Kiss is one of the bands that I share pretty much exclusively with my son, I think it's almost a right of passage, because it was my dad that got me into Kiss. I actually think Ryan is more into Kiss than I am, but I will say that I am a big fan of this album.
I never owned this one. I was alway more of a live and greatest hits fan. Most of the Kiss studio albums I own are the ones that came out in my teenage years. However, I'm very glad I bought this one for my kid.
The album opens with Strutter which everyone reading this review should know. If you don't, something went really wrong with your life and I'm sorry. It's a cool fast song.
What the fuck is a piano doing in a Kiss song, and why does it sound so damn fitting? Nothin' To Lose is really a good song that I think has been lost over the years. It's a really good Jerry Lee Lewis, kind of Rock and Roll song.
Firehouse is one of those songs that's so much better live. The studio version of this song is way too slow and boring. It's just so flat sounding, and lacks all the passion that I'm use to hearing. Even the fire alarm at the end of the song sounds lamer than it does live.
My favourite Kiss song comes from this album. Cold Gin is the one song from Kiss that's a must have for me, and it's all Ace Freely, right down to the vocals. This song is such a great tune that I've even perfected my own way of singing it for Karaoke. I just love singing the chorus "Ooh, it's cold gin time again / You know it'll always win / It's cold gin time again / You know it's the only thing / That keeps us together, ow". Also, Ace's simple, yet very effective solo is great fun. This is also only one of two songs to breach the four minute marker.
Let Me Know is a song that I now know why I barely know it. I do have a live version of the song that I've had for years, but it's one of those tracks I tend to ignore or skip.
I'm not sure how I feel about Kissin' Time. Part of me thinks it's a complete piece of cheesy camp, but another part of me is actually digging on it. It definitely has a sound that's very New York to me, and that's the only reason I don't want to skip it. It just kind of works in a way that makes the cheese forgiveable.
After that it's on to another uber popular, mega, Kiss track. Deuce is also on the first album. I don't feel a need to talk about this track because it's one of those songs everyone should know. If not there's a million versions on youtube you can go listen to. Actually it's 7,590 as of the moment I'm writing this.
There were only three tracks on this album that I didn't really know when I bought it for my son. The last of those three is Love Theme From Kiss which is an instrumental piece, that actually showcases a Gene Simmons that knows how to play his bass with a little flair. Other than that, it's just a 2:24 time filler that's enjoyable to listen to.
Then it's on to the two tracks on the album, and they are arguabley two of the best Kiss has ever done.
The first is 100,000 Years. A song that when Ryan and I were discussing this album on his birthday trying to figure out which tracks he knew and he's like "Oh yeah, I know 100,000 Years" with a big ass grin on his face. Then we both happily hollered along to the lyrics "I'm sorry to have taken so long / It must have been a bitch while I was gone / You mind if I sit down for a while / You'll reacquaint yourself with my style / Well, how could you have waited so long / It must have been a bitch while I was gone / All this time you put up a fear / For a hundred thousand years". Which I would like to point out has some of Peter Criss' best drumming.
Then it's on to Black Diamond which is such a fast paced barn burner of a song, when it's not being all big and heavy and mellow dramatic. This is the type of song that is meant to end an album, not only with style, but with class. It's the longest song on the album. The only song over five minutes, and even though it has a moment where it starts to feel like it's dragging and unwinding, that's okay. It's supposed to sound that way. My only gripe is that it's a production trick and not being done musically.
At the end of this album I'm just totally impressed, and can't believe I never picked this album up for myself. It's really a good album and I think that if you are going to start buying Kiss albums this one is a must.
7/10 - content
6/10 - production
7/10 - personal bias