1975, Music

Dressed to Kill (1975) by KISS

One of the things I will just never get over with Kiss is how their makeup and stage show just do not match their sound. Another thing I will never get over is that they are not very good songwriters. These things, plus the general stupidity of their fans, make me dislike them. (Truth be told it was the stupidity of their fans first…) This is my third Kiss album to date and it hasn’t done much to change my mind. This band sucks.

Kiss’s songs are not very good. They are mostly generic ’70s hard rock songs. The catchiest thing her by far is “Rock and Roll All Nite”, the only song non-fans will have ever heard (because the rest of them are nowhere near as catchy). But “Rock and Roll All Nite” is monumentally dumb. Have you ever actually listened to the words? This is a very dumb song by a very dumb band. And it’s the best thing here, melody wise, by a lot. That tells you a lot of what you need to know about this album.

The lyrics are dumb as usual. And some of them just pander to their female fans, even at this early stage in the band’s career, “C’mon and Love Me” for instance. (Did they just always write songs about fucking their female fans from the very beginning?) People don’t listen to Kiss for their insights into relationships, though, right?

The band is just a generic hard rock band. The riffs aren’t super memorable but they could be so much more muscular. A band that dresses like this and has this kind of show should sound much heavier than this, even in 1975. (I mean, listen to contemporary Deep Purple or some other British metal and then listen to Kiss…) Even when the band tries to get more ambitious it doesn’t work. Can you tell me how the beginning of “Rock Bottom” (which I quite like!) works with the rest of the song? I can’t figure it out.

I must say that I’ve either softened on Gene Simmons or Destroyer is just a particularly bad example of him. He no longer strikes me as a bad bass player, just one I don’t notice. (That’s a complement! I mean, sort of. His bass is so clunky on Destroyer and mixed so high, it’s hard not to notice. Here I don’t pay attention. So it’s a complement!) But I still think his voice is not appealing and his songs…  well, actually he’s actually partly responsible for the only memorable melody here, so I should back off for this record. (He still sucks.)

And Frehly cops a solo from somebody else! (Can’t place it right now, but I know it well.) It would be one thing if that was the band’s thing: post modern synthesis of other people’s musical ideas, but it’s not. It’s like note-for-note to whatever the solo is in my head. (I looked it up: It’s Krieger’s solo in “Five to One”.)

But the album sounds fine – it’s produced better than Destroyer that’s for sure. (That is not saying much, though…)

I’m struggling with my rating here: part of me wants to give it a 5 for being competent. The other part of me hates this band with enough enthusiasm, and really dislikes the lack of decent material. I mean, write better songs if you’re going to play generic ’70s rock. FFS.


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