KISS
Smashes, Thrashes And Hits


3.5
great

Review

by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
January 28th, 2010 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I would have done without (some of) the 80's monstrosities, but if you had to have only one KISS compilation, this one would be far from a bad choice.

By the end of 1988, KISS were in a rut. From arena-packing, multi-million-dollar-raking superstars, the band was now reduced to rejecting charity opening-act invitations from younger bands who had once opened for them, such as Poison or Bon Jovi. Moreover, each new album by the once-revered band was now scoffed at, and inevitably ended up buried in the tidal wave of glam/hard rock which was invading the airwaves. With disasters piling up ever higher, there was obviously only one thing to do: make a quick buck out of the old hits.

Hence, Smashes, Trashes and Hits, one of the most faithfully and honestly-named compilations I have yet experienced. In fact, the title here tells you all you need to know about this record: you have your Smashes (Rock And Roll All Night, Detroit Rock City), your Trashes (Lick It Up, Tears Are Falling, the ever-insufferable I Was Made For Loving You) and your hits (pretty much everything else). This compilation also boasts one of the strongest setlists in any KISS compilation; although no single (official) Greatest Hits package has been without a few mistakes and omissions, this one comes closest to achieving that goal. Apart from the two fan-baiting (and surprisingly decent) new songs, the listener gets a near-perfect selection of the finest KISS moments, although grudges against past members end up excluding a standout or two from the final product.

Concerning the new songs, they are both pleasant surprises. They are not great, but they're definitely "okay", and the first one (Let's Put The X In Sex) might even have been a standout in any 80's KISS album, Creatures Of The Night included. You Make Me Rock Hard keeps up the flow of painful puns, but fails to reach its predecessor's quality; it is, nevertheless, a rather pleasant song with a good 80's rock vibe, if a tad too cheesy for its own good. Overall, while the album might not need these songs, it loses nothing from their inclusion, much to the contrary.

What follows the two new inserts is simply one of the most devastating sequences I have seen in a Greatest Hits album so far. How does a sequence of Love Gun/Detroit Rock City/I Love It Loud/Deuce strike you? The answer is: with all the force of a well-handled mallet, and with similarly bludgeoning results.

By putting arguably their three best songs up front, KISS have chosen a dangerous path; however, the rest of the album manages to hold its own without too much of a fuss, presenting most of the group's more successful songs. Admittedly, a space could and perhaps should have been made for God Of Thunder, Cold Gin and Hard Luck Woman, perhaps in place of the 80's period pieces and the insufferable disco-dancing hit; but the group's estranged relationship with former members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss automatically excludes the last two, leaving God Of Thunder as the only "possible" song to have been omitted from this release.

Despite the documented gripes with Criss, however, the group wouldn't leave their biggest hit out of this compilation, and so Beth gets a new version, now with Eric Carr (the "other" drummer) on vocals. And all I can say is it benefited from the change. Eric Carr is clearly a much, much better singer than Criss ever was, and his honeyed, layered tones fit the song perfectly. Elsewhere - and although this is a straight-out compilation and not a re-recording album - some songs seem to have had a facelift as well. I'm not saying all of them did, but Love Gun and Strutter definitely gained some new details for their inclusion on this record.

The other main surprise here is Heaven's On Fire. The sole good song on one of KISS's worst albums - saved from being "the" worst solely because The Elder did it a solid - it is pleasant to witness how well the track holds up against the "real" hits. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of its other 80's counterparts, who pale in comparison to the songs around them, sounding even sillier than they did on the original records. I will also take a minute to lament the exclusion of Crazy Crazy Nights. Sure, the album was perhaps too recent to warrant a Greatest Hits spot, but every other 80's KISS album gets a song, and Crazy Crazy Nights is infinitely better than any of them.

Still, it's hard to argue with a record that puts Detroit Rock City, Love Gun and I Love It Loud back-to-back. In the end, KISS compilations are much like AC/DC live albums - you always get the ultrasupermegahits surrounded by a few pleasant, but puzzling period oddities. In that regard, Smashes, Trashes and Hits is probably the best representative of the demographic, since what it does present is rather high-quality, and what it doesn't is negligible, if reluctantly so. I would have done without (some of) the 80's monstrosities, but if you had to have only one KISS compilation, this one would be far from a bad choice.

Recommended Tracks
Let's Put The X In Sex
Love Gun
Detroit Rock City
I Love It Loud
Heaven's On Fire
Strutter



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user ratings (48)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
ReturnToRock
January 28th 2010


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Guys, help me!! I can't stand KISS anymore!! Even the thought of them makes me tremble...helllppp meeeee....!!

BigHans
January 28th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I had this tape when I was a kid. BABY LETS PUT, THE X IN SEX! LOVES LIKE A MUSCLE AND YOU MAKE ME WANT TO FLEX! lmfao, awesome stuff.

BigHans
January 28th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

YOU MAKE ME ROCK, HARD, BABY ALL NIGHT! LOVES LIKE A GLOVE AND IT FITS JUST RIGHT!

Sorry, cant resist.

BigHans
January 28th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not trying to take your thread hostage Pedro, but you may want to fix the stuff about "trashes." The album is Smashes, THRASHES, and hits. An understandable oversight, condisering the thought of having to review this much Kiss would drive anyone insane.

sheelanagig
January 28th 2010


41 Comments


C'mon there are only..what?.... 8 records more to go ? awww...shit

Fuff24
January 28th 2010


1118 Comments


Wow. Thanks to yor reviews pedro, I realize what a shitty band kiss is I mean "let's put the X in sex?" WTF? That's like the worst song title I've ever heard in my life

BigHans
January 28th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fuff, the song is horrendously, awesomely bad. Like a car wreck, terrible but you can't tear yourself away.

Fuff24
January 28th 2010


1118 Comments


I mean, they were never a band known for lyrical prowess or trandscendant messages but....

Nagrarok
January 28th 2010


8247 Comments


Guys, help me!! I can't stand KISS anymore!! Even the thought of them makes me tremble...helllppp meeeee....!!


Didn't I tell you doing all compilations as well was a madman's job? You should have stuck to the studio albums. Nobody really cares about compilations.

Nagrarok
January 28th 2010


8247 Comments


And KISS did a MTV Unplugged performance? REALLY? I wonder how that sounds...

BigHans
January 28th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Let me save you the suspense Nag, it is atrocious. I am one of the few that owns it.

Nagrarok
January 28th 2010


8247 Comments


How could you even have considered getting it? If any band is not fit for an acoustic set, it must be KISS.

Fuff24
January 28th 2010


1118 Comments


Maybe he thought it could be so bad it was good.

ReturnToRock
January 28th 2010


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

BigHans, ever heard of a pun? This one was in my head for days, and it was too good to waste!

Woo! I can now get closure from this album...finally.

Ire
January 28th 2010


41780 Comments


CRAZZZZY NIG

You are my hero, I couldn't stand one Kiss album somehow you've done like 20.

BigHans
January 28th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

haha Pedro, yeah I guess I didn't pick up on that. Long day. Good pun by the way.

Nag - I bought the acoustic album for three reasons: I have a classic rock/hair metal obsession 2. Used to compulsively buy CD's, and 3. I got it for about $2 at a used CD shop.

TheCompilationMan768
July 17th 2010


75 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I will also take a minute to lament the exclusion of Crazy Crazy Nights. Sure, the album was perhaps too recent to warrant a Greatest Hits spot, but every other 80's KISS album gets a song, and Crazy Crazy Nights is infinitely better than any of them.

I would like to point out that in the UK version, Crazy Crazy Nights is on, as is Reason To Live, although Deuce is not on.

EddardStark
March 8th 2011


27 Comments


nice gays

Tonkytoy
December 6th 2011


1 Comments


Guess I'm the odd man out, but yeah, the members of KISS may not have been graduates of the Julliard(sp?) School of Music, but KISS set the standard for "live" albums, with "Alive I" & "Alive II."
Make all smart remarks & "knock" them all you want, out of the millions of bands out there trying to make it, face the facts, KISS "made it" & is laughing too & from the bank..........................



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