Part 43 of my series of Kiss reviews, leading up to the release of Monster! Chronologically, this album was released in between 20th Century Masters Vol. 2, and Vol. 3, in 2005.
KISS – Gold (2005, Universal)
At this point, you can’t blame Gene anymore. Kiss’ old record label was free to issue whatever compilations they wanted, and they did. Of these compilations, none contained previously unreleased material. So, these are aimed strictly at the newbies, and the collectors. And the collectors loathe shelling out for this kind of thing.
There is some light shining through the clouds.
First off, unlike every hits album released before it, this one actually has liner notes! Not bad liner notes either! Some common errors have been corrected in them (for example, Anton Fig is listed on drums for the “disco” albums). Not all the errors have been corrected, unfortunately, and I believe all lineup information has been taken directly from the liner notes of Kiss’ The Box Set.
Second, the track listing really is superb, even if offering few surprises. The ground covered is the “makeup years” 1974-1982…yet for unknown reasons the entire (excellent) Creatures Of The Night album is absent. Instead Universal ends this compilation with two tracks from the import only Killers, a pleasant if baffling inclusion. The liner notes end here as well, glossing over the entire last two decades of the band.
Lastly, there are a total of 40 tracks on two CDs, a very generous slice of rock n’ roll indeed. This allowed Universal to include no less than five tracks from the first album! Five tracks are included from Destroyer, four from Alive!, and each solo record is given one track as well! Even the box set didn’t have anything from Gene’s solo record (although it included an unreleased demo). The disco albums are given a total of four tracks combined, and Music From The Elder is not ignored either.
I suppose in this day and age, a band of Kiss’ age does need a number of hits albums. You need a good, full-length single disc for the people who want that (The Very Best Of). You need a double-disc version for the people who want a little more (Gold). And now in this era, you also need a budget-priced 10 or 12 track hits compilation like 20th Century Masters. When you think about it, it all makes sense.
While I think Universal really should have put something on here for the diehards who already have all this material several times over, one version of this album comes with a DVD of Kiss Exposed. I guess that’s cool if you don’t have it already. It’s an odd pick, since Exposed mostly focuses on the music after the makeup came off, none of which are relevant to Gold.
For newbies: 4/5 stars. It’s good value for a good selection of arguably the best years. But be aware there are plenty more hits that you’re missing.
For fans: 2/5 stars. Good compilation of material, that Universal are hoping to get you to buy again for the umpteenth time.
Full tracklist can be seen in the gallery below.