bryan adams

RE-REVIEW: KISS – Killers (1982 import)

The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 21:  

  Killers (1982 Casablanca, German and Japanese versions)

No matter how you feel about Kiss’s concept album Music From the Elder, it was a commercial dud.  It was Kiss’ first serious flop as a band since hitting the big time in 1975 with Kiss Alive!  More significantly, it was part of a trend:  Kiss chaos.  Since the solo albums, Kiss were fragmented.  The band weren’t playing on all the songs anymore, and members were leaving.  They had strayed from their music roots and become a comic book novelty act.  The Elder was not so much an album that people didn’t “get”, but one they didn’t care to “get”.  Fans were moving on.

The European record label, Phonogram, was in damage control mode.  They drew up plans to issue an album consisting of new and old songs; a compilation to put some money back in the coffers.  They weren’t mucking around.  They wanted a batch of new rock songs, but Kiss had effectively become a trio.  Ace Frehley hadn’t left the band officially, but he was no longer involved creatively.  Filling the guitar slot again was Bob Kulick.  As he did on Kiss Alive II, Bob played lead guitar on the new songs.  A 1988 book called Kiss: Still on Fire also named Ratt’s Robbin Crosby as a guitar player on the new songs, though this is a claim not backed up in any other source.  Paul provided the new songs, written with old and new friends:  Mikel Japp, Adam Mitchell, and some Canadian guy named Bryan something.  Bryan Adams?  Cuts like a knife indeed!  Adams co-wrote the lethal “Down On Your Knees”, and it wouldn’t be his last songwriting credit with Kiss either.

The best new tune in the batch was called “Nowhere to Run”, and it was one of the rockers that Kiss were working on before they decided to do The Elder instead. The sheer quality of this Stanley-penned underdog really supports the theory that doing The Elder was a mistake.  “Nowhere to Run” was classic Stanley, as good as anything on his solo album and exactly the kind of song that Kiss should have been doing.  In an alternate universe where The Elder never came out, what could have happened to Kiss?  Unfortunately the new compilation called Kiss Killers was never released in North America.   “Nowhere to Run” could do very little to change Kiss’ fortunes without being released in their native country.

The second-finest of the new songs is a little ditty called “I’m a Legend Tonight”.  Paul has somewhat disowned these songs since, but it is really hard to understand why.  This is a hard hitting Paul rocker, as only Paul can do.  It’s all innuendo and hot guitar licks.  The riff is simple and hooky, while Kulick plays for all he’s worth.  No longer was Bob being told to “play like Ace”.  His signature scorch really makes these new songs sound like a continuation of the Paul Stanley solo album.  Then there is “Down on Your Knees”, the one with Bryan Adams’ fingerprints on it.  It’s hard to tell, although it’s not outside the Adams ballpark.  It’s a sleazy rocker, spare and sounding great.  The new tracks were produced by Michael James Jackson, who finally captured Eric Carr’s drums properly.  Bob Ezrin buried them under mud on The Elder.  Kiss Killers sounds more like the real Eric Carr debut album.  The last of the new songs, “Partners in Crime”, is the weakest of the four.  Paul takes it down to a slow sexy grind, but “Partners in Crime” lacks the charisma of the other three.

As far as the new songs could be considered a “comeback”, it’s close but no cigar.  There’s no discernable Demon.  Where is Gene Simmons?  The lack of any audible Simmons vocals makes you question whether he even played bass on the new songs.  Regardless, Kiss is about a balance between Gene and Paul, and Killers represents the first heavy skew towards Paul.

 

The hits on the record make for great listening.  Most of the key bases are covered:  “Detroit Rock City”, “Shout it Out Loud”, “Love Gun”, “God of Thunder” and even “I Was Made for Lovin’ You”.  There are no Peter Criss songs, and the only Frehley is “Cold Gin”, which Gene sings.  The only ballad is “Sure Know Something”, a minor hit in Germany where this album was issued.  In a cool touch, the record closes with the “live” (quotation marks!) version of “Rock and Roll all Nite” that made them superstars.  It is the more well known, and arguably superior version.  (Some of the other tracks are edits or single versions.*)

Kiss’ very first Japanese bonus tracks were on Killers.  The Japanese version is an even better listen.  They put a bonus track in the second-to-last position on each side:  “Shandi” (massive hit in Australia) and “Escape From the Island” (previously unreleased in Japan — it wasn’t included on their version of The Elder).  “Shandi” is just a great fucking song, and “Escape From the Island” is a cool inclusion because of a) its obscurity, and b) its total Ace Frehley shreddery.  It is interesting to note, that only Japan had tracks from the two most recent Kiss albums, Unmasked and Music From the Elder.  The rest of the world did not.  Were Kiss already trying to bury those records?

Periodically, the new songs on Kiss Killers have reappeared on single B-sides, compilations and box sets.  The best way to get them is just to pick up a copy of Killers.  Choose your format, sit back and rock!

Today’s rating:

4/5 stars

* “Shout it Out Loud” is a single version with a different mix on the lead vocals and an early fade.  “Detroit Rock City” and “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” are edited versions.

Original mikeladano.com review:  2012/07/27

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#471: Canadian Rawk

STRAT

GETTING MORE TALE #471: Canadian Rawk

What do you think of when you read the words “Canadian rock”?  Perhaps you imagine the vocal shrieks and drum thrills of Rush?  If you have a negative impression of Canadian music, no doubt your mind drifts to the sultry sounds of Nickelback.  Landmark artists from the golden age that you know would include Neil Young, the Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Joni Mitchell, Steppenwolf and countless more.

Canada has always had an inferiority complex when it comes to our southern neighbours, the Americans.  In the music world, this is manifested in “CanCon”.  Simply put, Canadian radio broadcasters must play at least 40% Canadian content.  Starting in 1968, fears that American artists would flood our airwaves resulted in the first CanCon rules.  If you have ever bought a Canadian CD, perhaps you have seen the letters MAPL on the back.  MAPL is an acronym that determines if content does indeed qualify as Canadian.

MAPL

M:  Music.  Did a Canadian write the tune?
A:  Artist.  Is the primary artist a citizen of the Great White North?
P:  Performance.  Was the recording made in Canadian, in a Canadian studio?  Or for live albums, was the concert on Canadian soil?
L:  Lyrics.  Separate from the music qualifier, this determines if the lyrics were written by a Canadian.

Controversy erupted in 1991.  Bryan Adams had the biggest record of his career, Waking Up the Neighbors, which was co-written by Robert John “Mutt” Lang and recorded overseas.  Under the MAPL rules (since tweaked to avoid this situation), Adams did not qualify as CanCon.  His manager Bruce Allen was quite vocal against these rules.  Allen was never one to mince words, but he sparked a discussion on CanCon rules and how they ultimately hurt Canadian artists.  Flooding the airwaves with Canadian songs that weren’t that good was one issue commonly discussed. Another was that some international artists qualified for CanCon by recording in Canada with some of our most in-demand hit-makers such as Jim Vallance or Bruce Fairbairn.   Finally, these rules implied a lack of confidence in the strength of our own music.

Some feel that there is a stigma in being Canadian.   Though controversial, some feel there is such thing as a “Canadian sound”.  While this is obviously not universal, I do think there is something to it.  There is a commonality in Canadian bands that defies description.  To my ears, the Tragically Hip sound Canadian.  BTO and the Guess Who sound Canadian.  So does Bryan Adams.  I can’t explain it nor do I want to open that can of worms.  I think the roots of Canadian rock, going back to Neil Young and the Guess Who, are basic folksy traditional origins.  I think this has somehow been passed on in our DNA.  This is not always considered a good thing.  The alternative rock band I Mother Earth put out their debut album Dig in 1993, utilizing Mike Clink as producer and hoping to break open in the American market.  They were hyped as “the next Jane’s Addition”, but they did not want to be openly identified as Canadian in promo materials.  They felt that there was indeed a Canadian stigma and they would have more success if their citizenship wasn’t brought up.  M.E.A.T Magazine covered this story but were firmly in the pro-Canadian camp.

Here at mikeladano.com, we don’t have to follow CanCon rules, but Canadian content has dominated regardless.  I believe that our music is strong enough to stand proudly on its own.  We have so much talent in this country.  So many incredible songs have emerged from the frozen tundra.  Countless incredible, under-appreciated, creative artists:  VoiVod, Paul MacLeod, Sloan, Death From Above 1979, Blue Rodeo, Strapping Young Lad, the Trews, Sarah Harmer, Big Sugar…the list truly is endless because great new performers emerge every day.  When I worked at the old Record Store, we were fiercely proud Canadians.  We put a little Canadian flag sticker on the header cards of every Canadian artist.  A lot of customers would say, “I didn’t know that singer was Canadian!”

This week, join me each day for a close look  at some good Canadian Rawk albums that you may have missed over the years.  Trust me, you do not want to miss these reviews or you may miss a future favourite record.  Grab a Timmies or a wobbly pop and get ready to rock!

 

#404: Report: Aux 33 Tours in Montréal

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale Report: Aux 33 Tours in Montréal

My sister, bass clarinetist Kathryn Ladano, just completed the east coast leg of her Canadian tour last month. This was followed by a western leg, but while returning home from the east there was a stop in Montréal. Kathryn is a collector too, though not to the extent that I am. She doesn’t need the physical musical media in her daily life like I do. She still collects some of her favourite bands, and has recently started buying vinyl. While in Montréal, she visited a record store called Aux 33 Tours, located at 1373 Mont-Royal Est.  According to their website, it is the largest record store in the city.  She emailed me the following day, May 27, raving about the store. I’ll let her take it from here! Enjoy the pictures.

I found the most amazing record store in Montréal yesterday! I found almost all The Spoons’ albums on LP, including ones that aren’t available on CD. I also found a promo live album by them that didn’t have a proper cover because it wasn’t supposed to be sold. They were all dirt cheap – like $2 – $7. ‎One of them was autographed and personalized “To Martin”! [Fortuitously, her husband is also named Martin!] I also got Kid A on record. Kid A and Sgt. Peppers are reissues with heavy packaging. They had an original Sgt Peppers, but the reissue was cheaper, so I got that.

I spent about $140. Which I think is good for that many albums! ‎Note: the Simon and Garfunkel and Gord Downie ones are Martin’s.

I’d also like to point out how rare that Bryan Adams single is.  He really tried to bury that song!  Watch the video, you’ll hear why.  (They sped up his voice which gives him a Chipmunks sound.)

And finally, gratuitous photos of Schnauzers and Starfleet collars:

Part 138: Remembrance Day [Reblog]

This is a reblog of last year’s RECORD STORE TALES Part 138: Remembrance Day.

 

Every November 11 at the store, I always killed the sound at 11:00 am for one minute.  I remembered going to the cenotaph every year when I was a kid, and watch my Grampa with the other old soldiers laying the wreaths.  I plugged my ears when the canons fired!  The least I could do as an adult is kill the music for one minute.

This one is for my Grampa and veterans everywhere.

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REVIEW: Rock Aid Armenia – Smoke on the Water: The Metropolis Sessions

ROCK AID ARMENIA – Smoke on the Water: The Metropolis Sessions (2010 Edel CD/DVD set)

When some of the biggest names in both British and Canadian rock combined together to re-record “Smoke on the Water”, as a mega-collaboration charity track, I don’t care who you are:  You gotta listen!   Originally released as “Smoke on the Water ’90” on The Earthquake Album, it didn’t garner the attention of, say, a Hear N’ Aid, but it’s definitely a noteworthy track.  The Earthquake Album contained just the radio mix, which was an edited down version lacking Paul Rodgers.  This package on the other hand is a CD/DVD combo set including all 4 versions of “Smoke ’90” and a documentary.

The region 0 encoded DVD is 40 minutes long, and filled with incredible behind-the-scenes footage and candid interviews.  First, an explanation of the cause:  rebuilding a children’s music school in Armenia, destroyed in a 1988 earthquake.  Then, the musicians arrive!  Roger Taylor (Queen) is first in the door.  Can’t do anything without the drums!  He shows off his considerable chops while warming up.  Chris Squire (Yes) is next, who reveals that all egos have been dealt with in advance of the recording.  Brian May turns up with a broken arm (skateboarding accident) to offer his support; he would return to record after the arm has healed.  The recording takes place over five separate sessions.  One benefit of this arrangement was that it enabled Ritchie Blackmore to show up, without having to see Ian Gillan!

IOMMI MAYOh, to be in that room…

Soon to arrive:  Tony Iommi.  Paul Rodgers.  Bruce Dickinson.  David Gilmour.  Alex Lifeson.  Two keyboardists:  Keith Emerson and Geoff Downes.  Even Bryan Adams sings some backing vocals, after he turned up just to check out the recording studio!  (Gilmour can’t help but take a stab at Rogers Waters during the interview segments.)  Incidentally, I found it cool that Rodgers recorded his vocals with a hand-held mike.

I’ve always been a fan of this version of “Smoke”; in fact this was the first version of that I ever heard, 23 years ago.  The band was dubbed Rock Aid Armenia.  They got together in late ’89, and recorded this updated sounding cover.  Gillan, Dickinson and Rodgers handled the lead vocals, in that order.  It’s great to hear Iommi playing those chunky chords again.  Chris Squire’s bass work is fairly simple, but perfect.

The CD includes an updated 2010 remix that cuts down a lot of Keith Emerson’s cheesey keyboards.  Emerson stated that he wanted to put his own stamp on his parts, based on ELP’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”.  He probably wouldn’t be happy to be mixed down on this version, but his keys always stood out like a sore thumb to me.  The 2010 mix adds in a lot more previously unheard guitar fills instead. Other extras include a previously unreleased version of the song, with an entire Ian Gillan vocal take.

This is a great little-known recording, and I’m glad an obscurity like this has finally been reissued properly.

4/5 stars

Footnote:  In 2011 and 2012, Gillan and Iommi followed this with a single and compilation album under the name WhoCares; also featuring Nicko McBrain, Jon Lord and Jason Newsted!

Part 138: Remembrance Day

RECORD STORE TALES Part 138: Remembrance Day

Every November 11 at the store, I always killed the sound at 11:00 am for one minute.  I remembered going to the cenotaph every year when I was a kid, and watch my Grampa with the other old soldiers laying the wreaths.  I plugged my ears when the canons fired!  The least I could do as an adult is kill the music for one minute.

This one is for my Grampa and veterans everywhere.

 

Part 130: The Bargain Bin

RECORD STORE TALES PART 130:  The Bargain Bin

The Bargain Bin was where we sold our overstock — discs we had three or more copies of — at $5.99 per disc.  Which was cheap by 1996 prices.  New discs went from $16.99 to $24.99 at the time.

I think it was Trev who made the sign for the Bargain Bin.  Trevor was the resident sign-maker because he had some artistic ability, where my boss couldn’t read my handwriting let alone my signs.  It was originally called the “Bin O’ Bargains”.  It was a big red sign, and it looked something like this:

Bin ‘O Bargains.  But yet 90% of customers couldn’t read it.  They would always say, “What’s in your Bin Bargains?”

“Bin Bargains”?  That doesn’t even make sense!

The Bin O’ Bargains, as mentioned, was a hodgepodge of overstock.  Any type of music was fair game, from Alan Jackson to Hammer to Lionel Richie to Hole to the Pumpkins.  $5.99 each.  We later lowered this, but at the start everything in there was basically the same price.  We figured, that was simplest.

Simple to us, but not to everyone else.  The Bin O’ Bargains created many questions and problems for both customers and staff!  I mentioned that it was for stuff we had three or more copies of.  That’s an oversimplification of things, but there were also things that we’d NEVER throw in the bargain bin.  For example, if by some weird coincidence, we had four copies of a Queen album:  Staff would think maybe, “OK, that’s plenty of copies, I’ll put this copy of The Miracle in the Bin.”

Nooooo! No no nononono!

Queen, Metallica, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Lightfoot, …doesn’t matter how many copies we have or what we paid for them.  You never, ever, ever bargain bin bands like that.  If we happened to have a bunch of used copies, that’s just pure chance!

You’d also never throw a greatest hits CD in there, because they were good sellers.

Err…except those cheapie greatest hits discs that you can get new at the grocery store for around $5.

Try teaching all that to a highschool kid who just wants to work at a record store to be cool.  We ended up selling all kinds of stuff for $5.99, by mistake, instead of stockpiling it.   I remember once a kid handed me a copy of Metallica’s Black Album that he found in the bin at $5.99.  Lucky kid!  That CD never should have been in there, since it was a regular easy sale at full price.  (It doesn’t matter what you think of that album, it was huge, people wanted it all the time.)

So, there was that.  There was always the confusing aspect that since our Bargain Bin was overstock, you’d find the same album on our regular shelves for $11.99.  So people would logically ask:

“This copy is $5.99, and this copy is $11.99.  Is that because one is scratched more?”

Oooh.  Hated that question.  It required a set response that both stated our quality policy (all discs are guaranteed and scratch free) and a quick explanation of overstock.  People were often confused and who could blame them?

After you explained the Bin O’ Bargains to them, they’d hold up the $5.99 copy.  “So…I should buy this one, right?”

Yes.  Yes you should.

Since the bargain bin was a hodgepodge, we just threw stuff in there — nothing was alphabetized.  Which caused us problems with lazy customers who didn’t want to flip through the treasures within.

“The other day you had Bryan Adams in here.  Can you help me find him?”

ARGH!  Why didn’t you buy him the other day?  Yeah, I’ll help you find him.  Flip flip flip.  Flip flip flip.  Flip flip flip.  I could flip the whole bin in around 5-10 minutes, but still…tedious.

We did brisk business out of the bin.  The markup was decent and we might have sold 20 out of there each day.  Some people used it to take chances on new music, others to pick up long-ignored albums.  It just boggled my mind how many people complained about such a great deal!

“I can’t search through this bin…it’s completely random!  I’m not wasting my time.”

“Can you give me a deal if I buy 5?”

We also had this frequent buyer card like a buy-10-get-one-free type of card, but it specifically said, “Not applicable with any other special deals.”  The Bin O’ Bargains was already a special deal, so we weren’t allowed to stamp the card with it.  Which pissed people off.  Which made me wonder, “What are you complaining about?  You’re already getting a CD for a quarter of its regular price.”

When the Bin O’ Bargain was full to the brim, and sales were slow, we’d have a Bargain Bin sale.  Something like buy two from the bin, get one free.  We were still making money and stuff cleared out of there quickly.  It was one good way to get rid of all those Lionel Richie Louder Than Words discs.

But don’t worry, the Bin would fill up again in short order.  There were always people looking to get rid of their Lionel Richie.

Always.

REVIEW: KISS – Creatures of the Night (1982, 1985, 1997 editions)

Part 19 of my series of Kiss reviews, leading up to the release of Monster!

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KISS – Creatures of the Night (1982, 1985, 1997)

Creatures Of The Night is one heavy, over the top & loud Kiss album. Very very loud. Hot on the heels of The Elder and Killers, Creatures was a defiant “we’re back!” from a band who was written off by the end of 1981.

It is important to note that there are several versions of Creatures floating around. At one point in 1985, shortly after Asylum, it was reissued with new (non-makeup) cover art with Bruce Kulick  instead of Ace Frehley. Interestingly, neither played on Creatures. The reissue with the non-makeup cover has the songs in a different order, and they were remixed to bring down the loudness of the drums. I guess someone in the mid 80’s decided the album was just too loud, and the remix was done. Thankfully, the original loud drum mix was remastered in 1997, finally available on CD.

Interestingly, the 1985 remixed version featured a picture of Gene’s ass in leather pants on the back cover!  See below for a gander at Gene’s buttocks.

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And yeah, the drums are loud alright! They sound awesome, like John Bonham shooting cannons off the back of the stage. They are the cleanest, most powerful, natural and clear drum sounds this side of Led Zeppelin, and Kiss had a lot to be proud of. Just listen to “I Love It Loud”. Wow.

Creatures really is a stellar album featuring songwriting by Bryan Adams, Mikal Japp and a guy named Vincent Cusano, better known by his stage name Vinnie Vincent. Guitars were by Paul Stanley, Bob Kulick, Vinnie Vincent, Rick Derringer, Steve Ferris, and who-knows-how-many-others. Kiss claim to have lost track due to the process of auditioning and recording at the same time. Eric Carr, who had no songwriting credits this time, played bass on Paul’s “I Still Love You”.

“Creatures Of The Night” is an amazing fast paced opening, starting off with a barrage of Carr’s toms. I think The Elder was a dissapointing way to introduce the new drummer. Creatures overcompensates, and I am sure Carr was very happy. The main riff and guitar lick in “Creatures” is driving and catchy, and the chorus will stay in your head for days. This is Kiss’ statement of purpose.

Gene takes the tempo down a bit with “Saint & Sinner”, a rebellious one about standing your ground: “Get me off this carousel, you can do as you please, you can go to hell.   Put my back against the wall, well, I’m not gonna fall on my knees, no, not at all.”  At this point Gene was trying to sing in his low “monster” voice more, and this is such a great song. Shame it has not been resurrected live.

“Keep Me Comin'” is a pretty self-explanatory Paul title. The riff is very Zeppelinesque, and Zep was a seemingly huge influence on this era of Kiss. It has some serious groove to it and Paul sings his ass off.

“Rock And Roll Hell” was a song that was played live a couple of times on the 1982 tour. I would describe this Gene song as a slow burner. It seems to be about a kid who “might even steal a guitar” to get out of his rock and roll hell, and make the big time. Very cool groove and lyric.

“Danger” is probably the weakest song on the album. It’s another fast Paul track with a somewhat weak chorus.  It would be followed in the exact same album slot (last song side 1) by similar Paul songs on later albums:  “Gimme More” on Lick It Up, and “I’m Alive” on Asylum.  All three songs are below standard and interchangeable.

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Side 2 begins with “I Love It Loud”. Everybody knows “I Love It Loud”. Your grandma knows “I Love It Loud”.  At the time as a kid, I thought this was the greatest Kiss song ever. That drum beat, that chanting, and Gene’s awesome lyrics about taking no crap — yeah! That’s what every grade 8 student felt like! Unfortunately the novelty wears off after a couple of days and today I feel it’s one of Kiss’ most boring songs. After all, there’s not much to it. Shame it still finds its way into setlists in 2012, while other songs have fallen by the wayside.

The sole ballad “I Still Love You” is next. When Kiss used to play it live (the last time was the 1995 Unplugged concert), it became Paul’s vocal centrepiece.  It’s a slow with not enough dynamics, but Paul again sings his ass off.  As mentioned, Eric Carr on bass.

“Killer” (probably written at the same time as Killers?) is a really cool Gene Simmons song that has lots of interesting riffs and twists. I can’t believe how cool this song still is today. It’s fast, it has interesting backing vocals, and is insanely catchy.

The album ends with Gene’s plodding epic, “War Machine” which still gets played live to this day, despite being retired briefly during the reunion tours. Gene wrote the song with Bryan Adams which would be a surprise to Adams fans. Who knew he could get so heavy? The lyrics are pure, vintage Gene: “Strike down the one who leads me, I’m gonna take his place, I’m gonna vindicate the human race.”

Creatures wound up being the first Kiss studio album to have only two lead singers:  Gene and Paul. Sadly this would remain the case until Eric Carr got his first album vocal much later in 1988. I am glad that the Kiss of today have decided to let all four members sing, as that was one of the factors that got me into the band in the first place.

This would also prove to be Kiss’ final album in makeup.  They had grounded themselves musically once again, while their biggest change was yet to happen….

5/5 stars

REVIEW: KISS – Killers (1981 German and Japanese editions)

Part 18 of my series of Kiss reviews, leading up to the release of Monster!

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KISS – Killers (1981)

Killers is a greatest hits CD with four “new” tracks, released in ’81 everywhere except North America. After The Elder bombed, the European record company requested demanded a greatest hits album with new songs, specifically rock songs, no exception. Paul Stanley sings lead on all four new songs, and Paul, Bob Kulick & Robbin Crosby play guitar in Ace’s absense.  Yes, Ace was on the album cover but nowhere on the album.  He was effectively though not yet officially out of the band.

The new songs:

“I’m A Legend Tonight”: A great song with Eric Carr finally showing off what he can do on the drums. Although Paul himself tends to disown the songs on Killers, this is great. The riff is very memorable and the song is catchy (even if the chorus reminds me somewhat of “I’m So Excited” by the Pointer Sisters).

“Down On Your Knees”: Co-written by Bryan Adams (his first but not last collaboration with Kiss), this is a nondescript rocker. Catchy enough as an album track, but not outstanding. The cymbals are mixed a little high.

“Nowhere To Run”: The was one of the first songs written for The Elder sessions, and you can kind of tell by the falsetto that Paul employs in the bridge. It was dumped when they decided to go all concept album on The Elder, but here on Killers it is the standout track. The riff is stellar, the acoustic intro is cool, and Paul’s singing is perfect.

“Partners In Crime”. The weakest song. It’s a slow plod with nothing really going for it.

The rest of the album is filled with the greatest hits, but it is crucial to note that aside from one track on an Australian-only version (“Talk To Me”), all songs are sung by Paul and Gene. I do not believe any of the hits are remixed, but some feature edits/fades not present on the original albums (“Detroit Rock City”). I loved that “Sure Know Something” was included as it’s one of Paul’s under appreciated classics.

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The Japanese, which I have, included “Shandi” from Unmasked and “Escape From The Island” from The Elder. An instrumental, “Escape From The Island” was one of the few rockers on The Elder, which Ace wrote. Therefore, the Japanese version is a much more complete version and the version I recommend.

Killers is actually a great CD for new and old fans alike, which is a rare thing in the KISS catalog. There are cheaper compilations out there, but this one has a nice variety of tunes including oddballs like “Sure Know Something”. Of course there’s the four new songs too, two of which are really special.

4/5 stars