Paul Stanley – ‘Live to Win’ (2006) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

We are now in to 2006 and Kiss hasn’t put out a studio album in 8 years. 8 YEARS!!! That is insane. I figure Paul was getting a little restless and decided it was time for the follow-up to the 1978 first solo album. Heck, Gene finally did a solo album back a few years, so why not Paul. ‘Live to Win’ was finished and released on October 24, 2006 and yes, I was a release day buyer for this one. Come on, its Paul, why would I not be.

Paul brought in a lot of people to help with this album and the usual suspects are there including his long time collaborator, Desmond Child. We also see Marti Frederiksen, Holly Knight and even John 5 plus a few other writers. I believe there is only one song Paul wrote by himself. As far as musicians on the album, you do get John 5 on a couple and you get Kiss alum Bruce Kulick on bass…wait…what??? Bruce on bass? I’m sorry, Bruce is a bad ass guitar player, why is he mitigated to only the bass. Seems like a waste. And lastly, I noticed Tommy Denander who has played on it seems hundreds of albums. The rest of the musicians I am going to guess are studio guys and all very talented because all studio musicians are amazing.

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The Original vs. The Cover vs. The Cover – “Hide Your Heart”

For this version of the The Original Vs The Cover we have yet another threepeat with the song “Hide Your Heart” which was original performed by Bonnie Tyler, then Kiss and then Ace Frehley all within a couple years. The song was written by Paul Stanley of Kiss along with the great Desmond Child and Holly Knight. The song was originally written for the Kiss album ‘Crazy Nights’ but didn’t make the cut so Paul shopped it around and Bonnie Tyler wound up with it. Kiss then put it on their next album and the same month, Ace Frehley, formerly of Kiss, did the song for his album ‘Trouble Walkin’.

After the success Desmond Child had with “Livin’ On a Prayer’ with Bon Jovi, Paul Stanley wanted to write a song in that same vein. Instead of Tommy and Gina, we get a cheap knock-off version of Johnny and Rosa. The problem with their relationship wasn’t the hardships of life, but that Rosa had a boyfriend named Tito who sounds like a gang leader in the shady part of town. Already, we know Rosa has bad taste in men. The story doesn’t end well like Tommy and Gina did. Basically this was a poor man’s version of “Livin’ on a Prayer” and the storyline sucked and was a total rip-off. It was too formulaic and Kiss was trying to chase trends at the time instead of being a leader and this was a perfect example of the trash that came out as a result. I guess it is pretty obvious I hate this song so why I am writing about it? Because I need to get it off my chest that I hate this song…I really don’t like it.

The song was never a big hit for any of the artist as it never cracked the Top 40. Even more proof of how bad this song really is. Enough about my distaste for the song, let’s get to the performances so I can get this over with and put out of my misery (ha!).

BONNIE TYLER

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Kiss – ‘Unmasked’ (1980) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

By the end of they Dynasty Tour, the Kiss Empire was eroding quickly. Between Ace’s and Peter’s drinking problems (among other things), the band was at an all time low. During an interview on October 31, 1979 on the Tom Snyder Show, Ace was totally hammered and you could see the faces of Gene and Paul and they did not look altogether happy. Pissed is a probably a good word for it. And let us not forget Peter during the Tour. By the end, he would make so many screw-ups and some times would simply stop playing. Gene and Paul had had enough and so had Peter.

When 1980 rolls around, the band have to make a new album and this would become the first album without all four members of the band. Peter did not play on the album at all and there are no Peter sung songs, but he was credited to play and he was on the cover as Kiss wanted to keep the illusion going the band was fine for as long as they could. Who handled the drumming, well that would’ve been Anton Fig.

Now Ace, well, he was on the album, however, he only shows up on probably 5 of the 11 songs with the rest of the guitar parts being handled by Paul, Gene or Bob Kulick. It was becoming more and more obvious that the end was near for Ace as well although it wouldn’t be for another year or two. He somehow managed to hang in there for a little while longer.

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