Casablanca Records, 1974

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Kiss has never been a band who lived for the album. Instead, they've been -- and still are -- either a band who live for the performance (as evidenced by their lengthy "goodbye" tour) or for the song. There's nothing inherently wrong with this -- though it can make for the occasional lackluster album.

Kiss, the band's 1974 debut, is proof of this. There are some great songs on this album, to be sure; the fact that some of these still are fan favorites a quarter-century after they first hit vinyl is proof of that. But Paul Stanley and crew seem to put their focus on a few songs -- and in turn, the whole album suffers.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Granted, this was a first effort, and as first efforts go, it really isn't bad at all. For that matter, Kiss is not a bad album in the least. I happen to love Kiss, and still enjoy hearing songs like "Deuce" and "Cold Gin" today, especially when I need a mental kick in the ass.

Admittedly, maybe the charm of some of these songs is due to the Alive! factor -- namely, the fact that they were featured on one of the most revered live albums ever. But there is something special about hearing tracks like "Strutter," "Firehouse" and "Black Diamond" almost at the time of their conception, rawer than you could have imagined in the studio. (That said, I absolutely hate the stretched-out "slow down" ending of "Black Diamond" -- what a waste.)

So what's my beef with Kiss? I can sum it up in three tracks, all of them filler. The first is "Let Me Know" -- is it me, or did Kiss seem to re-work this one one album later into "Let Me Go, Rock And Roll"? (Save your flames, I'm not saying it was a direct copy.) Second is "Kissin' Time," which is about Kiss's equivalent to any rock band writing a song about being in a rock band. The translation just doesn't work. And finally, there's "Love Theme From Kiss" -- what the hell was that about? An instrumental breaking up the energy the band established on "Deuce," which seems to have no purpose being on this disc whatsoever.

And that's where my concerns would start to come in. If a band relies on filler on their debut album, it's a sign of trouble ahead. And let's be honest, Kiss has had an ear for filler over the years.

Don't get me wrong, Kiss is still very much worth checking out, especially if you want to get to know the band behind the facepaint and pyrotechnics on Alive!. But tread softly on a few areas.

Rating: C+

User Rating: B



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Casablanca Records, and is used for informational purposes only.