.  It's time for you to take a stand, McPhee.  Yeah yeah.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 08, 2009, 09:42:43 AM
Because Shout it Out Loud is one of the best songs they ever wrote (if not the very best). And, whether or not they were just ripping themselves off, it's a much better song than Rock and Roll All Night. A few reasons for this:


Really, I just don't like the whiny guitar.  I'm not that big a fan of "Rock N Roll All Nite," either.  But Paul Stanley would be proud of you today, brother.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 08, 2009, 10:12:03 PM
A helpful fellow pointed me to this video, which is as much of "Dynasty" as you'll hear for awhile:





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uANKzbaucU



And somebody's giving Wurster's Simmons a run for his money, at least in terms of content.  Outstanding for such bad production values:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og8Iix-Fj90&feature=related


Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 12, 2009, 10:15:31 PM
#7 - Dressed to Kill


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ac/Dressed_to_Kill_%28album%29_cover.jpg)



Dressed to Kill is by far the best KISS cover.  Forget anything anyone writing these reviews may have said before.  There was another thread about this.  The boys look dapper and weird at the same time - and the best part is that the weirdness is largely unattributable to the fact that they're wearing clown makeup.

Gene's suit is 3 sizes too small - because it, like all the others, is actually Bill Aucoin's suit.  Paul may be the only person ever to be on tiptoes on an album cover.  Peter looks like a refugee from a doo-wop group, and Ace looks like he's posing for GQ.  Also note that, in the graphics, which consist of KISS logos, the top logo on the right side reads "KIS."  They couldn't make it work out.  Nice!

The boys were fresh off the debacle of "Hotter than Hell," which sounded like it was recorded through a curtain of low-grade mud.  This album doesn't sound great, but it's a lot better than that.  I will also mention this.  Do not look up Hotter than Hell back cover on Google image search with no SafeSearch on.  Trust me, I've done these things just so you won't have to.  Also, please tell me what Peter Criss is doing in the photo on the back cover.  I see the naked lady, and the skull, but what's up?

Good songs!  There are good songs on this record.  Not songs that stayed in the band's live catalog for long, but good songs nonetheless.

"Room Service" is one of the best Paul Stanley songs out there.  He's having fun - with the song and in the song.  Traveling around, doing it with ladies, making double entendres that really only have the second meaning.  The music isn't really hard rock, which is true of a lot of KISS stuff.  It's not exactly sui generis, but they do definitely have their own style.  This is the second KISS mention of a 16-year old girl, but not the last.

"Two Timer" and "Ladies in Waiting" are Gothic Gene numbers about women.  "Two Timer," for once, is a song addressed to one specific woman who he actually seems to be involved with for more than the 15 minutes it takes him to boff her.  "Ladies in Waiting" features some really weird lyrics from the beginning, about meat markets and selections.  It's got kind of a funky riff going on that's interesting.


"Getaway" is another number that Ace wrote for Peter, presumably as they huddled together in the freezing van outside the hotel where Gene and Paul were sleeping.  It's a typical early Peter song - sort of dumb and screamy, but nothing offensive.

"Rock Bottom," as discussed in the Alive! entry, is a great KISS song.  Ace and Paul wrote it.  The classical sounding guitar at the beginning is actually beautiful and interesting and shows off Ace's chops at a different style of guitar.

"C'mon and Love Me" is more solid Stanley.  "She's a danssa, a romanssa, I'm a Capricown and she's a Canssa..."  Paul wrote a lot on this album.  The next song, "Anything for My Baby," is sung in a strange voice that Paul didn't revisit very often.  It has several strange lines.

"She" is a decent Simmons song that dates back to Wicked Lester days.  I believe I mentioned the coda it picks up in the live version.

"Love Her All I Can" is another Wicked Lester number (hey - you try putting out three records in a year and a half without reaching into the back catalogue).  It's clear that Wicked Lester was not a KISS-style band.
 
"Rock and Roll All Nite" is a party song.  Note to Andrew WK - you could have picked a better topic to base your career on, but then again you could have picked a worse one, too.  It's a good party song, but I've never entirely understood what the fuss was about.  It's a relatively rare straight-out Stanley-Simmons collaboration.  



After this, a couple more records with great songs but some stinkers that, in the words of the prophet, "keep them from rulership."

Then the deluge.  And the solo albums.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 13, 2009, 01:57:23 PM
Anybody still reading these?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 15, 2009, 04:13:50 PM
The people have (not) spoken.  Hiatus it is.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 15, 2009, 04:15:28 PM
you better keep 'em coming
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Bryan on June 15, 2009, 04:27:08 PM
Yes, keep it up, buffcoat!

More, please.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on June 15, 2009, 04:43:55 PM
I am reading them. What the hell else am I supposed to read? (growling voice) YOU GOT TO HAVE A PARTY!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 15, 2009, 06:02:57 PM
The people have (not) spoken.  Hiatus it is.

buffcoat, "You" are a genius my friend. Please keep writing the reviews.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 15, 2009, 10:49:40 PM
#8 - Hotter than Hell


Having guilted loose a response for our fragile ego, we respond.


I got hold of some different files of the songs on Hotter than Hell.  I don't know if they were remastered, but they sounded a lot better.  Which makes me want to think about reranking it higher.  But no, we must accept the past and soldier on.


Hotter than Hell is the dreaded sophomore album from a group that produced its fourth best album ever on its first try.  Hotter than Hell dropped the same year as KISS, and it really dropped - like a stone.

Recorded in Los Angeles, which the boys immediately hated.  Paul's guitar was stolen their first day there, setting the tone for an uneasy set of sessions.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61i1-LkkYaL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)  (http://rockofages.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/kisshotterthanhell2.jpg)

Wikipedia calls the album cover "striking."  A better word is "muddled," or maybe "amateurish."

Quote
The album is also known for its striking cover: the front featured Japanese manga-influenced artwork, and the back cover showed individual band shots taken by Norman Seeff at a wild party, and a composite of all four band members' makeup designs. Everyone present at the session (with the exception of Simmons) was drunk for the entire photography session. Stanley was so drunk he had to be locked in his car. Paul's drunken state can easily be seen on the album's front cover as it appears Peter Criss is holding him up while Paul holds onto Peter's leg.


The thing about being drunk is a good story.  Again, Gene gets to brag about never taking a taste of alcohol, despite having as one of his signature songs "Cold Gin."  How does he get away with that?

The picture of Peter on the back cover is particularly disturbing.  He appears to be some monster out of a 70s Conan-ripoff, lording it over a woman with drawn-on star pasties.  Creepy.  As is the poorly drawn face with all four makeup styles represented.

Hotter than Hell did very poorly, which can be attributed to several things.  One is that it's hard for a band known for a killer live show to sell studio records.  No blood, fire or makeup embedded in the grooves.  It eventually went gold in 1977, when KISS was nearing the height of its popularity and people were buying everything they could get their hands on.

On to the music.  Hotter than Hell, songwise, is actually one of the band's best efforts.  The songs just don't sound very good.  The versions aren't nearly as good as the ones on Alive! (and, in the case of Goin' Blind, the band's MTV concert 20 years later).  The songs seem unfinished, and the live versions round them out.

It's hard to rate the songs on Hotter than Hell without thinking of the superior live versions.  "Got to Choose" and "Hotter than Hell" both sound too slow - as though the band hadn't figured out what tempo to play them yet (disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing about 4/4 beats and all that other shit - hey, this ain't "Creem").  

"Parasite" is an incredible song.  Some of Ace Frehley's early numbers are among the true classics of early hard rock/heavy metal.  It and "Shock Me" are among Ace's best solos.  He even gives Peter "Gene Krupa" Criss a drum solo.  Yes, ACe's a drunken louse and, uh, sometimes he comes across as not the smartest guy in the room, but he wrote some killer tunes.  Early on.  Wait for it.  My magnum opus is coming when we get to "Unmasked."

Seriously, the day they met Gene Simmons already knew how easy it was going to be to rip off Ace and Peter.  It's really not fair to pit rock's Evil Genius up against a couple of party-hearty saps from the Bronx and Brooklyn.  Even if they'd never touched drugs, they were dead meat the moment they walked into the audition.

"Goin' Blind," as mentioned elsewhere, is one of the top two or three KISS songs.  The version here is good.  It's hard to imagine how a man in his mid 20s would write and sing a song about a 93-year-old man in a love affair with a 16-year-old girl, but here it is.  I used to think this was some kind of metaphor, but, having listened to most of Gene's catalog, and having spent a lot of time in some pretty advanced literature classes, I'm pretty sure Gene don't do metaphor.  Certainly not here.  What Gene do do is innuendo.

This would have been a great transition: "Speaking of which, we have [innuendo-based Simmons song]."  But alas, Gene's three additional compositions on Hotter than Hell are pretty straightforward.

Even as a kid, the comma in "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" didn't make any sense.  Is he asking Rock 'n' Roll to let him go?  Also, why is it "rock 'n' roll" here, while one album later it's "Rock and Roll" as in "All Nite."  And why "Nite?"  Anyway, this song is much better on Alive!  It's only 2:15 on Hotter than Hell.

"All the Way" is another relationship song.  It comes across a bit like "Let Me Know" on the first record.  Presumably the relationship here was not with Cher or Diana Ross.

"Watchin' You" is the best Gene song on Hotter than Hell.  It's pretty blistering in concert.  It's good here, but not as good.

Ace wrote two songs.  One for Paul, "Comin' Home," is really not all that good.  It's a filler song.  They resurrected it for the MTV concert, and it sounds ok there.

Ace also contributes one for Peter, as does Paul.  It's weird for the band's third singer to have songs written by the first singer and the guy who was (rightly, again) too scared to sing at this point, but, hey, it was the 70s.  Peter Frampton was about to have a bunch of hits singing into his guitar.

"Mainline" and "Strange Ways" are not very good.  "Strange Ways" is sort of gothic, which fits with the album, but "Mainline" is a dumbass rock tune which Paul probably wrote for himself and then gave to Peter when the latter begged him to write him a song.

In summary: "Goin' Blind" and "Parasite" are great.  The other good songs on the album sound better on Alive!  The rest can be safely skipped.


The next album is the last of the "classic KISS albums + Creatures of the Night."  It gets rocky after the next one, and really, really rocky after that.

Love Gun is the first KISS makeup era album where I had to relisten to multiple songs.  And, lo, a discovery: a song I'd forgotten turns out to unify these two records: "Almost Human," a Simmons number that is on Love Gun but sounds like a lost track from Hotter than Hell...
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Bryan on June 16, 2009, 09:29:46 AM
I changed my mind. I'm not reading these any more.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 16, 2009, 11:43:57 AM
Not nearly petulant enough, Bryan.

At the peak of my Kiss love, at which I was probably 10 or 11 years old, the cover of Hotter than Hell made me feel peculiar. It was, I think, the Peter/Paul photos (which really show that they hadn't figured out the mean age of their audience yet), combined with the fact that Ace looks like someone's great Aunt sitting alone at a holiday function.

It was a confusing set of messages to receive at the time.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Bryan on June 16, 2009, 12:16:37 PM
I'm a little late on this, but I just realized that buffcoat was basically doing this:

Anybody still reading these? All right! Are you having a good time, people?
The people have (not) spoken.  Hiatus it is. I CAN'T HEAR YOU!! I SAID, ARE YOU HAVING A GOOD TIME??!!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on June 16, 2009, 01:37:04 PM
Can't wait for the solo album dissection. Wondering how the rankings will come out. Obviously Ace at #1 and Peter in the basement, but the rankings for the middle two seem up for grabs.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on June 16, 2009, 01:50:31 PM
Ace looks like someone's great Aunt sitting alone at a holiday function.

Perfect description! His body language and expression are a combination of being forlorn that he's sitting alone but content that he's sittting at all. You can almost hear the sigh he must be sighing.

What that obscures is that he may not actually be sitting on anything at all and could well be levitating in a seated pose, which only adds more to my theory that Ace was the most powerful member. His "powers" listing in the Official Handbook To The KISS Universe would have to include teleportation, optic blasts, laser fingers, interstellar flight and either a healing factor or high resistance to electrocution.

Other questions raised by the Hotter Than Hell back cover: is the lady that Paul is sexin' turning into a statue? Or maybe a statue turning human? Also, when did KISS abandon the idea of the giant gestalt KISS logo? They should have explored this concept more, where they all could have combined into a megapowerful Super Space Clown like Captain Planet or Jack Kirby's Infinity Man.

Buffcoat, you know you're not allowed to give up on these until you rediscover The Elder. It's vital to the health of the board.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 16, 2009, 02:16:30 PM
Well, well, well.  Eight naughty little albums gone.  Four goooood little albums left.

Love Gun, Dynasty, Unmasked and (Music From) The Elder.  Plus the solos, which will be my coda.



Spalding - how do you know that "I Couldn't Sleep at All Last Night," isn't my favorite KISS number ever?  Or that I might think "When You Wish Upon a Star" is a better cover than "New York Groove?"

Wes - I can't wait to hear "the boy with the light in his eyes!" again.  I already discovered that I literally had only heard "Unmasked" once.  I bought it, listened to it and then never played it again.  And I was right!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 16, 2009, 02:57:47 PM
With the solo albums, can you include a subranking that says where they would fall in with the main albums? I'm guessing it goes like this:

Love Gun
Dynasty
The Elder
(Ace then Paul then Gene)
Unmasked
(Peter)

What do I win?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 16, 2009, 04:29:07 PM
Wrong!

Peter
Alive!
...
Destroyer - Gene (tie!)
...
...
Paul
Love Gun
...
Ace
Unmasked
...
Smashes, Thrashes and Hits
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 17, 2009, 10:49:42 AM
Love Gun tonight?  On the next Best Show.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 17, 2009, 11:36:16 AM
Love Gun tonight?  On the next Best Show.

You mean, L0V GUN?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 17, 2009, 11:56:51 AM
Love Gun tonight?  On the next Best Show.

You mean, L0V GUN?

UPLDTHTRGR
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 17, 2009, 12:03:01 PM
ALRT PPL! IM NOT TLKN ABT MY UZI OF 00Z. IM TLKN ABT MY L0V GUN!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 17, 2009, 01:12:43 PM
If I had Creatures of the Night, I would do Kiss: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation Critical Reevaluation
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 17, 2009, 01:55:59 PM
Hey buffcoat, have you seen (or heard) this album? It's the Japanese version of their greatest hits. Except they re-recorded all of their hits with the 2008 line-up.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/13/DFCP-58.jpg)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 17, 2009, 01:59:18 PM
That sounds like a mistake.  Not "let's all do solo albums and then try to keep band cohesion" level mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 17, 2009, 02:21:58 PM
Seems like a money grab to me. Probably Gene's idea.

Speaking of which, I just re-listened to Terry Gross' interview with Gene Simmons. It's still appalling.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 17, 2009, 02:24:51 PM
If I had Creatures of the Night, I would do Kiss: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation Critical Reevaluation

McPhee, you have to get Creatures.  I wasn't joking about it being their best studio album.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 17, 2009, 03:51:03 PM
It's like 20 years too late, I think, for me to be able to hear fresh Kiss with open ears.

But who knows.

It would be fun for me to revisit the albums and then critically reevaluate your critical reevaluations with only a modicum of consideration for the music.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 17, 2009, 03:52:39 PM
I saw Fresh Kiss With Open Ears play at Piano's the other night, by the way

NEW YORK JOKE BROTHERS AND SISTERS!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 17, 2009, 11:14:10 PM
#10 - Love Gun


Love Gun has always been a hard one to figure out.  As is clear, KISS was still making great studio albums before Love Gun.  After Love Gun, they started to decline with the very uneven Dynasty, and after that they ceased to even be a functioning band.

So, whither Love Gun?

This being a reevaluation, we can finally put Love Gun in the place it belongs.  Although it ranks 10th on this particular list, it is definitely of a piece with the prior albums in KISS' peak period.  That is to say, there's a big gap between numbers 10 and 11.

Love Gun is the second album to feature stupid comic book cover style art from that guy who I won't even look up.  It's dumber even than the Destroyer cover that that guy did.

(http://rgcred.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/kiss-love-gun.jpg)

Caption: What's with the clown chicks?

Love Gun is also notable for housing "Shock Me," Ace Frehley's first vocal performance, and thus the first time that all four members sang on one album.  KISS doesn't get much credit for having all four members sing regularly.  None of them is Pavarotti, but three of them are servicable and then there's Ace, who is bad of course but there are many bands with worse lead singers.

The most intriguing story surrounding the album, a favorite tale of FOT bon vivant and noted wit "Wes," underlies this song.  As Wikipedia explains:

Quote
The song was inspired by an event that took place during Kiss's Rock and Roll Over tour, when Frehley was nearly electrocuted. On December 12, 1976, Kiss performed a concert at the Lakeland Civic Center in Lakeland, Florida. During the opening number, Frehley touched a metal staircase railing, which was ungrounded. Frehley was knocked to the ground, and the concert was delayed for 30 minutes. The show was eventually completed, and Frehley claimed to have lost feeling in his hand for the remainder of the concert.


"Wes" maintains that the band, led by Simmons, simply dragged Frehley off to the side and continued playing, presumably so as not to violate terms of the contract and therefore be forced to return some of the gate.  I could find no corroborative reference to this sidebar.

I decided to cleanse my palate for this review by listening to "Ghost" by Neutral Milk Hotel and "Paris 1919" by John Cale.  That's going to go down as a mistake.

On to the music:

Once again, the songs that are included on Alive II are better there.  KISS was simply a better live (or at least live with overdubs) band than they were a studio band.  That's not a knock.

"I Stole Your Love" fits into this category.  This one and the title track are high-energy Stanley numbers that are as good as anything he ever wrote except "Black Diamond."  "I Stole Your Love" includes the command to Ace to play "Gi-TAR!" which is something that Ace probably had become pretty used to by this time.  Still, it must have been humiliating to have it included in the lyrics.

"Love Gun" is probably the quintessential Paul Stanley song.  The lyrics aren't even the least little bit subtle.  It's hard to imagine that a space alien with a poorly written phrasebook couldn't figure out: "No place for hidin' baby / no place to run / you pulled the trigger of my / Love Gun."

Speaking of subtlety, former schoolteacher Gene Simmons, nee "Mr. Klein," belts out a song of lust for a 16-year-old girl, which to his credit he hadn't done for several albums.  The version on Love Gun, which I hadn't heard for more than a decade, comes across as suprisingly 70s pop compared to the Alive II version.  Gene's spoken word part is unbearably creepy.  Shame on you, Mr. Klein.  And shame on you again, for stealing this title from Paul, who didn't even get a chance to write his own version.

Gene's next song, "Got Love for Sale" is one of two hidden gems on Love Gun.  The twin "have love will travel" (dominated by Paul) and "I got love for sale" (mostly sung by Ace) choruses are delightful, and the guitar is driving.  Gene is having fun on Love Gun.  Perhaps it's Cher's influence.  Or whatever strange star he was involved with at that moment.  This one has a great guitar solo from Ace, too.

The other Simmons mini-masterpiece is "Almost Human," which could have fit neatly onto the heavier, darker Hotter Than Hell.  Gene actually plays on his monster image here, something he did more in the 70s than thereafter.  Wasted opportunities.

"Plaster Caster" is also a good Gene number, done even better on MTV Unplugged.  It's a little disappointing to know that he never actually "posed" for a Cynthia Plaster Caster sculpture, but perhaps that's for the best.

When I was a kid, I didn't know what Ace meant by "come together" in the lyrics to "Shock Me."  Ah, well.  The version on Alive II has a better guitar solo, but this one is good, too.  

Then there are three songs which presage the coming decline.

"Tomorrow and Tonight" is a second attempt at a ballad to match "Rock and Roll All Nite."  This one isn't great, but it isn't awful, either.  Lots of piano, which is unusual.  Lots of high-pitched girls singing backup.  Also strange.

"Then She Kissed Me," a cover of a song by Phil Spector and sung by The Crystals, is a strange choice.  Paul was starting to explore his romantic side, which would come to greater fruition on his solo record and then in the 80s and 90s with more power ballads.  Not the best thing ever.

"Hooligan," the Peter Criss-penned Peter Criss number, has the distinction of having the dumbest lyrics of any song on any Classic period KISS album.  People, I've thought hard about this.

To wit:

Quote
My granny, she said I was a hooligan
Runnin' 'round like a fool again
I went down to the candy store
If I had a nickel I'd buy some more
And I'm oh so sad, yeah, oh so bad
So sad, but it's true
Baby, what can I do

I'm a hooligan
Won't go to school again
I'm a hooligan
Won't go to school again, won't go, no



Thanks, Peter.  It's better than Ted Nugent's output of the same period, at least.


Up next, things start to get dicey.  That dude from David Letterman more or less replaces Peter.  And then, things get bad.  Real bad.


Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 18, 2009, 10:08:24 AM
Anton Fig is waiting for you!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 18, 2009, 10:30:12 AM
Awesome.

That was my favorite so far, I think.

I should probably save this for the CRCR (which is not actually going to happen), but you missed what is, I think, my favorite lyric from Hooligan:

Dropped out of school when I was 22

I mean, I think I get what he was going for here, but it makes it sound like he dropped out of college. Probably just a few credits short of graduating.

I cannot wait for the next few. You are a true hero, buffcoat.


Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 18, 2009, 10:49:28 AM
Awesome.

That was my favorite so far, I think.

I should probably save this for the CRCR (which is not actually going to happen), but you missed what is, I think, my favorite lyric from Hooligan:

Dropped out of school when I was 22

I mean, I think I get what he was going for here, but it makes it sound like he dropped out of college. Probably just a few credits short of graduating.

I cannot wait for the next few. You are a true hero, buffcoat.





Thanks McPhee.

I think "a few credits short of graduating" is a pretty good overall description of Peter Criss.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: fonpr on June 18, 2009, 11:21:35 AM

I search Kiss- Shock and found this comment on Youtube;



Buddy you listen. You are probably the mid teen who is just enthralled with the Kiss make up gimmick, and their over theatrical performances. That is what you call fag rock, bunch of drama queens running around in their mums make up spitting fire. That is the kind of performance you get from a drag queen.

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on June 18, 2009, 12:55:02 PM
As you know, we differ greatly on Love Gun, starting with the cover. I enjoy how it makes KISS look like characters from a forgotten Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp series (I would read Paul Stanley of Mars in a heartbeat) and makes me wish there was a really terrible Ralph Bakshi or Heavy Metal-sque animated KISS movie from the '70s. I wouldn't watch this movie, but I would feel better knowing it existed.

As for the songs, I Stole Your Love, Love Gun and Christine Sixteen all rank among the finest of KISS' work, so those alone would shoot Love Gun near the very top.

"Wes" maintains that the band, led by Simmons, simply dragged Frehley off to the side and continued playing, presumably so as not to violate terms of the contract and therefore be forced to return some of the gate.  I could find no corroborative reference to this sidebar.

To be more specific, I believe that Ace was electrocuted on stage, collapsed in a smoking heap and when someone eventually noticed, Gene likely stomped over to prod Ace with a few tentative, demonic platform shoe pokes to his ribs. Ace would have made a "unngngngn" sound, which would be fairly normal for Ace, so Gene probably then booted him off to the side and they kept going until Ace was able to regain consciousness and rejoin the band later in the show and thus receive his paycheck for the night, minus pay for the time he was out cold/near dead.

Had Paul or Gene been electrocuted, I think they would have canceled the rest of the show. Had it been Peter, they probably would have hired the fan nearest the stage wearing Cat-Man makeup to take Peter's spot for the remainder of the tour.

 "I Stole Your Love" includes the command to Ace to play "Gi-TAR!" which is something that Ace probably had become pretty used to by this time.  Still, it must have been humiliating to have it included in the lyrics.

Yes. That it's just "Gi-TAR!" and not "ACE!" definitely implies that Paul was planning ahead for Ace's eventual replacements. Or that Paul couldn't remember Ace's name when he wrote the song. Possibly both.

Gene's spoken word part is unbearably creepy.

I won't be able to explain in print the greatness Gene's truly skin-crawling spoken word part in Christine Sixteen, but the beauty is how James Mason-esque his delivery is. For those unfamiliar, he says:
Quote
I don't usually say things like this to girls your age, but when I saw you coming out of the school that day, that day I knew, I knew, I've got to have you, I've got to have you!
Between the way emphasizes that second "I KNEW!" and the second "I'VE GOT TO HAVE YOU!" and the relative politeness of the first line, this is Gene Simmons at his best Gentleman Pervert. It's like Phileas Fogg moved into your neighborhood and was legally required to pop by your house to charmingly inform you of his past sexual offenses.

Quote from: Peter Criss
My granny, she said I was a hooligan
Runnin' 'round like a fool again
I went down to the candy store
If I had a nickel I'd buy some more
And I'm oh so sad, yeah, oh so bad
So sad, but it's true
Baby, what can I do

I'm a hooligan
Won't go to school again
I'm a hooligan
Won't go to school again, won't go, no

My new greatest KISS wish* is for Peter Criss to receive an honorary degree from a college some time in the next few years. He would be up at the podium in his cap and gown, Cat-Man make-up running into his eyes thanks to his tears of joy**, and he'd start repeating the lyrics of Hooligan quoted above before breaking down, too emotionally overcome to continue his speech, which would have been scrawled on the reverse side of a nearly-finished maze and world jumble that Peter had torn off from the back of a box of Honeycomb cereal.

*This replaces my previous greatest KISS wish, originated yesterday while reading the Solo Albums discussions above, which would see them doing another set of solo albums so buffcoat would have to review a hypothetical Tommy Thayer.

**I know this wish could never come true because it involves Gene and Paul feeling pity and giving Peter permission to wear the Cat-Man make-up to commencement, and this could never happen.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 18, 2009, 01:55:00 PM
I would review Tommy Thayer, but there's no way I would review I Could've Been in KISS Except for that Drunken Moron, He's Not a Real Space Man: The Bob Kulick Story.

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 18, 2009, 01:57:41 PM
A question to ponder before the next review: what would Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have done in 1979 had modern drum machine/lifelike robot technology been available to them?

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 18, 2009, 02:00:59 PM
I think a crude answer to that question can be found at any Captured! By Robots show
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 18, 2009, 02:02:15 PM
They already had the actor who dubbed Peter's voice!  His own wife wouldn't have been able to tell provided they soaked the robot in Jack Daniels and made him sleep a lot.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on June 19, 2009, 10:56:34 PM
An interview with a very tired Ace in the midst of touring the tertiary markets in '97. "The reason I don't go down on my knees is I want to be able to walk."

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPjLrZUYkME[/youtube]

The rest of the crew comes in at the end and are very nice to the news lady and her friends/family. Peter sounds like he's barely making it through "Deuce" in the concert clip at the end.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 20, 2009, 05:10:58 PM
Peter is so short.  Couldn't he get some boots?


The others don't look as old as Ace.  Did he have some sort of problems that might make him look old?




Wes: trying to like "God Gave Rock and Roll to You II."  I just can't.  It might be good on paper, but I find it cloying and unlistenable.  Like most late-period Paul.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 22, 2009, 09:45:34 AM
The Unrest version is great
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Sarah on June 22, 2009, 11:10:16 AM
I have never listened to a KISS album, and I think I might be able to recognize at best three songs of theirs.  I have, however, slept in a bedroom decorated by KISS posters.  It was during their heyday, when my cousin Timmy was twelve.  It was around then that I burst out laughing upon hearing "Christine Sixteen" for the first time.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 22, 2009, 04:32:02 PM
http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/kiss-days-from-finishing-new-album-210622 (http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/kiss-days-from-finishing-new-album-210622)

Interesting. The KISS Korner concept sounds intriguing.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: fonpr on June 22, 2009, 05:22:27 PM
The world's greatest Rock and Roll Brand.


Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 22, 2009, 09:29:27 PM
#11 - Dynasty


This was a tougher call than expected, on account of Dynasty being worse than I remembered and The Elder being slightly - oh, so slightly overall, and Odyssey was so much worse - better than I remembered.  But, in the end The Elder is pretty bad and Dynasty has two good songs and one ok one, while The Elder has two good songs and two ok ones...

Uh oh.  You can thank "Escape from the Island" for this last second change.


#11 #12 - Dynasty


Yeah, that's right, I'm demoting Dynasty and promoting The Elder.  But I'm still going to write about Dynasty because that's what I'm prepared to write about.



Imagine this.  It's 1979.  The 70s are ending and you're a teenage boy (I wasn't), in love with, say Kristy McNichol (again, I wasn't - my dim memory is more Heather Thomas-angled than at the star of The Pirate Movie).  Anyway, you dressed up as Peter Criss in 1978, not realizing he was about to be out the door.  These makeup-wearing weirdos in 7" heels have been prancing around and freaking out your parents for a couple of years now.

You first had the notion that something was strange when KISS went on the Paul Lynde special two and a half years earlier.  Watching the boys ham it up with the guy who played the funny-talking rat in Charlotte's Web (AND the witch from The Wizard of Oz) set off as-yet-incomprehensible alarm bells in your brain that the members of KISS were not fully committed to the rock and roll.

Like so:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgCV0efgtu8[/youtube]

And yet, and yet.  Destroyer rocks.  Rock and Roll Over kicks ass.  Gene still spits blood and breathes fire.  Those funny letters in Alive! that hinted at things involving chicks that you hoped you'd discover in school next year, because YOU would still kind of get to experience the free-lovin' era, while people who came of age just post-AIDS had to put up with... but I digress.

You probably bought the solo albums and listened to them a few times.  Maybe you liked several songs on Ace's record.  Paul's record has a couple of power tunes.  Gene's record, sure, it includes a Jiminy Cricket number (there's that alarm bell again), but it also has some Gene rockers.  I bet you only heard Peter's record once.  So what, he's only the drummer.  And Beth was for the chicks.

So you see the posters for Dynasty starting in, probably, March.  A killer cover, with all four guys' faces on it.  You aren't clever or experienced enough to realize the symbolism of how divided their faces look.

(http://www.amiright.com/album-covers/images/album-Kiss-Dynasty.jpg)

By the time it's released on May 23, 1979, there's a fever pitch.  You may never have been as excited about something in your whole life as you are at this moment.  You plunk down your $6.98 at Record Bar, take it home, take out the awesome poster (!)...

(http://eil.com/Gallery/14380b.jpg)


... and put on the record.


What's this?

A DISCO song?

The new KISS album only has 9 songs, and the first one is a DISCO number?

You're freaked out, right?

Well, you're wrong to be.

"I Was Made for Lovin' You" is one of the two GREAT songs on Dynasty.  Yes, it's technically danceable.  But so what?  It's a great song.  And more than that, a great PR move - especially if, as Gene Simmons surely understood at the time, you're living on borrowed time with your drugged out and increasingly less servile drummer (who barely plays on this record at all) and guitarist.

So Paul and his 70s writing team of Vinny Poncia and Desmond Child write a number that the kids can dance to.  And they're rewarded with a #11 single.  KISS singles were always screwed up, anyway.  "Beth," a song that has nothing to do with KISS (or at least the Gene, Paul and Ace parts), is your top single ever?  

Dynasty had to do well.  Gene and Paul and the label knew by '79 that the solo album idea was garbage and had split the band.  So why not throw a hot disco track on, release it as a single, and get some attention?  Gene didn't like it, but he surely liked cashing the checks.  Probably.

For the second song, why not let Ace cover a little-known Rolling Stones song about the future and computers?  "2,000 Man" is actually pretty good, although it seems that someone in KISS (Ace, perhaps?) didn't understand that 2000 refers to the year 2000 and therefore should not have a comma.

Ace's take on "2,000/2000 Man" works well.  It's faithful to the original while being a lot heavier.  Hey, it's a hell of a lot better than the crap on side 4 of Alive II.

Song 3 is "Sure Know Something," which belongs up there with the best stuff that KISS ever did.  It has honest to God sentiment, and while, yes, it's about a chick, the chick actually was in the dominant role this time.  Rarely do Gene and Paul write about women who do anything but jump in the sack (see "Love 'Em Leave 'Em" for the credo), but this woman treated Paul's singer a lot like "Maggie May" treated Rod Stewart.  Paul should have done more stuff like this for his later power ballad stuff.


The rest of the album is terrible.


There's the standard Peter Criss track, "Dirty Livin'."  It's awful.  Just awful.  If Enrico Morricone was beaten for two weeks, left in the dark, transported to the late 70s, and immediately forced to write background effects, he would have come up with something very like this.  Thankfully, this is Peter's swan song with KISS.  Who knows what levels of craptaculance he could have produced for Unmasked?

Ace gets two more songs - "Hard Times" and "Save Your Love."  The first is just mediocre.  A long-haired junior high friend of mine was very indignant when I said I preferred Run-DMC's "Hard Times" to Ace's "Hard Times," but it's really not a tough call.  "Save Your Love" is an unfortunate prelude to what Ace would produce on Unmasked.

That the guy who did "Fractured Mirror" one year earlier could now produce this dreck is proof enough that you should stay off the drugs, kids.  And don't get signed into indentured servitude to an Evil Genius, either.

Gene has only two songs on Dynasty.  "Charisma," which is very repetitive and features the most off-key (again, I don't actually know what a key is) chorus on any makeup era KISS album.  It also features a weird vocal effect, doubling and distorting Gene's voice.  Not really good.  The other song is "X-Ray Eyes," which almost sounds thoughtful, although it still kind of sucks.

"Magic Touch," Paul's third song on the album, sounds a whole lot like an outtake from his solo record, so I assume that's what it is.



The home stretch beckons.




Please honor Paul Lynde's memory by purchasing the DVD below:

http://www.amazon.com/Lynde-Halloween-Special-Billy-Barty/dp/B000TEUSMC

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on June 23, 2009, 10:00:57 AM
(http://www.amiright.com/album-covers/images/album-Kiss-Dynasty.jpg)(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_FmQ7sFgB48g/Rgp3jQzmBiI/AAAAAAAAAMU/iPKi2B3Fbwo/s400/PDVD_396.jpg)

I will always link the cover of Dynasty to the Phantom Zone from Supeman II in my mind, and thus it entertains me to no end.

The album cover, that is. Not the album itself. I don't know anything on Dynasty except for "I Was Made For Loving You" and Ace's "2000 Man" cover. The former is a perfect summation of KISS and the '70s. There should be footage of them performing this while Evel Knievel jumps over a gorge behind them while, in a boxing ring directly in front of KISS, Muhammad Ali boxes Lou Ferrigno in full Incredible Hulk make-up. "2000 Man", meanwhile, is Ace's majestic singing voice trapped in musical amber for future generations to discover, and I love it accordingly.

I knew you'd come to a shocking revelation while rediscovering The Elder!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 23, 2009, 10:03:04 AM
I forgot all about that poster. They are wearing black sweaters. And Ace looks like a pretty girl.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 23, 2009, 11:46:21 AM

I knew you'd come to a shocking revelation while rediscovering The Elder!


Well, it was more that I rediscovered how much Dynasty sucks aside from songs 1-3.  But that's the same thing, sort of.


It took me forever to find that poster, ca. 1984.  I think it's gathering dust in my mom's attic.  But I have it!


Maybe I will put it up in my office.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 23, 2009, 11:54:22 AM
you could make a mint printing cardboard love guns and putting them in $2 copies of the record

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 23, 2009, 12:34:57 PM
you could make a mint printing cardboard love guns and putting them in $2 copies of the record




I didn't know you were an economist, McPhee.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 23, 2009, 12:50:29 PM
Another great review, buffcoat. Of course, now I can't get "I Was Made For Lovin' You" out of my head. But that's okay.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on June 23, 2009, 03:48:52 PM
Based on this review, I think I will leave Dynasty (and solo Paul/Gene/Peter) out of my budding collection of Kiss records.

-Ajax

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 23, 2009, 04:13:35 PM
Based on this review, I think I will leave Dynasty (and solo Paul/Gene/Peter) out of my budding collection of Kiss records.

-Ajax



Ajax,

Songs #1 and #3 are must haves, and #2 is good.  Definitely worth $2.97 on Itunes for those three.  You can skip the rest.

Solo Gene is worth owning if only for how weird it is.  More on that later.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on June 23, 2009, 05:19:05 PM
Based on this review, I think I will leave Dynasty (and solo Paul/Gene/Peter) out of my budding collection of Kiss records.

-Ajax



Ajax,

Songs #1 and #3 are must haves, and #2 is good.  Definitely worth $2.97 on Itunes for those three.  You can skip the rest.

Solo Gene is worth owning if only for how weird it is.  More on that later.

What's an itunes? Can I buy records there?

They want $9.99 for solo Gene down at Amoeba records in Berkeley, which is exactly $8.99 more than I'm willing to pay! The trouble with shitty records is that not enough people bought them, so now they are rare and cost too much!

-Ajax
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 23, 2009, 06:02:23 PM
Downloads, baby, downloads.  Em pee threes.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 23, 2009, 06:04:26 PM
No! Don't download music! It's killing the record industry.

So says Chaim Witz.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on June 24, 2009, 10:34:17 AM
Quote
Ace's take on "2,000/2000 Man" works well.  It's faithful to the original while being a lot heavier.  Hey, it's a hell of a lot better than the crap on side 4 of Alive II.

Agreed, but how about an exception for "Rocket Ride?" It's a decent fast rocker (with modulation, even!) and helped bolster Ace's "space man" image, which helped keep him alive during the Frehley's Comet years, I would guess.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

$10 for the Gene solo album!?! It's probably become rare since most of them were used to re-pave roads in NJ. I remember getting the Paul & Peter solo records for 99 cents each a year or two after they came out (only to complete the poster mural, not for listening).
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 24, 2009, 11:39:00 AM
See my Alive II review.  "Rocket Ride" is ok.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 24, 2009, 02:22:53 PM
No! Don't download music! It's killing the record industry.

So says Chaim Witz.

Apparently you are allowed to download 23 songs. The 24th costs 1.5 million though
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on June 29, 2009, 03:16:20 PM
buffcoat is the Terrence Malick of KISS reviews
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 29, 2009, 04:27:33 PM
There are only a few to go... I figured I would parcel them out and only write when I felt inspired.



Don't worry.  This project will be finished, alongside Duke Nukem 3D.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: amiright?? on June 29, 2009, 10:56:59 PM

Don't worry.  This project will be finished, alongside Duke Nukem 3D.

I hope you don't actually mean Duke Nukem Forever...
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 29, 2009, 11:00:19 PM

Don't worry.  This project will be finished, alongside Duke Nukem 3D.

I hope you don't actually mean Duke Nukem Forever...

Too lazy to even look it up.  buffcoat, you have really let yourself go.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on June 30, 2009, 01:12:30 PM
Too lazy to even look it up.  buffcoat, you have really let yourself go.

Who are you? Bob Dole?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 30, 2009, 02:32:20 PM
Too lazy to even look it up.  buffcoat, you have really let yourself go.

Who are you? Bob Dole?


Bob Dole doesn't talk like that.  Bob Dole would never refer to Bob Dole in the 3rd person.  Bob Dole.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 08, 2009, 09:43:26 PM
#11 - Music from "The Elder"


One year before releasing their hardest rocking studio album (Creatures of the Night - you need to read {or reread} these reviews in order, son!), and two years after Gene Simmons sniffed and pouted about releasing a disco album, KISS released, um, The Elder.

The Elder is a concept album for (maybe) a movie that was never written (maybe) and never filmed or released (definitely).  It's what Gene Simmons came up with to end the commercial (starting with Unmasked) and (ha!) critical drought (starting with Dynasty) that the band faced.  

Keep in mind that this was the thinking MORE THAN 25 YEARS AGO:

Quote
"From a marketing standpoint, the glut of Kiss merchandising that had cropped up in the late 1970s had led to a backlash from fans, who felt that Kiss was now more concerned with making money than with making music."


Oddly enough, the secret of the band's eventual return to some prominence was Paul's ability to write cheesy, MTV-friendly ballads.  But we're never going to get there.

An aside about my own KISS fandom, such as it was.  My neighbor dressed up as Peter Criss for Halloween in (I think) 1978, but I was short of record-buying age at that point.  I only became a fan, though, retrospectively (as I later did with REM during the Green {or G4een} period).  In both cases, I liked the older stuff better than the new, but I officially joined the KISS bandwagon, fresh off the Duran Duran bandwagon, with 1984's Animalize.

My favorite album then was Alive II (sides one to three), followed by Rock and Roll Over.  I completely lost touch with KISS right after Crazy Nights in 1987, surfacing only to take notice of the MTV Unplugged Show.  Some of the stuff I've listened to for these reviews was the first time I'd heard it since then - and in the case of Unmasked, the second time I'd ever heard it.


Anyway, before "Heaven's on Fire" and "Crazy Nights" and "Forever," Gene had to take his shot first, and this was it.  The result was that Ace couldn't take it anymore.  He'd be around for another cover, though not another album, and not most of this one.

As befits the #11 of 13 albums in a critical reevaluation, The Elder is mostly a miss.  It has two really good songs, and two more pretty good numbers and a bunch of awful junk.

Bob Ezrin blames it on his cocaine addiction.

The cover is the first to not feature any members of KISS.  Which is a shame, because if you want a good laugh, you should check out the band's hairstyles around this time.  Gene's knotted ponytail could possibly be considered "tough," but Paul Stanley's hair screams one thing to people who lived through that time "aerobics."

There's not much to be said here about the muddled Andrew-Lloyd-Webber style story that the soundtrack hints at.  Several of the songs are made worse by the fact that they shoehorn in the dumb-ass concept.   It's something like this (using all the song titles!):

There's "Fanfare," as this kid, who's "Just a Boy," is led in to determine whether he should undertake an "Odyssey."  "Only You" can do this, they tell him.  He must decide whether to take "The Oath" to live "Under the Rose" (whatever that means).  A "Dark Light" opposes him on this journey, where he will face "Mr. Blackwell," and eventually must "Escape from the Island."  Doing this will prevent there being "A World Without Heroes" (not the sandwiches, presumably).  Finally he sings a song of victory for him - or for "I."

That's how Simmons must have pitched it.  It's not as good a tale as the backstory to "Pinball Wizard."

Wikipedia sums it up this way:

Quote
"The basic plot of Music from "The Elder" involves the recruitment and training of a young hero (The Boy) by the Council of Elders who belong to the Order of the Rose, a mysterious group dedicated to combating evil. The Boy is guided by an elderly caretaker named Morpheus. The album's lyrics describe the boy's feelings during his journey and training, as he overcomes his early doubts to become confident and self-assured. The only spoken dialogue is at the end of the last track, "I." During the passage, Morpheus proclaims to the Elders that The Boy is ready to undertake his odyssey."

Close enough.

Also, regarding that precious storyline:

Quote
"The version of Music from "The Elder" released in the United States and Europe contained a different song order than the one originally intended. This order was chosen in order to emphasize "The Oath" and "A World Without Heroes" as potential singles (the two songs started each side of the record). One effect this alteration in song order had was to disrupt the narrative flow of the album's story."

Ha ha ha!  Good job, Gene!

The songs:

"The Oath" is the first song (before "Fanfare" - good job again).  It's heavy falsetto from Mr. Eisen.  It's bad but not awful.  Grinding guitar, though again, probably not from Ace Frehley.  

"Fanfare" is a minute of horns.  A bit out of place on a KISS record.  It establishes one of the musical themes of the album (musical themes - also out of place on a KISS record), the main riff from "Just a Boy."

Speak of the devil, "Just a Boy" is OK.  More falsetto.  Stupid lyrics.  

"Dark Light," played on the Best Show, is one of the better second level songs.  The guitar work is better than anything Ace did on Unmasked.  More stupid lyrics, but, hey, it's Ace, and they made him rewrite the lyrics to match the theme, which he surely did not understand or care about.

"Only You" is more Simmonsian nonsense, with a guest vocal from Paul.  I imagine that for most of these songs (as on Pink Floyd's Animals, they just took old riffs and forced them into shape with the story.  Suffice it to say that Gene Simmons is no Roger Waters).  More "Just a Boy" echoes.  Dumbass - and I do mean dumbass - vocal effects.  "Tell me the secrets..." Tra la la.

"Under the Rose" is also not very good.  Pretentious - the choiry voices would not be out of place on "Phantom of the Opera," nor would the lyrics and the dumb guitar.

"Mr. Blackwell" is just goofy Gene trying to sound tough.  His voice is distorted.  

"Escape from the Island" is another rocker.  Its presence is notable because it marks the point in the song-by-song comparison that makes The Elder slightly better musically than Dynasty.  Kind of rocking.

"Odyssey" is the most embarrassing song on the album.  I swear that Andrew Lloyd Webber DID write this one.  So long, so pointless, so awful.  Worth a listen just to know what it's like.  Hey, it's only a dollar.

"Finale" is more horns, more babbling lines from a movie never made.  "He's got light in his eyes, and the look of a champion.  A real champion." - I swear this line is said by the guy who made the Smucker's/Cadbury Eggs commercials.  Mason Adams.  Somebody look that up.

There are two good songs on The Elder.

"A World Without Heroes" is good.  I think Gene cries a single tear in the video.  Lou Reed wrote the line, "A world without heroes is like a world without sun."  Why not?

"I," which shares the distinction with "X" from the Peter Criss solo album of being the shortest KISS song title (though the latter may in fact have been a tribute to Criss' illiteracy).  It's a good song, and a fairly honest attempt to write another positive ballad.  Definitely better musically and lyrically than several other attempts.



A final note:

Quote
"Q Magazine ranked Music From "The Elder" 44th in their list of The 50 Worst Albums Ever."

This is the general thinking on The Elder, but it's only terrible.  It doesn't rise to the level of titanically awful.

The last album in the rotation has that honor.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on July 08, 2009, 11:05:17 PM
I can't believe you actually went and listened to this piece of crap. What a chump.

THREAD OVER.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 08, 2009, 11:11:59 PM
WRONG!  You STOLE fizzy lifting drinks!  GOOD DAY, SIR!






My Masterwork Approaches.  I've been listening to it for three weeks saving up vitriol.



Then, the solos.  I may do them one by one to drag this shit out.  And I'll throw in the four songs from Killerz.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on July 08, 2009, 11:18:24 PM
"Dark Light" truly is something, it's the complex duality of Ace on full display. Was that really his best vocal take? I can never get enough of him trying to put an ominous tone to "and ya don't know what it is!" and "ya gonna be attacked and ya won't know WHAT it is!" Or him pronouncing the "or it's Soddom and Gamorrah...a malevolent oh-dah!" line. What is Ace's best vocal performance, anyway? New York Groove? And yet, beyond all that, the main riff and the guitar jam at the end are just straight up great. I think once somebody can accept those two halves of Ace, appreciating KISS for what they are/were becomes so much easier and more fun.

My favorite part of "I", which I do agree is a success for what they intended it to be, is the canned finger snapping solo that comes about two-thirds of the way through. Would any other band ever decide to do that? Maybe Sha-Na-Na. "I" also has Paul dropping "listen!" throughout it, so combined with the empowering magical music of KISS theme, it sort of acts like the musical equivalent of Paul Stanley Stage Banter.

The only other Elder song I currently have on hand to comment on is "Mr. Blackwell." I bet Gene wrote that and thought it was pretty cool, and then Ace came in and played Dark Light and Gene stormed out in a huff and cut Ace's dental plan.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 08, 2009, 11:29:18 PM
I always assumed Ace spoke about 300 words into a synthesizer in 78 and Gene simply assembled them together into a particular vocal take.  Each vocal sounds like a drunk guy on the subway rushing through the lyrics of a forgotten song from the old country.


But yeah, "New York Groove" or "Speedin Back to my Baby."
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 09, 2009, 09:35:42 AM
Yes, the lyrics to "Dark Light" would not rhyme in written form.  Only in Ace's patois.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: AaronC on July 09, 2009, 11:01:37 AM
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2tWsNqnfpk&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fbored.knockknockrecords.com%2Findex.php%3Ftopic%3D88761.0&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Kids love Ace.

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 09, 2009, 11:22:07 AM
How would you spell Ace's dialogue?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Matt on July 09, 2009, 12:43:21 PM
It is rare in life to witness perfection.

I saw something perfect today. Thank you, Aaron.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on July 09, 2009, 04:18:56 PM
[youtube][url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2tWsNqnfpk&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fbored.knockknockrecords.com%2Findex.php%3Ftopic%3D88761.0&feature=player_embedded[/url][/youtube]

Kids love Ace.




Finally. Now where's Detox, Dr. Dre?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on July 09, 2009, 05:27:13 PM
How would you spell Ace's dialogue?

it's spelled "ack", right?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 09, 2009, 09:45:11 PM
How would you spell Ace's dialogue?

it's spelled "ack", right?

Somehow I think it's shorter than that.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Uncle Glen on July 14, 2009, 06:44:42 AM
You kids gonna be a robot in 20 years from now. IT'S A JOKE.

Please continue so that doesn't happen.

Yours,
Mamothagumuzmahowzwikima ME!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Amplituden on July 14, 2009, 03:14:06 PM
[youtube][url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2tWsNqnfpk&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fbored.knockknockrecords.com%2Findex.php%3Ftopic%3D88761.0&feature=player_embedded[/url][/youtube]

Kids love Ace.




That is dynamite!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 19, 2009, 07:19:33 PM
#14 - Unmasked

It’s unbelievable how much abuse Music from the Elder gets.  Music from the Elder is a huge step up/return to form/apology for not just KISS’ worst album, but one of the worst albums ever produced by a band that was ever hugely popular.

The bad songs of Dynasty were really bad.  “The Odyssey” is a terrible song on The Elder.  All those songs are better than anything on Unmasked.

Unmasked is incredibly lazy, under-rocking and over-produced, but not in the way that Alive! was overproduced, and not in the way that the Peter Criss Solo Album is lazy and under-rocking.

The key question to ask yourself about Unmasked is “what would Gene, Paul and Ace circa 1974 have thought of a band that produced these songs?”  They couldn’t possibly have imagined that they would be writing this dreck a half-decade later.

This really is putrid.  It’s almost impossible to underestimate this album.  The bar doesn’t go that low.

The whole point of having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other is that you listen to BOTH of them sometimes.  In making this album, the members of KISS (which by this time didn’t include “Pete” Criss) always listened to the bad music devil and never listened to the better angels of their nature.

Alone among the actors on “Oz,” Peter Criss’ character was treated better in the fictional prison than in real life.  And he was murdered.  

Quote
The band filmed a promotional video for "Shandi," with Peter Criss. It was the last time Criss appeared with Kiss in any capacity until he performed with them at a Kiss Convention on June 17, 1995. In the band's authorized biography, Criss revealed that he was the last one left in the band's dressing room after filming, and broke down crying.


Surely there’s some sort of special place “down below” for Gene Simmons.  Rank the reasons:


I just thought of this – what if Gene had seen the future reunion with Peter and Ace and decided that Eric Carr was in the way?  No, on second thought, he would have known there were literally no consequences to firing Eric Carr.

Back to the ‘masked:

First, about that cover:  I know I’ve asked “jokey” questions before in these reviews, but this time I’m totally serious: did KISS lose a bet with this comic artist?

The comic is poorly drawn, confusing and unfunny.  The reporter in the last panel looks like Howdy Doody’s evil, sub-moronic brother.

I almost hate the cover more than the music.

(http://rgcred.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/kiss-unmasked-big.jpg)

On the music in general…

One of the thing that stands out about Unmasked is the poor quality of the background vocals on song after song.  I can only attribute it to two things 1) the band no longer cared enough to pay anyone else to sing and, more likely 2) they hated each other so much that they wanted to ruin each others’ songs.

Now to the songs:

“Is That You?” is a question without an answer.  Paul sounds like a little bitch.  His rhymes are awful.  “Cheap, seventeen and trashed out” could be a good line elsewhere, but hasn’t Paul done this before?  Another song about an underage girl?  Ace and Gene sound like they hate Paul and each other.  I suppose it is an impressive thing to convey that in background vocals.

“Shandi” sounds like what Seals and Crofts or Henry Gross or Morris Simon would produce if they were sent to Hell to punish other people with their music.  This is the single, people.  This song is absolute shit.  Somebody explain to me how the guitar at the beginning of this song has anything to do with KISS?

“Talk to Me.”  Let’s say this here.  Ace’s contributions are the worst thing about the worst KISS album.  Which makes me sad, because Ace was by far the most talented member of KISS.  His licks are limp on this song.  But the vocals are the problem, and the lyrics are so very, very bad.  On the other side, this isn’t even the worst (or second-worst! Ace song on Unmasked).

“Naked City” is the first Gene number.  It’s terrible – don’t get me wrong – but Gene’s songs on Unmasked are better than Paul’s or Ace’s.  Still:  “I’d sacrifice my social position tonight.”  That’s not even a double entendre.  Is he really singing about his social position?  Gene sings in falsetto here.  Is that the first time on a KISS record he’s done this?  I can’t be bothered.

“What Makes the World Go ‘Round” is another depressing Paul number with sad lyrics and crappy pop hooks.  Paul sings in falsetto here, but it’s definitely not the first time on a KISS record.  “You’re the only one who could make me feel I was smart” is a particularly personal and pitiful lyric, don’t you think?

“Tomorrow” is a song I just heard for the second time ever this very minute.  It sounds a lot like the other schlock that Paul delivers on Unmasked.  All his songs sound the same.  What’s the deal, Pablo?  One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is how repetitive Paul’s choruses are on Unmasked, even within the chorus.  So lazy.

“Two Sides of the Coin” is the second worst Ace song ever.  The worst is coming up.  The best thing about it is that it’s only 3:17.  Everything on Unmasked sounds like KISS was in a hurry to get through with it.

“She’s So European” is probably the best song on Unmasked.  It’s dumb as can be, again it seems to be about an underage girl, but because she’s so European, maybe it’s ok this time.

“Easy as It Seems” is the best Paul Stanley song on Unmasked, but it’s still terrible.  I remember an interview from the 80s when Gene Simmons talked about how much he hated Let’s Dance and wished Bowie would go back and redo Ziggy Stardust (heavy foreshadowing).  Obviously, Gene never listened to “Easy as It Seems,” which is the sort of song that Let’s Dance-era David Bowie would have written one morning but immediately given up on as too facile.  Exactly what does Gene think distinguishes this album from anything worse?  

“You’re All that I Want” is closer to Gene’s later work.  Good lord it’s not good, but it’s so bland that it’s hardly worth mentioning.  Which brings us to…


A special note about “Torpedo Girl”:

Ace Frehley wrote “Parasite.”  He wrote “Cold Gin.”  He wrote the guitar solo for “Shock Me.”  He also wrote “Save Your Love” on Dynasty.  Apparently, he listened to the “Save Your Love” devil when he wrote “Torpedo Girl,” his fanciful and excruciatingly detailed story of going down to the beach and meeting a female submarine pilot.  Oh, don’t worry – he still has half the (3:45!) song to repeat “let’s take a dive, Torpedo Girl, and feel alive Torpedo Girl.”  I challenge you to listen to the last 2 minutes of this song twice in a row.  You can’t do it!



To sum up:  When I was a kid, I made this tape of the best of KISS.  I chose the two best songs from every album.  It was hard to pick just two from Rock and Roll Over and Alive II.  There were two exceptions where I didn’t put anything on the tape.  One is the Peter Criss solo album.  The other is Unmasked.


CODA:  This is it for the studio albums, people.  I’m thinking of doing the solos one album at a time.  A Peter Criss song came up on my iPod this week and Jesus it was as bad as I remembered.  I’m looking forward to that.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: amiright?? on July 19, 2009, 10:44:57 PM
#14 - Unmasked

CODA:  This is it for the studio albums, people.  I’m thinking of doing the solos one album at a time.  A Peter Criss song came up on my iPod this week and Jesus it was as bad as I remembered.  I’m looking forward to that.


Yes!

Please!

Do this!

And what was the tracklist on that tape? Do you remember?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: dave from knoxville on July 20, 2009, 06:25:26 AM
I bet you could turn this into a 33&1/3 digest, creating an entirely new format. Tom would ban you from the show, though.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on July 20, 2009, 09:27:12 AM
Unmasked's cover also sticks it to Ace and Peter. Paul and Gene are both caught by the reporter out on the town with lovely ladies, but Ace and Peter are ambushed while going to the movies together.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Christina on July 20, 2009, 09:47:10 AM
I bet you could turn this into a 33&1/3 digest, creating an entirely new format. Tom would ban you from the show, though.

I saw the fall catalogue for 33 1/3's publisher, and among the ones coming up are: Zaireeka by one of the Pitchfork contributors, Pinkerton by an entirely different Pitchfork editor, & Nation of Millions by the EIC of Paper Thin Walls.

I'm just saying.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on July 20, 2009, 10:24:41 AM
Unmasked's cover also sticks it to Ace and Peter. Paul and Gene are both caught by the reporter out on the town with lovely ladies, but Ace and Peter are ambushed while going to the movies together.

This is an excellent observation. I'm wondering what Peter is wearing in the panel where they reveal the make-up beneath their masks. Does he have on one of those flesh-colored shirts with painted muscles, and then his Catman suspenders over that? There definitely looks to be a t-shirt neck there. Poor Peter. Poor, poor Peter.

This was my favorite review yet, buffcoat. Great stuff all around. Still laughing at the Oz part. I went and youtube-listened to a few of the songs (OK, just the Ace ones), and I actually don't think "Talk To Me" is all that terrible, if you judge it on the standards of being one of three Ace songs on the worst Kiss album. There's something charming about Ace's shitty singing on it. As for "Torpedo Girl"...I tried to take you up on the challenge of listening to the final two minutes twice, and it started out funny before becoming mentally troubling and I had to bail. You win that one. Still, at least conceptually, I like the idea of Ace stumbling upon a lady submariner, if only because it makes it sound like Ace is secretly into steampunk.

Finally, "Two Sides of the Coin" has some pretty fascinating lyrics that, upon reading, you instantly know could only be delivered by Ace:

"It's kind of funny, a little sad
'Cause they're not happy, they're just kind of glad
To be with me for just a night
And maybe even turn out the lights"

Truly, it is a little sad that the promise of a night with the Space Ace - even one in which he leaves open the possibility that the ladies in question don't even have to look at him while they do it - can only inspire a "kind of gladness" and nothing approaching actual happiness in his potential doin' it partners.

"I'd like to say a word or two, about the women we all seem to know
They're all around us, they're everywhere
You meet them this place and then meet them there"

Brilliantly Frehlian. Even better when you hear him sing it.

I do hope you take on the Solo Albums next. And possibly move on to the rest of Peter's solo career. Maybe this will inspire you: Did you know that Peter put out an album called Criss Cat #1? I did not know this until stumbling upon evidence while youtubing Ace's Unmasked songs. An All-Music Guide reviewer named Pemberton Roach (would The Roach have been a suitable KISS character?) calls it a "surprisingly strong effort" and praises Peter's "wonderfully strong and instantly recognizable" vocals. He sums up Criss Cat #1 as being "about as close to a vintage Kiss album as any member of that band has released since the '70s."

If none of this motivates you to look into things, what if I told you that Peter sings a song called "Bad People Burn In Hell"?  That has to be about Gene, right? It has to.

As a possible supplement to this album's review, I suggest looking up the official video for "Talk To Me", and maybe analyzing that here. It features some high-quality stage performance from Ace and some really weird leaning-in-to-sing-with-Paul moves from Gene. And Ace has kick-ass cape. Ace's cape was, without question, the best thing to come from the Unmasked era.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on July 20, 2009, 10:28:44 AM
you did it again, buffcoat.

thank you for brightening this ugly monday morning.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 20, 2009, 11:42:50 AM
Thanks for the kind words, PEOPLE!


Wes, I did watch the "Talk to Me" video.  I liked the blinding reflections coming off Ace's shoulder apparatus.  I agree about the capes.

[youtube]Iqp2zF1H_2w[/youtube]

By far the most disturbing thing, though, is what Gene does with his, uh, crotch during Ace's guitar solo.  Always the spotlight stealer.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: amiright?? on July 20, 2009, 01:44:59 PM
This article is worth reading if only for seeing someone try to rehash Paul's banter in print:

http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/1133218.html
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 22, 2009, 12:12:19 PM
Scenario:  you're in a bad car crash.  What are your first two thoughts?

The original members of KISS:

Gene.  This one's easy.  1: "I hope the camera crew got this."  2: "Who can I sue?"
Paul.  Also easy.  1.  "Not my beautiful face!"  2.  "How long till I can have sex again?"

Peter.  So sad.  1.  "Did Gene cut my brake line?"  2.  "Will Gene and Paul even send a card?"
Ace.  Harder to figure.  1.  "Whoa.  Cool."  2.  "Ack!"
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on July 22, 2009, 02:04:17 PM
I think Peter's first thought would be "I...I'm still alive?" And his second thought would be "Why? Why, God? Why won't you let this torment end? What do you possibly have to gain by refusing to allow me to finally move on from this misery? I can't keep on going like this. I just can't. But you won't let the pain end" and then sobbing quietly for about ten or fifteen minutes.

You're probably right about Ace's thoughts. Right after the Ack, he'd probably get up from wherever he was - in the mangled remains of the car, from a hospital bed or from the shallow grave he'd been dumped in - and continue on to whatever his destination before the crash had been, even if he'd been in a coma for a while.

Thoughts on the Talk To Me video: I also noticed the constant shining of Ace's shoulder armor. I did miss Gene's crotch moves because I was focusing on his facial expressions at that moment, which seem to be a cross between Animal from the Muppets and the acting style of Donald "Ogre" Gibb from Revenge of the Nerds.

The Youtube comments point out Ace's wink and kiss move towars the second half of the video, which is high quality. I also like Ace's patented head shake move, which he does often enough that I assume he's counting off in his head how long he needs to wait between spasmodic head jerks. Gene may have only given him permission for so many.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on July 23, 2009, 04:22:07 PM
until watching that Talk to Me video, I'd never made the connection that Ace is Joan Jett
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on July 24, 2009, 10:13:46 AM
After reading Buffcoat's review, I got out my copy of Unmasked and listened to it for the first time in 27 years or so. I'd like to submit the lunkhead's defense of Ace: at least the guy contributed rock songs to the album. Not his best riffs, dum-dum lyrics, but the guitar is front and center in the songs (not quivery keyboard lines) and he doesn't try to get fancy with his concepts (like having a European girlfriend - that's something folks in Rockford can relate to).

I'm puzzled why Gene and Paul allowed "Torpedo Girl" to be included. It's so completely out of place. It sounds like a sub-par Rick Derringer number in the midst of Gene and Paul hoping for Top 40 radio play. I remember KISS bragging about how they didn't need radio, but most of this record sounds like them desperately trying to fit in.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 24, 2009, 09:28:26 PM
And a European girlfriend who lives with her parents.

It wouldn't be Gene if it weren't gross.


My theory on "Torpedo Girl" is that it was either written when Ace was super-exceptionally (for Ace) high OR that he was sober when he wrote it.  Neither would have been a good thing.


I don't know what Gene and Paul were thinking with Unmasked.  To me, they seemed to be thinking of how much they hated everyone else in the band.



I thought about something today: the KISS 1974-1982 career path eerily mirrors the Pink Floyd 1968-1983 career path.

Two guys start dominating a four-man band.  One of those guys is a super asshole, and the other one is kind of an asshole.  They boot out the goofiest one for being addicted to drugs (sorry, Rick!).  The other one kind of leaves on his own.  They make concept records and have ridiculously gargantuan stage shows.

The only difference is that Gene and Paul stuck it out with each other.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 26, 2009, 11:41:55 AM
Wow, I had no idea that the KISS-curious were so turned off by talk of the Floyd.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on August 03, 2009, 06:20:31 PM
this is such bullshit, buffcoat
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 03, 2009, 06:49:45 PM
It'll ramp up when I write the entry for Ace Frehley.


I guess I should say, "we'll get back in the New York Groove."
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: chinapig on August 03, 2009, 08:45:43 PM
http://www.magnetmagazine.com/2009/08/03/qa-with-ace-frehley/#more-39427 (http://www.magnetmagazine.com/2009/08/03/qa-with-ace-frehley/#more-39427)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 03, 2009, 09:09:27 PM
Good find, Chinapig!  I take it you noticed who conducted the interview?



Ha ha ha!  All the FOTs who skip this beautiful thread won't have any idea what our favorite drummer's been up to.





PS Ace actually comes off as a really good guy.  Who knew?  Of course, it's not hard to be the best *person* of the four, but a lot of the stuff in the interview shows him to be, uh, quite thoughtful. 


PPS I bet when Gene reads that interview, he will call up Peter and scream at him for an hour.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: amiright?? on August 03, 2009, 10:23:43 PM
Pearl Jam is one of the most successful artists of the last ten years?  And Garth Brooks?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: chinapig on August 03, 2009, 10:57:41 PM
Good find, Chinapig!  I take it you noticed who conducted the interview?



Ha ha ha!  All the FOTs who skip this beautiful thread won't have any idea what our favorite drummer's been up to.





PS Ace actually comes off as a really good guy.  Who knew?  Of course, it's not hard to be the best *person* of the four, but a lot of the stuff in the interview shows him to be, uh, quite thoughtful. 


PPS I bet when Gene reads that interview, he will call up Peter and scream at him for an hour.
i hope Wurster read the questions as Gene
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on August 04, 2009, 09:23:47 AM
Quote from: Ace Frehley on August 03, 2009
You know, writing comes to me real easy these days, but it always has been like that for me. I write about my experiences in life. Go back and listen to “Parasite” or “Shock Me.” Some inspirations have been good, some bad, some life-threatening like “Shock Me.” [Laughs]

The more I think about it, the more I wish every Ace song title was based on a real, freak accident that happened to Ace which he miraculously survived.

Quote from: Ace Frehley on "New York Groove" on August 03, 2009
Eddie Kramer talked me into recording that song … and he was right! [Laughs] I was the first musician to play on the grounds of the new Yankee Stadium earlier this year. You’d never guess what song I performed!

I was hoping the interviewer's follow-up was going to be: "I give up. What song?" This was a nice interview and it's good to know that Ace sounds like he's got it all together. He should be a Best Show guest so he and Tom can discuss their mutual enthusiasm for roller coasters.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 04, 2009, 11:50:45 AM
And submarines.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: amiright?? on August 04, 2009, 01:07:30 PM
I was hoping the interviewer's follow-up was going to be: "I give up. What song?" This was a nice interview and it's good to know that Ace sounds like he's got it all together. He should be a Best Show guest so he and Tom can discuss their mutual enthusiasm for roller coasters.

Isn't it called a rollie-coaster?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 17, 2009, 10:43:12 AM
# -4 Peter Criss

Peter Criss is not just the worst album a member of KISS wearing make-up ever produced, it’s among the worst albums ever produced by a member of a band that had ever produced a good record.

I had somehow rationalized in my brain that the Peter Criss Solo Album was just dumb.  It’s beyond that.  It’s a broadside insult to both rock and roll AND R&B.  

If you haven’t heard the Scharpling and Wurster take on the “The Cougar,” it’s important that you do so.  They capture what must have been Peter Criss’ mindset around 1979 perfectly.  “The Cougar’s roots are in classic R&B.”

Most of the songs on the album are lousy originals from Peter’s past bands, Lips and Chelsea.  There is, however, one passable song on Peter Criss – “Tossin’ and Turnin’.”  It’s an ok cover of an ok song.  Listenable.  The rest of the album is not.  

Criss is actually a decent singer of hard rock tunes and some ballads.  So why’s he so effing bad here?  I mean he sounds exhausted.  Frightened.  I have the idea that Gene was standing outside the studio:  “Peter, all the other albums are done.  You need to finish yours… tonight.”  Maybe Gene paid someone to hit him with a newspaper while he recorded.  It’s got to be something.

Peter was in a bad car accident before this album was recorded, one of many bad car accidents* that ruined parts of his career.  He didn’t even drum on several tracks.  Get that.  The drummer for the band does not drum on his solo album.

There are two types of P. Criss penned songs on this record: crap R&B, which are terrible but not to the point of making you want to smash the record to bits, and then sappy songs that Michael Martin Murphey would have vomited over.  Seriously.  If you don’t believe me, pick up “I Can’t Stop the Rain” on iTunes.  Warning: it has a swear word.

We’ll do the R&B first.

The album starts with the appalling “I’m Gonna Love You.”  Peter Criss really thinks he’s making R&B here.  That’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever written.  This track illustrates the album’s primary theme: repetition.  

Also, desperation.  

Also, the need to finish an album he was contractually obligated to make.

This raises a question.  Whose idea was it to make these solo albums?  I’ve never for the life of me been able to figure it out.  The most obvious reason would be Ace and Peter demanding it because of their secondary status in the band.  But there’s no way on earth Paul and Gene would care about that one bit.  You think Gene stayed up all night, not drinking and not doing drugs, wondering how to keep Peter and Ace in the band?  There’s evidence** that he didn’t even know their names.

The rumor is*** that Peter Criss found the words and music to this song while digging through Christopher Cross’ trash can.


The second track, “You Matter to Me,” introduces the theme of terrible lyrics, which Peter would raise to an art form on Dynasty a year later.  Although Peter didn’t write this one, his partners did.  Let’s say that Peter likes to sing the word “ain’t.”  This song also features heavy, heavy synthesizer.  And really bad male background vocals.  And sad “Yes You Do”s over the final lyrics of each stanza.  

“Rock Me Baby” is like what R&B would have sounded like if it had actually been invented – as opposed to ripped off – by Pat Boone.  No amount of dropped g’s or soul backing vocals or crap guitar or anemic horns can turn this number into anything listenable.  “Baby, who you been lovin’ since your man’s gone?”  At least it’s short.  This one was written by Sean Delaney.

“That’s the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes” has the distinction of being the second best song on an awful record.  Hoo-ray.  The lyrics are appalling.  “You know I love you/I’m blank blank blank.”  Try to guess the next line.

If you guessed “thinkin’ OF you,” congratulations, you’re as good a lyricist as Peter Criss.

“Hooked on Rock and Roll” is the third best song on the album.  It features a very, very weird lyric that I had to listen to a bunch of times to understand: “I was vaccinated with a Victrola needle.”  Were the early rock and roll records played on Victrolas?  This is a fact that I was, uh, unaware of.  Perhaps Peter Criss is older than I thought.

“Don’t You Let Me Down” bridges the R&B garbage and the other stuff.  It’s horrible, but it’s not as bad as the rest of the stuff.  Man it’s bad, though.  I changed my mind.  It belongs with the suckier stuff.  It sounds like the worst late period Jimmy Buffett love songs.

These last three make me very angry.

“Easy Thing” features a whole lot of falsetto, which is not Peter Criss’ strength, nor is it rock and roll’s strength.  Nor is it old timey R&B’s strength.  I don’t get it.

“Kiss the Girl Goodbye” has nothing to do with KISS.  More falsetto.  If Alex Chilton had been paid to write the worst song he could, he might turn out something like this before he hung himself.  That’s harsh, but I give Alex a lot of credit for that.  On the plus side, it’s only 2:50 long and about 30 seconds of that is fade out, so the last 10 seconds don’t really count.

Man, this last one is the worst song ever to appear on a makeup-era KISS album.  “I Can’t Stop the Rain,” just listen to it.  From the snickering intro “This is New Yawk, yo,” to the treacly lyrics “then a cold wind/came callin’/strange how it knew me/by name” to the weak drum sounds, to one of the most awful choruses ever.  How can this song be about New York?  Do what now?

Please somebody purchase this song and listen to it.  I want someone to share my misery.

That is all.  Now I can stop listening.

Up next, I have to decide which is better/worse – Gene’s solo or Paul’s.  That’s going to take awhile.





* Two, I think.
** Not actual evidence.
*** No, it isn’t.


Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 17, 2009, 02:13:11 PM
Peter Criss weeps as you ignore his solo work.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 17, 2009, 05:07:08 PM
Gene strikes again.


http://www.wral.com/entertainment/story/5807639/


Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on August 17, 2009, 06:01:24 PM
It was only a matter of time. I've always thought that in another life Gene Simmons would have been Sam Walton.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on August 17, 2009, 06:22:48 PM
buffcoat, when you finally finish these I'm going to quit smoking.

I'm not kidding.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 17, 2009, 09:08:05 PM
buffcoat, when you finally finish these I'm going to quit smoking.

I'm not kidding.


McPhee, our early contretemps over "Shout it Out Loud" aside, you're the most stalwart of the KISS: Album-by-Album posting crew.  I can't hurry the process of finishing the solo albums (and the new tracks from KILLERZ), but I can wish you the greatest of luck in giving up the foul weed.

I do have a suggestion if you want to quit earlier, and I'm quite sincere.  Purchase "Easy Thing," "Kiss the Girl Goodbye," and dear God "I Can't Stop the Rain" from your local MP3 store, and listen to them every time you take a first drag on a cigarette.  You will build negative associations that will take a lifetime to undo.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on August 18, 2009, 09:20:59 PM
You're doing a great service for the Knights in Satan's Service, Buffcoat. You weren't supposed to actually listen to the record, though. Just get this out of the sleeve and finish up your mural:

(http://www.kissfaq.com/posters/peter_solo_poster.jpg)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 18, 2009, 10:17:27 PM
Well done, Wilson Spalding!  I had forgotten about the crap posters.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Sarah on August 19, 2009, 09:35:16 AM
Admit it, mcphee, part of you is hoping buffcoat takes a really, really long time to complete his review.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Julie on August 19, 2009, 10:53:21 AM
buffcoat, when you finally finish these I'm going to quit smoking.

I'm not kidding.


McPhee, our early contretemps over "Shout it Out Loud" aside, you're the most stalwart of the KISS: Album-by-Album posting crew.  I can't hurry the process of finishing the solo albums (and the new tracks from KILLERZ), but I can wish you the greatest of luck in giving up the foul weed.

I do have a suggestion if you want to quit earlier, and I'm quite sincere.  Purchase "Easy Thing," "Kiss the Girl Goodbye," and dear God "I Can't Stop the Rain" from your local MP3 store, and listen to them every time you take a first drag on a cigarette.  You will build negative associations that will take a lifetime to undo.

How will you feel, Buffcoat, if mcphee keeps smoking but develops very bad taste?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on August 19, 2009, 11:46:01 AM
I think your review of Hotter than Hell needs some revision. Yeah, the production is kinda shitty but songs like Goin' Blind, Got to Choose, Parasite, Hotter than Hell - these are all great tunes. Okay I haven't listened to side 2 yet but still. Side 1 alone is totally bad-ass. You said the live versions were better but what if it was 1972 and you hadn't heard the live versions yet? You would love this.

Going Blind alone should catapult it to the top of the Kiss list. It's pretty, it's heavy, and it's creepy, all at the same time.

-Ajax
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 19, 2009, 12:26:44 PM
I think your review of Hotter than Hell needs some revision. Yeah, the production is kinda shitty but songs like Goin' Blind, Got to Choose, Parasite, Hotter than Hell - these are all great tunes. Okay I haven't listened to side 2 yet but still. Side 1 alone is totally bad-ass. You said the live versions were better but what if it was 1972 and you hadn't heard the live versions yet? You would love this.

Going Blind alone should catapult it to the top of the Kiss list. It's pretty, it's heavy, and it's creepy, all at the same time.

-Ajax

Ajax,

You make some good points.  I thought my overall review of Hotter than Hell was positive, despite the fact that it sounds like - and in fact WAS - recorded partly in a toilet.

I've expressed my great fondness for "Goin' Blind."  I would put it in my personal KISS top 5, along with "Black Diamond" and "Mr. Speed."  "Parasite" is up there, too, and "Got to Choose" is very good.

As for pretending I hadn't heard Alive!, that would be counter to the whole purpose of the reviews, man.  The whole point was to re-review them today and discuss them in that context. 

You should try side 2, though.

Hotter than Hell is still a recommended album, but the versions of the songs on Alive! are just much better (probably had more studio work, too, which, you know).
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 19, 2009, 12:27:30 PM
buffcoat, when you finally finish these I'm going to quit smoking.

I'm not kidding.


McPhee, our early contretemps over "Shout it Out Loud" aside, you're the most stalwart of the KISS: Album-by-Album posting crew.  I can't hurry the process of finishing the solo albums (and the new tracks from KILLERZ), but I can wish you the greatest of luck in giving up the foul weed.

I do have a suggestion if you want to quit earlier, and I'm quite sincere.  Purchase "Easy Thing," "Kiss the Girl Goodbye," and dear God "I Can't Stop the Rain" from your local MP3 store, and listen to them every time you take a first drag on a cigarette.  You will build negative associations that will take a lifetime to undo.

How will you feel, Buffcoat, if mcphee keeps smoking but develops very bad taste?

Julie, I am confident enough in how horrible those three songs are that McPhee will be completely safe from liking them.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on August 19, 2009, 01:12:13 PM
I think your review of Hotter than Hell needs some revision. Yeah, the production is kinda shitty but songs like Goin' Blind, Got to Choose, Parasite, Hotter than Hell - these are all great tunes. Okay I haven't listened to side 2 yet but still. Side 1 alone is totally bad-ass. You said the live versions were better but what if it was 1972 and you hadn't heard the live versions yet? You would love this.

Going Blind alone should catapult it to the top of the Kiss list. It's pretty, it's heavy, and it's creepy, all at the same time.

-Ajax

Ajax,

You make some good points.  I thought my overall review of Hotter than Hell was positive, despite the fact that it sounds like - and in fact WAS - recorded partly in a toilet.

I've expressed my great fondness for "Goin' Blind."  I would put it in my personal KISS top 5, along with "Black Diamond" and "Mr. Speed."  "Parasite" is up there, too, and "Got to Choose" is very good.

As for pretending I hadn't heard Alive!, that would be counter to the whole purpose of the reviews, man.  The whole point was to re-review them today and discuss them in that context. 

You should try side 2, though.

Hotter than Hell is still a recommended album, but the versions of the songs on Alive! are just much better (probably had more studio work, too, which, you know).

I only mention it because I am working my way through the catalog as well, for the first time. I haven't heard the live albums yet, and Kiss (s/t) and Hotter than Hell are both pretty much amazing in their own right!

-Ajax
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 19, 2009, 02:23:51 PM
I only mention it because I am working my way through the catalog as well, for the first time. I haven't heard the live albums yet, and Kiss (s/t) and Hotter than Hell are both pretty much amazing in their own right!

-Ajax


Excellent - you are in for some real treats until you get to 1978!  Then again in 1982.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Julie on August 19, 2009, 04:15:24 PM
buffcoat, when you finally finish these I'm going to quit smoking.

I'm not kidding.


McPhee, our early contretemps over "Shout it Out Loud" aside, you're the most stalwart of the KISS: Album-by-Album posting crew.  I can't hurry the process of finishing the solo albums (and the new tracks from KILLERZ), but I can wish you the greatest of luck in giving up the foul weed.

I do have a suggestion if you want to quit earlier, and I'm quite sincere.  Purchase "Easy Thing," "Kiss the Girl Goodbye," and dear God "I Can't Stop the Rain" from your local MP3 store, and listen to them every time you take a first drag on a cigarette.  You will build negative associations that will take a lifetime to undo.

How will you feel, Buffcoat, if mcphee keeps smoking but develops very bad taste?


Julie, I am confident enough in how horrible those three songs are that McPhee will be completely safe from liking them.


I was one time convinced that I could listen to Muskrat Love over and over again to irritate someone who deserved to be irritated. Then I started liking that song. That made it easier to be irritating, but it also opened the floodgate for a lot of other horrible songs that I shouldn't like. I no longer have the best taste in music!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: dave from knoxville on August 20, 2009, 03:38:38 PM
With all due respect to fans, isn't Kiss essentially shore trash with money?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on August 20, 2009, 05:45:51 PM
With all due respect to fans, isn't Kiss essentially shore trash with money?


Kiss are four guys with only a modicum of talent but a relentless drive to succeed who worked hard and created an awesome spectacle that captured the imaginations of millions over the course of 3 decades!

And this dunkin' donuts commercial:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9tlj3xBf5w

-Ajax
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 20, 2009, 06:49:41 PM
With all due respect to fans, isn't Kiss essentially shore trash with money?

Shore trash doesn't come from the city, Goober.



Plus, AHEM, if it's too loud, you're too old.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: JonFromMaplewood on August 20, 2009, 09:24:39 PM
With all due respect to fans, isn't Kiss essentially shore trash with money?


Kiss are four guys with only a modicum of talent but a relentless drive to succeed who worked hard and created an awesome spectacle that captured the imaginations of millions over the course of 3 decades!

And this dunkin' donuts commercial:

[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9tlj3xBf5w[/url]

-Ajax


I could listen to Ace slur "I'll give you the P&L statement" over and over again for a week.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on August 21, 2009, 02:38:02 AM
I bet paul and gene made about 100k on that commercial while ace only managed a couple sips of that latte when Gene had his back turned
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 21, 2009, 06:00:19 AM
I bet paul and gene made about 100k on that commercial while ace only managed a couple sips of that latte when Gene had his back turned

Gene charged him for those sips later after reviewing the tapes with a magnifying glass.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: dave from knoxville on August 21, 2009, 07:30:26 AM
With all due respect to fans, isn't Kiss essentially shore trash with money?

Shore trash doesn't come from the city, Goober.



Plus, AHEM, if it's too loud, you're too old.

I'm a Blue Oyster Cult fan, you Kiss-a-dummy. It don't get no louder.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on August 25, 2009, 09:53:04 AM
Top of the list for the non-essential KISS album reviews, the forthcoming Sonic Boom:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_Boom_(Kiss_album) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_Boom_(Kiss_album))

- Stare in disbelief at the early 90's style cover design!

- Give thanks to Gene that you won't have to pay import price for Jigoku-Retsuden

- Puzzle over whether "Modern Day Delilah" is a tribute to the late night soft rock DJ.

- (briefly) Think better of Gene & Paul for giving Eric and Tommy each a chance to sing a song on the album


 
 
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 25, 2009, 09:57:54 AM
You'll note that the re-recorded greatest hits album features exactly two songs since 1982. 

1974-1982 = 9 years, 13 songs
1983-1984 = 2 years, 2 songs
1985-2009 = 15 years, zero songs
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Christina on August 25, 2009, 10:03:41 AM
Did youse KISS fans hear about the special show they're doing at Cobo arena in Detroit before it gets torn down?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 25, 2009, 12:36:45 PM
What KISS fans are you referring to, Auntie?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Christina on August 25, 2009, 01:27:15 PM
What KISS fans are you referring to, Auntie?

Sorry, I meant "fans".

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 25, 2009, 02:03:21 PM
What KISS fans are you referring to, Auntie?

Sorry, I meant "fans".




Better!



Though I unabashedly and unironically like that Ace Frehley Dunkin' Donuts commercial.


In fact, the second biggest effect of this whole writing odyssey has been my newfound appreciation for Ace Frehley the person and Ace Frehley the guitarist.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on August 25, 2009, 05:52:16 PM
Did youse KISS fans hear about the special show they're doing at Cobo arena in Detroit before it gets torn down?

If the entire tour was them doing ]Alive! in its entirety like at Cobo, I would almost consider driving to a nearby tour stop to see it. But I know i'd be aggravated with Eric Singer's need to "improve" on the drum fills during the "Cold Gin" intro.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 25, 2009, 08:21:48 PM
I heard some guy on a message board say that Peter Criss and Ace Frehley will be there.














Me.  On this message board.  Just now.  In this post.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 26, 2009, 10:01:22 PM
#14 - Unmasked

CODA:  This is it for the studio albums, people.  I’m thinking of doing the solos one album at a time.  A Peter Criss song came up on my iPod this week and Jesus it was as bad as I remembered.  I’m looking forward to that.


Yes!

Please!

Do this!

And what was the tracklist on that tape? Do you remember?

Amiright?, I did some digging and found the tracklist to the KISS mixtape (I also put the track durations on the index card I kept with the tape):

Tape 1 Side A:

1.  Black Diamond (5:11) - KISS
2.  Firehouse (3:48) - KISS
3.  Goin' Blind (3:34) - Hotter than Hell
4.  Let Me Go, Rock and Roll (2:16) - Alive! (because I liked this version better)
5.  Rock Bottom (3:55) - Dressed to Kill
6.  Getaway (2:45) - Dressed to Kill (questionable choice, here)
7.  100,000 Years (11:52) - Alive!  (I must have been into drum solos and stage banter.  Of course I was!)
8.  Parasite (3:21) - Alive!
9.  Detroit Rock City (5:30) - Destroyer
10. King of the Nighttime World (3:15) - Destroyer
11. Beth (2:20) - Destroyer (cuts off)

Tape 1 Side B:

12.  Calling Dr. Love (3:41) - Rock and Roll Over
13.  Mr. Speed (3:18) - Rock and Roll Over
14.  Love Gun (3:27) - Love Gun
15.  I Stole Your Love (3:04) - Love Gun
16.  Christine Sixteen (2:45) - Alive II
17.  Shock Me (4:30) - Alive II
18.  Strutter '78 (3:41) - Double Platinum (quite the completist!)
19.  Hard Luck Woman (3:24) - Double Platinum
20.  Tossin' and Turnin' (3:58) - Peter Criss (only one song from each solo)
21.  New York Groove (3:01) - Ace Frehley
22.  See You In Your Dreams (2:48) - Gene Simmons
23.  Tonight You Belong to Me (4:39) - Paul Stanley
24.  Sure Know Something (3:59) - Dynasty


Tape 2 Side A: (I listened to this one much, much less)

25.  I Was Made for Lovin' You (4:29) - Dynasty
26.  Is That You (3:55) - Unmasked (only one song from Unmasked)
27.  A World Without Heroes (2:40) - Music from the Elder
28.  I (3:52) - Music from the Elder
29.  Creatures of the Night (4:01) - Creatures of the Night
30.  War Machine (4:21) - Creatures of the Night
31.  Cold Gin (4:21)  (here I started putting a few songs on that I felt had been left out because of the format)
32.  Shout it Out Loud (2:30)


Tape 2 Side B:
33.  Rock and Roll All Nite (3:37)
34.  Lick It Up (3:59) - Lick It Up
35.  Heaven's On Fire (3:18) - Animalize (the first KISS LP I owned)
36.  Thrills in the Night (4:18) - Animalize
37.  Tears are Falling (3:55) - Asylum
38.  Who Wants to Be Lonely (4:01) - Asylum
39.  Deuce (3:32)
40.  Hotter than Hell (3:11) (more overlooked songs to fill out the tape)

The next song, covered with white-out because the tape ran out, would have been "Ladies Room."


Fin.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 27, 2009, 06:25:39 PM
Very disappointed in you, amiright?  .


Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on August 28, 2009, 09:44:14 AM
Quote
Tape 2 Side B:
33.  Rock and Roll All Nite (3:37)
34.  Lick It Up (3:59) - Lick It Up
35.  Heaven's On Fire (3:18) - Animalize (the first KISS LP I owned)
36.  Thrills in the Night (4:18) - Animalize
37.  Tears are Falling (3:55) - Asylum
38.  Who Wants to Be Lonely (4:01) - Asylum
39.  Deuce (3:32)
40.  Hotter than Hell (3:11) (more overlooked songs to fill out the tape)


It's pretty telling on their mid-80s decline that even the young Buffcoat (who climbed on board during that time) couldn't put together even one side of a tape of "hits" from that era without including some filler.

Were you also a fan of the mid-career slumping AC/DC during that time? I had a co-worker who was into this period of KISS records, but also brought to work his tapes of Angus and Co's least essentials: Fly on the Wall and Flick of the Switch.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: fonpr on August 28, 2009, 10:01:54 AM
Very disappointed in you, amiright?  .




Yes.  Youareright.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 28, 2009, 10:23:32 AM
Quote
Tape 2 Side B:
33.  Rock and Roll All Nite (3:37)
34.  Lick It Up (3:59) - Lick It Up
35.  Heaven's On Fire (3:18) - Animalize (the first KISS LP I owned)
36.  Thrills in the Night (4:18) - Animalize
37.  Tears are Falling (3:55) - Asylum
38.  Who Wants to Be Lonely (4:01) - Asylum
39.  Deuce (3:32)
40.  Hotter than Hell (3:11) (more overlooked songs to fill out the tape)


It's pretty telling on their mid-80s decline that even the young Buffcoat (who climbed on board during that time) couldn't put together even one side of a tape of "hits" from that era without including some filler.

Were you also a fan of the mid-career slumping AC/DC during that time? I had a co-worker who was into this period of KISS records, but also brought to work his tapes of Angus and Co's least essentials: Fly on the Wall and Flick of the Switch.


Yes, I was an AC/DC fan at that time, but I only bought Back in Black and For Those About to Rock (We Salute You).  I had not yet discovered the joys of Bon Scott's lyrics.

Mid period AC/DC sucked to me even then - it just all sounded the same, like pale retreads. 

I did see them in concert at Reynolds Coliseum - they rocked.  Cinderella opened!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: amiright?? on August 28, 2009, 04:24:39 PM
Very disappointed in you, amiright?  .




Sorry!  I haven't checked general discussion in a while!

Thank you for this - I'm putting together the tracklist on my ipod TONIGHT!

Maybe I should give your tapes a Critical Reevaluation...
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 28, 2009, 04:26:41 PM
Very disappointed in you, amiright?  .




Sorry!  I haven't checked general discussion in a while!

Thank you for this - I'm putting together the tracklist on my ipod TONIGHT!

Maybe I should give your tapes a Critical Reevaluation...


I was just kidding... mostly.

My 12-year old self would have been afraid of Critical Reevaluation, but Today Me says sure!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: KickTheBobo on September 07, 2009, 05:41:52 PM
I am sure that this amazing thread was responsible for a short audio-only dream I had this morning, which consisted of just a single sentence:

"A camera pan across the crowd during the band's performance of their hit ballad "Forever" clearly shows two males sharing sniffs off a bottle of amyl nitrate if slowed down"

I think it may have been in the voice of the Behind The Music guy, describing a live concert DVD.

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on September 07, 2009, 06:08:21 PM
I am sure that this amazing thread was responsible for a short audio-only dream I had this morning, which consisted of just a single sentence:

"A camera pan across the crowd during the band's performance of their hit ballad "Forever" clearly shows two males sharing sniffs off a bottle of amyl nitrate if slowed down"

I think it may have been in the voice of the Behind The Music guy, describing a live concert DVD.




Awesome. 

Peter Criss' dream, for one, has always been to inspire creativity of this type.  I don't talk about Gene's dreams.  Ace just dreams of being Ace Frehley, then wakes up and goes, "Cool."  Paul dreams of Paul.


If you all haven't downloaded "People Let Me Get This Off My Chest," I must recommend it AGAIN.  I heard Track 29 on iPod random and was frightened by the parallels with late-period Jim Jones.




He was really ON that night in Richmond, apparently.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on September 12, 2009, 03:37:37 PM
I'm going to stop sitting here hitting refresh and try to eat something. They tell me the bed sores will heal, and that scurvy doesn't have any serious long-lasting effects, but it may take a long while to get these atrophied muscles working again.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on September 12, 2009, 07:33:04 PM
McPhee, I had a wedding to go to this weekend, but I do have half of the Paul Stanley review done - up (relatively) soon.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on September 13, 2009, 08:00:14 PM
buffcoat, I'm loving your reviews.  They're really great reads. 

Can't wait for the Paul review!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on October 01, 2009, 12:08:28 AM
Still working on the Paul one - or at least thinking about it.


Meanwhile, I've become a little creepily focused on the bonus fadeout section of Destroyer (in the MP3 file of "Do You Love Me").

It's a weird fadein/out of Paul's "I tell you, it looks like we gonna have ourselves, a rock and roll party!" from Alive!, with a lot of distortion.  This is interlaced with the choir from "Great Expectations."  It lasts for a minute and is totally nutso, but just the type of thing Bob Ezrin might have come up with at the last minute, using no new material, to finish his faux-Gothic masterpiece.

Add.: DISCOVERY!

The clip on Alive!, from the end of Deuce, eliminates the "I tell you" part of the quote - in fact, Paul seems to repeat himself in the Destroyer outtake, saying, "I tell you looks like, looks like we gonna have ourselves a rock and roll party.  A dark hint of the overdubbing and editing?

I wonder if Gene would give me access to the original tapes so I could produce a stripped down buffcoat version of Alive! to match Mr. Simmon's Phil Spector version?  Probably not.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on October 01, 2009, 01:59:11 PM
I definitely feel like this is the year KISS gets into the Hall of Fame. Who do you think they get to do their induction speech?

I spent way too much time trying to figure this out with some friends last week and we couldn't come up with anyone that Gene or Paul would want who would actually agree to it and be sufficiently famous enough that the Hall of Fame people would OK (that is to say, not Sebastian Bach). I think they get assigned Designated Hall of Fame Inductor Kid Rock and tell Gene to deal with it.

And if they do go in this year, do you think Ace and Peter let themselves build up some hope that they might get to perform instead of watching from the crowd while Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer do it? Or are they realistic enough that they know they won't be allowed on stage? Even then, there's a chance Gene and Paul don't let them show up at all and they have to watch through a window in the kitchen while perched on top of a dumpster.

This has all of the potential intrigue of the Van Halen induction a few years ago, mixed with the possibility that Gene will deliver some weird, angry Hall of Fame speech like Mike Love or Michael Jordan.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on October 01, 2009, 02:17:26 PM
Something along the lines of his usual, "Don't download.  You're ripping me off"?

Ace will not be there - we'll never know whether he wasn't invited or he just forgot and spent the evening like he does most Thursday nights, signing picks at Guitar Town.

Peter will show up uninvited in full makeup and costume, only to be gently escorted into the room OFF the green room by a minor celebrity (for some reason Ileana Douglas leaps to mind?) as it's explained that they don't need "two Peters" for the induction. 

Peter replies, "But I AM Peter." 

Ileana says, "I know, sweetheart, I know."


Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on October 01, 2009, 11:28:50 PM
That Peter/Ileana Douglas dialogue was priceless.  I'm going to assume no one has read it yet.


A couple of Paul Stanley related items:

http://lftec.blogspot.com/2009/02/dear-paul-stanley.html

Not very nice.



http://www.paulstanley.com/index.php?module=letters

Paul has several hundred random fan letters on his weird website.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: nec13 on October 01, 2009, 11:37:38 PM
To answer your question, Wes, it is my understanding that, per Gene Simmons' request, Terry Gross will be delivering the induction speech for KISS.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on October 02, 2009, 10:41:53 AM
I bought two tickets for Alive 35 the other day. Is anyone else going? I thought it was important, somehow.

Also stumbled on some weird Kiss videos:

Ace doing a bar band novelty song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeZlXJtLhMQ

A really young fan spazzing out in '79:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfygYBgVZfw

-Ajax
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on October 02, 2009, 11:35:02 AM
Even then, there's a chance Gene and Paul don't let them show up at all and they have to watch through a window in the kitchen while perched on top of a dumpster.

Maybe on the night of the ceremony they'll send the 1940s car from the cover of <i>Unmasked</i> for Ace and Peter that they rode in to the movies together all those years ago. But the doors will lock, the car will keep driving and they'll be forced to watch a DVD of "Simmons Family Jewels".

I think Gene's speech will be an excellent mix of score settling and promo for the newest flavor of KISSpacino at the KISS coffee shop in Myrtle Beach.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on October 02, 2009, 12:41:55 PM
Did you know that Ace has a Twitter account? His latest: "So now that Anomaly has sat in your stereos for a bit... what's your favorite track?" This kind of confidence is why I'm sure that Ace Frehley will receive a sterling critical evaluation when it comes up in this thread.

And from a few weeks ago: "Gotta love the Catman! Thanks Peter for calling Rockline last night."

There's also an account for Peter that has a really sad, tired-looking picture of the Catman as its icon, but it seems to be someone taking care of it by proxy for Peter, as the bio says "Hoping to have the real Catman here soon!" This does nothing to deter my belief that Peter Criss is the member of KISS most likely to be functionally illiterate. Gotta love the Catman!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on October 02, 2009, 02:06:46 PM
Did you know that Ace has a Twitter account? His latest: "So now that Anomaly has sat in your stereos for a bit... what's your favorite track?" This kind of confidence is why I'm sure that Ace Frehley will receive a sterling critical evaluation when it comes up in this thread.

And from a few weeks ago: "Gotta love the Catman! Thanks Peter for calling Rockline last night."

There's also an account for Peter that has a really sad, tired-looking picture of the Catman as its icon, but it seems to be someone taking care of it by proxy for Peter, as the bio says "Hoping to have the real Catman here soon!" This does nothing to deter my belief that Peter Criss is the member of KISS most likely to be functionally illiterate. Gotta love the Catman!


"Most likely" doesn't mean there only has to be one, right?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on October 03, 2009, 04:40:25 PM
From Ace's latest Tweet:  http://twitpic.com/k43ss

Australia has a few weeks to get ready for some ACE!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on October 05, 2009, 07:54:58 AM
New KISS album, 'Sonic Boom', at Wal-Mart tomorrow.  Who's getting it?  Be honest.  

I have a feeling I'll end up getting it but I'm more curious about these "KISS Korners" that Wal-Mart is supposed to have.  http://walmartstores.com/FactsNews/NewsRoom/9370.aspx

(edit) ALSO...


Also stumbled on some weird Kiss videos:

Ace doing a bar band novelty song:
[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeZlXJtLhMQ[/url]


This is the most delightfully bizarre video I've seen in awhile.  Tom should do a breakdown of the song and video on the show.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on October 05, 2009, 11:30:06 AM
"KISS catalog CDs such as Dress to Kill, Destroyer, Love Gun and Very Best of KISS -- $5 - $9"



Which ones do you think are $5?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on October 05, 2009, 10:17:45 PM
I'm gonna guess that they're all mostly $9 and the only $5 one is the generic 20th Century hits thing they have for every other band that has, like, 10 songs on it. 

I saw they also had $5 t-shirts.  I'm curious what a $5 KISS t-shirt looks like.  Probably not unlike the $5 AC/DC t-shirts.

I'll scope it out tomorrow, see what's what and give a full report.  I have to go to Wal-Mart anyway.  I think I need socks. 
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on October 05, 2009, 10:29:22 PM
Plus it's Dressed to Kill.  I'm sure Gene wrote the Wal-Mart press release - can't he even get his own album titles right?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on October 06, 2009, 12:24:55 PM
I got there this morning and the KISS Korner was still being hastily set up by one lone guy.  Basically the KISS sign was up and 'Sonic Boom' was out.  I pictured managers on duty yelling at this poor guy to get the Mr. Potato Head portion of the display right.  'Hotter then Hell' and the 'Alive' albums were mysteriously absent from the albums they were featuring.  The pricing was random too.  Like 'KISS' and 'Rock and Roll Over' were $5 but 'Love Gun' was $7.  And the hits package was $9.  Go figure.

Also, as an aside, I think Ace's new album is way better then KISS' new album.  But that's just me.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on October 21, 2009, 10:33:39 AM
Tough one:

[youtube]ZWWfXr0Kryg[/youtube]
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on October 27, 2009, 11:26:25 AM
Review of the recent KISS show in DC. A fairly detailed report on that night's Starchild banter is included, towards the end: http://is.gd/4ju37  (http://is.gd/4ju37)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on October 28, 2009, 12:05:06 PM
I choose this thread, my favorite thread, to make my 3,000th post.

This must be how Bernie Mac felt.


KISS blah blah blah.

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on November 03, 2009, 10:31:31 AM
Buffcoat:

The Paul solo LP is the only of the four that I still retain in my collection. I need to know whether to keep it or not. The world still awaits your ruling!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on November 03, 2009, 01:25:37 PM
Heard "Russian Roulette" from Sonic Boom today. It was pretty bad, but Gene admitted that some women love him and some don't, which I thought was uncharacteristically humble of him.

-Ajax
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on November 03, 2009, 02:57:43 PM
Buffcoat:

The Paul solo LP is the only of the four that I still retain in my collection. I need to know whether to keep it or not. The world still awaits your ruling!


In a dream, a long time ago
We fell in love, but what did we know?
Years seemed to pass, as time took its toll
You're here at last, so why must you go?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on November 23, 2009, 04:34:58 PM
I saw the Alive 35 tour last night in Oakland. It was amazing. Here is a good roundup:

http://haggisbuffet.blogspot.com/

-Ajax

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on November 27, 2009, 08:17:07 PM
# -3 Paul Stanley

Long considered the most KISSy of the four solo albums, Paul Stanley actually lives up to that moniker.  Of course, since Stanley writes a) the most KISS songs and b) the songs most associated with KISS, this statement isn't particularly shocking.
 
What is shocking, at least for this reviewer, is that the Paul Stanley solo album has some a couple of pretty good songs.  The previously mentioned KISS mixtape I made had "Tonight You Belong to Me" on it - so I knew I at least liked that.  
 
But not "Hold Me, Touch Me (Think of Me When We're Apart)."  That song totally sucks.  It's so bad that it would be the third worst song on Peter Criss.  And that, my friends, is saying something.

I rank Paul’s solo album way behind Ace’s and just behind Gene’s, which is at least more absolutely insane.  What the hell was Gene thinking when he… but you’ll have to wait for the rest of that.

“Tonight You Belong to Me” is the opener and it’s also the best track on the record.  It’s extraordinarily overwrought, even for Paul.  This level of indulgence is new for Paul Stanley on Paul Stanley, but it would be here to stay for the rest of the band’s career.  Some control in Paul S. broke loose during the creation of this album (or maybe in the inclusion of “Then She Kissed Me” on Love Gun that same year) and never got reset.  

It’s hard to say who was the KISSter most responsible for keeping the group as rocking as it was.  Certainly it wasn’t Peter Criss – reread the last review if you need to be reminded, or just listen to “I Can’t Stop the Rain.”  If you can.  I can’t.  Wow.   It still gets me after all these months.  (N.B. I am listening to it as I edit this review.  Mein Gott.)

Anyway, it’s not hard to craft a story where Gene became steadily MORE obsessed with the money side of the business and gave up on the rocking.  Of course, Gene is the one who did "Great Expectations," AND we haven’t even gotten to the Jiminy Cricket cover yet.  

And certainly Ace got pissed by the unrockiness of The Elder.  But whomever it was, they lost the power to stop Paul sometime between the decision to give him a whole album to do his own nonsense on and the garbagey tracks of Dynasty.

Whose idea were the damn solo albums in the first place?  Sean Delaney?  Lydia Criss?  I asked this last time, but really, I want to know.


“Move On,” the second song on the album, isn’t terrible.  It’s an imagined conversation between, a) Paul and his mother and b) Paul and his girlfriend, but NOT c) Paul's mother and Paul's girlfriend.  In fact, it's implied that his mother is dead, but I think she wasn't.  It gets pretty confusing.  It also features female backing singers, as do many songs on the solo albums.  Anyway, it’s about loving them and leaving them.  Remember that KISS actually did a song with that as the title – it’s best (apparently) with hard rock fans not to play it too subtle.

Speaking of Paul and mothers... [youtube]0CY6fnyGY54[/youtube]

“Ain’t Quite Right” has sort of a Paul Rodgers/Lou Gramm type thing going on.  It doesn’t play particularly well.  Maybe Seals and Croft?  Hell, I don’t know.  It’s another song about a breakup, which begs the question: did KISS have long enough relationships to have what most people would consider breakups?  It doesn’t count as a breakup if you yell through the door to the bathroom that yet another groupie has arrived.

The fourth song is “Wouldn’t You Like to Know Me?”  For some reason, Paul was into sentence length song titles on his solo.  This song is almost a subpar New Wave song – not that out of place as a Ben Orr filler track on an early Cars album.  Although “wouldn’t you like to make me, whoa yeah” is a dumbass lyric.  As is “you got the key but babe I locked the gate.”  If she has the key, she can just unlock the gate again, dummy.  Am I right, people?

Seriously, though, I kind of like this song.  It’s a clear #2 on the record.

“Take Me Away (Together As One)” has a 60s quiet/soft vibe to it.  Like a folk-rocker becoming a hard-rocker and having a coming out party about it.  Only whispering too much in the first part of the song.  This song could definitely have been on The Elder.  Take that as you will.  Somebody help me out with the more famous song this song sounds like.  Meatloaf?  I can’t remember, and I can’t be bothered.

This song is very long and repetitive.  Apparently Paul really thought he had something here.  Nope.

“It’s Alright” is clearly a grammatically/spellifictally incorrect title.  This song sounds like it could have been on one of the Destroyer-Love Gun era albums (isn’t it cool how KISS can have eras, despite their relative lack of musical importance?)  Paul wants you ladies to know that it’s all right if you a) want him, b) need him, c) want him to stay for the night, and d) want him to stay satisfied.  Just as later he’ll want you to a) hold him, b) touch him, c) think of him when you’re apart.  This one’s about a one-night stand and not a relationship (which is presumably a two-night stand).

“It’s Alright” is probably the prototype of the song that Paul can write in an afternoon.  It’s not bad, but it has the feeling of Paul’s between-song banter set to a vanilla guitar lick.


"Hold Me, Touch Me (Think of Me When We're Apart)” is the worst song, ranked by talent of the songwriter, on the solo albums.  Peter Criss’ songs on KISS albums were mostly awful.  Now, I didn’t see the lightning effect in “I Can’t Stop the Rain” coming, but I’m not sure that’s Peter’s fault.  Though it probably is.

There’s no excuse for “Hold Me, Touch Me.”  I checked to see if it was co-written with Michael Martin Murphey, but no dice.  (Two solo albums, two MMM mentions in these reviews - that's not a good trend).

Quote
“what is perhaps his masterpiece, "Wildfire", a sentimental song about the ghosts of a woman and her horse. As a boy, he first heard from his grandfather the story of a ghost horse rescuing people in the desert. Years later, Murphey had a dream about this ghost horse and wrote the words and music the same day with songwriter Larry Cansler.”

I am angry at this song.

“Love In Chains” sounds to me like Loverboy, only a little angrier.  Does that sound good?  Because it isn’t.  The singing style is a little reminiscent of how he sings “Danger” and “Creatures of the Night” on Creatures of the Night, which is actually good.  So he did do something good here.  That's a lot of the word "good."

Closing a record with a song called “Goodbye” is a bit of an obvious move.  It has a cool chord progression.  Remember way back when I said I knew nothing about music structure and theory?  I think I may have forgotten some of the things I did know since then.


Two to go!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on November 27, 2009, 11:16:08 PM
Bravo! 

I actually just listened to the Peter Criss solo album for the first time recently.  It's every bit as bad as they say.  It's an atonal soul record without the soul.  Although he was a bit of a mess at the time with drugs which explains a lot of it.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on November 28, 2009, 05:59:32 PM
Bravo! 

I actually just listened to the Peter Criss solo album for the first time recently.  It's every bit as bad as they say.  It's an atonal soul record without the soul.  Although he was a bit of a mess at the time with drugs which explains a lot of it.

When he finished the vocals for "I'm Gonna Love You" - the horrific depression that comes through the first time he says the title line in particular - how close do you think he was to ending it all?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: fonpr on November 28, 2009, 07:26:43 PM
Buff, I have been wondering this for a while, Why spend so much energy on such an obvious mediocracy?

You may actually be contributing to Mr. Simmons' Bankroll.

I didn't fall for your "trick" but, other less experienced FOT may have been fooled

For Shame Buffcoat, For SHAME!

(It is quite humorous)

For Shame!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on November 28, 2009, 10:53:53 PM
I'm just going to quietly bump this thread now.  I will do it again before the work week begins.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on November 29, 2009, 10:23:54 PM
Bravo! 

I actually just listened to the Peter Criss solo album for the first time recently.  It's every bit as bad as they say.  It's an atonal soul record without the soul.  Although he was a bit of a mess at the time with drugs which explains a lot of it.

When he finished the vocals for "I'm Gonna Love You" - the horrific depression that comes through the first time he says the title line in particular - how close do you think he was to ending it all?

'That's the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes' is the low point for me just for the title alone.  I picture him at the sessions barely able to keep awake. 
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on November 30, 2009, 01:00:46 AM
Bravo! 

I actually just listened to the Peter Criss solo album for the first time recently.  It's every bit as bad as they say.  It's an atonal soul record without the soul.  Although he was a bit of a mess at the time with drugs which explains a lot of it.

When he finished the vocals for "I'm Gonna Love You" - the horrific depression that comes through the first time he says the title line in particular - how close do you think he was to ending it all?

'That's the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes' is the low point for me just for the title alone.  I picture him at the sessions barely able to keep awake. 

I hope those background singers were paid in something other than KISS merchandise.  I know, of course, that that's what Gene paid his session musicians.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on November 30, 2009, 02:29:39 PM
welcome back into my heart, buffcoat
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on December 01, 2009, 09:46:14 AM
Thanks for this, Buffcoat.

I got my cut-out copy (poor Stanley) of the LP out and relistened. "Tonight You Belong to Me" sounds like it was expressly written as a set opener (a gong strike, even). "Wouldn't You Like to Know Me" - IS subpar power pop, but I think the best song on the album. Wish he had put together an album full of these.

"Hold Me, Touch Me" might have been brought about by "Beth" envy. Here's the guy that wrote most of the band's set, yet the only song of theirs on the radio (at the time) was a ballad by the drunken drummer. Paul is nothing if not competitive.

Notable info from the liner notes:

"Take Me Away" features the over the top drumming of former Vanilla Fudge member and future Wurster character Carmine Appice (and elder brother of Dio drummer Vinnie Appice):
(http://www.vicfirth.com/artists/appice/carmine.jpg)

Can't wait for Gene - let's keep this thread up at the top!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on December 01, 2009, 11:18:39 AM
I know you write me sexy letters
And you send your picture for my wall
You found the hotel where I'm stayin'
You build up your nerve and then you call...
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on December 02, 2009, 07:04:09 PM
OH!  Speaking of Paul Stanley low-points...this is the funniest thing this side of 'People, Let Me Get This off my Chest':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4Mt60nwkCE
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 25, 2010, 10:09:11 PM
I saw with great sadness that classically trained Shakespearean actress Jean Simmons, OBE, did not live to see the completion of the review of her namesake's solo album. 


Is it even sadder that I remember her best from "The Drumhead," an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation than for her performance as Ophelia in Olivier's Hamlet?


Anyway, Godspeed Jeannie!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Sarah on January 26, 2010, 11:53:59 AM
Oh, this news makes me a little sad.  I think I first encountered her in Great Expectations, which movie I loved as a kid.  She made for a very pretty and very unpleasant Estella.

Ms. Simmons, I dedicate this, my 5000th, post to your memory.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on January 27, 2010, 08:47:28 AM
Let's not forget the other other recently departed Simmons, "Jumpin" Gene Simmons, original performer of "Haunted House:"

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBg0rnWTz3U[/youtube]
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: AaronC on March 03, 2010, 07:24:27 AM
espn.com has a story about KISS visiting a high school in 1975:  http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=arruda/100301_kiss

Some pretty great photos, like this one:
(http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0301/pg2_e_kiss106_576.jpg)

Of course, one really creepy one:
Quote
While Stanley was busy throwing the ball around, Gene Simmons was making friends with head cheerleader Melissa Codden. "[Simmons] was interesting because he was interested in what I had to say and when you're 16 not many people are interested in what you have to say."

(http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0301/pg2_kiss108_576x.jpg)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Christina on March 03, 2010, 08:03:32 AM
espn.com has a story about KISS visiting a high school in 1975:  [url]http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=arruda/100301_kiss[/url]



that was terrific Aaron! Also nice to see Chris Connelly is finding work somewhere.

And Gene Simmons - wow. The depth and breadth of his douchiness never ceases to amaze. I guess it's good if you can still surprise people, right?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on March 03, 2010, 09:20:57 AM
espn.com has a story about KISS visiting a high school in 1975:  [url]http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=arruda/100301_kiss[/url]


Great article!  It looks like KISS made some fontasies come true that day.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on March 03, 2010, 09:27:30 AM
Some pretty great photos, like this one:
([url]http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0301/pg2_e_kiss106_576.jpg[/url])

Was that just an awful snap, or did Paul travel around school grounds that day by holding on to a flying football?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on March 03, 2010, 11:14:10 AM
That picture with the cheerleader probably would have launched Jerry Falwell's career if it hadn't been launched already.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Christina on March 03, 2010, 11:17:35 AM
That picture with the cheerleader probably would have launched Jerry Falwell's career if it hadn't been launched already.

I know. Seeing it instantly made my menstrual cycle go all wonky.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Hearts of Steele on March 06, 2010, 08:19:36 PM
Ace's "What's On Your Mind?" just came up on the iPod. It's a pretty solid song.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on March 06, 2010, 08:34:29 PM
Ace's "What's On Your Mind?" just came up on the iPod. It's a pretty solid song.


I agree, as you will someday see in my final full-length album review!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on March 06, 2010, 08:54:40 PM
Ace's solo album has lots of great songs.  'Rip it Out', 'Ozone', 'NY Groove', etc.  Every song's a winner!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on April 19, 2010, 04:33:09 PM
look at this sad thing
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on April 20, 2010, 03:40:22 PM
look at this sad thing


There's only two more to go... I guess I've been holding off because it will be sad when I finish.

But I will start working on it, now that there's been one offhand comment about it.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 15, 2011, 03:30:26 AM
Ace Frehley review coming sometime in 2011.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: pierre on January 16, 2011, 11:16:34 PM
Wow.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Alex_from_the_woods on January 18, 2011, 02:03:23 PM
Gene Simmons: "It was like landing on Planet KISS.......(looks directly at the camera) which incidentally we own as a trademark."


Oh, Gene, you scamp
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 18, 2011, 05:17:41 PM
I can't wait until I write it!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Sarah on February 03, 2011, 02:07:10 PM
This might as well go here:  A friend of mine who works for the TSA just called me all a-twitter because she'd just encountered Gene Simmons, whom she adores, for reasons even she doesn't understand.  She said she was so excited to see him all she could say was, "Oh my god."  To that, Shannon Tweed, through whose bags my friend was rummaging, said, "Honey, the first time I met him, that's what I said."  At that, GS quipped, "And you still say it from time to time."  He then did a little jig as he moved toward the gate.

Fin
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on February 03, 2011, 06:52:06 PM
This might as well go here:  A friend of mine who works for the TSA just called me all a-twitter because she'd just encountered Gene Simmons, whom she adores, for reasons even she doesn't understand.  She said she was so excited to see him all she could say was, "Oh my god."  To that, Shannon Tweed, through whose bags my friend was rummaging, said, "Honey, the first time I met him, that's what I said."  At that, GS quipped, "And you still say it from time to time."  He then did a little jig as he moved toward the gate.

Fin

I would have enjoyed the little jig very much.  The question about Gene Simmons is, if he took off the wig, kept his tongue in his mouth and left off his girdle, do you think he'd stand out from the other rich senior citizens in Florida or Southern California?

Mick Jagger would still be Mick Jagger.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Sarah on February 03, 2011, 09:01:16 PM
For my friend, it was the voice that identified him. 
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: dave from knoxville on February 04, 2011, 07:04:14 AM
For my friend, it was the voice that identified him.

Yes! I understand he looks like Tim Conway.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Sarah on February 04, 2011, 07:43:58 AM
I specifically asked about his hair, which she said was impressively helmetlike.  I was hoping she made the obvious joke about handling his family jewels, but she didn't perform his body search so it didn't occur to her.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on February 07, 2011, 01:38:38 PM
Not a happy, KISS-loving board: http://www.kissawol.com/Forum/index.php?topic=7924.0 (http://www.kissawol.com/Forum/index.php?topic=7924.0)

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on February 08, 2011, 09:55:59 AM
Not a happy, KISS-loving board: [url]http://www.kissawol.com/Forum/index.php?topic=7924.0[/url] ([url]http://www.kissawol.com/Forum/index.php?topic=7924.0[/url])


Holy Smokes. It's nice to find out that I probably can't even qualify for a Kiss-ologist license, not being as deep as that crew. Glad to find out Peter's next solo LP will feature the track "Hard Knock Rockers," although the board members are pining for a jazz trio album from him.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on February 09, 2011, 07:07:49 PM
I'm trying to figure out who would round out Peter Criss' jazz trio.

Also he covered 'Send in the Clowns' on his last record.  Yep.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Rick in Salt Lake on February 09, 2011, 08:40:09 PM
I'm trying to figure out who would round out Peter Criss' jazz trio.

Clerly one of the former Old Skull "kids" could lend a hand-- at least when they're not lending their talents to Spyro Gyra...
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on February 10, 2011, 01:12:26 AM
Peter Criss has made a second...ish career out of feeling sorry for himself.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on March 09, 2011, 10:30:07 PM
TEASER FIRST PARAGRAPH!

# -4 Ace Frehley (Lead Guitawh)


What makes Ace Frehley’s solo album a solid piece of work, as opposed to deeply troubling (Gene Simmons), tolerable (Paul Stanley) or a crime against music (Peter Criss), is the fact that Ace alone seemed to be trying to make a decent record, as opposed to celebrating America, his lovers and Jiminy Cricket (Gene Simmons), phoning in an album he probably didn’t particularly want to do (Paul Stanley) or getting his revenge against the rest of the band, America and the KISS Army (Peter Criss).

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Pidgeon on March 09, 2011, 10:39:33 PM
Not a happy, KISS-loving board: [url]http://www.kissawol.com/Forum/index.php?topic=7924.0[/url] ([url]http://www.kissawol.com/Forum/index.php?topic=7924.0[/url])


Jeez, the design for that forum would have been tacky a decade ago.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on March 10, 2011, 12:17:26 AM
Ace did nothing.


http://www.youtube.com/user/EliteWorksATeBay#p/u/1/rRhmVOzOKuI (http://www.youtube.com/user/EliteWorksATeBay#p/u/1/rRhmVOzOKuI)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on April 11, 2011, 09:59:59 AM
Missed this when it first came out, but a mostly non-creepy discussion between KISS podcast dudes and Lisa Jane Persky about "Phantom of the Park." http://podkisst.com/?p=191 (http://podkisst.com/?p=191)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 08, 2011, 05:37:51 PM
I was wiped out, wiped out, wiped out
I had my lights out, lights out, lights out
Was fallin' right out, right out, right out
Cause I was wiped out, wiped out, wiped out
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Mark in Helsinki on August 09, 2011, 11:55:49 AM
I was wiped out, wiped out, wiped out
I had my lights out, lights out, lights out
Was fallin' right out, right out, right out
Cause I was wiped out, wiped out, wiped out


^^^^That took me to this:

What a mess.

Kiss - New York Groove - Live Largo, MD 1979 Dynasty Tour (UNCUT VERSION) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAX7EuOw52M#)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: placeholder on August 09, 2011, 12:21:47 PM
Forum member buffcoat!

I have just read this entire thread and it is excellent!

I suspect that we maybe have the same love/hate relationship with Kiss.

Have any of you ever seen the Animalize Live Uncensored video? If you love Paul Stanley's stage banter, you should watch it. He is at his best in this thing, with weird toilet language going all over town!

In re to the solo albums:

"Hold Me, Touch Me" sounds like the theme to a particular '80s sitcom. I can't remember which one. Parts of Paul's solo album make me think he was going for a Raspberries/Badfinger power-pop sort of thing, but he falls short. I still like most of it, though.

Peter Criss's album is, as noted, every bit as awful as everyone says it is. The rock band Harvey Milk did a great cover of "Easy Thing" that somehow makes me like that song.

"See You Tonite" is an incredible Beatles cop by Gene. I'd probably rate Paul's solo alb. second--just under Ace's--because I don't like much of Gene's aside from that song. Was glad to see them do it on Unplugged.

Okay, I could prattle all day about Kiss, but I'll spare everyone! I look forward to the rest of the reviews!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: CSW on August 09, 2011, 03:51:00 PM
Forum member buffcoat!

I have just read this entire thread and it is excellent!



Seconded. Thanks!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 11, 2011, 12:34:35 PM
# -4 Ace Frehley (Lead Guitawh)


“Ace did nothing.” – Gene Simmons

“Aack.” – Ace Frehley

What makes Ace Frehley’s solo album a solid piece of work, as opposed to deeply troubling (Gene Simmons), tolerable (Paul Stanley) or a crime against music (Peter Criss), is the fact that Ace alone seemed to be trying to make a decent record, as opposed to celebrating America, his lovers and Jiminy Cricket (Gene Simmons), phoning in an album he probably didn’t particularly want to do (Paul Stanley) or getting his revenge against the rest of the band, America and the KISS Army (Peter Criss).

The rock and roll of the Ace solo album exceeds the rock and roll of the other three solo albums, plus Dynasty, plus Unmasked, plus most of Love Gun.  Of course, when you cut the old time music, the disco, the Crystals covers and the creepy Disney tunes, there are more songs on Ace Frehley than on those five albums combined.  Even though there are only nine songs on Ace Frehley.

Ace’s album, though, would rank pretty low on the scale of KISS albums.  Its success is mostly rooted in the fact that the other albums are so terrible (Peter), weak (Paul), and weird (America’s #1 Reality Show Star).  The rockers don’t rock that much even here.  The best song is a cover of a band no one knows.  The second best song is an instrumental.  “Rocket Ride” from the leftover songs of Alive II is better than anything on here.

“Ace did nothing.”

Was Ace dumb?  This question has plagued KISS scholars for 1.5 generations, along with “Is Paul, Uh, ‘You Know’?”, “Why Peter?”, “Why, Peter?” and the acclaimed “Could an Evil Clone of Gene Simmons Be Worse than the Real Gene?”

No doubt that Ace is something less than the sharpest tool in the shed NOW (c.f. “Aack.”)  It’s impossible to confirm or deny long-heard rumors that Gene Simmons sold Ace’s brain to the devil in exchange for the rights to “The Love Theme from Kiss.”

At his base, Ace is from a place called space and was constantly faced with being replaced.  By a series of talented-but-derelict (Vinnie Vincent), faceless (Mark St. John), acceptable (Bruce Kulick) and kindergarten-aged (Tommy Thayer) roadie-cum-guitarists.

Gene Simmons claims that the solo albums were his and Paul’s concession to Ace and Peter’s frustrations and desire to leave the band.  Leaving aside the fact that “Gene Simmons” and “concessions” only belong in a sentence with the phrase “percentage of the”, one is left to wonder whether Peter (depression, horror, depression) or Ace (confusion, disinterest, confusion) had the stronger feeling about his finished product.

Now, the songs:

“Rip it Out” kicks off the album with a… bang.  One guesses.  I’m not personally that huge a fan of Ace’s singing.  The guitar on this song, as on the rest of the record, is nothing special.

It’s odd for having been written by Ace and “Larry” and “Sue” Kelly, of the famous rock and roll Kellys.  This brother and sister, or husband and wife, or completely unrelated songwriting team, or set of songwriters who did not work together, is something of a mystery.

Its first line, “now I know, you been cheatin’ and lyin’ all the time,” also reminds me how annoying it is that archetypal New Yorker Ace has dropped his g’s through the entire career.

Case in point: “Speedin’ Back to My Baby.”  Co-written with wife/sister/unrelated female/or male/ Jeannette Frehley, this song is boring.  The guitar parts are decent, the rhymes are terrible, it’s a better preview of what’s coming on Unmasked (q.v.).

“Snow Blind” um seems to be about drugs.  It’s anyone’s guess why noted teetotaler Paul “Ace” Frehley would write about such a lurid subject.  The song is ok, it, along with a few other songs on this album, is in the vein of Ace’s “Tough Ace” singing persona.  His other persona is “Confused, Disinterested Ace.”

“Ozone” also features the long O sound found in “Snow Blind.”  Not particularly memorable, and not particularly sensible.  “Ozone” sounds a whole lot like “I’m in Need of Love” to me, so much that I won’t write a separate entry for that song.

The title of “What’s on Your Mind?” shows that, counter to longtime Simmons claims, Ace CAN form a complete sentence and cause it to be written down.  In this case, the more difficult question type of sentence.  Ace often sings to what seems to be a woman with whom he’s romantically involved; a silly idea given that Frehley long ago lost the concept of object permanence.

Supporting the idea of a possible girlfriend/wife, however, is that Ace’s romance songs are extremely, extremely vague and don’t seem to be addressed to a real person.  That rings true to me.

Side 2 of Ace Frehley starts out with a cover a song by British glam rockers Hello.  I’ve listened to their version, and Ace definitely improved on it.  It’s a catchy tune, and sort of fun.  And most people think Ace is fun, with one notable very angry exception, who has his own TV show.  Why hasn’t Ace guest starred on that?  Aack.

New York Groove was later featured on one of those Grand Theft Auto games, in the original version.  It has been a live staple for KISS (during the six stretches when Ace was in the band) and Ace Frehley/Frehley’s Comet.  We don’t mention Frehley’s Comet much around here.

Ace changed the lyric from “with a lady sitting by my side” to either “wicked lady” or (most probably) “naked lady.”  If you lived through the seventies, which I kind of did, you believe this as an anecdote rather than an embellishment.

I already said I wasn’t going to talk about “I’m in Need of Love.”

“Wiped Out” is a dumb take on the surf classic “Wipe Out,” with a Napoleon XIV intro.  I wonder if you get frequent flier miles for detox?  The guitar in “Wiped Out” is pretty cool. 

David Letterman’s drummer/Ace Frehley band(s) collaborator/the guy who played drums on all of Unmasked and all but the crappy Peter Criss song on Dynasty Anton Fig gets co-writing credit for this one.  The drum intro in the surf song is a lot better.  Sorry, Anton.  You were once my favorite Australian.  Ish.  Actually, I just learned that “The Thunder from Down Under” refers to the fact that Anton Fig is South African.  Parse that.

I also found this:

http://au.yamaha.com/en/artists/drums/phil_collings/ (http://au.yamaha.com/en/artists/drums/phil_collings/)

Really?  Your name was Phil Collings, and you decided to become a drummer?  Try to be a little less on the nose next time, buddy.

Anyway, that leaves us with one song, “Fractured Mirror,” which is the second best song on the Frehley album (and thus the second best song on the solo albums).  It gets in your head and stays there.  Ace may or may not be a Nazi-loving drug addict as his former boss says, or he may be a fun-time wastrel Naz… never mind.  He’s a good guitarist with a very interesting style.  Imagine if David Gilmour were born backwards.

Nine songs.  Don’t put yourself out, Ace.

"Ace did nothing."

This completes the solo album reviews.  I’ll do a bonus review of the four crappy songs on KISS KILLERZ sometime in the nearish future!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 11, 2011, 01:33:33 PM
Also, can't believe I hadn't seen this:

Kiss vs Michael Jackson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ-Xg6p_IcM&feature=related#)

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Wes on August 11, 2011, 04:47:02 PM
Tremendous and well worth the wait.

I genuinely like "Snow Blind" and I think I'd actually like KISS on a more honest, non-ironic way if more of what they recorded had that kind of sound, and I have a real soft spot for "New York Groove", which is just jaunty, dumb fun and the best use of Ace's rather unique singing voice (see "Mr. BlackwellDark Light" for the dark side of Singin' Ace).

New York Groove was written by Russ Ballard, who was also in Argent, and also wrote "God Gave Rock 'n Roll To You", whose KISS-related glories I've sung the praises of elsewhere in this thread. I really need to find out more about Ballard, because I have this sense that he was maybe secretly a brilliant trash '70s rock radio writer deserving of more investigation, but I've yet to put in the work to see if that's at all true.

It could never have happened for a variety of Gene-and-Paul-are-monsters-and-let-Ace-get-electrocuted reasons, but an alternate universe KISS where Gene, Ace and Ballard shared songwriting duties to let Paul front the band with one song each album for Peter to sing might have actually been halfway decent.

Leaving aside the fact that “Gene Simmons” and “concessions” only belong in a sentence with the phrase “percentage of the”,
Five stars!

Edit: Ace did nothing on Mr. Blackwell's lead vocals
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: JonFromMaplewood on August 11, 2011, 10:41:21 PM
Thank you, Buffcoat.  This thread is incredible from beginning to end.

I unfortunately bought exactly one KISS album growing up. It was...that's right...the Peter Criss solo album ("You Matter To Me [Yes You Do]" is still stuck in my head three decades later).  That brought my KISS purchases to a quick end.

But now that I am armed with your excellent reviews, I am ready to try again...
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on August 14, 2011, 11:32:15 PM
Great review, buffcoat, even though I admit, I'm still a pretty big fan of the Ace solo record.  Some of the songs I think are pretty great.  Easily one of the best KISS records.  All it took was the other three guys to go away. 
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on August 15, 2011, 11:02:01 AM
I enjoyed this review very much, thanks, but you forgot to mention that the Ace Frehley solo record is some sort of masterpiece. I'm not sure what sort, but I love it.

My favorite thing about Kiss is that they figured out a way to be awesome despite their shortcomings.

-Ajax
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 15, 2011, 12:01:28 PM
Thanks, folks.  I meant for this to be a generally positive review.  Ace is a Grade A goofball, but a pretty loveable one if you somewhat discount the highly self-serving Nazi rumors from G. Simmons AND the fact that he pissed away much of his life with the drinking and the drugs.

Ace Frehley is a highly listenable album.  I'd still put it fairly low in the totality of KISS' 70s work - above the Elder, Dynasty and Unmasked, but below Love Gun.  It's a bit hard because I really don't like Ace's singing at all, but he writes good songs (at least he did up until Dynasty/Unmasked - and I'm not completely convinced he wasn't trying to sabotage the group at that point).

I would recommend, again, that you all put "Torpedo Girl" on a loop and see how long it takes you to pass out at work.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 15, 2011, 05:43:52 PM
Also, this thread is #1 on Google for kiss reevaluation.  Ha!  Take that, Internet.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: ChrisRawk on August 17, 2011, 11:54:13 PM
Ace Frehley is a highly listenable album.  I'd still put it fairly low in the totality of KISS' 70s work - above the Elder, Dynasty and Unmasked, but below Love Gun.  It's a bit hard because I really don't like Ace's singing at all, but he writes good songs (at least he did up until Dynasty/Unmasked - and I'm not completely convinced he wasn't trying to sabotage the group at that point).

I would recommend, again, that you all put "Torpedo Girl" on a loop and see how long it takes you to pass out at work.

That's a good point, I never considered this.  Although everyone's writing on Unmasked was generally pretty terrible.  'Torpedo Girl' in particular really is an endurance test. 

In terms of ranking KISS albums I think I'd actually put the Ace solo disc over Love Gun.  Mainly because Ace didn't do an unnecessary cover of 'Then She Kissed Me'.  But then again 'Wiped Out' is probably just as bad from another direction. 
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 18, 2011, 10:22:09 AM
In terms of ranking KISS albums I think I'd actually put the Ace solo disc over Love Gun.  Mainly because Ace didn't do an unnecessary cover of 'Then She Kissed Me'.  But then again 'Wiped Out' is probably just as bad from another direction.

This retrospective has convinced me that "Then She Kissed Me" is the beginning of the end.  Rock and Roll Over is uneven, but there's nothing on there that says, "this band is over."  Love Gun has several standout tracks (I'm partial to "Love Gun," "I Stole Your Love," and "Almost Human"), but self-indulgence was what was going to destroy KISS.

So you go from "Then She Kissed Me" to Side 4 of Alive II, where they don't play on each other's songs.  Then the solo albums - maybe the most self-indulgent thing a rock group has ever done.  Ever.  Even counting all those concept albums.  Then you have Dynasty, which is just an absolute damn mess (and the album that these reviews most changed my opinion about).

Then you have EuroPop (or whatever) on Unmasked.  Then you have The Elder, fueled by Bob Ezrin's cocaine addiction.  The Elder is terrible, and is rightly reviled as one of the worst missteps in rock history, but people forget that it was already over at that point.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: dave from knoxville on August 18, 2011, 12:13:16 PM
Would it be derivative of me to try the same sort of project with Blue Oyster Cult? Or for Omar to do King's X!? (yummy)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 18, 2011, 05:24:40 PM
Would it be derivative of me to try the same sort of project with Blue Oyster Cult? Or for Omar to do King's X!? (yummy)

Go ahead, DfK.  Not a fan of BOC, and don't know King's X, but I'll give them a read.

If I were going to do another band, I would probably do another makeup band with similar music.  Maybe you've heard of them?  They're called "The Cure."  I've always been curious as to the real story of Robert "Fat Bob" Smith.  Plus the arcs, children, the arcs!

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Matt on August 18, 2011, 09:33:23 PM
Wanted to add to the love for this thread. I just reread the entire thing, and it's easily one of the very best things to ever grace the Internet.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: placeholder on August 19, 2011, 11:18:46 AM
Would it be derivative of me to try the same sort of project with Blue Oyster Cult? Or for Omar to do King's X!? (yummy)

Go ahead, DfK.  Not a fan of BOC, and don't know King's X, but I'll give them a read.

If I were going to do another band, I would probably do another makeup band with similar music.  Maybe you've heard of them?  They're called "The Cure."  I've always been curious as to the real story of Robert "Fat Bob" Smith.  Plus the arcs, children, the arcs!

Dave from Knoxville! Buffcoat!

I am a pretty big BOC fan (up through Fire of Unknown Origin) and a super huge Cure fan (excepting 4:13 Dream!), and would love to hear you dudes' takes on these bands!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 19, 2011, 12:10:37 PM
Would it be derivative of me to try the same sort of project with Blue Oyster Cult? Or for Omar to do King's X!? (yummy)

Go ahead, DfK.  Not a fan of BOC, and don't know King's X, but I'll give them a read.

If I were going to do another band, I would probably do another makeup band with similar music.  Maybe you've heard of them?  They're called "The Cure."  I've always been curious as to the real story of Robert "Fat Bob" Smith.  Plus the arcs, children, the arcs!

Dave from Knoxville! Buffcoat!

I am a pretty big BOC fan (up through Fire of Unknown Origin) and a super huge Cure fan (excepting 4:13 Dream!), and would love to hear you dudes' takes on these bands!



I have to tell you, I will never listen to Wild Mood Swings again.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: placeholder on August 19, 2011, 12:58:37 PM
I have to tell you, I will never listen to Wild Mood Swings again.

I like about half of it, but I don't blame you.  It's not a very good album, but I guess the songs I like redeem it for me.

"Strange Attraction" by itself is pretty offputting!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 19, 2011, 02:51:41 PM
I have to tell you, I will never listen to Wild Mood Swings again.

I like about half of it, but I don't blame you.  It's not a very good album, but I guess the songs I like redeem it for me.

"Strange Attraction" by itself is pretty offputting!


I know what my top 3 Cure albums would be - what would yours be, placeholder?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: placeholder on August 19, 2011, 03:42:08 PM
I have to tell you, I will never listen to Wild Mood Swings again.

I like about half of it, but I don't blame you.  It's not a very good album, but I guess the songs I like redeem it for me.

"Strange Attraction" by itself is pretty offputting!


I know what my top 3 Cure albums would be - what would yours be, placeholder?

My top three in order:

1. Pornography
2. Faith
3. Seventeen Seconds

Either Disintegration or The Top would be next.

What are yours, if you don't want to save it for your album-by-album reviews?

Also, for kicks and because I like making lists, my top three Kiss recs:

1. Rock and Roll Over
2. Hotter Than Hell
3. Love Gun

Either Creatures of the Night or Kiss would be next.

And for BOC:

1. Secret Treaties
2. Tyranny and Mutation
3. Blue Oyster Cult

Lists!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 19, 2011, 09:59:38 PM
Definitely saving it in case I do the reviews, but two of my top three are in your top 5.

The thing that makes KISS unique, though, is that all four members are remarkable and completely differentiated (part by the solo albums, a lot by the individualized makeup).  What on earth am I going to say about Porl "Paul" Thompson and Laurence Tolhurst?

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: placeholder on August 20, 2011, 07:21:45 PM
What on earth am I going to say about Porl "Paul" Thompson and Laurence Tolhurst?

Umm...

1. Played with Plant and Page, went bald, got weird head tattoos.
2. Was fond of the drink.

That's all I've got!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 20, 2011, 08:07:48 PM
I do like the idea that Lol sued the band he was still a member of.  Try to imagine those band meetings.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 20, 2011, 08:10:15 PM
Wanted to add to the love for this thread. I just reread the entire thing, and it's easily one of the very best things to ever grace the Internet.


Thanks, Matt.  I do a lot of writing in my life, but I think this thread is my favorite thing that I've contributed to in the past few years.  And I like reading other people's thoughts about this hilariously unserious subject.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: placeholder on August 23, 2011, 06:05:04 PM
God help me, I bought a used copy of Sonic Boom out of a $2 bin last weekend.

The only other post-Creatures of the Night Kiss album I've ever owned (or heard all the way through) was Crazy Nights, which I got on cassette when it came out.  I was eight years old.  Can't remember most of the songs on it now.

In any case, Sonic Boom actually isn't completely embarrassing if you have a tolerance for Kiss.  It's largely more in line with their '70s stuff, although one atrocious song sounds a lot like "Nothin' But a Good Time" by Poison.  Gene's lyrics on this album seem more gross than usual.

Eric Singer and Roger Zerkel each sing a song. They're not terrible.

This thing also came with a live DVD and that CD where the current Kiss dudes rerecorded a bunch of old songs.

I'd rate it a 6 out of 10.  I don't feel ripped off for having spent $2 on a used copy.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: cavorting with nudists on August 23, 2011, 06:11:05 PM
I don't feel ripped off for having spent $2 on a used copy.

I really, really love this sentence.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 23, 2011, 06:18:33 PM
... that CD where the current Kiss dudes rerecorded a bunch of old songs.


My one-word review of Double Platinum, which I assume you're referring to here*, is "why?" 


Every single change they made on that record is pointless and silly.  I assume it has something to do with Gene being able to make more money.






* Not really.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on August 23, 2011, 06:25:50 PM
God help me, I bought a used copy of Sonic Boom out of a $2 bin last weekend.

I'd rate it a 6 out of 10.  I don't feel ripped off for having spent $2 on a used copy.

Yeah Sonic Boom!

A friend got me Sonic Boom for my birthday. I couldn't make it all the way through, but put it on my digital music playing device anyway.

Recently I've been enjoying the "shuffle" feature of my device, and sure enough from time to time a song will come on that doesn't sound too different from all the other songs on there, and I'll find myself singing along and wondering what the hell it is and of course it's something from Sonic Boom.

I don't like how that record is mixed so high though, it's way louder than all the other stuff on my device, but yeah, a pretty good record! 6/10 is about right. It helps if you don't think about it being Kiss.

-Ajax
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 05, 2012, 07:40:57 PM
Courtesy of the Best Show's radio demon:

My Dinner with Paul (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zKInkV5U34&feature=related#)

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 11, 2012, 01:31:00 PM
Tired of these, but:

"Anyone can capture a dwarf and dye its hair, but it's not Mr. Peter Criss."

Kiss meets the Fuhrer of the Reich (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHudEeQ51J4#)

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 11, 2012, 01:37:43 PM
Ha!  I also figured out that I somehow skipped the Gene solo album, so I'll be writing that one up soon.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: placeholder on February 03, 2012, 08:48:55 AM
Ha!  I also figured out that I somehow skipped the Gene solo album, so I'll be writing that one up soon.

That's a pretty embarrassing record, but I'll be damned if "See You Tonite" isn't great.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on February 03, 2012, 11:42:02 PM
Ha!  I also figured out that I somehow skipped the Gene solo album, so I'll be writing that one up soon.

That's a pretty embarrassing record, but I'll be damned if "See You Tonite" isn't great.

You like the solo version better than the Rock and Roll Over version?  Peter Criss had some choice background harmonies on R&RO.  Gene Simmons has the ladies.

I consider "Living in Sin" to be one of the best songs he ever recorded.

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Mark in Helsinki on February 06, 2012, 08:40:00 AM
Gene Simmons NPR Interview FULL Part 1 of 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXMpo6rrUcI#)

What a charming guy Gene is.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on February 06, 2012, 01:57:33 PM
As an aside, how many KISS interview playbacks begin with "... aaand roll all night"?

Just like on the intro to Detroit Rock City.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: placeholder on February 16, 2012, 02:45:59 PM
Ha!  I also figured out that I somehow skipped the Gene solo album, so I'll be writing that one up soon.

That's a pretty embarrassing record, but I'll be damned if "See You Tonite" isn't great.

You like the solo version better than the Rock and Roll Over version?

I'm talking about "See You Tonite."

You're thinking of "See You in Your Dreams," son.  I agree that the Rock and Roll Over version is better!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on February 17, 2012, 02:34:36 AM
Ha!  I also figured out that I somehow skipped the Gene solo album, so I'll be writing that one up soon.

That's a pretty embarrassing record, but I'll be damned if "See You Tonite" isn't great.

You like the solo version better than the Rock and Roll Over version?

I'm talking about "See You Tonite."

You're thinking of "See You in Your Dreams," son.  I agree that the Rock and Roll Over version is better!


You don't call me son I call you...

Yeah.  Funny, I'm even going to mention the confusing similarity of titles in the review.  When I get round to it.

Radioactive came up on iTunes the other day... that's not a bad pop/rock song.  It was the single, right?  Without all the hosanna stuff.

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: placeholder on February 17, 2012, 11:23:16 AM
Radioactive came up on iTunes the other day... that's not a bad pop/rock song.  It was the single, right?  Without all the hosanna stuff.

Pretty sure you're right about it being the single.  I know it was the Gene solo song they played on the Dynasty tour.

Good song!

Can't wait for the alb review!

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 28, 2012, 09:32:11 AM
Now I have 5,000 posts and this is still my favorite thread.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on October 08, 2012, 01:28:01 PM
Holy Smokes - Long excerpt from upcoming Peter Criss memoir:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-book-excerpt-peter-criss-makeup-to-breakup-my-life-in-and-out-of-kiss-20121008 (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-book-excerpt-peter-criss-makeup-to-breakup-my-life-in-and-out-of-kiss-20121008)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on October 08, 2012, 06:02:36 PM
Holy Smokes - Long excerpt from upcoming Peter Criss memoir:

[url]http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-book-excerpt-peter-criss-makeup-to-breakup-my-life-in-and-out-of-kiss-20121008[/url] ([url]http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-book-excerpt-peter-criss-makeup-to-breakup-my-life-in-and-out-of-kiss-20121008[/url])


Wow, this look great. Is Paul the only one who hasn't written a memoir yet?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on October 08, 2012, 10:33:31 PM
Holy Smokes - Long excerpt from upcoming Peter Criss memoir:

[url]http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-book-excerpt-peter-criss-makeup-to-breakup-my-life-in-and-out-of-kiss-20121008[/url] ([url]http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-book-excerpt-peter-criss-makeup-to-breakup-my-life-in-and-out-of-kiss-20121008[/url])


Wow, this look great. Is Paul the only one who hasn't written a memoir yet?


Eric and Tommy?

If you string together all of Stanley's stage banter it reads like a very repetitive autobiography.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on October 22, 2012, 10:11:13 AM
Jon Wurster's Facebook excerpts from the Peter Criss book have been hilarious.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: gravy boat on October 22, 2012, 01:36:04 PM
Jon Wurster's Facebook excerpts from the Peter Criss book have been hilarious.

Holy cow. Those are awesome.  I had the same reaction as a lot of people--can't be real.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on February 25, 2013, 02:53:40 PM
All the Dunkin' Donuts commercials in the world can't save Mr. Frehley from himself:

http://www.lohud.com/article/20130224/NEWS/302240018 (http://www.lohud.com/article/20130224/NEWS/302240018)

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: daveB from Oakland on April 19, 2013, 04:35:12 PM
Buff, can you review this?

https://soundcloud.com/christopher-armes/45-minutes-of-paul-stanley

Awwllllraaiiggggghttt!!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on April 19, 2013, 08:16:50 PM
Buff, can you review this?

[url]https://soundcloud.com/christopher-armes/45-minutes-of-paul-stanley[/url] ([url]https://soundcloud.com/christopher-armes/45-minutes-of-paul-stanley[/url])

Awwllllraaiiggggghttt!!


DaveB: We've discussed these wonderful recordings in a couple of places, including here:

http://friendsoftom.com/forum/index.php/topic,5126.msg107071.html#msg107071 (http://friendsoftom.com/forum/index.php/topic,5126.msg107071.html#msg107071)

My take is that the first set, People, Let Me Get this Off My Chest is delightful - if a bit repetitive. Paul loves his audience, he wants to tell them how grateful he is that he can spend his fabulous life making their miserable lives a crumb better, he's nailing his song intros ("Cold Gin," "Love Gun"), he's celebrating America.

Here's the full version of that: https://soundcloud.com/thatericalper/sets/people-let-me-get-this-off-my (https://soundcloud.com/thatericalper/sets/people-let-me-get-this-off-my)

The second collection, Honey, That Ain't No Pistol is much darker and angrier. A rage-fueled Stanley takes on imaginary local reporters who ask the same questions in city after city, unnamed critics, enemies of America and other musicians. Don't listen to this one in the dark.

http://grooveshark.com/#/album/Honey+That+Ain+t+No+Pistol/6520795 (http://grooveshark.com/#/album/Honey+That+Ain+t+No+Pistol/6520795)


If you're in a hurry, this is perfect!

Paul Stanley's (KISS) Single Greatest Stage Rap (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28DugXh5k6o#ws)


And here it gets darker again:

Paul Stanley gets mad at a guy with a laser (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwXi02hdTJk#)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mcphee from the forum on October 30, 2013, 08:07:13 PM
I guess "soon" means something else to buffcoat.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on October 30, 2013, 10:10:43 PM
I guess "soon" means something else to buffcoat.

I was waiting for you to come back!

Seriously, finishing the Gene write-up is on my *written goals for 2013.* It's going to happen soon*.







* By the dictionary definition of soon this time, not "geologically speaking, soon" as I meant when I said it last time..
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on November 07, 2013, 11:41:47 PM
While you wait, or don't, here's this. If you watch this most of the way through, you'll begin to understand why Gene hates Ace so much.


+++ The Best Ace Frehley Laugh Collection +++ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHDrEJoAFZw#)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Kormodd on November 08, 2013, 12:01:37 AM
That's a pretty cool laugh actually. Gene can take a hike.

Also, Ace Frehley's appearance on the Morton Downey Jr. Show is on YouTube and is worth watching.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on November 25, 2013, 08:05:41 PM

Since this is my final* review, I wanted to give a little insight into how your reviewer actually feels about KISS. It's a complex relationship. Some of my first memories about cool music involve my slightly older neighbors dressing up as KISS for Halloween. The coolest kid in my neighborhood dressed as Peter Criss, so for a long time I thought he was the coolest one. Hoo boy, it would be difficult to be more wrong than that; however, in my defense, I was like 27 5 years old.

* Maybe not.

That said, what's so fascinating about the solo albums is that all four of the original members of KISS are terrible people, but they are each so UNIQUELY terrible that they are fascinating. KISS has always sort of divided the world into these four types or characters (S&W skewered this brilliantly in the Creature from Pout call, where he described how the Creature, Casanova, Cougar and Wizard represented all aspects of the sexual universe). I think that division works _if you say that actual KISS circumscribes the world of self-centered assholes._ You have the whiny one, the vacant one, the wholly self-centered one and the greedy one. Awesome!

I genuinely enjoy some of the music from their first six studio albums and first two live albums plus Creatures of the Night. Everything since has been awful. I can't separate whether I like the early stuff because it's any good or because of nostalgia - in the end, I think it doesn't matter all that much.

# -2 Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons really should have made a good album with Gene Simmons, but Gene Simmons is definitely not the best work of Gene Simmons. At the time, critics seemed to rank Gene's album #2, behind Peter Ace, but I think it's a clear #3 behind Paul's KISS-iest of the solo albums. It was the best-selling of the four simultaneous, disastrous decisions that were the KISS solo albums. Probably because people thought it was a Jiminy Cricket record. More on that later.

This album features heavy hitters, late 70s' style. it's produced by Sean Delaney, late great manager/roadie/co-writer of "Mr. Speed" (which we thank him for). Gene wasn't going to be out-famous-friended by the other members of KISS, who mostly went for session musicians, or, in the case of Peter, people he found in alleyways near the studio or his home. This (second?) set including Steve Lukather, one presumes. Delaney almost certainly tracked these people down and pleaded with them to contribute to this record. We thank him less for that.

Several of the famous ladies on here dated Gene and one supposes ended up in his super-gross book of sad Polaroids. Despite the fact that most of the ladies he's publicly dated over the years are considered attractive by people, Gene famously doesn't care where a lady ranks on that scale as long as he gets to, uh, you know. So is Cher in his book next to a waitress from the '78 Des Moines show? Is Diana Ross depicted on page 731 underneath the lady from the Poughkeepsie airport bathroom? Enquiring minds (don't) want to know.

Famous people and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter aside, the problem with Gene Simmons (and, perhaps in a larger sense, the problem with Gene Simmons) is that the songs aren't there. This is not a terrible record, like the one that Ace Peter did, but it's pretty bad compared to other KISS records. Part of the problem, maybe, is that Gene played guitar and keyboards rather than bass. Mostly the problem is that, apparently, all that stood between Gene and constant rock-and-roll schmaltz was the thin line of 1) Ace Frehley's ability to show up and 2) Paul's hummingbird-like focus.


The start of "Radioactive," the single, is one of the strangest in the entire KISS and KISS-related catalog. It kicks off with with Gene's deep and scary laugh, distorted by effects, which were rare on non-Bob-Ezrin produced KISS albums. Then there's *Janis Ian* of ("At Seventeen" fame) singing "Hosanna" while Gene speaks Hebrew in the same scary voice. People would ask Bill Aucoin about whether Gene was into the occult, and Bill would say "Gene has his own set of beliefs." He wasn't trying to hide that Gene was a devil worshipper; rather, he was trying to hide that he was *Jewish*. Thumbs down, 70s.

What follows all this chanting and Ian-ery is an ok 70s pop/hard (ish) rock song with guitar played by *Aerosmith's Joe Perry*.  I hope that this half of "the Toxic Twins" was out of his mind on smack when he agreed to play this limp number. Oh yeah, and *Bob Seger* is doing the backup vocals. Too bad Gene forgot to write any music or lyrics for his famous friends on his only solo single.

It's fair to point out here that Gene claims to write "100 songs per album." Which is why KISS is up there with Radiohead in terms of album-quality B-sides. (For the non-KISS-knowledgeable, KISS does not "do" B-Sides - they just put a lesser-known album track on the reverse).

The second track, "Burning Up With Fever," starts with a chunky acoustic guitar being played by someone with oversized fingers. A lot more background singing on this one. The lyrics are dumb again. For "summ" reason, Donna Summer (see what I did there?) is on this track. Hey, Peter almost had Paul Lynde. (No, he didn't.) This is the one with Jeff Baxter. I don't get it. I like how she used a Tyne Daly lookalike in the "She Works Hard for the Money" video. You know, Ms. Summer passed on.

An aside, since this is the last review: it creeped me out that Peter Criss' voice in KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park sounded exactly like the guy who did Zan's voice from the Wonder Twins. This was before I understood the concept of "dubbing." And especially "had to be dubbed because Peter was incapable of pronouncing words at that point."

Does it make sense to have two songs that start with "See You" on your solo album? You bet it does…n't, but you're going to get the first one here. Gene Simmons' extraordinary love for the Beatles (wait, I read an interview where he talked about loving "how the girls screamed for the Beatles" but hating their music. Could it be that Gene is not entirely consistent in his claims?) is well documented (see previous parenthetical remark).

Start again.

"See You Tonite" is Gene's homage to the Beatles, and presages the texting era with an unnecessary word shortening. Apparently, Gene asked John and Paul (McCartney, not Stanley) to sing the background vocals on this one. Because they are known for great songwriting and Gene is known for… not, they declined. So Mr. Simmons got the next best thing, if by next best thing I mean the two guys who *played* John and Paul in the touring company of Beatlemania. Which, of course, I do not. This song is no good at all.

I do like some songs on this record, really.

But not this one, either. Gene rolls out his fourth lousy song in a row (I paid $20 for the picture disc at the State Fairgrounds flea market in 1984 - you ripped me off, music booth guy!) The song is "Tunnel of Love." Gene wants you (ladies) to let him "visit your…" Do I have to say it? Fine. "tunnel of love." Whatever could you mean, Mr. Simmons? More female backing vocals. Even, I wanna say, a little crappier this time. Joe Perry is on guitar, and for chrissake Peg Bundy is leading the background choir. "You'll jump off the roof if I say" - what kind of lyric is that?

Helen Reddy took time off from thinking about "I Am Woman" to back up a guy singing about "True Confessions." Oh, Helen. At least she's on the first decent song on the album. I like her singing here. The lyrics are dumb, but this one is better than the ones that came before, and it's (slightly) less sexist than most of Gene's writing. I will tell you that if you look at the songmeanings.com page for "True Confessions," you'll find exactly zero comments opining on what the Demon was talking about. That works.

Here comes the best song on the album. "Living in Sin" features medium-term Simmons squeeze Cher, or as 70s audiences knew her, "CHER!" I believe that Chastity (pre-Chaz, pre-Oprah) Bono is on this one, as well as Bob Seger again. The Internet tells me that Gene also made an appearance on a Cher song - unfortunately, not "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves." I checked. This song is an outtake from a 70s porn soundtrack - at least it would be if porn producers had any music budget. Gene grunts and leers his way through the whole track. Cher calls and leaves a message on his answering machine (they had those in '78?). That and his breathy intro are the only reasons to listen to this album twice, unless you're a longtime Lon Chaney, Sr. devotee.

The chorus is "I'm Living in Sin / At the Holiday Inn. This brings up several questions for me:

1. Did the rock star lifestyle of the period center around the Holiday Inn? Gene is noted for his, uh, money focus and frugality, but were Ace and Peter really trashing Holiday Inns? If so, Paul Stanley's high-handing of his drunk, stupid, blue-collar-miserable audience rings a bit more hollow than it did. Which was a lot.
2. What percentage of Gene Simmons-penned KISS songs are about groupies? Is it 90? I think it's 90.
3. Finally, why, oh why, did some late-70s Don Draper not snap this one up for Holiday Inn commercials?

"Always Near You/Nowhere to Hide" belongs on the lite side of lite 70s M.O.R. radio. If this song came on when I was in my dentist's chair, I'd be waiting for something heavier, like Neil Sedaka, to come on. The lyrics are creepy, but not in the usual Gene creepy way. More like a stalker than someone who would take photos of you *with your permission and cooperation.* Come on, ladies. I thought Cher had more self-respect than that.*

*No I did not.

"Man of a Thousand Faces" answers the age-old question, "When is a 70s glam/dumb rocker finally going to write and record a tribute to Lon Chaney, Sr.?!" with "1978," and the question "Why not?" with "Just listen to this terrible song." Gene identified with Chaney, despite only having the two faces himself. Does plastic surgery count as an additional face?

The Internet tells me this was written for "Dressed to Kill." A certain indie drummer believes that "Ladies in Waiting" is the worst KISS song. Not even close, you comic genius you. Off the top of my head, the cheap-sex lyrics of "Ladies in Waiting" beat the lyrics to every single Ace Frehley song, with "Torpedo Girl" as the nadir. "Ladies in Waiting" might be the sleaziest lyric Gene penned pre-Creatures of the Night, and that's an accomplishment. Now where was I? Oh, yeah. I hate "Man of a Thousand Faces."

"Mr. Make Believe" is garbage, and the worst song on a not-very-good album. It's really close in tenor to "Man…," which makes me wonder why he put them next to each other on the album. Now, if Peter Criss had recorded the *exact same song* two takes in a row and placed them back-to-back on *his* album, I wouldn't question it for a second ("Lesh put 'I Can't Stop the Rain' as 9 and, uhhhhhhh, 'I Can't Stop the Rain' as 10." "Ok, Peter.") But Simmons is notably braggy about not indulging in exactly one rock and roll cliche, though he makes up for it with his other addiction.

In the all-time-unnecessary-remake category, we have "See You in Your Dreams Tonight" (why not "Tonite"? Weird decisions were made for this album). Gene was reportedly displeased with the way this turned out on Rock and Roll Over, so he remade it, substituting Katey Segal and other ladies for Paul and Peter and maybe Ace. (Who knows whether Ace sang backup on anything? Hint: not Ace. Imagine being a lawyer and having Ace for a client. I understand why Gene hated him so much. I ain't sayin' I agree with it, but I understand it). Rick Nielsen, the permanently hatted dude from Cheap Trick plays guitar here. The other dudes in bands who always wear hats "for some reason" (I'm talking to you, "The Edge") probably owe him royalties, but that doesn't make him a better fit for a KISS song than Ace Frehley.

The last song is the least explicable song ever to appear on a KISS record of any kind, and I already reviewed Peter's solo album (c.f. "Tossin' and Turnin').  "When You Wish Upon a Star" is the kind of Disney magic that Disney has always hated. I literally* could not relisten to this number for this review. I can only go so far. But trust me, it's awful.

* Literally.

That's all, folks. Unless I decide to go back and do the four KILLERZ songs. Which I might do.

Thanks for reading!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Kormodd on November 25, 2013, 09:10:06 PM
Great post. I'm not the biggest KISS fan, but I'm ashamed that I didn't know such an album of highly erotic Polaroids existed. I'm sure KISS fans -- and enthusiasts of Gene Simmons's sex life -- are ecstatic over the thought of its possible release someday.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on November 25, 2013, 10:47:13 PM
Great post. I'm not the biggest KISS fan, but I'm ashamed that I didn't know such an album of highly erotic Polaroids existed. I'm sure KISS fans -- and enthusiasts of Gene Simmons's sex life -- are ecstatic over the thought of its possible release someday.

I concur! BRAVO!!! I am a huge KISS fan but have steadfastly refused to listen to the solo LP'S (save Ace's, which is great IMHO) for fear that they will kill the magic. This writeup is very satisfying to read, the next best thing to a listen? I would have bought them but the solo LP's are now fetching a steep price (if you can believe that!) and by steep I mean $10 which is too much for a shitty record that everybody knows is shitty and that shipped a billion copies (that never sold). These should be the cheapest of the cheap records but they are not! Any James Taylor record can be bought for $1 and is heads and shoulders better than these solo LPs but you gotta pay $10! No thanks!

-AG
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: cavorting with nudists on November 25, 2013, 11:13:32 PM
Any James Taylor record ... is heads and shoulders better than these solo LPs

I have less than zero use for KISS collectively or for the members individually, but this has got to be crazy talk.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on November 25, 2013, 11:19:31 PM
Great post. I'm not the biggest KISS fan, but I'm ashamed that I didn't know such an album of highly erotic Polaroids existed. I'm sure KISS fans -- and enthusiasts of Gene Simmons's sex life -- are ecstatic over the thought of its possible release someday.

I concur! BRAVO!!! I am a huge KISS fan but have steadfastly refused to listen to the solo LP'S (save Ace's, which is great IMHO) for fear that they will kill the magic. This writeup is very satisfying to read, the next best thing to a listen? I would have bought them but the solo LP's are now fetching a steep price (if you can believe that!) and by steep I mean $10 which is too much for a shitty record that everybody knows is shitty and that shipped a billion copies (that never sold). These should be the cheapest of the cheap records but they are not! Any James Taylor record can be bought for $1 and is heads and shoulders better than these solo LPs but you gotta pay $10! No thanks!

-AG


765,000 copies of Peter Criss are buried next to surplus E.T. Atari cartridges in a New Mexico landfill.  As will, someday, be Peter Criss.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Josh on November 26, 2013, 09:04:31 AM
BRAVO B'COAT!

This thread is an unmitigated triumph. Thank you, congratulations, and god bless. I will be rereading from post #1 soon in celebration.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Bryan on November 26, 2013, 10:40:31 AM
I doff my cap to you, buffcoat. It's this kind of thing that makes this board so special. (See also: the Judging Presidents Based Solely on Their Portraits (http://friendsoftom.com/forum/index.php/topic,4478.msg90909.html#msg90909) thread.) Remarkable work!
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: wagner on November 26, 2013, 03:39:55 PM
buffcoat, I read this whole thing today. Great work. I still think the 4 solo albums deal would have saved the Beatles. Thanks for this.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on April 01, 2014, 10:51:03 PM
Paul & Gene take on "the pencil pushers" at the R&R Hall of Fame:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/03/31/kiss-feels-dissed-by-rock-hall-of-fame-induction-process/7100607/ (http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/03/31/kiss-feels-dissed-by-rock-hall-of-fame-induction-process/7100607/)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Kormodd on April 02, 2014, 06:10:46 PM
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/kiss-forever-40-years-of-feuds-and-fury-20140326 (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/kiss-forever-40-years-of-feuds-and-fury-20140326)

Quote
As always, his poodle-textured black hair hangs to his shoulders, in a style one comedian suggested was inspired by Planet of the Apes. "This is all me – a lot of spray," he says, fondling the inert fur. "You're welcome to play around with it."


Quote
Simmons, meanwhile, says that Frehley and Criss "no longer deserve to wear the paint." "The makeup is earned," he adds. "Just being there at the beginning is not enough. You know, quite honestly, my hand to God? I would have preferred the same lineup all these years. But if I fuck up, I should be tossed out. And if you blow it for yourself, it's your fault. You can't blame your band members. 'Oh, look what happened to me. Oh, poor me.' Look at my little violin. I have no sympathy."


Quote
There were immediate signs of personality differences: Over a slice of pizza at their first meeting, Criss blurted out that he had a nine-inch penis, a piece of information that his colleagues didn't know how to process.


Quote
"Always business," Simmons says. "I hardly have any friends. Friendship is overrated."


Quote
Cyrus is jittery, outrageously friendly, all leather, denim and hair, with a thick Southern accent. He is star-struck by Simmons, though the feeling doesn't seem to be mutual. "This is the most overwhelming contribution to society," he says, gazing in awe at the knickknacks. "I stood in line in Huntington, West Virginia, to see you!"

Back by the Kaskets, Cyrus is talking about getting older, and mentions a former hard-partying lifestyle that put "heavy mileage" on him.

"But that was your choice," Simmons says. "You chose to do that, yes?"

"Well," Cyrus says, gearing up to unleash some tragic tales, "I had a rough time growing up."

Simmons cuts him off. "So did I," he says. "My mother was in a Nazi concentration camp. I came to America when I was eight years old, and I didn't speak a word of English."


Quote
It's peaceful here, though somewhere inside are a bunch of guns in case he has to shoot intruders. ("If you threaten me, I will take you out," says Simmons. "I welcome anybody who dares go over those gates.")


Quote
But they both bristled at their salaried status, and Criss was horrified when Frehley drunkenly confessed that the guitarist was making $10,000 more per night. Criss took to drawing a single tear on his cat makeup as the tours wound down.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on April 03, 2014, 11:19:20 PM
I Have No Sympathy is pretty much the Simmons manifesto writ large.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Kormodd on April 04, 2014, 07:07:23 AM
Simmons carries the world's smallest violin with him at all times.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Josh on April 10, 2014, 01:03:49 PM
jesus http://grantland.com/chuck-klosterman-kiss-hall-of-fame/ (http://grantland.com/chuck-klosterman-kiss-hall-of-fame/)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on April 11, 2014, 12:53:04 PM
. .the solo LP's are now fetching a steep price (if you can believe that!) and by steep I mean $10 which is too much for a shitty record that everybody knows is shitty and that shipped a billion copies (that never sold). These should be the cheapest of the cheap records but they are not!
-AG

I only paid full price for the Gene and Ace records when they came out. A year after they came out, there were hundreds (thousands?) of copies of the Paul and Peter records in the cut-outs at my local discount store for $1 each. I like a few songs on Paul's record, but only bought the Peter record to complete the poster mural (each record had an illustrated poster that connected to the other three posters).
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on April 11, 2014, 02:02:50 PM
jesus [url]http://grantland.com/chuck-klosterman-kiss-hall-of-fame/[/url] ([url]http://grantland.com/chuck-klosterman-kiss-hall-of-fame/[/url])


Chuck and I agree on a number of points, most especially the unbelievable execrabality of "Torpedo Girl."

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Carver on April 12, 2014, 10:16:48 PM
Adding my kudos on the awesome posts here - great stuff! 

Also, all the KISS songs just put up over at the Fallon site are worth checking out- nice close footage of the original line-up doing their thing. 
Their performance of Black Diamond from that set sums up IMO what's great and what's terrible about KISS.  Paul Stanley still fumbles through that soft picking guitar intro. like a 16 year old with his first tab book.  Then he stops like 5 times to remind the audience "doesn't that sound good!"  But once they kick in, whoo-boy that's mighty fine rockin'.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: amiright?? on April 13, 2014, 11:45:37 PM
What's the link to this video?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Carver on April 14, 2014, 07:42:16 PM
KISS - Black Diamond - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - 11/04/2014 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLXiviRGpHo#)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: amiright?? on April 25, 2014, 04:41:44 PM
Thanks!!


Serious question though: Why would KISS replace Peter Criss on drums on albums and in the studio, but still bring him out on tour with them? Why not just dump him for Anton Fig or whatever?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on April 25, 2014, 10:16:32 PM
The fans want what they want, and what they want is not good music. After all, they're at a KISS concert.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: amiright?? on April 28, 2014, 12:35:31 PM
But why worry about "good" music even on the disc?
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on April 28, 2014, 03:53:14 PM
But why worry about "good" music even on the disc?

As for the studio, he *would* not play sometimes. All the other times he *could* not play. During the concerts, his errors were less noticeable and I think they would sometimes have a second drummer.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on December 22, 2014, 02:08:18 PM
http://www.cherrybombed.com/2012/04/ace-frehley-paul-stanley-has-the-lowest-iq-of-all-the-members-of-kiss/ (http://www.cherrybombed.com/2012/04/ace-frehley-paul-stanley-has-the-lowest-iq-of-all-the-members-of-kiss/)

Quote
"Kiss once took an IQ test, and I was on top. I guess my brain was working good that morning – thank God for good genes. I think Paul got the lowest score. No, that didn’t surprise me. A frontman doesn’t have to be a genius, he just has to have the right moves."


Quote
Ace says he has an IQ of 163, and most people fall between the 70-130 range, which begs the question, why isn’t Ace one of the lifetime members of Mensa? But it’s not like I don’t agree with him. Especially after Stanley’s comments about Patti Smith earlier this week. Because anyone hates on Patti Smith is stupid. Duh. Unfortunately, just as I was applauding Frehey’s timely Stanley diss, Ace went on to detail his concern for the the upcoming End of the World Day on December 12th, 2012:


Quote
"The sun has an 11-year cycle and it’s coming towards an end, so they’re expecting more sun-spot activity, solar winds and solar flares that could affect computers and power grids. Some planets are aligning, from what I understand, so that could cause an earthquake and severe weather. So a lot of crazy of things could happen."
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: handamputation on January 14, 2015, 03:17:14 PM
Fantastic thread, buffcoat!

Thanks for making my workday just a bit less sucky.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 15, 2015, 01:59:26 PM
Thanks, handamp, I'm glad you like it.

It's probably my favorite thing I've ever been a part of on the Internet. The four (original) members of KISS are all so terrible, but each in their own, most fascinating of ways.

At some point I'll review the four songs on KILLERZ.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Mike Desert on January 15, 2015, 02:52:40 PM
6 year old me approves of this thread

(http://i60.tinypic.com/257gker.jpg)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 15, 2015, 03:39:22 PM
My introduction to KISS was when my neighbor dressed up as Peter Criss (I was a couple of years too young). Peter was consequently my favorite until I learned about his uh personality.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Carver on January 16, 2015, 11:37:12 AM
It's like he was banking all these years that "Extreme Petulance" might become a professional sport and then he would be world champion.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 13, 2016, 07:26:36 AM
Man, they all hated Peter:

Peter Criss is a miserable stupid untalented asshole (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUibOVjlSn4#)

Peter Criss is a stupid tonedeaf cocaine junkie loser (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiRXBxTZxXM#)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on April 06, 2016, 02:59:55 PM
I would just like to say that this is my 6000th post and I am using it to push this thread to the top.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: mostlymeat on April 06, 2016, 05:08:38 PM
I would just like to say that this is my 6000th post and I am using it to push this thread to the top.

Exactly where it belongs.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Bridgey on May 02, 2016, 04:25:02 PM
The French Team's European Football Tournament Anthem somehow okayed by KISS  (http://youtu.be/QX1XvmvV2pc)

Hmmmm. Hmmmmmm. HMMMMMMMMMM.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Josh on January 06, 2017, 12:52:32 AM
bump
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 06, 2017, 02:52:12 PM
Always appreciated.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 07, 2017, 09:15:02 PM
All of these are worth listening to. They truly were are America's hardest working band, and they appreciate the fans way more than any other group. Because that's all they talk about in their books: fan appreciation.

Ace did nothing.

http://www.youtube.com/v/=de972gpj_h8# (http://www.youtube.com/v/=de972gpj_h8#)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qpm3vZH2bk# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qpm3vZH2bk#)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiRXBxTZxXM#[/url

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VO61qN4tkk#]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VO61qN4tkk# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiRXBxTZxXM)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqn9FxlPPgE# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqn9FxlPPgE#)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpoCB3UpoT8# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpoCB3UpoT8#)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on May 06, 2017, 11:03:50 PM
I've seen several of these before. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be footage of Ace Frehley's electrocution at the Civic Center in Lakeland, Fla. on on Dec. 12, 1976. Shock Me, indeed.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k960QYme_vs# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k960QYme_vs#)

Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on June 23, 2017, 07:54:21 PM
Bonus Review: KISS KILLERS (1982)

I bought this back in the late 80s on LP as an import. I think I picked it up at Record Bar, which means Record Bar imported it? Sometimes I can’t remember how things like this happened back then? Somebody drove a truck onto a ship or something?

Hell, it had 4 new songs on it, so I plunked down my $13.99. The lightning bolts were backward because Germany didn’t want them to use the symbols for the SS that are in KISS’ normal logo. If Ace Frehley were a clever rake instead of a “practical joker,” I’d say that the lightning bolts in the KISS logo was the best joke that (reputed) Nazi aficionado ever pulled over on Mr. Stanley (nee Eisen) and Mr. Simmons (nee Witz nee Klein).

But he’s not. Is he?

I remember listening to it once, maybe twice and then shelving it. Rock collectors (collectors?) are pretty dumb, you know? Completism is a mental disease. But there you go.

The Wikipedia entry for Killers is like a mean joke on 1982-era KISS.

“Phonogram requested hard rock songs specifically, in contrast to the progressive rock-style of Music from "The Elder".

The Elder crushes these songs like a grape. It’s a challenge to find anything ever recorded that could sub in for “these songs” in that sentence.

“Numerous outside songwriters and session musicians were employed for the writing and recording of the four new songs on Killers … Bryan Adams.”

“Down on Your Knees” is worse than “(Everything I Do) I Do it for You.” I can’t be bothered to look up whether those parentheses are correct. It is not worse than the number Bryan Adams did with Sting and Rod Stewart. Let’s keep some perspective, people.

“(Ace’s) replacement for the Killers sessions was Bob Kulick, who had previously subbed for Frehley on a handful of studio tracks on 1977's Alive II; however, whereas Kulick had been asked to mimic Frehley's playing style when recording for Alive II, he was permitted to employ his own techniques for Killers.”

So, it took five years to figure out that Bob Kulick can sort of ape Ace Frehley but when he plays like himself he sucks. Nice to know.

“The four new songs were considered a "primer" for Kiss' next release,”

I didn’t review Lick It Up or Animalize or Crazy Nights, but these songs sound way more like those than they do Creatures of the Night.

…while some fans have indicated that fan club memos at the time listed Frehley as "temporarily out of action," possibly due to a car accident or something similar…

It’s entirely believable that Ace would be sidelined by a car accident, a coconut to the head or simply getting lost for a few weeks, but this smells like Gene was editing the fan club memo.

My favorite quote from the Wikipedia entry, however, is this one, from way up top:

“By 1982, Kiss's commercial popularity was at its nadir.”

Short and to the point.

Now, on to the songs.

"I'm a Legend Tonight" is an awful, awful song. It’s indicative of the direction Paul Stanley was going and deeply smacks of being written by committee. Paul could write good lyrics - “God of Thunder,” “Love Gun,” all those tracks from the first album. But he got fat and lazy around 1980, if I’m being generous, and that was it. I hope he outsourced these, because these are the worst.

I’m a legend tonight / Gonna make you feel right / When you reach for the light / I’m a legend tonight.

Does that even make sense? And two of the four lines in the hugely repeated chorus are THE SAME, and the TITLE OF THE SONG to boot. Limp guitar solo. Bob Kulick sucks. Bruce was the more talented Kulick.

“Down on Your Knees.” Sometimes the title says it all. Sometimes the title says more than the actual song. Bryan Adams co-wrote this thing. It’s putrid. The first lines are:

All right … ooh yeah… are you ready to rock? … I’m talkin’ bout satisfaction

Meatloaf did better than this. You can predict the rhymes as it goes along. I don’t mean to insult Meatloaf. Paul addresses the person in the song as “she” and “you” in consecutive lines, which violates some rule of English, I’m certain.

I don’t like songs featuring “tough Paul,” and this is one of the growliest.

“Nowhere to Run” has the distinction of being the best of these four songs. That’s like first place at a toilet rodeo. Somebody’s got to win, but you know going in it’s not going to be pretty. Paul sounds scared, or scary, or something. A lot of KISS lyrics involve vague threats to women, but hey, it was the 80s and sexual harassment hadn’t been invented yet. A quick Google search tells me that isn’t entirely correct.

“Nowhere to Run” sounds like the songs on Paul Stanley’s solo album. I don’t, you know, like it, but if you’re ever forced to listen to exactly one of these songs, I’d pick this one. It’s the longest one, though, so be aware of that going in.

“Partners in Crime.” Jesus, more dumb rhymes, though not as bad as the first two songs. I listened to a few of the actual greatest hits on this album as a palate cleanser and, while I admit KISS is not a fantastic songmaking machine, they’re capable of some fun, catchy songs. “Sure Know Something,” from Dynasty, the beginning of the downturn, is strong, with a good bass line (!), excellent lyrics for this band and a killer guitar solo.

Couldn’t Gene be bothered to write ONE of these? This song is awful. It’s the worst thing I’ve heard since “I’m a Legend Tonight” about 15 minutes ago. It also features the lyric “down on your knees,” but isn’t a reference to the earlier song of that title.

This concludes the reviews of KISS makeup period records. It’s been a lot of fun and taken me over eight years, most of which, if I’m being honest, I spent on other things.

Thanks to everyone who wrote to say they enjoyed them. This thread is still my favorite thing I’ve written on the Internet.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Josh on July 13, 2017, 04:35:57 PM
good god
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 13, 2017, 11:24:27 PM
good god

Oh, dear, I went too far with this one, didn't I? "The Elder crushes these songs like a grape."
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on July 28, 2017, 02:09:31 PM
You thought Vinnie wouldn't get the same treatment?



Vinnie Vincent is a goofy egocentric difficult stealing prick (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCBjULTT0RA#)


Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: fonpr on August 01, 2017, 08:00:26 PM
You thought Vinnie wouldn't get the same treatment?



Vinnie Vincent is a goofy egocentric difficult stealing prick ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCBjULTT0RA#[/url])


You just had me watching 10 minutes of live Kiss videos from the mid-80s. Very tricky, Buffer.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on August 01, 2017, 08:37:20 PM
You thought Vinnie wouldn't get the same treatment?



Vinnie Vincent is a goofy egocentric difficult stealing prick ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCBjULTT0RA#[/url])


You just had me watching 10 minutes of live Kiss videos from the mid-80s. Very tricky, Buffer.



This is my mission in life, Fredrixxxxxxxxx.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: fonpr on August 01, 2017, 09:17:24 PM
You thought Vinnie wouldn't get the same treatment?



Vinnie Vincent is a goofy egocentric difficult stealing prick ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCBjULTT0RA#[/url])


You just had me watching 10 minutes of live Kiss videos from the mid-80s. Very tricky, Buffer.



This is my mission in life, Fredrixxxxxxxxx.


Damn you.
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: Spalding on January 22, 2018, 12:28:27 PM
Vincent Vincent, the "Ankh Warrior" and dude who dumps his leftover soup back into the group pot, has re-emerged:
http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/ex-kiss-guitarist-vinnie-vincent-gives-first-interview-in-more-than-20-years-if-the-fans-want-me-back-i-cant-wait/ (http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/ex-kiss-guitarist-vinnie-vincent-gives-first-interview-in-more-than-20-years-if-the-fans-want-me-back-i-cant-wait/)
Title: Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
Post by: buffcoat on January 24, 2018, 10:03:02 PM
Vincent Vincent, the "Ankh Warrior" and dude who dumps his leftover soup back into the group pot, has re-emerged:
[url]http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/ex-kiss-guitarist-vinnie-vincent-gives-first-interview-in-more-than-20-years-if-the-fans-want-me-back-i-cant-wait/[/url] ([url]http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/ex-kiss-guitarist-vinnie-vincent-gives-first-interview-in-more-than-20-years-if-the-fans-want-me-back-i-cant-wait/[/url])


As that dude from that cool Spartan movie said (didn't say?): "If."