Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons


1.5
very poor

Review

by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
December 22nd, 2009 | 16 replies | 9,279 views


Release Date: 1978 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What happens when Gene Simmons is given free reign for his megalomania? Predictably, he botches it.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

In 1979, KISS were basically on the verge of breakup. Personal problems were eating at the members’ interpersonal relationships and threatened to get in the way of the ever-important success. So someone came up with an idea: the four members were to go their separate ways and record one solo album each, which they would use to purge inner demons and quench any desires to experiment outside of the KISS sound. The theory was that this would provide a way to maybe diminish the tensions within the group; and of course, being KISS, the group didn’t balk at the chance to get into a few more teenage girls’ pants and into a few more teenage girls’ parents’ wallets. Thus, the self-titled albums were born.

But while the suggestion of a four-way split had been very therapeutical, there was still the question of what each member would do with their new-found freedom. Away from the constraint of Simmons and Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss made honest, but rather atypical, albums, flirting with, respectively, proto-heavy metal and 50’s pop music. Paul Stanley chose to press on with a relatively similar sound, unknowingly laying the red carpet for what would become 80’s-era KISS. And Simmons…well, Simmons wallowed in his own megalomania.

Seriously, what did you expect?! With a delusional egomania which would make Sid Vicious appear only slightly overconfident, and an anti-Midas touch to rival the best of them, the man with the twelve-inch tongue was given free reign to play God to his own little aural kingdom. The result is a trainwreck of an album, which overshoots its mark by miles and constantly bites off more than it can chew.

The beginning is actually not so bad – Radioactive is the type of nonsensical fluff that had made KISS’s success during the 1970s, and it’s actually a pretty groovy little song, that could and should have been in any of the group’s earliest offerings. Simmons has a decent, if unspectacular voice, and he seems to be a slightly better guitarist than he is a bassist. So far, it looks like KISS’s co-leader is taking the Paul Stanley route and making a mere offshoot of KISS.

Our hopes, however, come crumbling down on the second track. When a gruff “one..two..three..four” is not followed by a huge guitar-riff, we start to sense something is very wrong. And, in fact, Burning Up With Fever introduces the bane of this solo album: soul music influences. The track is absolutely bathed in soulful female vocals, which undercut and overpower the still-present, still-heavy guitar riffs. This will become a common trait throughout the album, which is absolutely swamped in chirpy gospel singers. These singers sometimes contribute to ruin songs which started off promisingly, such as Tunnel Of Love. And the few songs that don’t feature them are sure to have Lennon and McCartney running after Simmons asking for royalties, since they amount to little more than Beatles outtakes (Man of 1.000 Faces, a sort of God of Thunder-meets-latter-day-Beatles, or Mr. Make Believe, where the vocal harmonies are nothing if not telling). And did I mention there are two re-recorded songs here? That’s right, See You In Your Dreams gets the Gospel Treatment – and is worse off for it – while track three is a straight re-recording of Hard Luck Wo… oh wait, no, actually it’s an original song titled See You Tonite. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference.

What’s worse, every single song on here features the classic, crappy Simmons tropes. Absurdly ***ty lyrics? Check (”living in sin/at the Holiday Inn” is bad enough once, but Simmons tortures us with it 400.000 times in the space of four minutes). Structurally messy songs and chorus overusage? Check. (Most numbers on here amount to little more than gospel-fueled chorus repetitions of variable lenghts). Childish bravado? Check. (Once again, Living in Sin is a prime example, as well as the worst song in the bunch). Rampant ego and megalomania? Check. (Sure, Gene, sure your voice can carry When You Wish Upon A Star…). Even those god-awful bass pops often heard in KISS records make an appearance eventually.

The final impression ranges between absolute apathy (Always Near You/Nowhere To Hide, Tunnel Of Love, most of the others) and derisive disbelief at what heights one man’s monomania can reach. The effect is the total opposite of Paul Stanley’s album: where there we were left pleased and regretting the short duration, here we just want it to end already! Still, not everything is bad: as noted, Radioactive is pretty groovy and, if you can ignore the obvious ripoffism, See You Tonite is not bad, either. Even the cover of When You Wish Upon A Star manages not to be as ridiculous or disastrous as one might have justifiably expected, even though it’s not, you know, good. Still, make no mistake: once again, Gene Simmons bit off more than he could chew, and once again the results were less than stellar. As if we needed further confirmation of who contributed to make KISS so abysmal at times…

Recommended Tracks
Radioactive
See You Tonite



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Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
December 22nd 2009



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Great review, terrible, terrible album. Gene Simmons' ego could probably block out the sun.

LepreCon
December 22nd 2009



3545 Comments


Recommended list may as well say "Pretty much anything else"
Nevertheless I couldn't give a bad album less than a 2 if there are a few songs I still like on it. However, very very disappointing, I thought it would be a monstrously heavy (for Kiss) album

MetalMassacreAttack
December 22nd 2009



424 Comments


Excellent rev.

Nagrarok
December 22nd 2009



7966 Comments


I admire you persistence, Pedro, but am afraid 99% of sputnik population just won't give a damn about this discog. That includes me, but props for the effort.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 22nd 2009



30320 Comments


He could just be reviewing for himself too ya know

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BigHans
December 22nd 2009



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

A Kiss discog is an epic undertaking. How many albums have they released? Its at least 20. And considering about 5 of them are good, that adds up to alot of painful listening. I admire his persistance as well. I love me some Kiss, but in short doses.

MetalMassacreAttack
December 22nd 2009



424 Comments


Kiss sucks badly

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 22nd 2009



30320 Comments


Cool story bro

EverythingEvil2113
December 23rd 2009



1278 Comments


Radioactive and See You Tonight are the only songs I bother with anymore. This is pretty terrible. Good review though.

Douchebag
December 23rd 2009



3624 Comments


"I thought it would be a monstrously heavy (for Kiss) album"

I was thinking the same thing actually.

I'm quite enjoying these Kiss reviews, I don't know much about the band at all and it's interesting.

Foxhound
December 27th 2009



4570 Comments


liking all you kiss reviews. posd

mark7477
May 7th 2011



389 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I respect the gene simmons solo album enough that he did something away from kiss but songs like tunnel of love and living in sin are just too cheesy/sugarcoated for my taste.I think the first 2 radioactive and burning up with fever is good as it gets as for the rest once again too watered down to say the least.

Thunderkat
March 24th 2014



215 Comments


terrible

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DominionMM1
March 24th 2014



8864 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

all those solo records suck but this one is the worst

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Thunderkat
March 24th 2014



215 Comments


what were they thinking

DominionMM1
March 24th 2014



8864 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

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