We are now to the end of the “My First Time” series. I ended up skipping it in November as their were too many new albums to review, plus I just wasn’t in the mood, That got me thinking. I don’t like being tied down to a specific album or theme. I want to review albums whenever I am in the mood to do it. Doing this series, limited me a little so I figured I would do one more and then just start reviewing any album, any time…no theme.
I figured if it was going to be my last, it needed to be something special. For me, that means Kiss!! The “My First Time” series is about the FIRST album I bought from a band. Believe it or not, that album is ‘Lick It Up’ by Kiss. A couple of my brothers were huge fans and had all their albums, but I had never bought one. That changed with the excitement of this release.
What was all the excitement about this album? Well, I am glad you asked. Kiss sales had been in the decline. Even with the stellar album ‘Creatures of the Night’ (one of their best), Kiss needed to do something to shake things up. So they did just that. They removed the make-up. It was such a big deal, MTV held a special for the band to reveal themselves without make-up. They also introduced the video for their first single, “Lick It Up”. Here is the MTV special reveal…
What was also special about this album. It was Vinnie Vincent’s first official album with the band even though he joined them during Creatures of the Night. This was the first album cover he had appeared on. Vinnie also had a majority of the song credits with 8 of the 10 songs. He played on their last album as well, but wasn’t credited as a member. That still went to Ace even though he didn’t actually perform on the album. That is another story for another time.
“Exciter”: The album picks up right where ‘Creatures of the Night’ left off. It was loud, it was heavy and it was awesome. Paul takes on the vocals for the opener and the song is such a screamer that it was great opening choice. The song was written by Paul and Vinnie, but strangely the solo on this song was not Vinnie. Vinnie was unable to find the right way to do it so they brought in Rick Derringer to handle the solo. It is a great solo!! According the album’s producer, Michael James Jackson had this to say…
There were just some things that Vinnie couldn’t play. His sensibility was often too melodic for the band’s style. Vinnie was always struggling to find his place within Kiss, both musically and personally. As I recall, we brought Rick Derringer in to take a pass. Moments like this were difficult for Vinnie, but the attitude all of us maintained was that the quality of the record would always be the priority rather than anybody’s ego! (from wikipedia)
“Not For The Innocent”: Gene was up next with this dark, foreboding song. The album has a couple of my favorite Gene songs and this is one of them. After this album, Gene became a little more distant and the band didn’t seem to be his top priority (again, another story for another time). Vinnie’s guitar solo on this was spectacular and seemed quite long. Outside of “Exciter”, Vinnie was sensational throughout.
“Lick It Up”: The band’s first single and first video without make-up was this Kiss classic. It opens with a nice little riff and a little scream from Paul. Paul’s second song on the album and it was meant for the radio. This is a pure 80’s, melodic rock song and no wonder it still gets played a lot. The video was 80’s as well. Real cheesy and had the band in a post-apocalyptic world. It is a little comical watching it now. Check it out below.
“Young and Wasted”: It is Gene’s turn again. You know when it is a Gene song. It is a little heavier and a little more bass sound. Another great rocker. The cool thing about this song was when they played it live. Eric Carr ended up singing this song in concert and it was awesome. Eric had a great rock voice and I wish he would have gotten to do more on their albums.
“Gimme More”: This song was actually a sign of what was to come on future albums. It was fast paced and featured Paul on vocals, but it was one of the weaker songs. It got you moving, but it was lacking something. Maybe heart, I am not sure.
“All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”: The second single of the album kicks off side two. This might have been a first for Kiss as it actually contained a little rapping by Paul. Maybe not rapping, but a lot of speaking in that style which could be confused for rapping. Whatever he is doing, I loved it, but I read somewhere that Eric was not fond of it. Musically, it has a memorable guitar riff that when I hear it I know within milliseconds that it is this song. The song is actually one of the rare times where all band members are credited with writing credit which is great to see Eric get in on the fun. Eric was actually the primary writer of the song which might explain why he wasn’t fond of Paul’s take on the lyrics.
“A Million to One”: The closest thing to a ballad on this album. Paul is on vocal duty for the last time on the album and hit it out of the park with this one. The vocals are smooth and and it actually has a nice quality to it. It was and still is one of my favorite song on the album
“Fits Like A Glove”: Gene now controls the final three songs on the album and it starts with my favorite one of his. The guitar playing is freaking incredible on this song. Vinnie lets it completely rip from opening riff to the final notes. Vocally, Gene nails it as well. He has these long, drawn out screams that are killer. It is fast and heavy and all I want in a Gene sung song. It is a “hot knife, through butter”.
“Dance All Over Your Face”: This is a rather dark, violent song. It sounds like Gene is going to beat the crap out of his girlfriend for cheating on him with another man. It is the weakest Gene song on the album and not one of my favorites for the violence against women feel to it.
“And on the 8th Day”: The final song on the album is about God creating Rock & Roll on the 8th day and sadly this song came from it. It isn’t a powerful enough song for the topic. It is another weak one of Gene’s which will become common for the next several albums. The album could have used a little more Paul, but we will see soon that isn’t always great either.
All in all, I found this album to be exceptional and worth the purchase. I was glad it was my first official purchase and needless to say I have gone on to purchase a lot of Kiss albums over the years both on vinyl, CD and even some cassettes. This one to me is an essential album to have in the Kisstory of the band being that it is a great album musically and it is the first without make-up. I hope you enjoyed the final entry into the “My First Time” series. I say it is the final, but if I ever feel like doing another one at any random time, that might happen. Forcing myself to do one a every month, just didn’t work for me.