Category: Kiss

Kiss – Dressed to Kill

ARTIST: Kiss                                                 220px-Dressed_to_Kill_(album)_cover

TITLE:  Dressed to Kill

YEAR RELEASED: 1975

CHART ACTION: #32

SINGLES: Rock and Roll All Nite (#68), C’mon and Love Me

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The deep cuts stayed deep

LINEUP: Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Third album from the made-up marvels improves the sound and the songwriting, but the sequencing buried their classic song at the end.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Recorded with label boss Neil Bogart, the third album by Kiss has better sound, which helps the band tremendously. The guitars of Ace Frehley stand out now above the mix (frankly, that’s the best thing about the band if you want to be honest). The vocals are out there as well, which is good and bad, since the vocal range of this band isn’t that dynamic. You do hear Paul Stanley’s harmonies better, though.

As for the tunes, it has some decent deep cuts that didn’t get any traction, probably because no one listened to the first side. “Rock and Roll All Nite”, THE Kiss song, is stuck at the end of the record, which seems odd. Put it on side one, and flip, say “Getaway” to the end, then it’s probably a stronger album just by moving a couple of tracks around.

This still didn’t propel them in the stratosphere, not yet. They were too hard or scary for AM radio, and FM radio thought they were juvenile until the kids decided “Rock and Roll All Nite” was the tune.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was a short record. Just over 30 minutes, and that’s with a two minute acoustic intro to “Rock Bottom” which seems gratuitous. Not a value proposition, but this was their third record in a short amount of time.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B+: Better production made a big difference.

Kiss – Hotter Than Hell

ARTIST: Kiss                           220px-cover_hth_large

TITLE:  Hotter Than Hell

YEAR RELEASED: 1974

CHART ACTION: #100

SINGLES: Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Hotter Than Hell.

LINEUP: Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second album from the legendary band finds them solving many of the songwriting flaws of their debut.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s not packed with the early Kiss songs everyone screams for, but this second long player from the make-up marauders is actually a better record pound-for-pound.

The band took time to write 10 solid tracks, and while none are “Strutter” or “Deuce”, almost all of them are pretty worthwhile rockers in their own way. The vocals are a bit ragged, but that fits these songs, and Ace Frehley steps forward with some tasty tracks (though he didn’t sing them, not yet anyway).

The production is still murky as all get out, and that’s the biggest negative here. Yet it’s a step forward for the band, and soon they would embark on world domination, or try to.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This didn’t have the distribution of the debut, since Casablanca lost their Warner’s distribution deal.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B:  I ask again, would you like a more consistent record, or one with peaks and skippable tracks? I prefer consistent albums myself.

Kiss – Kiss

ARTIST: Kiss 220px-Kiss_first_album_cover
TITLE: Kiss
YEAR RELEASED: 1974
CHART ACTION: #87
SINGLES: Nothin’ to Lose, Kissin’ Time (#83), Strutter
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Firehouse, Cold Gin, Deuce, 100,000 Years, Black Diamond
LINEUP: Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Kiss army begins to assemble, even with some record company induced mis-steps.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Kiss grew an army, but you’d never believe it after the sales of their first album. While the album had a couple of duds (especially “Kissin’ Time”, which wasn’t on the album to begin with, but Casablanca wanted a hit so pushed them to record it as a single), most of it is pretty good 1974-era hard rock.

The production is a bit muddy, but they took about two weeks to get it down and mastered. Kiss was a road band at this time, and that didn’t leave a lot of time for the studio.

Now, we know a lot of these songs by heart. Yes, there’s probably no singles on it, really, but that’s OK. Kiss didn’t need pop singles to become KISS.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Warner Brothers was distributing Casablanca records at the time, and wanted Kiss to tone down their show and take off the makeup. As if. Soon, Casablanca needed a new distributor.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B: A couple of meh tracks, one real clunker and muddy production. But I’m gonna play “Strutter”, “Deuce”, “Cold Gin”, and “Black Diamond” as loud as I can until the day I die.