Review Summary: Poor presentation and unfathomable track-selection criteria drag down this already cash-grabbing compilation.
In 1982, KISS were in a tight spot. The dawn of the new decade had not been kind to them, with albums like Dynasty
being considered too poppy and key members finally calling it quits. Adding insult to injury was Music From The Elder
, the band’s attempt at a prog-rock opera and, to this day, probably the worst rock record ever made. So, in this conjuncture, what could Simmons and Stanley do to keep their band from sinking?
Answer: make a fast buck out of the “classic” songs, of course.
an Europe-only compilation devised by the recording company, which then talked KISS into recording four new songs, so as to give fans and completists a reason to buy the same old stuff all over again.
served two quite clear purposes: first, to get KISS over in Europe, a continent where the group hadn’t quite reached the level of fame they enjoyed in the States; and two, obviously, to make money. However, both these objectives – well, the first one, at least – are partially hindered by the bootlegish presentation of this record, as well as by its abysmal track selection.
Seriously: what were they thinking!?
Making a KISS Greatest Hits is not hard, and somehow whoever made this record still
managed to screw it up. Sure, it’s nice to see Shout It Out Loud
and Sure Know Somethin’
given a bit of airtime, but the absence of some essential KISS classics is nothing if not baffling. Where are Deuce, Strutter, I Stole Your Love, Christine Sixteen, Hard Luck Woman
? Where’s friggin’ Beth
, for chrissakes!? I feel like Jack Black in School Of Rock
: “what do they teach
you at this school!?”
There was probably a reason for Hard Luck Woman
not to be on the tracklist – Peter Criss had left quite bitterly, after all – but the absence of the other songs is unforgivable. Instead, what do we get? Shout It Out Loud
, a nice surprise, but not a hit by any stretch of the imagination; Sure Know Somethin’
and Cold Gin
, ditto; the ever-unbearable I Was Made For Lovin’ You
; a random live insert for Rock’n’Roll All Night
; and some real hits in the form of Detroit Rock City, Love Gun
and God Of Thunder
. Add the fact that Shout It Out Loud
is billed as a “remix”, the random live track and the god-awful artwork, and Killers
starts to give off a distinctively bootlegish aura.
Among the familiar songs, Detroit Rock City
continues to stand out as probably the best song in KISS’s early career, with Love Gun
confortably taking the second-banana position with its irresistibly inane lyrics and catchy beat. But the main focus of interest here are the new songs, and, much like Unmasked
had started to do before that other abomination came along, they take KISS down a distinctively pop-metal path. As much as I hate that particular term, there’s really no other way to describe I’m A Legend Tonight, Get On Your Knees, Nowhere To Run
and Partners In Crime
. They all couple heavy guitar riffs with mellow vocals and a dash of keyboards, with the end result sounding exactly like Swiss AC/DC impersonators Krokus. I doubt AC/DC had even heard of Krokus, and the influence was probably the other way round, but the resemblance is uncanny.
Of the four tracks, two are fair, one is very good and one is, predictably, awful. The best of the bunch is Get On Your Knees
, which starts with a drum beat distinctively copycatting Rock’n’Roll All Night
, but then acquires a personality of its own, eventually becoming a nice little rock’n’roll track. Second in line is I’m A Legend Tonight
, where the nice riff and even nicer guitar solo are offset by a little too much cheese, a problem which also affects the unremarkable Partners In Crime
. Bringing up the rear is the awful Nowhere To Run
, which features no motives of interest whatsoever.
So what we’re left with at the end of the day is a few hits, a couple of decent new tracks, hilariously bad artwork and a tracklist that is a gigantic casting error. As an introduction to KISS, this fails miserably; as a cash-grabbing gimmick, it may have succeeded, but if I saw this album in the clearance rack at the supermarket, I’d pass it up as just another cheapo comp. Just get Destroyer, Dressed to Kill
and Love Gun
– or, alternatively, Alive II
- and leave this one alone.
As a final note, how ironic is it that Eric Carr appears on the cover when the bulk of the drumming on here was done by either Peter Criss or Anton Fig?
Get On Your Knees
Detroit Rock City
Rock’n’Roll All Night