||From the Vault...
© Casablanca Records
Burning Up With Fever
See You Tonite
Tunnel Of Love
Living In Sin
Always Near You/
Nowhere To Hide
Man Of 1000 Faces
Mr. Make Believe
See You In Your Dreams
When You Wish Upon A Star
Gene Simmons related sites:
When Kiss was happening back in the 1970s,
with all of the wild makeup and hard rock, someone (if not,
more than one person) had the idea of having the four members
of Kiss release individual albums. Right away, people would
think that the band would break up, leaving the individuals
to continue with solo careers. That wasn't the case
with Kiss. By the time their solo albums were released,
the band starting losing its popularity. Kiss was one of
those bands that caught you offguard. They were
different because of their makeup, yet it seemed that most
artists were getting into the makeup thing anyway: David
Bowie and Alice Cooper were unique with their makeup, and
their music. But the music of Kiss' was maybe a little ahead
of its time back then. The critics didn't like them; they
were too wild with their persona: the wild makeup and the wild
rock and roll. But to their fans, they were enjoyed.
I wasn't much of a big Kiss freak as most people,
but I did enjoy most of their music. It wasn't until I was
older that I appreciated their music more. Gene Simmons,
the long-tongued, spitting fire bass player's solo album has
that unique Kiss sound. It has to; he was the main focus of
Kiss, as he mostly provided the main vocals on their songs.
It would only be a matter time that he, along with Paul
Stanley, would become the only original members of the band, as
Kiss would continue into the next decade and a half.
What's different on this album is the intro the first
song on the album, Radioactive. It's theatrical,
like ELO's Fire On High. Another theatrical tune in
a sense is True Confessions. It's also resembles
the aura of Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell. A lot of the songs on
this album is in that same vein. It's like listening to
Meatloaf, yet it is in the Kiss-style format. It's not as
the hard rockin' Kiss, as heard in previous albums. But
a bit more theatrical.
But as the album goes on, it seems that all the songs
start sounding alike (at least the first six songs
did anyway). But then there's a bit of changing. Always
Near You/Nowhere To Hide slows down the pace, and
it makes you want to listen to it more closely, after hearing
the first six songs. When it does kick in a bit, it does
have that theatrical feeling again, but it's a good theatrical
feeling. Man Of 1000 Faces is a medium-paced
rock song, yet it's changes in the song is almost like Emerson, Lake &
Palmer's Welcome back, my friends, to the show that
never ends, we're so glad you could attend, come inside,
come inside. (Isn't ELP considered theatrical too?)
Mr. Make Believe is a nice, bouncy pop song, with
nice harmony vocals. See You In Your Dreams returns
with the usual Kiss-rocking style. The last song, When You
Wish Upon A Star is a remake of the Disney classic.
This really caught me off guard. It's musical arrangements
resembles a song heard in The Wizard Of Oz, or from a standard
Walt Disney soundtrack. For a song like this, Gene Simmons'
vocals just doesn't cut it. He is not meant to be as a
soft-spoken vocalist, as a Jimminy Cricket. I think he
should go back to his usual job, being a hard-rockin' vocalist.
The songs that grabbed my attention more than others
were the tunes that had a different sound than what I
was already familar with of the Kiss sound: Always Near
You/Nowhere To Hide and Man Of 1000 Faces.
When You Wish Upon A Star was noticeable. The musical
arrangement was beautiful, but the vocals get a thumbs-down.
Not a good way to end an album. When David Lee
Roth took an old standard like Just A Gigolo, he
did it with class, both musically and visually through his
Despite Gene Simmons having help on this album,
from the likes of Bob Seger, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Helen
Reddy, Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter of The Doobie Brothers, Donna
Summer, Janis Ian, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, and Cher,
the album as a whole is average. In fact, all of the Kiss solo
albums did not sell very well. For the die-hard Kiss fans,
they'll probably enjoy the theatrical/rock tunes on
this album, and they will be surprised as I was with the
remaining songs. But
these four individuals were much better with the group Kiss
than on their own, at least at this time, back in 1978.
Sure, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss did release solo albums
of their own long after they left Kiss, but back then, they
were much better as a group. The 1978 solo albums didn't
put a damper on their career, but changes were due ahead
for them later. Both Criss and Frehley would leave the
band, and their replacements would have different facial
makeups. By the end of 1982, more personnel changes occurred, as the
makeup disappeared, finally revealing
what the band looked like, at least for Simmons and Stanley,
the remaining original members. The original Kiss were
never seen without their makeup.
Kiss is a band in which you like them or you don't.
As a band, their sound is unique in the hard-rock/heavy metal
style. But when you take the components apart that make a great
rock band such as Kiss, it just might backfire. It was a good
thing the band did get back together, even though many changes
occurred for them later. The original Kiss is the best, at least
they continued onward, instead of focusing on solo careers.
These solo albums were an experiment. Some were better than
others, but at least they made the right decision to get back
as a group, and continue onward as one of rock's great bands.
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