The KISS Solo Albums: They Should Not Be Missed

In Ace Frehley’s recent autobiography, No Regrets, he discusses the work he put into his 1978 solo album. All four KISS members released their solo albums on the same day, September 18, 1978. Ace’s CD is considered by many KISS fans to be the best of the four. But some would disagree, believing that Paul’s, or even Gene’s, album is the best. In truth, all the albums make for an enjoyable listen. Here are the highlights (and the clunkers) from each album.

Most straightforward: Ace Frehley

Ace’s album is closest to what KISS fans were expecting. Straightforward, hard rock tracks are what you get from Ace. A lot of the songs are about having a good time. Ace also has some very nice guitar solos on “Rip It Out” and “Ozone”. Some fans have criticized “Wiped-Out” as being a little silly, as this song is about getting drunk with a girl at a party.

In No Regrets, Ace explains that he was somewhat reluctant to cover “New York Groove”. He credits his producer Eddie Kramer, for seeing the potential in the song. “New York Groove” went on to become his biggest hit on the record. In his book, he also talks about how he created a unique metallic bell sound on his guitar, featured in “Fractured Mirror”.

Most original: Gene Simmons

Gene’s a Beatles fan, and this influence is apparent on “Mr. Make Believe”, one of Gene’s best tracks. The vocals for “See You in Your Dreams” also reveal Gene’s admiration for the Beatles.

“Man of 1,000 Faces”, one of the standouts on the CD, has great lyrics, and a nice use of string and brass instruments. “Always Near You/Nowhere to Hide” is a pretty ballad, featuring a choir towards the end.

“Living in Sin” is a track that listeners will either love or hate. The lyrics are definitely silly, such as: “I’m living in sin/at the Holiday Inn”. This track is best enjoyed if looked at in a humorous way. Fans also seem to be divided about “True Confessions”, a track featuring Helen Reddy on backup vocals, as well as a church choir.

Gene also took a chance in covering the Disney song “When You Wish Upon a Star”, but this was a nice gamble. This song is a pleasant listen for adults who have not listened to it in years.

Most honest: Paul Stanley

Paul has some excellent songs here. One of his main standouts is the opening track, “Tonight You Belong to Me”. This song starts out slow and ballad-like, and gradually changes into a rocking, metal number. “Take Me Away” has nice lyrics, and is an unusual take on a ballad.

The lyrics to some of Paul’s songs are hard-hitting. “Ain’t Quite Right” is about a man planning to end a love relationship because “it ain’t quite right”. In “It’s Alright”, the narrator makes it clear that he is interested in a one-night stand, rather than a relationship. Paul has received some criticism for “Hold Me, Touch Me”, a piano-heavy ballad. With it’s romantic lyrics, it could be considered a bit out of place compared to the other tracks.

Most risky: Peter Criss

Peter’s album strays very far from the traditional KISS sound. His album contains a number of soulful, R&B influenced songs, such as “I’m Gonna Love You”. There are also a great number of soft, ballads. “You Matter to Me” has a dated, disco era sound, but is a wonderful track all the same. The song has a sweet sentiment, and the lyrics are catchy.

“Don’t You Let Me Down”, “Easy Thing”, and “Kiss the Girl Goodbye” are some of Peter’s best slow tracks. “I Can’t Stop the Rain”, a ballad that features piano, is a worthwhile listen. Some of Peter’s work here would be considered adult contemporary, which turned off those who were expecting something in the hard rock/metal genre.

When these albums were released in 1978, each LP sleeve contained a unique poster of the artist. Not only are these CD’s worth listening to, but the remastered CD’s each contain a mini-poster as an added bonus! Whether you are interested in the music or the posters, all four albums are definitely worth checking out.

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *