Kiss: Album by Album (1974 - 1982)

Couple quick things:

-  Use of the words "great" and "dumb" anywhere re: Kiss is completely relative and should not be taken very seriously. I'm more than happy to discuss at length the finer points of what makes something like "Turn On the Night" dumb and something like "King of the Night Time World" great, but for these Album-by-Album blogs, I'm really only talking about favorites. By all means, tell me your own. Like most Kiss fans, I'm forever amused by my own fandom of the band, so it's a moveable feast, come one, come all. 

- I usually try (and usually fail) to provide as few links as possible so as not to interrupt the flow of things. But I decided to just go to town and hyperlink to my heart's content, below and beyond. Don't feel you have to click on anything, of course - they're there if you want them but feel free to skip them. (Not like you need my permission, just saying.)

- re: The Ownability Factor (at the end of each album-entry below.) If you're into Kiss, you need it all, obviously. No excuses. This is an army not a garden party!

Enough preamble. As someone once said, "The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes. That is fact; everything else is pure theory."  

Paul Stanley (image below from his '78 solo album) would probably word that differently:

"Hit it!"
Kiss (1974)

Kiss's first record is more a proof-of-concept affair than a classic album. Virtually every song was a live staple for their 70s concerts. Great tunes, no doubt, but the production is notoriously flat, something that wouldn't change on their next record, either. (One of its producers went on to produce the official Baywatch soundtrack.)

Favorite tunes: "Strutter," "Black Diamond." Least favorite: "Kissin' Time," "Firehouse." When I hear Kiss described as dumb, it's the riff of "Firehouse" that I hear in my head. But that's not to say it isn't an effective delivery mechanism for what Kiss is all about; I just prefer other iterations of their mission statement. But man. When you're not a fan of "Firehouse," you've had to sit through it a million times, know what I'm saying? I like to think it's helped me become a more tolerant and patient person. So, thank you, "Firehouse."

Sagacity of the Starchild: Kiss all the way to Seattle, LA and Baltimore / You know we've been kissin' in Frisco, so let's kiss some more. ("Kissin' Time")

Ownability Factor: As Steven Hyden puts it, "Kiss has the best material of any Kiss album, but the versions on Alive! are uniformly superior." I disagree that this is the best material of any Kiss album, but it is true that the versions of these songs are better served elsewhere, and it is the first Kiss record and therefore a historical document, so I'll go as high as 11 out of 10.

Hotter Than Hell (1974)
Track listing: Got To Choose / Parasite / Goin' Blind / Hotter Than Hell / Let Me Go, Rock and Roll (that comma has always confused me - are they telling Rock and Roll itself to let them go?) All The Way / Watchin' You / Mainline / Coming Home / Strange Ways
There's a lot of rock and roll in this room. And a lot of 70s.
A pretty solid collection of tunes. As with their debut, most of them are better heard on Alive or Alive II. But still.

Favorite tunes: "Got To Choose," (woo-ooo-OO!) title track, "Parasite," "Watchin' You." Least favorite: "Goin' Blind," which details the doomed romance of a 93 year old man and underage girl. Written by Gene, obviously. The lyrics are practically non-existent except for the title of the track, repeated over and over, and the curiously on-the-nose bridge: "I'm 93, you're 16." In spite of this description, it's not the worst holdover from the Wicked Lester days.

And Men Shall Call Him... Space Ace: "Strange Ways" and "Parasite" have such a cool guitar sound. "Parasite" is a great example of Kiss Savant: just brilliantly dumb / stupidly awesome from conception to execution. (Megadeth covers "Strange Ways," if Dave Mustaine is your cup of tea.)

That Cover Is a Hot(ter than Hell) Mess, Though: I get that they were going for a Japanese influence, but it's poorly coordinated. Those yellow strips with the Japanese writing + the orange-and-purple ripped mountain-ranges extending into frame: blecch. So cluttered. And I don't know if Paul's grabbing Peter's bare ass and pulling his crotch into his backside is in actual fact hotter than Hell. But hey: 70s.

Ownability Factor: 10 out of 10.

Dressed to Kill (1975)
Track listing: Room Service / Two Timer / Ladies in Waiting / Getaway / Rock Bottom / C'mon and Love Me / Anything for My Baby / She / Love Her All I Can / Rock and Roll All Nite

Produced by infamous Casablanca Records impresario Neil Bogart, it provided Kiss with their first radio staple: "Rock and Roll All Nite." My friend let me borrow this LP back in 1988 or so, and before I even finished spinning it - and start to finish it's only 30 minutes long - his older brother (whose record it actually was) showed up at my parents house and demanded it back. Man, was he pissed

McAnecdote: When said older brother (who graduated high school in the early 80s) showed up at my parents' house, he had his shirt unbuttoned to his bellybutton to best showcase his Paul-Stanley-esque chest hair. When I ran into him 25 years later as a patron of the bar I was running at the time, he was still rocking this look (although not quite to his bellybutton) in stubborn defiance of any fashion trends in the interim (or belonging to this century.) I asked him if he remembered the above, and he didn't. But he did ask me if I wanted to do some blow - straight out of Gross Pointe Blank. (I declined.)

Favorite tunes: "Getaway," "C'mon and Love Me," "Rock Bottom." Least favorite: "Ladies in Waiting." Good lord, Gene. And yet:

Sometimes The Demon Surprises Me: "She" is one of the classic 70s riffs. Top 10, at least. Gene's got more Kiss classics to his songwriting credit than I generally acknowledge. This is one of them.

Sagacity of the Starchild: She's a dancer, a romancer / I'm a Capricorn, and she's a Cancer ("C'mon and Love Me")

So Dumb It Might Actually Be Brilliant: "Anything For My Baby." To quote Mr. Hyden once more: "The key to appreciating Kiss is approaching it as one might a vaudevillian actor or Borscht Belt comic. You'll get nowhere by parsing the wit of the material or the nuance of the presentation. You must accept that the performance will be broad and the one-liners wince-inducing, and focus instead on the insane amount of effort on display. Kiss's specialty is delivering shameless showmanship with guileless energy, which it does in the service of songs that fumble across your reflexive pleasure centers with the grace and purpose of a 16-year-old boy unhooking his first bra strap."

Ownability Factor: 11 out of 10.

Alive (1975)
These two dudes holding up their homemade sign reunited in later years to relive their moment of glory:

This is the album that established Kiss as the "hottest band in the world," as J.R. Smalling used to famously announce them before taking the stage. From the wiki:

"In The New Rolling Stone Album Guide, it was called 'a nonstop Kiss-krieg of two-note guitar motifs, fake-sounding audience noise, and inspirational chitchat,' but it was then restated as the next best thing to being there, clearly. Jason Josephes of Pitchfork Media rated it 10 out of 10 points and said that 'the album may seem like a joke, mainly because it contains every arena rock cliche in the book,' but called it 'total sonic proof of Kiss climbing their apex'."

Favorite tunes: All of them.

Phony Outrage: For some reason, anytime this album comes up, people focus on the fact that there are overdubs on a supposedly "live" album. I've never understood this. Do the same people complain about color correction or ADR looping in films? It's not even standard industry practice; it's absolutely necessary to do.

Sagacity of the Starchild: Paul Stanley's stage banter is the stuff of legend. He's not quite the Ray Hudson of the stage banter world, and in recent years seems to have lost his way. (I originally wrote "has goes too far," but I don't know if that's possible with Kiss.) Actually, maybe not - maybe going from "Do you believe in rock and roll?" to "The terrorists hate our damn freedom!" is a natural evolution. Anyway, his stuff on Alive is hilariously over the top and is the first glimpse of the microphone madness to come. Vinnie Vincent was criticized for taking too long with his solos onstage and making Paul and Gene wait, but Paul never seemed to mind making everyone else on stage wait while he asked the crowd, multiple times, whether or not they had "rock and roll pneumonia and the boogie-woogie flu? I CAN'T HEAR YOU..."

Ownability Factor: 12 out of 10

Destroyer (1976)
Track Listing: Detroit Rock City / King of the Night Time World / God of Thunder / Great Expectations / Flaming Youth / Sweet Pain / Shout It Out Loud / Beth / Do You Love Me / Rock and Roll Party
Alive broke the band big, and to capitalize on the success, they brought in Bob Ezrin, who, in addition to snorting up half of Bolivia's Gross National Product during the recording session, put the band through what Paul called "musical boot camp." The cover is by renowned fantasy artist Ken Kelly.

Favorite tracks: "Detroit Rock City," "King of the Night Time World," "Do You Love Me."

Sagacity of the Starchild: You really like my limousine / you like the way the wheels roll ("Do You Love Me?")

Look What the Cat Dragged In: "Beth" is Peter Criss's proudest moment in the band. Just ask him.

So Dumb It Might Actually Be Brilliant: "God of Thunder." I mostly don't enjoy this track, to be honest. The production bells and whistle are kinda-sorta fun, but it's basically just a peg to hang stage theatrics on. Fair enough, of course, it's just having grown up on stuff like Slayer or Metallica, I'm unable to connect to either the mystical-menace intended or enjoy it in a retro sense, because the vocals are terrible, there's no riff, and it's just not really a proper song. But every now and again, it'll come on, and the lyrics and gothic pretension of it all tickles my satirical fancy. They should definitely use it in the Thor movies, mostly to have Thor hear it and raise an eyebrow. (Or a scene where he gets wicked into Kiss and cranks this all the time while drinking; make it happen, Marvel.)

Ownability Factor: 10 out of 10.

Rock and Roll Over (1976)
Track listing: I Want You / Take Me / Calling Dr. Love / Ladies Room / Baby Driver / Love Em and Leave Em / Mr. Speed / See You In Your Dreams / Hard Luck Woman / Makin' Love
A rushed affair and the weakest effort from the original line-up. But that cover! Totally awesome. And if you said, "Man, that'd be a great frisbee," they're way ahead of you.

Favorite tracks: "I Want You," "Hard Luck Woman." Least Favorite Tracks: "Ladies Room," "See You in Your Dreams."

Deserves Special Mention: "Calling Dr. Love." I am far from convinced that anyone ever called Gene "Doctor Love." If anyone did, it had to be ironic. Not like Kiss has an obligation to be accurate, it's just ironic that the one guy in the band whose entire identity is wrapped up in being Doctor Cash-and-STDs is telling us people call him Doctor Love. (Then again, it's a little more believable than "God of Thunder.") Anyway.  Like "Firehouse," I've learned to enjoy the process of waiting for this one to finish.

Ownability Factor: 6 out of 10. (Frisbee: 20 out of 10.)

Love Gun (1977)
Track listing: I Stole Your Love / Christine Sixteen / Got Love For Sale / Shock Me / Tomorrow and Tonight / Love Gun / Hooligan / Almost Human / Plaster Caster / Then She Kissed Me
Another Ken Kelly cover - classic. Here's its TV ad - I get such a kick out of these things. The original came with this insert, to boot:

Assembly required.
Favorite tunes: The title track (if not the best Kiss song of all time, definitely top 3,) "I Stole Your Love," (stealing fire from the gods!) "Shock Me," "Hooligan." Least favorite: "Plaster Caster." It is frankly remarkable how fascinated these guys were with their dicks. It's tempting to think they were just pandering to their newly-pubescent fan base, but then you read up on them and nope: they basically out-adolescent-ed their fan base 10 to 1.

End of an Era: This is the last album where the original line-up appears on every track.

Ownability Factor: 10 out of 1. Which is not to say it's very good - it's actually one of my least favorites. But yeah, you got to have it. On vinyl.

Alive II (1977)

Not as good as the first Alive, but still loads of fun. (Track listing at the wiki.) Features 4 originals on Side Four (the best of which is "Rocket Ride," which features the classic line "The gravity that used to hold us down / just don't exist no more..." but does not feature any guitarwork from Ace. Kudos to Bob Kulick - he mimics Ace's style almost perfectly) and a cover of The Dave Clark Five's "Anyway You Want It."

Ownability Factor: 8 out of 10.

(In April 1978, Casablanca released a double-album of Kiss's greatest hits, Double Platinum. The only "new" track was "Strutter '78," which was just a remake with an allegedly more "disco" beat. It sure doesn't sound disco to me, though.) 

The Solo Albums (1978)

The TV ad is pretty fun. Sean Delaney was firmly against the idea of doing the solo albums, as he thought there would be winners and losers and that pointlessly dividing the band any further than it was already divided would be fatal to the original line-up. He was proven right. But, from just a fan/ consumer point of view, I love the idea. I won't do Least Favorites for these, but here are my Favorites:

Ace - all of them, will cover in depth when I get to the Space Ace blog. (EDIT: Here it is.)

Paul "Wouldn't You Like To Know Me," "Tonight You Belong To Me," and "Love In Chains." Apparently, when Paul showed up at the first studio Casablanca had booked for him, the colors/ vibes weren't right, and he insisted on booking somewhere else. When told of the money this would waste (somewhere around half a million) he replied, "Well, it's cheaper than not making the album at all." Rock star logic at its finest.

Gene "Radioactive" is fun, but you can only hear it so many times. Great call-and-response chorus, very catchy. The rest of the album is terrible. Gene's voice and compositions are both already far too prominent in the Kiss catalog, but here they are stretched beyond thin. I like the simplicity of the line/ idea of "Living in Sin," but it's ruined by the awful bit in the middle where someone Cher pretends to be in the throes of ecstasy brought about by Demon penis. Just terrible.

Peter All of them, really. Once you get past the "non-Kiss-ness" of this record, it's actually pretty smooth. For years I considered it the weakest of the solo albums, but now it's my second favorite. When I say "non-Kiss-ness," I mean the arrangements and general sound of the record, not the lyrics, as certainly You're the kind of sugar Papa likes, and when we do it, it drives me crazy would find itself at home in any Kiss tune. (Except maybe "Beth.")

And while we're on this side road, let's spare a thought for the other members of Kiss:

Eric Carr (1950 - 1991)
Vinnie Vincent. Here's how Chuck Klosterman described his post-Kiss debut: "a Tasmanian devil whirling towards vaginas and self-destruction:"

Vinnie left the band due to creative and financial differences with Gene and Paul. The Vinnie Vincent Invasion achieved some modest success with their songs from A Nightmare on Elm Street pt. 4, but Mark Slaughter (their second singer, soon to be famous for his own band via "Up All Night") left soon after.

Other players in the Kiss saga: Bob and Bruce Kulick, Tommy Thayer (Ace's replacement after the Farewell tour,) Eric Singer (Eric Carr's replacement, and the current Kiss drummer) and Mark St. John.

Ownability Factor: Ace (20 out of 10.) Paul (10 out of 10.) Peter (10 out of 10.) Gene (3out of 10.) Vinnie Vincent Invasion (12 out of 10.)

Dynasty (1979)
Track listing: I Was Made For Loving You / 2000 Man / Sure Know Something / Dirty Livin' / Charisma / Magic Touch / Hard Times / X-Ray Eyes / Save Your Love
This album was polarizing for Kiss fans at the time. As Ace put it,  before shrugging and going along with it, "What, disco's big now, so we gotta do a disco song?" I'm sympathetic to some degree, but the two so-called disco tunes ("I Was Made For Loving You" and "Sure Know Something") are, once removed from the rock vs. disco passions of the era, great tunes. Why draw a line in the sand?

Having said that, if I graduated high school in, say, 1975, and was a big Kiss fan, hearing Dynasty and seeing all these 6-year-olds with Kiss make-up on might have turned me off, too.

Incidentally, it's my friend's 6 year old's Kiss fandom that got me thinking about these guys again.
"Charisma" and "X-Ray Eyes" could be better, but the album as-a-whole continues to age well. It's a miracle it's coherent at all. At this point in their career, the band wasn't talking to one another, the tours were hampered by elaborate stage effects that didn't always work, the manager (thanks to Bill Aucoin's 50% of the merchandising profit and 25% of tour profits) was making more money off the band than the members themselves, and Ace and Peter were almost single-handedly keeping Colombian cocaine cartels and their US distributors (not to mention pharmaceutical companies) in business. Under those conditions, the album can't help but feel like a sequel to the solo albums but all on one record. Oddly enough, it might be their strongest collection of tunes.

And Men Shall Call Him... Space Ace: Ace's songs on Dynasty are great. I knew "2000 Man" was a Stones song, but I never heard it until I saw Bottle Rocket. I'm still on the fence as to which version I prefer. And I am forever amused by the way Ace delivers the line (emphasis in the original) "You tried to change me... and mess up my mind!" in "Save Your Love."

Look What the Cat Dragged In: Peter's swan song with the band, "Dirty Livin'" is probably the most disco-esque track of all. Someone should utilize it for a period piece.

Fun Fact!: Escape from Hell was the subtitle of Dynasty's Japanese release. God bless you, Japan.

Ownability Factor: 15 out of 10. 

Unmasked (1980)
Track listing: Is That You? / Shandi / Talk To Me / Naked City / What Makes The World Go Round / Tomorrow / Two Sides of the Coin / She's So European / Easy As It Seems / Torpedo Girl / You're All That I Want
This album was a commercial disappointment and isn't regarded too fondly by some folks. I'll go to the mat on this one; Unmasked is great. Some of the songs aren't so hot, but that's par for the course for any Kiss record.

And Men Shall Call Him... Space Ace: Ace's songs carry the day, here. "Talk To Me" should be in every teen movie ever made (as should "What's On Your Mind" from his '78 solo record.) And "Torpedo Girl" is, for my money, the great unsung Kiss song:

C'mon, get your feet wet!

Look What the Cat Dragged In: Peter's on the cover, but he was out of the band at this point. Anton Fig plays on the album, and Eric Carr joined the band prior to the tour.

Sagacity of the Starchild: I started off enjoying "Shandi" as a goof, but I've grown to love the damn thing through over-listening. Hazards of the trade; proceed with caution.

Sometimes The Demon Surprises Me: For years, "She's So European" annoyed me, but, as with "Shandi," repeated listenings opened it up for me. It's one of the last times Gene sounds like he's actually having fun being a rock star. And the chorus is catchy. At no time do the lyrics bring to mind anyone vaguely European, whatever that means, but realistic lyrics are not what anyone comes to Kiss for, I'd wager.

And hey!: Another fun TV ad prior to its release.

Ownability Factor: 12 out of 10.

Music from The Elder (1981) 
Track Listing: The Oath / Fanfare / Just A Boy / Dark Light / Only You / Under the Rose / A World Without Heroes / Mr. Blackwell / Escape from the Island / Odyssey / I / Finale
This album tanked in the charts and with fans at the time, but its reputation has improved in the years since. It's a bit confusing - any soundtrack to a movie that doesn't exist can't help but be - but personally, I applaud them for doing it. As with Kiss "going disco" or "going grunge" (yet to come,) it's easy to see it as a misstep, but I kind of like the attitude. "We can't do that? Screw it, we're doing it."

And hell, Lou Reed even was involved. That alone is worth a chapeau / answer on Jeopardy.

Favorite tunes: "The Oath," "Dark Light," "I," "Escape from the Island."

Fun Fact!: Sales were so bad they didn't even tour, but they did put in some promotional appearances, such as this one in Holland, which has the distinction of being the first and only time Kiss played as a trio. (Although it looks and sounds lip-synched to me, so I guess it's the first and only time they pretended to play as a trio.) Ace was probably sleeping one off, or playing cards with his buddies. Or visiting the Keukenhof.

Ownability Factor: 10 out of 10.

(In June of 1982, Killers, another compilation record was released. I've never been a fan of the new tunes recorded for it, so I'm just mentioning it in passing.)

Creatures of the Night (1982)
Track Listing: Creatures of the Night / Saint and Sinner / Keep Me Comin' / Rock and Roll Hell / Danger / I Love It Loud / I Still Love You / Killer / War Machine
Ace is on the cover, but he was gone from the band at this point. He was replaced by Vinnie Vincent, whose impact was fairly immediate; he co-wrote half the album.

Favorite tunes: Title track, "I Still Love You." And:

Sometimes The Demon Surprises Me: "I Love It Loud" is one of those So Dumb It Might Be Brilliant / Kiss Savant tunes, except there's no "might" about it. The stream of consciousness lyrics, ("Whiplash! Heavy metal accident. Rock on! I want to be President. TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT!") the chanting, the stripped down production: all combine for a complete classic that doubles as brilliant (though unintentional) genre deconstruction.

Absolutely one of my favorite things ever.

And "War Machine," while not a favorite, could have been a huge hit if they'd just sped it up a notch and tightened it up a bit, as Stone Temple Pilots proved less than 10 years down the road.

Sagacity of the Starchild: Even for Kiss, "Keep Me Comin'" is a bit over-the-top. You gotta keep me comin', keep me comin' / (Keep me comin', keep me comin') / You gotta keep me comin', whoa, keep me comin', babe / (Keep me comin', keep me comin') / OOH, YEAH!

Ownability Factor: 8 out of 10.

NEXT: Lick It Up to The Present


  1. Random thoughts:

    (1) I've always loved "Goin' Blind," creepiness notwithstanding. I always took "93" to be a metaphorical thing; just sort of a general "you know, I'm really too old for you..."

    (2) I could go the rest of my life without hearing "Rock and Roll All Nite" and be okay. It's half a great song; but the fact that the second half is just the same thing over and over and over and OVER AND OVER and over wears me out. I burned out on that song, sadly.

    (3) "Anything for My Baby" -- I'd totally forgotten about that one, but I like it a lot.

    (4) Boy, is that clip of Paul going on an anti-terrorist rant weird. I love how you can occasionally see WTF looks on people's faces in the audience.

    (5) "Hard Luck Woman" is possibly my favorite Kiss song of all. Somewhere on YouTube is Kiss playing it with Garth Brooks, who does an unsurprisingly great job with the vocals.

    (6) No love for "God of Thunder," "Plaster Caster," OR "Calling Dr. Love" makes Bryant sad. He loves all three!

    (7) Unlike you, I had no idea "2000 Man" was a cover . . . but, again, it was "Bottle Rocket" that clued me in. I love both versions now; it's a very good cover.

    (8) I remember nothing about "Unmasked." I mean, NOTHING. It's kind of weird the extent to which my memory has been scooped out on that subject, in fact. Listening to "Torpedo Girl" stirs a few embers, though. And it makes me think of The Beatles in some way I can't put my finger on.

    1. I would certainly be willing to entertain such a theory for "Goin' Blind" were it not for "Christine Sixteen" and other evidentiary support for Gene just being a perv, ha, but you're probably right.

      Believe me, I've heard it over the years for not liking "God of Thunder" and "Calling Dr. Love," though never for "Plaster Caster." Though, that's cool - I enjoy the process of Kiss fandom to the extent that I'm always a fan of other people's fandom and even (perhaps even especially) when it differs from my own.

      I stand by my assertion that Marvel needs to put "God of Thunder" in the next Thor - that will make me a fan of the song. Perhaps even a zealot. (I'd settle for it being in Agents of SHIELD with Agent Coulson rolling his eyes.)

      I loves me some "Torpedo Girl." It might even be my fave. Everything about that song makes me happy.

      I feel the way about "Shout It Out Loud" that you feel about "Rock and Roll All Nite." I recognize the rock-classic-ness of both, just burnt out on them. A little less on "Rock.." than on "Shout," but yeah. I'll just crank "Torpedo Girl," thank you! Or "Who Wants To Be Lonely?' (Ahhh-oh-whaaaa-aaah! AAAH-OH-WHAAA-AAAH!)

      Tickled pink someone clicked on the links re: the Stanley banter. That guy is such a character.

    2. I think "God of Thunder" could VERY easily work its way into an Avengers movies by way of Tony Stark playing it to mock Thor. That'd be pretty great.

      I never much cared for "Shout It Out Loud." It's catchy, but it just doesn't do much for me.

  2. I have way too much to type on the subject, maybe I'll come back. A few quick comments.

    KILLERS new songs - I'm a fan somehow. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just happier when they're bad, as a rule.

    "Saint and Sinner" from Creatures might be my fave Gene tune. "Firehouse" annoys me too, but I love the slower tempo on the studio track. Same w/Hotter than Hell.

    Great work here Bryan, I'm absolutely amused. :-) And it's always encouraging to know I'm not the only one who actually cares about these clowns.

    1. "Saint and Sinner" is indeed pretty cool. I'll have to give those other "Killers" tracks another chance. It's an excuse to crank Kiss, after all, for "research," so hey, I'll take it!

  3. I have begun my Great Kiss Listenthrough of 2014. It's going slow -- I'm using it as walking music, one album per walk, and it's been so cold here than walking weather is sort of scarce. I've made it through the first three albums, though, and I've got a few thoughts.

    (1) I was instantly transported back to being 15, which is both a good thing and a really, really bad thing. Curiously enough, though, I find that I mostly still love the same songs I loved back then. Example: "Strutter," which is just a great riff. But a great riff is good enough for me.
    (2) A great many of these songs have good elements mixed with weak elements. A great chorus and weak verses, for example (I'll cite "All the Way" as a prime case of this). But the vast majority of the songs have SOMETHING memorable about them, and I suspect that if the band had had better producers during this era, they might have been even huger than they eventually became.
    (3) I have had "Kissin' Time" stuck in my head for nearly a week now.
    (4) I'd totally forgotten about "Black Diamond," but that's a solid little tune. Seems like it's prime time for someone (coughquentintarantinocugh) to rediscover that one and use it well in a crime movie.
    (5) I remain devout in my appreciation of "Goin' Blind."
    (6) I remain devout in my hate of "Hotter Than Hell" (the song, not the album).
    (7) "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" is a killer rock song. With better production, that would be a classic. I'd say much the same of "Mainline," except the chorus is vastly superior to everything else.
    (8) "Room Service" may be one of the worst songs ever recorded by a band I like.
    (9) "Dressed to Kill" overall is a fairly massive step backwards for the band, I'd say. It feels like they didn't have enough good songs for an album, but the label demanded that an album be put out nevertheless. That said...
    (10) "She" really is quite good, and I dig that instrumental intro to "Rock Bottom," too. And if "Rock and Roll All Nite" lasted only about a minute and a half, I might work my way back into loving it.

    1. Check out the Wicked Lester demo for "She" - surprisingly cool / very different:


      And yeah, Black Diamond could certainly find further life in what you describe.

      I love the riff for "Strutter" and the chorus harmonies (or right before the chorus, I guess. The bridge? The "everybody knows she's lookin' good, and the ladies know it's understood" part.

      "Deuce" isn't really one of my favorites - I don't dislike it or anything, but it's just not one I love. But the riff/ charge-out-of-the-gate for that one is two tons of fun.

  4. Agreed on "Deuce."

    I have to confess: I have no idea what a bridge is, musically-speaking. I've been mystified by that concept for three decades. But I kind of like it that way, for some odd reason.

    1. It's a judgment call on the bridge in "Strutter." If we take the chorus to simply be "Strutter!" then I guess I'd call the "Everybody says... understood" the bridge. But if the chorus starts with the "Everybody... understood" part, then I guess it would just be the chorus.

      Damn these Kiss hooligans and the tricks they play...

  5. Listened to "Destroyer" while doing housework today. I'll tackle that one song-by-song:

    (1) "Detroit Rock City" -- Yep, I still love the hell out of this song. This whole album, it feels (musically, if not lyrically) like the band wanted to go to different places, and on this song, they succeeded.

    (2) "King of the Night Time World" -- I like this song, and always have. There's some sort of a quality to it that I can't quite put my finger on. It's a bouncy, funtime song; but it also has a sort of sinister quality to it. I approve.

    (3) "God of Thunder" -- One of my favorites. That weird overlay of creepy-kid sound effects still creeps me out. I'm guessing there's a story of some sort, there; maybe it's in one of the books I recently bought.

    (4) "Great Expectations" -- I think this song gave me crabs. It definitely skeeves me out. But I kind of like it. This probably says something bad about me.

    (5) "Flaming Youth" -- Uh... Uh... "Flaming youth, our flag is flying higher and higher and HIGHER...!" How has this song NOT been repurposed by some GLBT organization and made a civil rights anthem?!? It's pretty damn gay. I don't even know whether I like it not; I just marvel at it.

    (6) "Sweet Pain" -- I think THIS song gave me herpes. I remember listening to this at age 15ish, thinking, "Hmm; I don't know what this song is about, but I think it's definitely about SOMETHING..." How right I was.

    (7) "Shout It Out Loud" -- I may have talked myself into liking this song again. But why was it not the album closer? It feels out of place where it is.

    (8) "Beth" -- I never felt this way until today, but this song really does not fit on this album in any way. It's a pretty song, but it's never been one of my favorites from the band.

    (9) "Do You Love Me" -- I like this one a lot. It's almost actually ABOUT something. Something other than semi-deviant pussy acquisition, I mean. It's about the psychological impact of pussy that has been acquired semi-deviantly and then decided to stick around. Like, is that a good thing; or is it a bad thing? Hard to say.

    (10) "Rock and Roll Party" -- Swear to God, I don't think I'd ever heard this before. I don't think it was on my cassette. Which was no real loss.

    Pretty good album overall.

  6. To this day I wonder what the hell they were thinking with 'Flaming Youth.' I hope Paul's book clears the mystery, though I'm sure it won't.

    I tell Dawn all the time that I'm the king of the nighttime world and that she's my midnight queen. She seems unimpressed.

  7. Thoughts on "Rock and Roll Over":

    I didn't remember this being a bit of a crapfest -- despite your warnings to the contrary -- but boy, it really kind of is.

    (1) "I Want You" -- solid, and a good song to lead an album with

    (2) "Take Me" -- awful; sounds like it was written AND recorded in about a half hour

    (3) "Calling Dr. Love" -- if I could ignore the lyrics, I'd like this song more; the music is actually pretty good, but, like you, I suspect nobody has ever actually called Gene Simmons "Dr. Love"

    (4) "Ladies Room" -- far be from me to criticize people who screw in restrooms, but all I can think of is how gross public restrooms tend to be, and then I wonder why you wouldn't try to find some place less repugnant. Any port in a storm, I guess. Either way, it's a terrible song.

    (5) "Baby Driver" -- I typically love Peter's song, but this one does nothing for me

    (6) "Love Em and Leave Em" -- I'd like to nominate this for worst Kiss song ever recorded. Probably there are worse ones I'm just not remembering (or late-era ones I haven't heard yet).

    (7) "Mr. Speed" -- This would make a good b-side to "Love Em and Leave Em"

    (8) "See You in Your Dreams Tonight" -- If I suspect nobody ever called Gene Dr. Love, then I guess I also have to suspect that nobody ever loved that dick so much that they dreamed about later once they'd gotten home and fallen asleep. But hey, maybe we ought to be giving him the benefit of the doubt. I like this song, though; it's catchy, and it's one of the few on this album that is competently recorded. I'm a little surprised it's one of your cellar-dwellers.

    (9) "Hard Luck Woman" -- I don't get it. IS she a hard-luck woman, or isn't she? Peter can't seem to make up his mind in the lyrics. Nevertheless, this is maybe my all-time favorite Kiss song. A lot of the songs on this album are about getting the pussy and then getting the hell out, and this one doesn't seem to be any different; but at least Peter seems to be conflicted about it.

    (10) "Makin' Love" -- I guess they figured they couldn't end the album on a song that didn't suck, so they came up with this one on the fly. Awful.

    1. It actually took Garth Brooks' version of "Hard Luck Woman" to get me to appreciate the original, but now, I agree, it's one of the best of the bunch.

      "See You in Your Dreams Tonight" is not technically a bad song. It's funny because so many times with Gene tunes I'll start off thinking 'Oh okay this isn't so bad' and then by the end of it I get pissed off. 'What the fuck, Gene!?' I think that happened the time I listened to it closest to writing this blog and probably was in that zone.

      I have no idea what a "Baby Driver" even freaking is. That song is probably on a short list for me for utter confusion from their catalog.

      "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em" is indeed terrible."Making Love" is at least ridiculous enough to be unintentionally funny. It's like a preview of Paul Stanley in the 80s, but an unfinished prototype not fit for sonic consumption.

    2. If I'm not mistaken, a "baby driver" would be a young lady who takes the lead sexually, either via initiating the intercourse or (possibly, and more semi-literally) by virtue of consistently wanting to be on top.

      But Peter Criss has forgotten more about such things than I am ever likely to know, so really, who can say?

    3. I prefer to think it's an ode to a toddler who got behind the wheel and went on a vehicular rampage. While Peter Criss yells 'SPOILER ALERT!' out the window and flashes everyone. But... that's just me.

  8. I listened to "Alive II" tonight while doing some house-chores. I'd totally forgotten how much I like that album; makes sense, given that I probably haven't listened to it since the early nineties.

    They really sound like a band that had their live act down perfectly at that point. I even kind of like that version of "Ladies Room," which astonishes me.

    As for the new tracks...

    Well, "All American Man" is awful, but in a wonderful way. I mean, damn...THAT is Paul Stanley, encapsulated perfectly in just over three minutes, for better and worse.

    "Rockin' in the U.S.A." -- I really like Gene when he channels earlier eras of rock, which he does pretty damn capably on this song.

    "Larger Than Life" -- This feels like an early version of "Almost Human," and isn't as good. In fact, it's ridiculous. But it's so ridiculous that you kind of have to admire it. I mean, I guess if I had an enormous cock -- which Gene surely must, given that nobody as public a cocksman as he was/is could possibly get away with lying about such a thing -- I'd probably want to write songs about it too. But I sure hope I'd have found a way to not to.

    "Rocket Ride" -- Also ridiculous, but with just enough silliness slapped on top of it to make it gleeful rather than gross. Which is the difference between Ace and Gene, I guess. As for Kulick's guitar work, it's seamless; I'd never have guessed. I'm also in no way an expert, musically-speaking.

    "Anyway You Want It" -- I'd totally forgotten about this song! It was always one of my favorites, for some reason. But it makes sense; Kiss was surprisingly good at doing cover songs, which probably says something good about their qualities as players.

    I'm enjoying running through all of these!

    1. Glad to hear you're enjoying yourself with these!

      On the subject of Gene's penis (a sentence I can't believe I'm typing) I shan't spoil any of the memoirs for you, but their size, girth, and how they rank (and Gene's thoughts on his manhood - a hint: there's a reason of all the band he wore the over-compensating codpiece) is covered in agonizing detail.

    2. Just a quick note- Ace wrote and *did* play on Rocket Ride. Actually, it was just Peter and Ace doing the instrumentation, with Gene and Paul adding background vocals later. The bitter, bitter Kulick (poking fun at his incessant whining/cutting up of Ace) played on the rest of the tracks on side 4...

  9. I listened to the four solo albums this weekend, and figured hey, why not leave a track-by-track set of comments. Here goes, starting with the Gene album:

    (1) "Radioactive" -- Swear to God, I thought this was about to break into "Killer Klowns From Outer Space" at the beginning, which, given that this came first, would have been interesting. I'm not really sure what to make of that weird intro, but I kind of dig the song. I totally agree that its replay value is maybe a bit limited, but since I didn't listen to the Gene solo album very often back in the day, this song still feels sort of fresh to me.

    (2) "Burning Up with Fever" -- I kind of like this one, too, although I know I shouldn't.

    (3) "See You Tonite" -- Got to admit it, I love this song. Am I crazy, or does George seem to be channeling George Harrison's songwriting? And doing a damn credible job of it, too? I assume that when Gene says "you won't see me without it," he means his dick. Daffy, but also weirdly sweet.

    (4) "Tunnel of Love" -- Awful in every way.

    (5) "True Confessions" -- Also awful, but not, perhaps, AS awful.

    (6) "Living in Sin" -- This is so weird, depraved, and goofy that I just can't help but love it. I'd forgotten all about that chanted part of the chorus, which reminds me a bit of "Hooked on a Feeling" but is even sillier.

    (7) "Always Near You / Nowhere to Hide" -- I like this song, too, and it is another one that has a vaguely Beatles-esque feel to my ears.

    (8) "Man of 1000 Faces" -- I like the chorus alright, but the rest of the song is weak. It seems like a good idea that never quite caught fire.

    (9) "Mr. Make Believe" -- Alright, this one DEFINITELY has a Beatles vibe to it. Not a great song, by any means, but I find that I kind of respond to Gene when he's doing something other than writing about his cock.

    (10) "See You in Your Dreams" -- I like the original version, and I don't know what the hell is up with this cover version. Especially those horrid backing vocals by what sounds to my ears like a badger on a meth binge.

    (11) "When You Wish Upon a Star" -- Look, I ain't gonna lie about it; Gene's version of this genuinely touches me. Partly that's due to me knowing his relationship with the song, and partly it's because it's simply one of THE great songs ever written. Whatever the case, I love this version.

    Overall: I thought I hated this album, but listening to it again has made me appreciate it more. Of the four solo albums, it's probably the closest to sounding like an actual Kiss album, which is kind of interesting.

    1. Check out the liner notes from this one. Among the plethora of A-list stars on this was the one and only Peg Bundy (Katy Sagel), doing background vocals. You can hear her clearly on Tunnel of Love.

  10. Paul:

    (1) "Tonight You Belong to Me" -- Am I crazy, or does this song seem to prefigure/anticipate the prototypical hair-metal ballad of the late eighties? Whatever the case may be, I dig it.

    (2) "Move On" -- My least favorite song on the album. It is this song that I imagine when I think of Stanley insisting on better decor for his recording studio.

    (3) "Ain't Quite Right" -- Okay, seriously . . . this sounds like something Great White would have recorded a decade later. I amused myself imagining Paul was singing, "You gave me good love, but it ain't Quiet Riot." Pretty good song.

    (4) "Wouldn't You Like to Know Me" -- This song reminds me very strongly of something, but I can't come up with it. Cheap Trick, maybe? Good song.

    (5) "Take Me Away (Together As One)" -- This is another one that reminds me very strongly of something, and here, I think I'm thinking of something Scorpions might have done in the late eighties. It's an overly dramatic song, but I have to say, I really like it, especially the chorus.

    (6) "It's Alright" -- The most Kiss-esque song on this album, for my money. Seems like it ought to have been a big hit, but evidently it wasn't.

    (7) "Hold Me, Touch Me" -- This is super-duper seventies-y, and I probably ought to hate it, but I don't. I actually quite like it, because I am a sappy bastard. Also because it sounds a wee bit like the theme song to "Cheers." And "Cheers" didn't come along for years yet!

    (8) "Love in Chains" -- Here's another one that seemingly prefigures the eighties. Was Paul Stanley secretly THE architect of eighties hair metal? Another pretty good song.

    (9) "Goodbye" -- I guess if you write a song called "Goodbye," you kind of HAVE to end your album with it. Here, Stanley sounds like he's channeling Boston, and doing a decent job of it.

    Overall: this is a surprisingly good album, I'd say.

    1. "Was Paul Stanley secretly THE architect of eighties hair metal?"

      And maybe even not-so-secretly! Isn't it ironic that the proverbial House That Kiss Built saw Paul imitating his imitators throughout the 80s?

      I'm with you on all of these.

  11. Ace:

    (1) "Rip It Out" -- I'm fonder of the verses than I am of the chorus, but this is a pretty cool rocker.

    (2) "Speedin' Back to My Baby" -- I don't know that Ace can be called a gifted vocalist, but clearly, by this point he'd figured out how to use it well to the extent that was possible. A lot of singers never figure that out. In the case of this song, I like the chorus a lot more than the verses, especially the backup singers, who are used well.

    (3) "Snow Blind" -- Ah. Okay. I get this song now. It always confused me in high school, which is probably a good thing. Love that riff.

    (4) "Ozone" -- I have a vivid memory of hating this song in high school. Not sure why; it's pretty badass. I think it may have been a little too advanced musically for me.

    (5) "What's on Your Mind" -- Another great chorus. Ace was kind of a great songwriter.

    (6) "New York Groove" -- As previously discussed, I had no clue this was a cover song until recently. Regardless of who wrote it, this is one of my favorite Kiss songs. If I ever go to NYC, I will definitely listen to this while I'm walking around gaping at skyscrapers. That shit WILL happen.

    (7) "I'm in Need of Love" -- Okay, maybe I'm crazy, but . . . does the beginning of this song make you think The Edge is probably an Ace Frehley fan?

    (8) "Wiped-Out" -- I never was much of a fan of this one, and I think it'd because of the mood swings. I'm a bit more sophisticated now, though, and I now get that this song is totally badass.

    (9) "Fractured Mirror" -- You've got to love Frehley closing with an instrumental. Doesn't it seem like, based on the strength of this, he should have scored a movie at some point?

    Overall: not a dud in the bunch. Best Kiss album of them all? Probably so.

  12. Peter:

    (1) "I'm Gonna Love You" -- I love this song. I love Peter Criss in general, really. I especially love the way he puts the backup singers and horn section to use here.

    (2) "You Matter to Me" -- I can imagine many a Kiss fan hearing this and saying, "What the fuck is THIS shit?!?" It's hard to imagine anything more seventies than this, but it's a catchy song, and that's good enough for me.

    (3) "Tossin' and Turnin' " -- I love bands doing cover versions of classics; as far as I'm concerned, it ought to be mandatory for them to do it once in a while. This is a good song, and Criss knows exactly how to do it, even if it sounds like he's not taking it all that seriously.

    (4) "Don't You Let Me Down" -- Another deeply seventies-ish tune, but I like it a lot.

    (5) "That's the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes" -- If I'm not mistaken, this song is about having sex.

    (6) "Easy Thing" -- Peter Criss here is doing a very credible Jim Croce impersonation. It also reminds me a bit of John Lennon, and not unfavorably.

    (7) "Rock Me, Baby" -- Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Seger! And again, it's a favorable comparison; Criss clearly would have been thoroughly cut out to be that sort of rock star.

    (8) "Kiss the Girl Goodbye" -- We're back to Croce territory here. Another strong tune, too.

    (9) "Hooked on Rock 'n' Roll" -- You know that thing where you misunderstand lyrics? I always thought Criss was singing "I was vaccinated with a big toy needle," and had no idea what in the hell that meant. Listening to this song now, though, I finally realize that he's saying "Victrola," which makes a lot more sense. This song rocks; in a totally different way than Ace's songs rock, but just as hard.

    (10) "I Can't Stop the Rain" -- This was always my favorite song on the album, and while I don't think that's the case any longer, I still love it.


    Great album, provided you can cope with the seventies sound. It's not a problem for me.

    My takeaway from the solo albums overall is that of all of the original members in the band, it may have only been Gene who was really able to do his own style of music within the band. Paul, too, to a lesser extent, and Ace very occasionally. But Ace and Peter both strike me as guys who needed to go in other directions, and would have been good at it.

    1. Thanks for these, that was fun. I so wanted to do a song-by-song breakdown approach to these overviews, as it's just a topic I never tire of.

      Myself, I always heard "I was vaccinated with a Beethoven hymn" during "Hooked on Rock 'n' Roll" before I finally asked my buddy Kevin. (The pre-internet version of googling anything Kiss-related. Perhaps post-internet, as well.)

    2. "Vaccinated with a Beethoven hymn"!!! Yep, I can see how you'd come to that conclusion.

      There's no way to gauge such a thing, but I'd love for the Lord God Almighty to issue a blog post direct from Heaven divulging exactly what percentage of rock lyrics are misunderstood by what percentage of people. I bet it's pretty dang high.

  13. It occurred to me tonight that I've been remiss as piss in terms of coming back here and leaving my album-by-album reactions. I've got some ground to make up, starting with "Dynasty":

    (1) "I Was Made for Lovin' You": Any Kiss fan who doesn't love this song can go pound sand. What's up with those weird sound effects, though? There's a Springsteen song called "Outlaw Peter" that sounds suspiciously like this song. Springsteen's came out about thirty years later, though, and isn't half as good as this.

    (2) "2000 Man": I believe I mentioned this before, but I had no clue for years and years that this was a Stones song. Having heard the original now, I think I still prefer Ace's version; but they're both pretty great.

    (3) "Sure Know Something": This is a terrific song. It's possible that rock bands should never do disco . . . but I don't believe it. Arcade Fire did a whole bunch of disco on their last album, and it was awesome. Maybe even as awesome as this.

    (4) "Dirty Livin' ": The more I think about it, the more I think that the Catman is my favorite member of Kiss. I love this song, too. As swan songs go, that one'll do.

    (5) "Charisma": Mentally, I recognize that this is a pretty great Gene tune, but it makes me feel gross, so I don't like it. Is this the only Kiss album that gets this deep into the tracklist before Gene shows up on vocals?

    (6) "Magic Touch": Paul was on fire on this album. A lot of it sounds like a sequel to his solo album, which is fine by me.

    (7) "Hard Times": One of my least favorite Ace songs. The chorus is pretty good, but the verses annoy me.

    (8) "X-Ray Eyes": Worst song on the album by a long margin, for my money.

    (9) "Save Your Love": Not bad, but the album probably needed a stronger closer.

    Overall -- it almost sounds like the other guys are trying to push Gene out of the band. What an interesting development that would have been...

    An odd collection, no doubt, but I agree with you that it still sounds pretty good.

  14. "Unmasked":

    (1) "Is That You?": I can still hear a bit of that disco influence in there, but it feels like Paul decided to walk about halfway back toward the "classic" Kiss sound. I like this song. Apparently it was written by the guy who wrote that "Cry Little Sister" song that's in "The Lost Boys." Groovy.

    (2) "Shandi": I can't help but imagine Paul writing this in some sort of bid to rebrand himself as a sort of weird mix between Paul McCartney and Jim Croce, but with more chest hair. I do like the song, though.

    (3) "Talk to Me": This is a great rocker. Big shock, coming from Ace.

    (4) "Naked City": Somehow, it feels like Gene means something different by "naked city" than Jules Dassin meant. This is a good song, though; Gene is in fine voice.

    (5) "What Makes the World Go Round": Feels like it could have come off one of their first two albums, doesn't it? It's also got a sort of Motown sound to it; something tells me that if he had been born earlier, Stanley would have made a gajillion dollars writing songs for Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and Smoky Robinson. Granted, this might be Vini Poncia I'm hearing moreso than Paul Stanley. Good song, either way.

    (6) "Tomorrow": How was this not a huge hit single?

    (7) "Two Sides of the Coin": How was this not a huger hit single?

    (8) "She's So European": Another pretty good Gene ditty, and thankfully not of the sort that makes you want to puke your dinner up.

    (9) "Easy As It Seems": This could have come straight off of "Dynasty." And it would have been a good closer.

    (10) "Torpedo Girl": Got to love it.

    (11) "You're All That I Want": My least favorite song on the album by far. Not terrible, but not something I'd want to listen to more than about once a year.

    Overall -- good lord, I had no memory of this album being this great! I wonder if I simply didn't get it when I listened to it in high school. No other explanation makes sense.

    1. Glad to have an ally on this one - I think it's a great Kiss record.

  15. "Music from The Elder":

    (1) "Fanfare": Greil Marcus's Rolling Stone review of Bob Dylan's infamous "Self Portrait" album began with the line, "What is this shit?" Or something like that; I possibly paraphrase. In any case, I can imagine legions of Kiss fans saying something similar when they heard this "song." It obviously functions less as a single thing than as a prologue to the rest of the album; as that, it's not bad.

    (2) "Just a Boy": I like this song fairly well. Stanley sings it capably, and it's got a good hook. The falsetto is what has probably kept it from being better-known, but from a dramatic standpoint, it makes sense for Stanley to go there.

    (3) "Odyssey": What an odd song. It doesn't surprise me that it was written by a non-band-member. I kind of like it, though. It needs to be rediscovered via a Wes Anderson sci-fi movie.

    (4) "Only You": Gene in creepy mode, but not creepy-sex mode; just run of the mill creepiness. Not a particularly great song, but I don't mind it.

    (5) "Under the Rose": I like this one. I don't have much to say about it, except that it sounds very much of its era. That isn't a bad thing, though.

    (6) "Dark Light": Unsurprisingly, Ace's lone song is one of the better ones on the album. Lou Reed co-wrote the song. He and Ace have similar vocal styles, now that I think about it. Of the two, I vastly prefer Ace.

    (7) "A World Without Heroes": Is there ANYTHING more 1981 than this song? I actually kind of love it.

    (8) "The Oath": Paul Stanley probably would have made a pretty good Broadway star. And maybe still could be. He's built for musical theatre. This isn't a great song, but it's not bad.

    (9) "Mr. Blackwell": I hate this song.

    (10) "Escape from the Island": I believe I stated somewhere previously that I'd love to see Ace Frehley do some movie scores. Here, he basically is. And it's not bad.

    (11) "I": This is a pretty damn good fist-pumper. How has this not been resurrected as a live-show mainstay? Especially since Paul and Gene share the vocals. I love it when they do that. I like Paul's Elvis-style swagger toward the end.

    Overall -- hey, man . . . this is a MUCH better album than it gets credit for being. Imagine what might have happened to the band's career if it had caught on.

    Does it seem surprising that them doing a sci-fi opera failed, given how thoroughly written into the band's DNA and personae sci-fi ideas are? Yes, it does.

    1. It really does. That one might get my vote for Worst Kiss Song Ever. I'd have to put some thought into that, though.

      Anyways, I deeply suspect that the only reason Gene chose the name "Blackwell" is because it rhymed with "hell." I'd almost be willing to bet that song began with the lyrics "why don't you...go to HELL..." and that the rest of it was just an excuse to keep that one line.

  16. the "Killers" originals:

    (1) "I'm a Legend Tonight": Of the four originals, this is probably the best. It's a fairly good rocker that sort of points the way toward where the band was headed with their next few albums.

    (2) "Down on Your Knees": With that title, you expect this to be Gene, but no, it's Paul again. All the originals are Paul songs, actually, which is interesting. This isn't much of a song. It's kind of awful, actually.

    (3) "Nowhere to Run": Sounds like Paul doing Bon Jovi a year before Bon Jovi were doing Bon Jovi. Not bad.

    (4) "Partners in Crime": Musically, this sounds like something Gene would have written, but he didn't. It's Paul again, all the way. I like the claps. It's kind of a terrible song, but in a very loveable way.

  17. "Creatures of the Night":

    (1) "Creatures of the Night": Gotta love it. This sounds just as much, in its own way, like a Broadway tune as anything off of "The Elder."

    (2) "Saint and Sinner": This is a great Gene song. The more I think about it, the more I realize that Gene is far and away my least favorite major member of Kiss, and I kind of feel bad about that. But when he's on, he's on, and he's on big-time this whole album, and especially this song.

    (3) "Keep Me Comin' ": Cock-rock at its best.

    (4) "Rock and Roll Hell": Seems like this one ought to be more prominent in their catalog. Good stuff.

    (5) "Danger": Gene was on during these sessions, but Paul was pretty fucking on, too. I like this song a lot.

    (6) "I Love It Loud": Traditionally, this has long been one of my favorite Kiss songs. That won't be changing anytime soon. The drums by Eric Carr are terrific.

    (7) "I Still Love You": Terrific hair-metal ballad; probably one of the best examples of that particular sub-genre. I'd totally forgotten about this song, and didn't entirely recognize it until the chorus landed, at which point in time it hit me like a ton of bricks. Great stuff.

    (8) "Killer": Not on "Killers," sadly. Good, sadistic stuff from Gene. Possibly the worst song on the album, which says something good about this album.

    (9) "War Machine": I love it when Gene goes into heavy-metal mode. This isn't AS good as "God of Thunder," but it's pretty damn good.

    Overall, I seem to be a bigger fan of this one than you are. I'd rank it as one of my favorite of the band's albums.

    1. I so wish they'd put "Killer" on "Killers." That's fantastic.

      I actually love this album, but I probably could have made that clearer in my review. Looking at my Ownability factor, I went too low. What was I thinking? 10 out of 10, definitely.

    2. It's the risk one runs when doing semi-scientific rankings. I've done similar things at You Only Blog Twice.

  18. Bryan, I needed to revisit the blog to see how you rated Dynasty, which has been the car soundtrack for most of 2015 thus far. Nice to see you give it the love this fine album deserves. Not only is it my favorite Kiss album, I think it serves as a blueprint in a way for all rock music that follows it. There truly is something for everyone on Dynasty. And Nate cracked up at his picture in the blog.