|My KISS Albums List WORST to BEST|
KISS is nowadays known more for Gene Simmons' attitude and their merchandise then actual music, but in the late 1970's to early 1980's, they were a phenomenon. A band that began as a mysterious group of nuts with crazy paint, theatrics, and organic live shows. KISS became a staple of the Hard Rock scene and established an early cult fanbase that continues to this day. Here is my list of their albums from Worst to Best.
Peter Criss was KISS' best drummer, aside from that he tended to fumble, hard. This solo album was simply the tip of the iceberg, as critics had had enough of the "KISS solo album series" debacle that nobody cared about. It didn't help the album had next to nothing interesting and remains KISS' worst album on this fact alone.
Oh my lord this was atrocious. At the time KISS were huge, and so Gene attempted to milk the brand for all it was worth, by churning out solo albums by each member of KISS. Featuring an eclectic collection of genres from Beatles-Pop to general Rock. Gene Simmons proved that not only does he want to ruin Hard Rock for everyone, he wants to ruin every other genre out there too.
Hot in the Shade
The title doesn't make sense, the tunes don't make any sense, the album cover didn't make any sense; so basically none of this album made any sense whatsoever. When has that ever stopped Gene Simmons though?
Music from "The Elder"
I like to call this genre "Progressive Rock Shlock", because that's all it really is. If I could imagine something more stupid than this I think I would end up with nightmares. A concept album that missed the part where they are supposed to tell a good story and, oh yeah, make quality fucking music.
Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions
I don't know what the fuck KISS was attempting to do in making this, but it had to be one of the most putrid releases in the bands entire history. Things didn't just not work, it downright backfired. A grunge travesty that soiled the already tainted name of KISS, Carnival of Souls was KISS throwing in the towel and finally admitting they ran out of ideas.
Dear God the 90's sucked for this band. Despite a wave of KISS nostalgia and a successful tour; their newest studio material sounded like the sound of a cat having a painful orgasm and not knowing whether or not to moan or cry. Featuring uninspired tunes like "I Found My Way", Psycho Circus was KISS scraping the bottom of the barrel, and getting splinters.
Gene Simmons decided to continue to pursue acting during the making of this album, causing both his doomed-to-fail acting career to tank and his band to lose their shit and churn out one of the worst albums of 1984. Animalize is scatterbrained, idiosyncratic in a very bad way, and almost none of the tunes work.
The funny thing about KISS lies in the fact that nobody likes the band members separately, they just like the collective mostly. In that instance the idea of these solo albums did less for their popularity than intended. Paul Stanley is a talented guy, but by God was this bad. Tracks flopped, lyrics were phoned in, and even Stanley's iconic vocals felt lax and uninspired.
It has become clear that, without Ace Frehley, KISS was doomed to fail miserably as a band. Crazy Nights was the continuation of KISS' descent into mediocrity. Sure, they were mediocre before, but back then they were at least somewhat subtle about it.
Oh just shoot me. How on God's green Earth could the most talented individual in KISS make such an obscenely atrocious album? I don't know but Ace Frehley's did such. It disappoints me greatly because Ace is one of the best guitarists in Rock history, and this shit just taints his legacy.
Asylum was the inspiration for Crazy Nights, but at least Asylum had some tolerable production. Sure, the songs were generic, the vocals were lazy, and the lyrics were probably written by a 5th grader writing a love letter to Sally Dolittle the school janitor, but at least they tried?
Creatures of the Night
Once Ace Frehley left, KISS produced the album with a bunch of stand-in guitarists who pale against Ace's talent. As such, Creatures of the Night floundered, even though they had finally returned to their Heavy Rock sound after they abandoned it for whatever-the-fuck-you-call-that music. It could have been a lot worse, but in KISS' case, they would do much worse.
During the wave of KISS' resurgence in popularity, the band became disconnected as each member began doing a bunch of other shit nobody gave a rat's ass about. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Revenge is more disconnected than a 100 piece puzzle put together by a blind man with no opposable thumbs. It made money though, and when it comes to KISS, I don't think anything else really matters.
Lick It Up
When the band released Lick It Up and appeared on MTV without makeup, KISS fans around the world could no longer be amazed by their mysterious personas and crazy makeup and costumes. It became clear, as the KISS dust settled, that fans would have to accept a horrible truth. KISS actually doesn't make very good music and they couldn't disguise that anymore.
2009, the year KISS returned with a slightly tame vengeance. Sonic Boom's benefit lay in the fact that they returned to their 70's roots. The hilarious thing was that the album's flaws came from them returning to their roots, which were never exactly perfect to begin with.
I mean, it sure as Hell is a monstrosity. Whether or not you think that's a good thing is up to you. Monster, to be frank, didn't do anything totally wrong, but it didn't exactly do anything right either. It was just "there", a middling release that catapulted on KISS popularity, a simple placeholder to keep the brand alive, and the profits flowing.
Despite the fact that Peter Criss was credited on this album for drums, he did not do the drums on this album. They were done by Anton Fig, which is why the drums weren't up to par with KISS standards at the time. It doesn't help that their foray into Pop Rock completely alienated their fanbase, and led to Gene Simmons losing his collective shit and making even more idiotic decisions afterwards.
Simmons asserts that the making of this album took about three weeks, but the album's co-producer said it only took about 13 days. Regardless, both clearly establish how little effort was put into this record's making. Everything was hamfisted and the lyrics ran everywhere with no actual destination. Still, the album has a bit of charm to it, and maybe that's what gave them their huge fanbase.
There have been many stupid mishaps in history. William Howard Taft getting stuck in the bathtub, the entire idea of Saved by the Bell, and the flamingo. None of these can compare to the moment KISS decided to make Disco music, however. On the bright side, the Hard Rock tracks were good.
The final album to fully feature Peter Criss on drums (discounting the solo album), Love Gun was a sad day for KISS, as the band would begin to fall apart after this. With Love Gun, KISS opted to imitate the success of Destroyer and largely succeeded. It had many pretty good track's and a small breath of creativity.
Rock and Roll Over
After the phenomenal success of Destroyer, KISS decided to return to their beginnings. With Rock and Roll Over, the band reunited with the basic, raw instrumentation put forth from Hotter Than Hell, and continued KISS' storied rise to become one of the most successful acts of the late 70's.
Hotter Than Hell
A great album in its own right, Hotter Than Hell remains one of KISS' darkest albums, and its sombre tone was never really imitated after. Despite its financial failure as an album, Hotter Than Hell was a sign that perhaps there was potential in KISS after all. All they had to do was not fuck it up.
By far KISS' most recognizable album; Destroyer featured extremely popular singles, crazy instrumentation from a band in their prime, and catapulted KISS to unexpected stardom, establishing them to be one of the biggest acts of the late 70's and beyond.
Dressed to Kill
Their most complete, focused, and brilliant record. Dressed to Kill was everything that made KISS good, packed into one short hoorah of an album. It was fun, crazy, and heavy. Featuring their finest tune in "Rock And Roll All Nite", Dressed to Kill remains KISS' best album, never imitated, and never beaten.