KISS' seventh album of the 80's and fourteenth studio album overall finds the band finally settling into its new sound. With Bruce Kulick firmly in place as the band's lead guitarist (this is his second full album with the group) and Eric Carr no longer considered a "replacement" by fans, the band appears to be turning into a tight, cohesive group. With that said, 1987's Crazy Nights feels more like a generic album that begs to be better than it really is.
The album opens with Paul Stanley belting out a "Whooo!" on Crazy Crazy Nights. It's quite possibly the most anthemic sounding single the band released during the 80's outside of Lick It Up. It's definitely a fun song to hear live, as I had the chance to do in September of 2010. It's the only song to be played live by the band from this album since Eric Carr's death, and they only started playing it again during the Sonic Boom tour.
The next track, I'll Fight Hell To Hold You finds the band playing it safe with the popular glam sound of the 1980's. While the song sounds wonderful and the musicianship is excellent, you just feel as if the band is holding back on the tune.
Bang Bang You and No, No, No are next, and they are two of the weakest (and lamest) songs that KISS ever recorded in my opinion. I'm all for cheesy, innuendo-laden rockers from KISS. Heck, it's what put them on the map. These songs, particularly Bang Bang You, come across as a forced attempt at being tongue-in-cheek dirty that just don't work.
At this point, the rest of the album plays out like a standard 1980's hair/glam album. There's really no standout track from the bunch. Reason To Live and Turn On The Night were both released as singles with Crazy Crazy Nights, and even though they sound quite good, they just do not grab me like many of the other songs released during this part of the band's development.
Ron Nevison produced the album and his hit-making powers are felt throughout Crazy Nights. Known primarily for tight production and having a bead on the current popular sounds, Nevison is responsible for reviving the career of Heart and working with many of the popular power ballad-heavy bands of the 1980's like Survivor and Europe. It's no surprise, then, that many of KISS' songs on this album sound very similar to tracks from these groups. Reason To Live is very, very similar to Heart's These Dreams in my opinion.
As stated before, Crazy Crazy Nights is a good album. It just lacks that extra something that allows it to stand out from the rest of the 1980's abundant flow of glam albums. The band sounds wonderful. Gene Simmons excels on both vocals and bass. Paul Stanley puts in an always reliable performance. Bruce Kulick has settled in nicely and sounds a lot like Eddie Van Halen at times and Eric Carr, as always, never skips a beat and does an excellent job.
Get Crazy Nights for Crazy Crazy Nights, Reason To Live, and Turn On The Night. It's a solid-but-safe glam rock album from KISS that could have been so much more.
What did you think of this review?