Part 14 of my series of Kiss reviews, leading up to the release of Monster! This time, we’ll look at the final of the four solo albums (and my favourite) released under the Kiss banner in 1978: Paul Stanley.
KISS – Paul Stanley (1978)
Paul Stanley’s contribution to the Kiss solo album quadrilogy was very much like what Paul was doingin within Kiss itself. As such it was warmly received by fans turned off by Peter Criss’ and Gene Simmons’ records. From Paul Stanley, it seemed clear that he was not creatively confined at all within Kiss. Recruiting old friend Bob Kulick on guitar, Paul laid down an album of hot rockers and a few tender ballads.
“Tonight You Belong To Me” starts off with some lush acoustic guitars (maybe a 6 and a 12 string? I can’t tell), and Paul singing in his classic falsetto. It doesn’t take long though for this to stop however, before a killer angular riff kicks in. (The Hellacopters ripped off the riff for the intro of their song called “Paul Stanley”, actually.) The riff is pure Paul Stanley, and is augmented by loads of juicy feedback. Bob Kulick just tears through the guitar solo.
This is followed by fan favourite “Move On”, which was played live on the 1979 Kiss tour. It’s another rocker that would have felt at home on Rock and Roll Over or Love Gun. “Ain’t Quite Right” is Paul’s first ballad of the album, and the first song I’d consider skipping. However Paul comes roaring back next, with the best song on the album. “Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me?” is fast paced and it rocks hard, and I think if Green Day did it today it would be classified as pop-punk, a genre which didn’t exist in 1978. Side 1 closes with “”Take Me Away (Together As One)” which might be called Zeppelinesque. It starts off slow and acoustic, turns dark and electric in the very catchy chorus, and goes back to acoustic. Dramatic is a good word. And Paul’s voice has never been stronger. I believe he was singing at his absolute peak at this point, personally.
Side 2 starts off with another rocker, “It’s Alright”, which is very Kiss circa Love Gun. The guitar riff and chorus melody are the main selling features of this song. “Hold Me, Touch Me (Think Of Me When We’re Apart)” is a title that can only belong to a ballad. As sappy as it is, I like this song. It’s a piano and strings ballad that might have suited the Peter Criss album, if not for the melodic and memorable guitar solo courtesy of Paul himself. “Love In Chains” follows this, a guitar oriented rocker with great singable verses. The album ends appropriately with “Goodbye”, a song which Paul used to close his 2006 solo shows. It is another stellar song, extremely catchy and well written.
Songwriting is the main selling point of Paul’s solo album. It is Paul’s song craft that makes this album special, that and Bob Kulick’s great guitar tones and talents. Paul had a lot to be proud, it is a gem of an album and one that no Kiss fan should be without.
It’s only a shame that the 2006 followup, Live To Win, didn’t even come close to reaching this level of quality.
Paul performing “Wouldn’t You Live To Know Me” in 1989 with Bob Kulick and Eric Singer