While most KISS fans (including myself) believe that the best album to be born from the 1978 KISS solo efforts was the Ace Frehley album, I have to say that Gene Simmons' project deserves the title of "most surprising."
Judging by the album cover, most fans would expect to have a dark, almost evil sounding album waiting for them. Instead, the listener gets a wonderful mix of signature dirty Gene Simmons tunes, slow and pop rockers, one really cool tribute song, a "mulligan" from KISS' catalogue, and one song that shouldn't belong but works marvelously on this album.
The album opens ominously enough, with wicked strings and vocals that get the listener ready for what should be a brutal metal onslaught. What you get instead is the hard pop rocker Radioactive. That's followed up by another pop rocker in Burning Up With Fever.
It's the third track on this album that shows the listener that Gene's mind isn't geared strictly to up-tempo rock and dirty songs. See You Tonite sounds as if Paul (McCartney, not Stanley) should be singing it instead of Gene Simmons. I have to admit that it is a wonderful song, and that's being said by someone who doesn't even really like the Beatles. There's just something about the track that makes it really easy to listen to over and over again.
Two other tracks on the album also have a heavily Beatles-influenced sound to them, those being Always Near You/Nowhere To Hide and Mr. Make Believe.
If See You Tonite or any of the other Beatles-esque tunes derail the average KISS listener, Tunnel Of Love will bring them back home. It's a signature dirty track from the signature dirty guy from KISS. This song would easily fit into a standard KISS album alongside tracks such as Calling Doctor Love. Another excellent dirty track on the album is Living In Sin, which features Cher (yep, THAT Cher) near the end of the track as a young lady nervously calling Gene's hotel room.
The song Man Of 1,000 Faces is supposedly a nod to horror great Lon Chaney. This makes perfect sense given the fact that Simmons is a huge classic horror fan. The influence of Paul, John, George, and Ringo can be heard in this song, but in my opinion it isn't as strong as it is in the aforementioned tunes.
Two other songs fill out the album. One is pop rocker True Confessions and the other is a "do-over" of See You In Your Dreams from KISS' wonderful Rock And Roll Over album. Supposedly Gene wasn't happy with the cut from that album and did it again for his solo project. Personally, I enjoy both of them about the same.
Finishing off the album is the song that has caused almost as many arguments in KISS fan circles as the debate over who was really the heart of the original KISS lineup. When You Wish Upon A Star from Walt Disney's 1940 classic animated film, Pinocchio, finds us hearing Gene do an excellent (if you ask me) job of singing the classic tune in a straight cover. Many people believe that Simmons recorded the song as a joke, but I personally think that he recorded it due to the fact that the song personifies the American dream of becoming a success no matter where you find yourself in life. Gene Simmons is living that dream. Call it cheesy, but the song is very uplifting and finishes off the most eclectic KISS solo project perfectly.
Fans of KISS probably already own this album. For the rest of the people on this planet, buy this album to hear the Demon doing his darndest to make a wonderful pop/hard rock album with a tad bit of inspiration at the end.
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About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot (kfontenot)
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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