Album Review: KISS – Kiss 40

Kiss - Kiss 40

Mercury Records [Release date 26.05.14]

Does the world need another Kiss compilation album? There are many already on the market and any self-respecting rock fan will no doubt have a copy of one tucked somewhere in their collection. So what can ‘Kiss 40’ offer that will encourage punters to part with their hard earned?

The ‘40’ theme is in celebration of the band’s 40 years as the ‘hottest band in the world’ and as such the album contains 40 tracks, one from each of the band’s main albums, including live releases, and a few additional unreleased live tracks for good measure.

We start at the very beginning with ‘Nothin’ To Lose’ from the band’s self-titled debut followed by ‘Let Me Go Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and ‘C’mon And Love Me’. All are standard album tracks, as are most featured, but there are a few gems included as well like the demo version of ‘God Of Thunder’ which is almost a disco track, you can see where ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ came from!

There is also a track featured from each of the four solo releases with Gene’s ‘Radioactive’ and Ace’s ‘New York Groove’ being the best of the bunch, whilst Peter Criss’ ‘You Matter To Me’ is best glossed over, sorry Peter!

Whoever selected the track listing obviously likes to surprise as ‘Unmasked’ is represented with ‘Shandi’, possibly not everyone’s first choice from that record, although they did play it safe by including ‘A World Without Heroes’ from the much maligned album, ‘The Elder’, I would have preferred ‘ The Oath’ or ‘Just A Boy’ myself, but then I am one of the few who actually think ‘The Elder’ is a cracking album and care enough to voice an opinion.

Through the 80’s and into the 90’s the tracks included range from the sublime ‘ I Love It Loud’ to the ridiculous ‘Let’s Put The X In Sex’. ‘Forever’ brings us back to Kiss at their best, possibly one of the best ballads the guys have ever written. ‘Do You Love Me’ from the ‘Kiss-Unplugged’ album is another highlight from a gem of a record which proved that Kiss were not all flash pots and no substance.

‘Psycho Circus’ brings us into the latest chapter of the Kiss story after which we are treated to a selection of live tracks taken from the last few tours. Things are then brought bang (or should that be ‘Boom’) up to date with ‘Hell Or Hallelujah’ from the last Kiss studio effort, ‘Sonic Boom’.

So 40 years and 40 tracks from one of the best loved bands in rock, but is it an essential purchase? Probably not, but it is a damn fine record with enough to keep the die-hard fan or the casual listener entertained.  For me an album which contains both ‘Strutter’ and ‘New York Groove’ deserves a place in any collection!  ****

Review by David Wilson

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