DVD REVIEW: KISS – 20th Century Masters: The DVD Collection (2004)

KISS – 20th Century Masters: The DVD Collection (2004 Universal)

These 20th Century Masters DVDs were a fun way to pick up key music videos from major bands at a cheap price.  Today this role is largely filled by sites such as YouTube.  The Kiss edition features five of their biggest from the 1980’s:  One with makeup, four without.  One each from Creatures, Lick It Up, Animalize, Asylum, and Crazy Nights.

“I Love It Loud”, of course, features the band in full makeup and costumes, including Ace Frehley, even though he did not play on Creatures of the Night.  This brilliant video spoofed the popular “rock and roll is brainwashing our kids” fears of the 80’s.  In this video, Kiss use their incredible brain powers to do that very thing.  Gene can even melt objects with his fire breathing, through a fucking television set.

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Let me set the stage for you in the clip for “Lick It Up”:  It is the Future.  Nuclear war has seemlingly reduced America to a wasteland, the population are dressed in rags.  The only human beings left alive are women…and of course the four guys from Kiss (now including Vinnie Vincent on guitar).  Only they can bring salvation (and music) to the surviving ladies.

“Heaven’s On Fire is a pretty standard 80’s video.  The band frolic with babes, Gene wags his tongue, Eric shakes his hair.  This video is however notable as the one and only appearance of guitarist Mark St. John (who replaced Vinnie Vincent) on lead guitar.

The clip for “Tears Are Falling” isn’t the best.  It’s a better song than a video, but there’s a cool part where Bruce plays a guitar solo in the rain.  It’s too bad that Kiss chose the Asylum period for a garish set of sequined covered bathrobes, a popular 1985-86 trend.

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“Crazy Crazy Nights” boasts some pretty big production values and the debut of the “new” late-80’s KISS sign.  I hated the softening of the musical and visual direction of Kiss in this video.  This is the beginning of Paul Stanley merely dancing with his guitar in videos, rather than playing it.  Watch the video.  At no point is Paul doing anything more than wearing or dancing with his guitar!

Eric Carr was the drummer on all tracks, rest his soul.

3/5 stars

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24 comments

  1. 80s KISS is just the best. No amount of colourful bathrobes or not-even-pretending-to-play-the-guitar-anymore is gong to change that. Having said I watched these just recently, as you know, and it was pretty cringe inducing! Always had a soft spot for the Crazy Nights vids though. They won me over as a young un.

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    1. Maybe it’s an age difference between us but Crazy Nights’ videos were the beginning of a big turn OFF. I felt they were wimpy. Bruce playing keyboards? Fuck that!

      I did love the video for Turn On the Night, which is still a lot of fun.

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      1. Maybe age difference. It was the first KISS I saw/heard so that maybe helps too. Then again, I don’t really understand the problem people have with keyboards. Even as someone that loves extreme Metal. A lot of my favourite stuff is heavily keyboardy.

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        1. First, I agree with your stand on keyboards. There is a good and bad way to use them. Dio did it right. I like Rush’s keyboard albums, too, especially Signals and Grace Under Pressure.

          Second, I know what you mean by liking it because it was your first contact with the band’s music. I grew up in the 70s and had Kiss in their hay day, so mid 80s and onward could never compare well. I’m sure Mike agrees.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Oh absolutely – context is so important when it comes to music. Asylum was brand new when I was first getting into Kiss, so I had a tolerance for that kind of sound. Even a taste for it really.

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    1. Oh so true. My God that was awful.

      My theory behind that was that Paul had envisioned himself as the new hot 80’s frontman. Just a theory. I think that’s what he was trying to be — the frontman of an 80’s rock band.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to agree with Mike, it’s an age thing with 80’s Kiss. I grew up in the 70s and held on to them through 84’s Animalize and 85’s Asylum. Animalize holds up pretty well, Asylum is a little stronger. Both were good enough albums but the gas was clearly running low for them. I loved seeing the I love It Loud video when it came out, but, by Tears are Falling, I was tired of seeing them. I agree with Mike that Tears Are Falling is a better song than video. If they had kept Vinnie Vincent they could have been a better band, but they didn’t.

    I said in my comments for Mike’s review of the awful album Smashes, Thrashes, and Hits that, Kiss should have called it Smashes, Thrashes, and Quits. They were not the same and you can see the transformation in these videos. Just watch them on Youtube and don’t give Gene and Paul any more of your money.

    Furthermore, I believe Ace Frehley not being in the band is what ultimately made all the difference. Ace was the real talent in there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of the original four, I agree that Ace was absolutely the most musically talented. When the band changed I grew to love a lot of the later players — Vinnie is a genius player when RESTRAINED! When left to his own devices, he’s almost unlistenable. Bruce grew to be a find guitarist…Eric Singer’s talent speaks for itself.

      But there were clearly lost on Smashes & Thrashes. You could smell it, they didn’t have a clue what they were doing.

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