Author Topic: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation  (Read 59826 times)

buffcoat

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KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« 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
« Last Edit: August 11, 2011, 12:38:02 PM by buffcoat »
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mostlymeat

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #1 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...

nec13

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #2 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.

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buffcoat

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #3 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! 
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buffcoat

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #4 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!
I really don't appreciate your sarcastic, anti-comedy tone, Bro!

nec13

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2009, 05:42:21 PM »
All of this sounds very promising buffcoat. I will be checking back here often.
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Matt

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #6 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!
« Last Edit: May 27, 2009, 06:04:37 PM by Matt »
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buffcoat

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #7 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!
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masterofsparks

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2009, 07:50:24 PM »
Dressed to Kill is clearly the best.
I'll probably go into the wee hours.

buffcoat

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #9 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!






« Last Edit: June 15, 2009, 10:31:23 PM by buffcoat »
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Forrest

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #10 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?

buffcoat

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #11 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.
I really don't appreciate your sarcastic, anti-comedy tone, Bro!

nec13

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #12 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.
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buffcoat

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #13 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.


I really don't appreciate your sarcastic, anti-comedy tone, Bro!

buffcoat

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Re: KISS: An Album-by-Album Critical Reevaluation
« Reply #14 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?"
I really don't appreciate your sarcastic, anti-comedy tone, Bro!