We covered a Kiss song recently, in prepping for it I fell into a dark hole that involved me listening to all 20 (+ EPs, live, solo, etc) of their albums and reading each of their biographies. Between the drunken car crashes, police raids, and trashed hotels, I found some hidden gems and a story of flawed people who faked it until they became the biggest band in the world.
Here’s some of the songs I didn’t know about until I dug a little deeper:
10. Nowhere to Run
Buried in the middle of the much hated Killers compilation, Paul Stanley is swinging for the fences with his vocals on the newly recorded tracks. Between Paul’s falsettos and wails, we get to hear Eric Carr’s energy on the drums for what feels like the first time. Carr’s first album was the proggy weird Music from the Elder which often felt muted and restrained. ‘Nowhere to Run’ is just an awesome song that came out at an awkward time for the band.
9. Hard Times
Ace Frehley penned ‘Hard Times’ comes near the end of Kiss’s “disco” album Dynasty. ‘Hard Times’ is probably the most abrasive of any Kiss song up until that time, really contrasting with the album as a whole. The Rolling Stones cover ‘2000 Man’ is usually remembered as the best Ace song from this album, but I just think that ‘Hard Times’ is cooler.
8. Got Love For Sale
This is the best Gene song on Love Gun. His more popular tracks ‘Christine Sixteen’ and ‘Plaster Caster’ are actually kind of plain and boring. I guess there were just too many hits on ‘Love Gun’ for this one to get noticed.
Yep, we’re gonna include the 4 Kiss solo albums on this since they often used session musicians of their albums. ‘Snowblind’ is not as cool as the Sabbath song sharing the name, but it is one of the cooler songs on Ace’s solo album. While often being overshadowed by the hit ‘New York Groove’ or the opener ‘Rip It Out’, ‘Snowblind’ delivers the tasty riffs and the weird spacey lyricism Ace is known for.
6. Easy as it Seems
Thrown near the end of the “pop” album Unmasked, like the album as a whole ‘Easy as it Seems’ is unfairly derided for not sounding rock and roll enough by fanny pack enthusiasts. The guitar solo is fucking cool.
5. Strange Ways
Written by Ace, sung by drummer Peter Criss (probably the best singer in the band). Hotter than Hell is a really cool album that often gets passed over, and this is the best song on it. Megadeth do a cool cover of it.
4. It’s Alright
As cool as Ace’s solo album was, I like Paul’s best. He basically stuck to the Kiss formula (except for some lame piano ballads), which is why it worked so well. This cut has song cool energy to it, and a really classic ‘oh yeaaaahhh’ at the start.
3. 100,000 Years
This is the coolest song (with the possible exception of ‘Black Diamond’) on the classic self titled debut. Though not as obscure as some of the songs on this list, it often gets missed by casual fans. Cool bass line, cool riff, awesome vocals.
2. Love in Chains
Ha! Another Paul Stanley solo album song. Super cool falsetto vocals in the verse (with surprisingly deep and introspective lyrics) building to a rewarding chorus.
1. Naked City
Gene Simmons and his writing staff on Unmasked managed to pull out a gem that would have been a massive hit if The Police recorded it. Dark lyrics about atomization and loneliness in a big city set over a dark and dirty reggae rhythm.