By 1978, Kiss had reached the peak of stardom. They were flying high and a couple members were too. Trouble was brewing and most especially with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. From what I have read, they both wanted to do solo albums, but the band needed to keep the train rolling. So Bill Aucoin and others came up with a strategy to help keep the peace. The entire band would each do a solo album and they would all be released at the same time on the same day, however, they would be under the Kiss umbrella. Brilliant or Stupid was still yet to be seen. No band had ever attempted this prior or since and probably for good reason.
Each member had to find their own producer, their own musicians as no one in the band played on the other persons record. It took a lot of time and while they were working on the records, the label released ‘Double Platinum’ which we discussed last week. All the albums came out on the same day, September 18, 1978. Now I needed to decide what order to review these so it wouldn’t look like I was showing favorites so I let the posters do the talking. The order of these Solo reviews is based on how the posters piece together from left to right. In that case, Paul Stanley’s album is up first.
I love how the albums have the dedication on the back to the other members and each has their own color theme with Paul’s being Purple (obviously). All the solo album had wonderful inserts included in them and the ones I have do (for the most part). The one thing all my copies have is the treasured Posters that were basically giant puzzle pieces. Each album had a piece of the puzzle and Paul’s is on the far left. With each review, I will add the next puzzle piece until we get the full poster picture.
The albums also came with a merchandise order form and the only one I have is Peter’s as well as an insert of lyrics and credits (again, Peter’s is the only one I have). It also had the album sleeve with a picture of each solo album. The one for Paul’s is split on the seams, but otherwise, the picture still looks great.
Now there was something unusual in Paul’s when I pulled everything out. A piece of paper fell out with Paul and Gene’s autograph. No, this is not from the days of the solo album. This was actually from when my oldest brother was at the airport and saw Paul and Gene walking towards him. He stopped them and said I was a huge fan and could he get an autograph for his little brother. And they kindly did. Well Paul kindly did. He said Gene was a dick about it. Typical!!! This was either late 80’s or early 90’s I believe.
Back to the album. Paul actually produced most of his album along with Jeff Glixman who has worked with Sabbath, Kansas, Gary Moore and Yngwie. Paul brought in a bunch of musicians to help and all songs were written or co-written by Paul. This album was going to be what Paul was all about and I think it fits him perfectly. It is more Pop and melodic rock than straight up hard rock, but it is has its moments. Paul’s album is considered one of the best of the 4, but these reviews will tell you what I think.
The album kicked off with “Tonight You Belong to Me” which had a very sneaky start. It came at you with an acoustic guitar and Paul singing so lovely and softly in what you think is a ballad before the song explodes with a killer Kiss sounding riff and heavy drums and a full band with tempo sped up and Paul’s vocals just soaring. If you remember from earlier posts, Bob Kulick was the guitarist that auditioned for Kiss and was right before Ace came in and took the job. Bob is back on this song and actually does all the solos but one song on the album. And he does brilliantly.
“Move On” keeps the party rolling with a song about a parent that is advising their child to move on and explore lots of women. With wonderful backing vocals by Diana Grasselli, Miriam Naomi Vale, and Maria Vidal, more slick work from Bob, the song is another rocker with a little soul vibe thrown in with those backing vocals.
The next song is “Ain’t Quite Right” and slows it down a notch with Paul bringing his love for R&B in to the mix. Paul’s vocals on this album are on point and the soulfulness he brings on this one is brilliant. What is great about these album is getting to see a different side of each singer and this brings a new layer to his vocals and talent. Steve Buslowe is on bass with this song and a real standout and as the bass lines are subtle yet effective. Heck, even Bob Kulick shows a softer side on his solo. I like this song more today than I did back then as I didn’t notice the little nuances of the song.
“Wouldn’t You Like to Know Me” sounds like it is right off ‘Unmasked’ with all its pop sensibilities. Maybe a sign of things to come for the band. It is an uptempo pop song, that is what it is plain and simple. The chorus is catchy as hell and you bob along while you listen to it.
The final song on Side 1 is “Take Me Away (Together As One)” which is done in the same vein as the opening track with a slow beginning before slamming it home in to a rocker. The slower parts are longer and the more rocking parts are heavier. The drum work is a step up with Carmine Appice on the drums for this one. Paul whispers some lyrics and then full vocals on others. It is a battle back and forth between and soft and hard. In the end, the song works and is one of the memorable and best tracks on the album…at least for me.
Side 2 kicks off with another pop song called “It’s Alright” which sounds like Rick Springfield stole all his sound from this song. It is a happy sounding song that might get you on the dance floor and you know what, It’s alright. I’m okay with that. It is a fun track. Plus, Paul feels right at home in this area. He seems to enjoy it.
“Hold Me, Touch Me” is up next and brings back the ballad and oh does it. It is pretty sappy and sugary sweet, almost enough to give you a cavity. A piano intro opens the song, Paul sings sweetly and the song is layered with orchestration. It is a little over the top, but it works just the same. Paul actually does all the guitar work on this one which isn’t a ton, mostly the solo. The heavy lifting comes from Doug Katsaros on the piano and string sounds with Craig Krampf on drums.
“Love in Chains” brings back the rock and actually sounds more like the Kiss that we know. Great little guitar riffs and Paul strutting his stuff with his vocal delivery. It isn’t the best song on the album, but it is passable. Nothing truly memorable.
The album ends with “Goodbye” which is another pop song. Production wise, I think it is a little all over the place in its structure and a little tired sounding. Still, I wouldn’t skip it as there is nothing to the point of skipping or deleting on this album.
- Tonight You Belong To Me – Keeper
- Move On – Keeper
- Ain’t Quite Right – Keeper
- Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me – Keeper
- Take Me Away (Together As One) – Keeper
- It’s Alright – Keeper
- Hold Me, Touch Me – Keeper
- Love in Chains – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Goodbye – Keeper (1/2 Point)
The Track Score on this one is 8 out of 9 or 89%. Overall, this is a solid album and I think shows who Paul really is and is exactly what I would’ve expected. I like pop and rock and a little R&B so all that mixed together is a match made in heaven. A whole album of Paul is fine with me as I have a Paul playlist on my phone so nothing new for me. Paul went for it and delivered an album that had the songs, had an accessible sound and pure quality all around. I can see why a lot of people consider this the best of the four, but jury is still out for me. I would give this a 4.5 Out of 5.0 Stars as it ends a little flat, but the rest is solid gold.
Next Up: Kiss – ‘Gene Simmons’ (1978)
Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!
The Kiss Review Series:
- Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
- Kiss – Kiss (1974)
- Kiss – Hotter Than Hell (1974)
- Kiss – Dressed to Kill (1975)
- Kiss – Alive! (1975)
- Kiss – Destroyer (1976)
- Kiss – “Flaming Youth” 45 Promo Single – Bonus Edition (1976)
- Kiss – Special Kiss Album For Their Summer Tour (1976)
- Kiss – The Originals (1976)
- Kiss – Rock & Roll Over (1976)
- Kiss – Love Gun (1977)
- Kiss – Alive II (1977)
- Kiss – Double Platinum (1978)
- Kiss – Paul Stanley (1978)
The Bootleg Series:
- Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
- Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
- Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
- Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
- Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
- Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
- Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
- Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
- Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
- Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
- Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
- Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
- Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
- Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
- Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
Kiss – The Box Set:
- The Box Set (Part 1 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc One 1966-1975 (Part 2 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Two 1975-1977 (Part 3 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Three 1976-1982 (Part 4 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Four 1983-1989 (Part 5 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Five 1992-1999 (Part 6 of 6)
Gene Simmons – The Vault:
- Part 1 – The Grand Opening
- Part 2 – Disk 1
- Part 3 – Disk 2
- Part 4 – Disk 3
- Part 5 – Disk 4
- Part 6 – Disk 5
- Part 7 – Disk 6
- Part 8 – Disk 7
- Part 9 – Disk 8
- Part 10 – Disk 9
- Part 11 – Disk 10
- Part 12 – The Bonus Disk
- Part 13 – The Best Songs of the Vault
- Part 14 – The Worst Songs of the Vault
- Part 15 – The Final Verdict