Sean's Kanadian KISS Konnection
The Solo Albums 1978


I have rated each album on a scale of 1 to 5 demon boots (5 being the best) according to my own tastes.  Remember, these are my own opinions and should be taken as such.  Scroll down the page, or click on the album title to go directly to the review.
 
  • Peter Criss
  • Ace Frehley
  • Gene Simmons
  • Paul Stanley
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    Peter Criss

    Released September 18, 1978
    Tracks:
    I'm Gonna Love You/ You Matter To Me/ Tossin' and Turnin'/ Don't You Let Me Down/ That's The Kind of Sugar Papa Likes/ Easy Thing/ Rock Me Baby/ Kiss The Girl Goodbye/ Hooked On Rock and Roll/ I Can't Stop The Rain

        I find, like most other KISS fans do, that Peter Criss is the most disappointing of the 4 solo albums.  Has anyone ever noticed that there seem to be 2 theories on Peter Criss: 1) Peter is the crown jewel of KISS whose drumming and vocals were never appreciated by the money-hungry Paul and Gene, or 2) a hack jazz drummer with a god-awful voice who couldn't write a good song if he had a gun to his head, and made a name for himself simply by being in an otherwise talented group (can you say Ringo Starr?).  Sorry Catman fans...I tend to lean towards the latter.
        That aside, Peter Criss does have a few good songs on it, most notably I'm Gonna Love You and You Matter To MeI Can't Stop The Rain and Hooked On Rock 'N' Roll are OK; the rest of the songs are awful.  Even when I try to separate the album from being linked to KISS, I still can't give it any praise.   I should note though that my impression of this album has increased significantly in recent years (maybe it's my advancing age?!).  You should have heard what I thought about the album 5 years ago!
        It is interesting though how much different Peter's songs are from the KISS "sound".  There really isn't any song on the album that would fit into the KISS canon.  However that was one of the main points in Peter leaving the band; he felt that his songs weren't accepted by Paul and Gene.  I do feel, though, that Paul and Gene were wise in limiting the number of songs that Peter contributed to KISS.  His songs just don't have that KISS "feel" to them and the fact that Peter's album was the lowest-selling of the four proves this point.

    Interesting facts:

    Rating: 

    Ace Frehley

    Released September 18, 1978
    Tracks:
    Rip It Out/ Speedin' Back To My Baby/ Snow Blind/ Ozone/ What's On Your Mind?/ New York Groove/ I'm In Need of Love/ Wiped-Out/ Fractured Mirror

         Ace's solo is the most surprising because up until that point, we had only heard him sing 2 songs: Shock Me and Rocket Ride.
        With Ace Frehley, he, of course, sings on 8 of the 9 tracks and it is arguably the best of the solo efforts.  There really isn't a bad song in the bunch although Wiped-Out is a little weaker than the rest.  New York Groove, I'm In Need Of Love, Rip It Out, and Speedin' Back To My Baby are the best songs on the album followed closely by the instrumental Fractured Mirror, which showcases Ace's incredible talent on guitar (as if we didn't know already).  There are a lot of weird sound effects that can be heard on the album which shows that Ace was willing to make the most of his solo effort by experimenting with different sounds.
        Overall, Ace Frehley outshines Gene's, Paul's and, especially Peter's albums in musicianship to be my favorite by far.

    Interesting facts:

    Rating: 


    Gene Simmons

    Released September 18, 1978
    Tracks:
    Radioactive/ Burning Up With Fever/ See You Tonite/ Tunnel of Love/ True Confessions/ Living In Sin/ Always Near You/ Nowhere To Hide/ Man of 1,000 Faces/ Mr. Make Believe/ See You In Your Dreams/ When You Wish Upon a Star

        Though there will never be any dispute over who my favorite KISS member is, Gene's album failed to live up to what I was hoping for--a super-heavy, raunch-fest from the evil "god of thunder and rock and roll".  What Gene Simmons offers the fans is a bizarre mixture of Disney songs, sound effects, Kate Sagal (Married With Children's Peg Bundy), and (oh no!) more choirs.  It is the most musically diverse of the four solo albums but it does not disappoint if you can listen with an open mind.
        From the get-go, Radioactive opens with a bizarre string section and creepy laugh.  Then we're treated to Donna Summer on Burning Up With Fever, Cher as a groupie propositioning Gene over the phone on Living In Sin, a tribute to Lon Chaney on Man of 1,000 Faces, and finally Jiminy Cricket (I mean Gene Simmons) crooning that old Pinocchio staple, When You Wish Upon A Star.  Wow!  There is never a dull moment on this album as each song offers another surprise.  You literally don't know what will be next.  Gene belting out an aria with Pavarotti?  See You Tonite, Mr. Make Believe, and See You In Your Dreams are the best songs on the album.  At the other end of the scale we've got the dreadful threesome of Burning Up With Fever, True Confessions, and Living In Sin. Gene Simmons clearly shows that The Demon IS capable of writing about more than just nailing women.  Best moment on Gene Simmons: the falsetto ending of When You Wish Upon A Star.

    Interesting facts:

    Rating: 1/2


    Paul Stanley

    Released September 18, 1978
    Tracks:
    Tonight You Belong to Me/ Move On/ Ain't Quite Right/ Wouldn't You Like to Know Me?/ Take Me Away (Together As One)/ It's Alright/ Hold, Me Touch Me (Think of Me When We're Apart)/ Love In Chains/ Goodbye

        Paul Stanley is the most KISS-like of the four solo albums, probably because Paul is the main songwriter and vocalist in the band (duh).  It is for this reason that Paul's album is my second favorite behind Ace's.  I've always felt that Paul Stanley has one of the best voices in rock and roll (and as the reunion tour showed, he's still got it!).  The vocals on the album are excellent as usual and I really like all the acoustic guitars.
        Tonight You Belong To Me, Love In Chains, Move On, It's Alright, Wouldn't You Like To Know Me, and Ain't Quite Right are great songs with the catchy hooks that Paul always manages to nail.  Ain't Quite Right reminds me a lot of I Still Love You from Creatures of The Night.
        There are ballads aplenty here especially Hold Me Touch Me (Think of Me When We're Apart) and Ain't Quite Right whichhave all the charm of a good KISS weeper like Beth or Forever.  The only songs that don't quite measure up to the rest are Take Me Away (Together As One) and Goodbye.  They just aren't as grabbing as the rest of the material on Paul Stanley.
        Overall, this album is a very listenable and worthy venture.

    Interesting facts:

    Rating: 1/2

    KISS Discography 1971-1975
    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
    Union Discography


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