REVIEW: KISS – Best Of Solo Albums (1979)

Part 50:  Here we are at the end!  We started with the first album, but I thought I’d end it with something a little special.  I got this about a month ago.  So:  on the final KISS review before Monster, here we are with Best Of Solo Albums!

KISS – Best Of Solo Albums (German import, 1979)

The compilation was never released in North America, so here it’s quite a rarity.  I have read that there never has been an official CD release either.  Any CD would be a bootleg.

It’s a very even-handed and enjoyable listen.  The album is divided into four sections, one for each member, and each member gets three tracks.  Ace’s solo album was the most popular, so logically they started it with him, and his biggest hit.

“New York Groove” isn’t my favourite song in the world, but to start this album with anything but the big hit wouldn’t have been logical.  A better song, “Rip It Out”, follows.  I think this just might be the Ace’s best song.  An upbeat rocker with a killer Ace riff, it easily stands up against any Kiss hit.  This also offsets any lack of momentum that the mid-paced opening lacked.

“Speedin’ Back To My Baby”, another one of Ace’s best tunes, finishes his set.  I like this cool rocker, although my pick from Ace’s album would have been “What’s On Your Mind”.  Regardless, the album was wisely sequenced so it starts strong and finishes strong.  Ace’s side assured a good start.  What followed was Peter’s.

I don’t think there will ever be a consensus on the best songs from Peter Criss.  It’s a pretty bland affair, and one song is hard to distinguish from another sometimes.  “You Matter To Me” is, well, whatever it is.  Bad 70’s synth, midtempo AM radio crap is basically what it is.  “Tossin’ And Turnin'” and “Hooked On Rock And Roll” are both better, being rock and roll songs at least.  Peter loans them his souful rasp and he turns in decent versions of both songs.   I suppose I would have thrown in “I Can’t Stop The Rain” or “Easy Thing” instead.  I guess Casablanca were avoiding the ballads.  Makes sense in a way — they were probably trying to collect the songs they thought would most appeal to Kiss fans, out of Peter’s lukewarm songs.

Ace and Peter take up side 1.  Gene starts side 2, another controversial album.  “Radioactive” is his signiture disco-rocker, and Kiss were playing it on tour that year (as they also were with “New York Groove”).  It is followed by one of Gene’s all-time best songs, “Mr. Make Believe”.  This acoustic Beatles-y ballad has always been a favourite of mine.  Gene’s remake of “See You In Your Dreams” finishes his suite.  I prefer Kiss’ version.  But again, it’s a rocker, unlike a lot of Gene’s album.

Much like Ace’s record, Paul Stanley was well received by Kiss fans, if critisized for being so Kiss-like.  “Tonight You Belong To Me” is a dramatic opener and one of Paul’s greatest songs.  Kiss were playing “Move On” on the Dynasty tour at this time, so it too appears.  It’s not my favourite song.  (That would be “Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me”. )  Paul’s set, and the album, closes with “Hold Me Touch Me”, which was also a single that had some success.  I think it’s a great song if a little saccharine.  Paul plays the guitar solo.

As a straight listen, the album works.  I mentioned how I would have swapped one song for another.  Well, yeah, on paper that’s what I would have done.  As an album, it works as it is.  Whatever the rationale was for picking the songs, it’s a consistent listen and one I enjoyed.  Now that I’ve ripped the LP to CD, and I can put that record away, for special occasions.

4/5 stars.

Side 1

  • ACE FREHLEY – “Rip It Out”, “New York Groove”, “Speedin’ Back to my Baby”
  • PETER CRISS – “You Matter To Me”, “Tossin’ and Turnin'”, “Hooked on Rock and Roll”

Side 2

  • GENE SIMMONS – “Radioactive”, “Mr. Make Believe”, “See You In Your Dreams”,
  • PAUL STANLEY – “Tonight You Belong To Me”, “Move On”, “Hold Me Touch Me”
Advertisements

8 comments

  1. There’s still albums to be acquired, things to be had. There’s a Japanese comp called Chikara that I do not have. If I get it, you know I’m gonna review it! And let’s assume that Kiss will continue to add to their ample catalog beyond Monster.

    Like

  2. I own this LP. I have no clue why as I bought all solo albums the day they arrived. I was only ten, but I had saved up some money and my mom gave me the rest. Come to think of it, I only bought Gene Simmons album first, for some reason and then I hassled my mom until she came around and gave me the cash to buy the rest of them. So this album makes no sense in my collection. Plus the fact that the songs on it aren’t the best of the albums, in my book. To even add Hold Me, Touch Me is an abomination. That song is too cheesy to even be called cheese. Maybe the worst song Paul Stanley ever wrote beside Reason To Live (aka I Wanna Know What Love Is pt 2…).
    Here’s my best of:

    Ace:
    Snowblind
    What’s On Your Mind
    New York Groove

    Peter:
    I Can’t Stop The Rain (brilliant ballad)
    Easy Thing
    Hooked On Rock ‘n’ Roll

    Paul:
    Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me
    It’s Alright
    Tonight You Belong To Me

    Gene:
    Man Of 1000 Faces
    See You Tonite
    Living In Sin

    Like

    1. Careful Jon you’re giving away your age! Hard to tell from the photo if you were in your 20’s, 30’s, whatever!

      You’ve picked so many of my favourite solo Kiss songs there. Man of 1000 Faces, and See You Tonite? I LOVE those two songs…they have some kind of…I don’t know? Classic, epic quality to them. They certainly do shine. You named my three favourite Paul rockers, even though I’m a sucker for that saccharine ballad.

      Same with Peter. You picked three awesome songs — the two best ballads, and one of the best rockers.

      As for Ace you can’t go wrong, but I’m glad you picked What’s On Your Mind, definitely one of the catchiest numbers he’s ever recorded.

      Like

  3. Haha, yeah, well, I am an old fart with a young mind. And liver that apparently won’t ever give in.. :D

    What’s On Your Mind was my favourite Ace song for a long time. Today I rank a bunch of his old Kiss classics higher, but it is still a great tune.

    Paul has written some great saccharine ballads such as Forever and Every Time I Look At You, but to me Hold Me, Touch Me and Reason To Live are more butter than saccharine… ;)

    Like

    1. Perhaps this is a good time to mention that I am working on a series of Ace Frehley reviews. I’ll tackle his solo albums, rare tracks, and maybe his book too. I’m three records in now and having a blast.

      I think the worst ballad Paul co-wrote was the one from Psycho Circus, whatever the hell it was called. And then Nothing Can Keep Me From You was just an abomination.

      For me, context is so important when it comes to music. OK, here’s the true story. I had a crush on this girl and tried to woo her with Hold Me Touch Me. There, I said it :)

      Like

  4. This best of actually makes sense. There simply are not many people who need ALL (if any really) the songs on the 4 solo albums. Atleast they are condensed here so someone wouldn’t need to go through all that shrap found on the 4 solo albums

    Liked by 1 person

Rock 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