Out of Control is Peter Criss' ticket to freedom.
Finally unchained from the shackles that KISS kept on his creativity, the
album showcases the diversity of his songwriting.
Out of Control opens with the soft orchestrated ballad, By Myself, featuring the line "By myself/ Starting over again/ By myself/ Looks like this time I'm on my own". Obviously this line is meant as a cry of freedom. This is a very nice song. Violins and cellos echo behind Peter's vocals to create a layered effect. In Trouble Again is a good rock and roll tune with sharp drumming by Peter. It's a decent song but nothing special. Where Will They Run is slowed down a bit again to a mid-tempo. It's got a good groove to it and is a decent song as well. I Found Love is one of the best tracks on the album and is very reminiscent of the material found on 1978's Peter Criss album. Though this song sounds very dated with its keyboards, it is very catchy with a strong vocal performance by Peter. There's Nothing Better is a boogie-woogie type of song like That's The Kind of Sugar Papa Likes from Peter's solo album. The title track is a great song with a good piano track and a superb vocal by Peter. Words is another of the weaker tracks on the album--a bit too schmaltzy for my tastes. You Better Run is a passable song except for the background singers; I don't like the falsetto "HIIIIIIDE!!!" that they bellow. My Life is another catchy tune with a dominant piano track. Feel Like Letting Go wraps up Out of Control. It is a nice slow groove with a good performance by Peter on vocals and more orchestration.
Out of Control is a surprisingly good album, dare I say even better than Peter's 1978 solo album?! The songwriting is strong, the musicianship is tight and the album has a cool cover. The songs are very diverse without getting TOO far off base. I did not purchase this album, or even hear anything from it, until the 1998 CD reissue. I bought it primarily to complete my KISS collection. However I was pleasantly surprised when I gave it a few repeated listenings. The songs really grew on me. I was never a big fan of Peter's 1978 solo album and was unsure what to expect from Out of Control. What I found though was truly a gem.
Speaking as a flaming heterosexual male, Peter Criss
is NOT a handsome man. The picture chosen for the cover of Let
Me Rock You is absolutely awful! Peter's hair looks like
he hasn't bathed in weeks, his beard is a poor excuse for facial hair and
his right eye seems to be looking at something different than his left
eye. All vanity aside (remember: Don't judge a book by its cover!),
Me Rock You is a slightly weaker album than 1980's Out of Control.
The songs are much more polished and commercial than those found on Out
Let It Go is a keyboard-heavy track that tries to rock but just doesn't get off the ground. Sure it's catchy but as far as being a good song....that's iffy. Tears, a song written by KISS' savior Vincent Cusano (AKA Vinnie Vincent), is surprisingly slow-paced. Vinnie is known for his good rockers (I Love It Loud, Young and Wasted, Lick It Up and Unholy, especially) but this piece of pop piffle sure veers away from his usual oeuvre. Move On Over is easily the best song on the album. A great groove, an above average vocal from Peter, good stuff! Next up is Peter's cover of the John Lennon classic, Jealous Guy. I'm sorry to say that Peter does not do justice to the song. He seems off-tune a good deal of the time and the insturmentation is much too heavy. It almost sounds like an Elton John song! Destiny follows and gets the album back on track again. This is a good song with a very catchy chorus and some decent guitar licks. Some Kinda Hurricane opens with a great guitar which continues on through the song. This is more of the kind of song I would expect to come out of Vinnie Vincent than Tears! Let Me Rock You has a do-wop feel to it that is reminiscent of the 1950's. It is a good song with a catchy chorus and a decent bass line. Future Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens wrote First Day In The Rain, a slower song with a good guitar solo as its centerpiece. Feel Like Heaven, written by The Demon himself, Gene Simmons, is runner-up for best song on Let Me Rock You. A smokin' lead guitar backed by a snappy rhythm section and good vocal outing. Good work, Gene! The album's closer is Bad Boys which has a country-feel to it. The song itself isn't particularly good but it has a very unique sound.
Let Me Rock You is the second of Peter Criss' post-KISS solo efforts. After this album, we would not hear of Peter on record for almost 5 years. It's too bad that he got caught up in the fiasco that was happening with the shift from Casablanca Records to Phonogram because these are both good albums that I believe would have been much better received had they been marketed properly. As far as the music goes, I believe that Peter made a poor choice in bringing in so many outside writers. He only has writing credit on 2 of the 10 songs on the entire album. Had he stuck with his own material, I think Let Me Rock You would have been a more jointed effort rather than the mishmash of writing styles exhibited here. The album is very good nonetheless and should definitely be given a chance. Like its predecessor Out of Control, Let Me Rock You is a real surprise!
With Cat #1, Peter returns after 12 years
with a good hard rock album. The album cover is blatantly designed
as a marketing tool. For what other reason would Peter appear in
his cat makeup other than to make people take notice of the fact that he
is/was the drummer for KISS? And the overt reference to "Special
Guest Ace Frehley" in the guitar pick? Come on! I should add
though that seeing Ace's appearance on the album sparked my interest.
It is a cool cover nonetheless. Unfortunately Peter still looks like
Jeff Spicoli at this point with the pouffy blond hair.
The musicians that Peter assembled for Cat #1 see to be upstanding enough except for the dreadful vocals of Mike Stone, who thankfully is kept under wraps for most of the album. Peter hasn't lost any of his drumming capabilities either. Unlike his previous solo efforts (and his 1978 KISS solo album for that matter), Peter completes the drum tracks himself without guest musicians.
Cat #1 opens with Bad Attitude, a solid rock and roll number with some good licks from Ace Frehley (Ace appears on three tracks playing lead guitar: Bad Attitude, Bad People Burn In Hell and Blue Moon Over Brooklyn). This is probably the best song on the album. Peter's vocals are decent and the band seems tight. Walk The Line is a pretty good cut even though Peter's f-words are bleeped out by some guitar lick. The Truth has a good riff and a strong anti-war message but the bridge isn't very good. Peter's voice is the highlight of this song. Bad People Burn In Hell, despite having one of the worst song titles in music history (it belongs on a bumper sticker: remember those "Mean People Suck" stickers that all the 17-year old cheerleaders pasted on to their GEO Trackers and Plymouth Sundances a few years back?), is a passable song, but just barely; its only saving grace is Ace's guitar. Show Me is one of the worst songs I've heard in my life! Who is this Mike Stone character that Peter enlisted to sing lead vocals? Peter has never exactly had the best voice in my opinion but he is certainly a HELL of a lot better than this hack!!! The chorus is completely off tune and the pacing of it just doesn't seem quite right. And this song was the single released from the album?! It's no wonder the record label went belly up. Next is Good Times, a close second in the best song category. Peter wraps himself around a good ballad with a tear-jerker of a story about a man who lost his family but remembers the "good times". Strike has a cool hi-hat intro but the first half of the chorus is awful. It doesn't gel with the rest of the song; it's almost like a karaoke sing-a-long. Blue Moon Over Brooklyn is a touching song about the death of Peter's mother. Down With The Sun is a BAD song: enough said! We Want You has a great groove but we're forced to endure almost 4 minutes of Mike Stone trying to sound tough on the vocals again. Finally, Cat #1 wraps with a new recording of Peter's signature song: Beth. It doesn't sound as schmaltzy without the orchestra from the original. This version has Peter singing over an acoustic guitar...that's it. And he does a bang-up job, too! This one is on an even keel with the 1976 original. It was well-known that Peter was miffed about Eric Carr singing a "new" version of Beth for KISS' greatest hits album Smashes, Thrashes and Hits so this is his revenge.
Cat #1 is a welcome comeback from Peter Criss. Unfortunately the material is a bit spotty to be considered "great" but this album is definitely worth its $12 price tag (if you can find it). If only Peter would have sang lead on every track, Cat #1 would have been a better album. Fans buy a Peter Criss album for 2 reasons: to hear him pound the skins and wail out the tunes. Ace Frehley made the same mistake in his solo ventures. If he would have kept the mike in front of his mouth everything would have been peachy. Still, Cat #1 is a pleasant surprise and a welcome return of The Catman.
KISS Discography 1976-1978
The Solo Albums 1978
KISS Discography 1979-1982
KISS Discography 1983-1987
KISS Discography 1988-1993
KISS Discography 1994-1997
KISS Discography 1998-Present
Ace Frehley Discography
Peter Criss Discography
Eric Carr Discography
Vinnie Vincent Discography