Rockbrat Wonders: What Are The Most Forgettable Kiss Songs ?

Posted: November 17, 2010 by rockbrat in Rockbrat Wonders:
Tags: , ,

Gene: "anyone seen my book of cliché's ?"

Here is a subject often discussed amongst Kiss fans but rarely documented – until now. That’s right kids – Mr Rockbrat has his Kiss albums in front of him – the volume set to high and a skeptical pair of ears. I once wrote – when reviewing the Psycho Circus album from 1998 that ‘Kiss have a support base like no other and if they put out an album of Elton John covers the fans would still buy it’. That to me leaves you a somewhat blinkered rock fan. I remember arguing with fellow Kiss fans back in 1986 about some of the lame tracks on the just-then released Asylum album. They could not see or hear what I could.  So here, for the first time are the best of the worst Kiss tunes which they’ve recorded.

This is just my opinion and after thirty something years of listening to this band I think I have enough knowledge on the subject to pen this list. Why don’t die-hard Kiss fanatics ever question some of the material which their favourite band have recorded ? You shell out your hard-earned money to Simmons and Stanley so why the hell not – you are entitled to do so.

 In my opinion, the body of Kiss work till 1980 is awesome and does not need looking at – and that includes the four solo albums from 1978. The disco-pop sounding Unmasked album has some great tunes included – but has our first forgettable track in ‘You’re All That I Want’. No surprises that Simmons penned this shocker (with former Ringo Starr co-writer Vini Poncia). Gene claimed to have written hundreds of songs by 1980 but sadly some of them deserved to remain in the demo tape case – including this one.  ‘You’re All That I Want’ is a plodder and goes nowhere – a far cry from the smoke and fire of tracks like God of Thunder and other mid 70’s gems.  Maybe the hunger – via immense worldwide success had been satisfied somewhat ?

Next is 1981’s Music From The Elder –  one of my favourite Kiss albums because it is such a departure for the band and there are indeed no duds on the record – though many would disagree. 1982’s  Creatures Of The Night is a return to the glorious and loud amplifier-fuelled Kiss we all know and love. It’s a cool record, however Paul Stanley’s ‘Keep Me Comin’ track is a throwaway that makes the list of forgettables. This song (which would’ve been right at home on Spinal Tap’s ‘Shark Sandwich’) never grabbed me at all and I can vividly remember lifting the styli when the song was up next on the old Rockbrat stereo. By the way a styli – or stylus – is a record player needle – for all you kids out there.

1983 and we enter the non-make-up years, where it’s important to note that Simmons was not devoting all of his time to the band – what with a blossoming film career, record label and management company to attend to. Stanley was often left to carry the band forward and it is noticeable in the quality of songwriting – if you compare both his and Gene’s efforts. Lick It Up has a couple of ‘styli lifters’ (hey Mr Rockbrat has coined a new rock phrase !) – in the tedious ‘Young and Wasted’ and the dismal ‘Gimme More’. ‘Young and Wasted’ was played in the live arena and sung by the late Eric Carr – but it really is B-grade metal at it’s worst. I remember watching the Animalize live concert upon release – and hearing this song – whilst Simmons shook his ass in front of the camera thinking ‘what is up with all this ?’. Horrendous and quite laughable really. The bat-winged demon really was lost when it came to stage-presence for quite some time during those early non-make-up years. ‘Gimme More’ is another straight outta the St Hubbins/Tufnel songwriting book which should’ve been rejected by the Record Company head honcho at the time. Lick It Up has some great moments, but these two aforementioned tracks are not among them.

1984’s Animalize was a great rock record and I loved it – well Paul’s tunes at least. Big Gene managed to break away from his Hollywood trailer long enough to contribute three – yes that’s right – only three songs. All of them are basic, B-grade hard rock fodder and are average at best. When you think that – only ten short years beforehand, he was writing some true rock classics which would be loved by millions, yet could now only offer up substandard songs like ‘Lonely Is The Hunter’, it was not fair on the Kiss disciples. Simmons resorted to his rich book of rock clichés and could only come up with “Hey, with a sleight of hand and then a word of mouth – She’s a cat been caged too long and now she’s breakin’ out“. P-lease. Or what about the godawful – ‘Lonely Is the Hunter’ with its ‘Put my eggs in one basket, but she threw me a bone – She was dealt a full deck, but she likes to live alone’. You gotta be kidding me ! I remember listening to this album in my room whilst my brother was cranking out Maiden’s almighty ‘Powerslave’. His walls were shaking man ! You shouldn’t really compare the two as that ain’t fair – not on Stanley anyway. Well done Gene – all of your Animalize contributions make the forgettable list ! If you are a  Kiss fanatic – stack Stanley’s Animalize tunes up against Simmons’ then ask yourself the basic question, using ‘cool rock tunage’ as the criterion. Put simply, Gene did not deliver the goods on this record whereas Paul’s ‘Heaven’s On Fire and Thrills In the Night are bona-fide Kiss  classics !  Maybe Gene shoulda asked Mark St John or Eric Carr if they had any ideas ?

So we move on to the fashion nightmare that is 1985’s Asylum.  “Trial By Fire”  – again by Simmons, but co-written with Bruce Kulick makes the list, as does Paul’s throwaway ‘I’m Alive”. Surely this is one of Stanley’s worst Kiss moments and is indeed ‘hard listening’ (another Rockbrat phrase !). Crazy Nights was an enjoyable album but had some cringing moments – ie Bang Bang You, and the very annoying No No No. Bang Bang You is just plain silly and again, I find it amazing that a songwriter like Stanley, who could write astounding songs like Black Diamond and I Want You only a few short years before could produce this nonsense ?! Don’t start me on the lyrics either. Talk about making yourself an easy target for the music critics. As for No No No – the less said the better, it is truly awful – an annoying finger-tapping filler and I hope I never have to hear it again. Thief In The Night nearly made my list – though the fact that Wendy O Williams had covered it beforehand – and I was already familiar with that likeable version – was its saving grace. Hot In The Shade saw a return to form with Gene’s songwriting as was displayed on the great single Betrayed. When I heard that I thought – wow, he’s back. I’m sure I was not alone. He did however offer up the awful ‘Boomerang’, which sounds likes it was a continuation of No No No.  In Australia there is an old song called ‘My Boomerang Won’t Come Back’ which I sure hoped was the case when I first heard this song. Yet another forgettable song by Gene Simmons. Don’t mean to state the obvious yet again, but the three singles lifted off this album – Hide Your Heart, Rise To It and Forever were all penned by Paul Stanley. So there you have it folks, twelve of the most forgettable tunes in the vast Kiss catalogue.  Here’s the list again:  

  • You’re All That I Want
  • Keep Me Comin’
  • Young and Wasted
  • Gimme More
  • Lonely Is the Hunter
  • While the City Sleeps
  • Murder in High Heels
  • Trial By Fire
  • I’m Alive
  • Bang Bang You
  • No No No
  • Boomerang

 

If you are a Kiss fan and don’t like what I’ve written today then leave a comment with some evidence to the contrary. It’s fine to be a devout follower of a rock band – but sometimes it’s also fine to question some of the material which they’ve recorded. That’s actually a healthy part of being a rock fan and it’s a shame more people don’t do it.  Try and not be a blinkered rock fan. I love Kiss – they’ve been a part of my life for three decades. But I sure as hell don’t like everything they’ve recoreded – hence the reason for this post. But it is after all, just an opinion – my opinion. However, I am fairly confident that some Kiss fans would agree with me. I welcome your thoughts.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

>Rockbrat Update: 22 November 2010<

Well some days have passed since I uploaded this article – it received a high amount of traffic and I received quite a few messages about it. Most of the messages agreed with my opinion on the Kiss songs listed. Most people agree that Kiss released some stinkers and many were on that list ! Only one Rockbrat friend (from some place in Canada) was kissed off with me and told me I didn’t know what I was talking about, Kiss is for life yadda yadda yadda. Yeah right. He is exactly the kind of blinkered Kiss nut I was alluding to in the article. As for not knowing what I was talking about…well I had my face painted like Ace in 79, was in the Australian Kiss Army back in 1980, was in the original Ace Frehley and Vinnie Vincent fan clubs etc etc. Even painted a Kiss logo on my high school wall to signal my departure ! Not to mention buying many Kiss-associated albums like White Tiger, Balance, Blackthorne and Blackjack….and how’s about searching for and owning other Kiss-related discs like Treasure, Stallion, Trigger, Good Rats, Wendy O Williams, Cher, Doro and even buying a freaking Bonnie Tyler album cos she covered ‘Hide Your Heart’. Not bad for a guy who doesn’t know much about Kiss ! As they say in the movies Kiss My Ass friend ! (I did welcome your comment though Mr Canadian Kiss Fan – and just to show you Mr Rockbrat adores all his rock n roll disciples, e-mail me your address and I’ll send ya a signed photo !)

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Richard says:

    Totally agree with this post. I very rarely listen to mid-80’s Kiss these days. Give me 73-75 any day ! Richard Wilkington

  2. Ashley says:

    I left this reply on the KAA forum regarding your article;

    Hilarious!

    Titles like Lonely… , Whilte the City Sleeps and You’re All That I Want are all worthy in that list…I can see why some fans will say songs like Boomerang , No,No,No and Bang…belong in such a list but I do like those kinda-songs like Boomerang and No,No,No…Bang Bang You is an OK song maybe if it had a better title and chorus it would have been maybe better received…although I prefer hearing it live than the studio version…but then again it was the 80’s…cock rock was at its peak! 😆

    You’re All That I Want…I could never understand why KISS played this live on some dates in Europe during their ’80 tour…sure I guess Gene didnt have many recent tracks to choose from to play live then [Charisma would of rocked harder especially with Eric on drums] than playing this song , which even live had no real edge in my opinion…

    Heres a few KISS songs I would rather forget…

    Baby Driver , And On The 8th Day… , Trial By Fire , I’m Alive , Secretly Cruel , Reason To Live , Somewhere Between… , Tough Love , Childhood Ends , I Will Be There and most of Psycho Circus…

    [END]

  3. Ashley says:

    Rockbrat I also love the fact that you complimented the article with photos of Gene from the Asylum period! His worst wardrobe era…in fact there is a correlation between Gene’s bad wardrobe and those dreadful songs of his from the 80’s…you could be onto something!!

    FYI – fan since ’79 , mainly listening to 70’s KISS…

  4. Dean P says:

    Gene looks horrendous in that outfit !

  5. Javier Rueda says:

    Hi There , great article …i disagree with a lot of things , but it is true that in early non make -up they did not work as a band only Paul or Gene , Mark told in an interview that he worked alone during two weeks in the studio with the songs , later a couple of days Eric added the drums …ans later on Paul came and cut and paste the rest of the album and no talked with Mark about solo guitar etcetcetcetc ……..

    Posted on the forum of my website …www.kissarmyspain.com
    I change you Young and wasted instead Onthe 8th day
    best
    Javier rueda

  6. JohnD says:

    That’s great! I am tempted to re-visit Unmasked and The Elder, but everytime I try I can’t get through one song. They had me up through Dynasty and the solo albums. Got me back with Creatures and Lick it Up, then I was out of there. Can’t deny the greatness of some of Paul’s singles after that as far as songwriting goes, though. And I agree, those bad Gene ’80s tracks were the reason I couldn’t listen to those albums post Lick it Up.

  7. shay says:

    I agree with pretty much all of the list Xcept ‘No No No’…I can never understand why people dislike it – even Paul Stanley listed it as a song he didn’t care for on a TV show once – The song starts with an absolute killer guitar intro/solo by Bruce Kulick. In fact the lead guitar solos are phenomenal throughout the entire song (in the last quarter of the song the tremelo is driven and recoiled so deep and so fast the compressed wail of the harmonics coming out of the bend ‘yowls’ like a wild animal). All of this aside, even the main structure/body of the song is quite technical and difficult to play. I think KISS were brave to do this live on the Crazy Nites Tour. I’m a big fan of Bruce Kulick and he’s made this song his own. Am not really interested in the words to the song or any KISS song for that matter am just interested in the groove and the emotion it creates in me, like the groove in ‘Deuce’ that makes u wanna “get up and get your grandma outta here” or I stole your/love gun/100, 000 years…they are driving, stomping, tribal experiences, and in this respect I feel “No No No” has some merit. Sx
    ♫ ♪ ♪ \m/ >,< \m/ ♫ ♪ ♪
    0

  8. wobblehouse1 says:

    hey RockBrat, enjoyed reading this and totally agree with you with the exception of GIMME MORE, YOUNG & WASTED & KEEP ME COMING – all three are favs of mine and part of my terminal mental affection for the band.

    Maybe insert CADILLAC DREAMS, or even WHAT MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND, I also hate THE JUNGLE.

    Yeah, ‘LIU’ buries ‘Animalize’ in my opinion, esp. because Gene’s contributes were half baked.
    But YOUNG WASTED is pure Gene evil….outro guitar is seminal.

    Cheers, Dave

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s