Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ranking Kiss: From first to worst, the hottest band in the world's studio albums

By Rustyn Rose/The Examiner

Kiss is undeniably one of the most polarizing bands in rock history. From their outrageous makeup and stage shows, to bassist Gene Simmons massive ego and gratuitous fiscal gluttony, the music is often overlooked. However, Kiss as a whole has inspired innumerable bands, many of whom have gone on to stellar careers. Unlike Kiss, several have even found their name in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Kiss remains, nearly 40 years into its career, a dynamic band which has made a unique impact in the world of rock music, for better or worse. This October, Kiss will release its twenty-fourth studio, "Monster". In honor of that, the Examiner has ranked all 23 of the band’s studio albums.


The masked crusaders have often been known more for the spectacle of their live performances and make-up, so it is no surprise that the band’s best album of all time remains, “Kiss Alive!”. Still, when the paint and bombast are stripped away, the music still stands on its own as many discovered when the band went unplugged back in the 90s. This list below focuses solely on the studio albums, and the music that Simmons, and co-founder Paul Stanley have created through four decades.

Destroyer (1976) -- This marked the first studio album after the band's mammoth success with "Kiss Alive!". Produced by Bob Ezrin, this became the album that catapulted the band to headline status. It also marked the release of the band's first ballad, "Beth".
Love Gun (1977) -- This represents the last of the band's classic 70s albums before disco and new wave twisted rock 'n roll into another dimension."Love Gun" is also the first album to feature all four members singing at least one song. Legend holds that guitarist Ace Frehley had to lie on the studio floor to sing "Shock Me".
Kiss (1974) -- Released in February 1974, the band's debut effort went largely unnoticed but is home of some of the band's mainstay hits. Songs like "Strutter", "Deuce", "Black Diamond", and "Cold Gin".
Rock and Roll Over (1976) -- My personal favorite, "Rock and Roll Over" found the band returning to more of a straight up rock vibe. Another album full of concert staples, and the ballad "Hard Luck Woman", which frontman Paul Stanley wrote for Rod Stewart.

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