Say what you want about KISS. One thing is inarguable. They have a massive catalog of music that showed them constantly evolving. From the S/T debut in 1974 to 1998’s Psycho Circus, KISS never once made a record that sounded like their other ones. The overall formula stayed true to a certain driving hard rock standard. But whether it’s the polished demo sound of the first record, the garage rock production of the follow up Hotter Than Hell, the pop rock polish of Unmasked or the dark and brooding feel that made up the lyrics of the temporarily shelved masterpiece Carnival of Souls, KISS has provided their fan base with a catalog more diverse than many of them probably realize.
So I made a list to end all lists. EVERY KISS song recorded (sans the 78 solo albums. Deal with it) ranked from worst to best. Dig in!
219 “My Way” – Jesus fuck this song is horrible. “If you don’t play my game I won’t play!” Fine. Just promise you won’t play this song.
218 “I Finally Found My Way” – Was this really the best you could do to give Peter a song on Psycho Circus? This feels like punishing the fans for wanting a reunion of the original lineup.
217 “Hot and Cold” – Gene has been known to mail it in from time to time. To say he mailed it in when writing this song is an insult to mailing it in.
216 “Beth” – For the life of me I can’t understand why Paul Stanley is dead set on taking any credit from Peter for this pile of shit. Schlocky 70’s Yacht Rock. As much as it was a hit, most people are shocked to find out it’s a KISS song. The fact that this song is still in their setlist, as an encore no less, is even more shocking.
215 “Danger Us” – Danger You. Danger Me. Danger Us. Get it? If reading that didn’t make you cringe then you may not like music.
214 “fanfare” – Even this little renaissance horn fest is better than the previous 5 songs. And it’s barely a song.
213 “Carr Jam 81” – Never one to pass up a chance to stick it to Ace Frehley, KISS put this on the end of Revenge as a tribute to the recently deceased Eric Carr. While a nice guesture did they really have to pretend that this song didn’t already have a name? And that it was on an Ace Frehley album? Maybe the first frontal example of the Stanley pettiness.
212 “Shandi” – CD technology was invented specifically to make it easier to skip this song.
211 “Then She Kissed Me” – A cover of a forgettable sixties song. Their sixth album in just over 3 years the band may have just needed some help filling out a record.
210 “Read My Body” – Gross
209 “I’m an Animal” – Dammit Jim I’m an Animal not a songwriter!
208 “Modern day Delilah” – If going through the motions had a sound. This would be it.
207 “Russian Roulette” – Gene has never drank or done drugs. Or apparently gambled. Some of the stupidest lyrics from the Demon. And that is an accomplishment in itself.
206 “Wall of Sound” – Never should have made it past a boom box recording.
205 “Never Enough” – Stealing songs from Poison is a clear sign you’re best days are long behind you.
204 “Yes I Know (Nobody’s Perfect)” – Another song Gene slapped together from old pieces he’s been kicking around for decades. Pass.
203 “Odyssey” – A very interesting Paul vocal on this Tony Powers track. It’s not a key he sang in a lot. Some might say this is an example of why. Personally it’s the main reason to listen to this song. It’s fun when the Starchild reaches. But this song can be a bit taxing.
202 “Bang Bang You” – Paul learns to count.
201 “Just A Boy” – We are on a stretch of atypical Paul songs. I think Just A Boy and The Oath both would have been stronger tracks had he not used the falsetto. That’s not to say he didn’t nail the falsetto. He did. It just feels unnecessary.
200 “Anyway You Want It” – They must have really needed 3 more minutes of music to record this cover. Hard pass.
199 “Boomerang” – Hot In The Shade would make a great 10 or 11 track album. This is not one of those tracks. Great drum track from the late Eric Carr. Worth it for that alone.
198 “You Love Me To Hate You” – I’d love it if Paul hated this song enough to not record it.
197 “Back to the Stone Age” – Gene felt he needed a musical reminder that he is a caveman.
196 “Dark Light” – Ace was the hero of the two records previous to Music from the Elder. This track is a step backwards in his songwriting. Amazing guitar solo on a song that is memorable for how difficult it is to get through.
195 “Two Sides of the Coin” – A fairly stupid song with embarrassing lyrics.
194 “Talk To Me” – Ace flexing some pop music chops. Not good enough to be higher on the list but we’re leaving the truly dreadful tracks.
193 “Hooligan” – Peter is possibly the strongest singer in KISS. On one hand it would’ve been nice if the powers that be would’ve felt compelled to utilize that more. On the other hand, his biggest success (Beth) pretty much turned him into an unbearable d-bag. But this is a fun song.
192 “Partners In Crime” – One of the four mediocre new songs on KILLERS. A foreign only release during KISS’ lost years. The oddity and unattainable nature of these tracks make them seen shinier than they are. This is the worst of the lot.
191 “Love Theme From KISS” – Originally part of a song called Acrobat, Love Theme was stripped down to an instrumental track on their debut record.
190 “Rain” – A great Paul vocal. I kind of want to rank this higher but I couldn’t justify it.
189 “Escape From the Island” – A better instrumental than Love Theme. Cool drum break from new member Eric Carr.
188 “I’m Alive” – A marginally better way to end side one than “My Way”.
187 “I’ll Fight Hell To Hold You” – On the high end of Paul’s vocal spectrum. Impressive. Just not a very good song.
186 “Who Wants to Be Lonely” – One of those songs Paul Stanley insists upon the listener. Rarely with good results.
185 “Keep Me Coming” – See “Who Wants To Be Lonely”
184 “Get All You Can Take” – See “Keep Me Coming”
183 “Thrills in the Night” – See “Get All You Can Take”
182 “Sure Know Something” – See “Thrills In The Night”
181 “Danger” – The worst song on COTN ain’t that bad.
180 “Outta This World” – Did I really rank this ahead of Danger. I must have been drunk. Whatever. Coming in at 180 is hardly an achievement.
179 “Take Me Down Below” – Kind of fun but not a great track.
178 “No, No, No” – You had me at No. Cool breakdown with Bruce and Eric. I’d rather have a four minute track of those two rocking out.
177 “Radar For Love” – Asylum had a lot of dogs. The verse melody ain’t bad and Paul is in his prime around this time. This song proves that.
176 “The Devil Is Me” – An unconvincing vocal from Gene. Not a good song.
175 “Little Caeser” – After hearing some of his demos, I really think KISS missed the mark with Eric’s song writing. There is at least one Paul song on every record he played on that was worse than the stuff he was bringing. Considering how fast they gave Singer and Thayer tracks it feels sort of shitty we didn’t get more Eric Carr music from his time in the band.
174 “Eat Your Heart Out” – Cool acapella intro.
173 “Jungle” – Great bass line played by Bruce Kulick. Another example of Paul going out of his comfort zone with positive results. He sort of snakes along before blowing you away with the chorus. Not a song I go back to often but I’m happy when I do.
172 “Long Way Down” – When Paul’s voice started to deteriorate there were spots where it almost seemed like an enhancement. This song is an example of what I mean. Raspier than his typical tracks but still a very strong vocal track. Maybe his last.
171 “I Walk Alone” – This probably belongs farther down the list but Bruce deserves some love. The music is solid but Bruce isn’t a strong singer. This would have been better as a Gene track.
170 “Last Chance” – Making this list has raised my appreciation for Monster. Which isn’t a great record but it’s not the turd Sonic Boom is. This song ain’t bad.
169 “When The Lightning Strikes” – I’d like this song better if it wasn’t such a paint by numbers stab at writing a song in the “Spaceman” narrative. It’s deservedly penalized for being created for the sole purpose of supporting the revisionist history of the members of KISS always only being characters that can replaced like an actor in a play.
168 “All For The Love of Rock N Roll” – A little too “It’s Alright” from Paul’s 78’ solo album to rank higher.
167 “All For The Glory” – Apparently if Eric Singer only gets to sing a song with “All” in the title. Catchy.
166 “Freak” – For whatever reason I prefer when KISS isn’t writing about tits, ass and underage girls. Paul particularly is a person with a lot of layers. It’s nice when he tries to show some of them in his writing.
165 “Shout Mercy” – Back to singing about getting laid. But I dig this track.
164 “Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell” – Speaking of depth. We get just a little from the demon on this track. We’re getting closer to the good stuff on HITS.
163 “Seduction of the Innocent” – Generally speaking, KISS fans need to lighten up on COS. In many ways it is KISS at its best. As far as I’m concerned the fact I found 162 other KISS songs I think are better than this track shows just how good this band really is.
162 “Tough Love” – A lesser version of “Heart Of Chrome”
161 “In My Head” – A classic Gene monster song. Like most of the tracks on Carnival of Souls, Bruce shines on this track
160 “Stand” – LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER! Like most fans of KISS, I am a sucker for Gene and Paul sharing lead vocals on a song. It’s a shame they didn’t take advantage of their unique dynamic because they have a yin and yang essence when they do. This songs is probably better because of it.
159 “Cold Gin” – The ALIVE! version is superior. As much as this is a staple song for the band, it isn’t that good. It’s an important stepping stone in Ace’s development as a songwriter. But more than likely this song gets me pressing the skip button.
158 “Reason To Live” – A decent power ballad. The chorus always sounded like an 80’s candy bar commercial.
157 “Paralyzed” – Great playing by Bruce. Cool breakdown before the solo as well. I would have liked to heard that with Eric Carr.
156 “King of the Mountain” – Classic 80’s Paul. The production on Asylum was disappointing.
155 “Say Yeah” – I’ve come around a bit on this song. It’s not that bad.
154 “Dirty Livin” – Another song that has grown on me. I didn’t appreciate how good of a singer Peter is when I was younger.
153 “Young and Wasted” – They should’ve let Eric sing this on the record like they did live.
152 “Crazy, Crazy Nights” – A catchy pop metal anthem. Never cared for the lazy talk approach Paul took to the verses but I can still roll the volume up when it comes on.
151 “I Confess” – An out of the box song from an out of the box album. The laid back verse going into the violent chorus is killer.
150 “Spit” – Revenge is a popular record among KISS fans. Myself included. But on a recent spin I felt less connected with it than I recall. That said it may be too high praise to say this song is ok.
149 “Good Girl Gone Bad” – I don’t care what Paul says. Gene’s songs from the 80’s hold up better than a lot of the Starchilds. This is one of the better tracks on a bad album filled with Paul filler.
148 “Love Em’ Leave Em’” – It’s best to start side two by dropping the needle into track two.
147 “Betrayed” – A barnacle on the ass of HITS.
146 “Uh! All Night” – Intentionally written to prove that “catchy” and “good” are not synonyms.
145 “I Pledge Allegiance to the State of Rock N Roll” – How many times has Paul tried to re-write “Rock N Roll All Nite”?
144 “Larger Than Life” – Side four is the only reason to re-visit ALIVE II. Maybe not for this ode to Gene’s dick.
143 “Hard Times” – Ace leveraged the success of his 78 solo record to dominate Dynasty. This is one of his best songs.
142 “Mainline” – The early days of KISS found Paul giving Peter one of his songs to sing in exchange for Peter not quitting.
141 “Getaway” – This time Ace was the one giving Peter a song.
140 “Baby Driver” – A run of Peter songs can only mean we are getting closer to the good stuff.
139 “In The Mirror” – Paul claims he struggled to write material for the Carnival Of Souls record. If so it was worth it.
138 “I’m A Legend Tonight” – Some fans actually hate the Elder so much they think this is a good song.
137 “Mr. Blackwell” – Speaking of the Elder. Had he pursued it further, I think Gene could’ve become a great character song writer.
136 “Murder in High Heels” – One of the most unique songs of the unmasked era of KISS. This song reminds one of Gene’s early songwriting style.
135 “Rise To It” – This song is about Paul’s dick.
134 “Comin’ Home” – Quite possibly, also about Paul’s dick.
133 “Goin Blind” – Considering what we know about Gene’s old buddy and co-writer of this song, Stephen Coronel, the line “I’m 93 you’re 16” feels even creepier.
132 “Kissin’ Time” – Forced to record this song after the album came out, the sound on this track is closer to the sound of Hotter Than Hell than the rest of the debut record.
131 “Torpedo Girl” – The last of the “T” songs Ace wrote for Unmasked.
130 “Anyway You Slice It” – For some reason Gene’s lyrics in the post-makeup era seem grosser. Maybe it’s the whole Whorehouse Madame look he was rocking during the Asylum tour.
129 “Trial By Fire” – Another Asylum Gene track. Do I really need to say more?
128 “You Wanted The Best” – This isn’t really a good song. But it’s fun as hell. Plus it’s the only KISS song to feature each member on lead vocals.
127 “Fit’s Like A Glove” – Gene’s scream on this track is legendary.
126 “Under the Gun” – Good song. But not as good as many think.
125 “Raise Your Glasses” – Psycho Circus could have been a great record I think had they welcomed Ace and Peter into the creative process. Instead we get an album that’s just ok.
124 “Ladies Room” – Meet, meat you in the Ladies Room.
123 “Saint and Sinner” – Like Paul, Gene is better when he’s not writing about his dick.
122 “We Are One” – This is a good song. As much as Paul likes to muse about what a focused Ace could accomplish, imagine what a focused Gene could accomplish as a song writer.
121 “Ladies In Waiting” – Meet, meat the ladies in waiting in the Ladies room? Why not?
120 “Cadillac Dreams” – Every now and then Gene likes to reflect on how well things have worked out for him.
119 “See You In Your Dreams” – The Rock N Roll Over version pales when compared to the cranked up rendition from Gene’s 78’ solo record.
118 “King Of Hearts” – Paul can write a story song with the best of em.
117 “Lonely Is The Hunter” – Another outside the box track from Gene on Animalize.
116 “Love’s A Slap In The Face” – The story is this is a drum machine on this track. I’m guessing it was more about saving money. Being mean to Eric Carr was probably just a bonus.
115 “A World Without Heroes” – A very strong Gene ballad.
114 “Forever” – A strong Paul ballad. This was a big hit at a key time for KISS. The HITS tour showed KISS packing arenas again. No doubt this song helped with that.
113 “Everytime I Look At You” – As good as “Forever” was, this is better. Sadly by the time Revenge was released the power ballad was going to be a hard sell.
112 “Down On Your Knees” – One of the better tracks from KILLERS.
111 “Hate” – With COS we finally got to see what Bruce could bring when he’s allowed to be himself. The guitar playing on this track is badass.
110 “Easy As It Seems” – A great Paul pop song. “When you’re walking out on your dreams. You just walk away.” Killer lyric.
109 “Got Love For Sale” – Love Gun may be the first KISS album with obvious filler. But even the filler ain’t that bad.
108 “Plaster Caster” – This song is about groupies making a plaster cast of Gene’s dick. Another fun fact. Millions of 7 year olds loved this song.
107 “Naked City” – It’s not easy for Gene to write a song that’s not about his dick. So he uses the word naked in the title to ease himself.
106 “She’s So European” – As much shit as Gene gets for writing songs about his manhood and it’s escapades, he really is quite good at. Strong melody on this track from a record that deserves more love.
105 “Tomorrow And Tonight” – There are examples throughout this list where Paul took a stab at writing an anthem on par with “Rock N Roll All Nite”. This song is one I wished hadn’t been forgotten by the band live.
104 “Makin’ Love” – You don’t need a background cracking coded messages for the military to figure out what this song is about. Great riff.
103 “Two Timer” – It’s odd that someone who would go on to cheat on the mother of his children, by his own admission, a few thousand times, would write this song.
102 “Great Expectations” – A touching song about women watching Gene on stage and wondering what else he can do with this fingers, tongue and other body parts.
101 “Shock Me” – Ace’s first lead vocal in KISS. Lyrically it’s an unimaginative spin on Ace getting electrocuted during a KISS concert.
100 “Killer” – Another song where Gene’s unique delivery and strong melody helps you get past the lyrics.
99 “Thief In The Night” – Legend has it Paul was unaware that this song was on a Wendy O Williams record that Gene produced. And none to happy when he did find out. Who knows. It’s better than “I’ll Fight Hell To Hold You”.
98 “While The City Sleeps” – Another good Gene track dismissed by Paul. Probably out of jealousy of Gene getting into movies.
97 “Heart of Chrome” – Hey baby. I’m gonna stick it in your heart of chrome!
96 “Into The Void” – I would’ve like more Ace on Psycho Circus.
95 “Creatures of the Night” – As campy as this song is, it was like a starter pistol signaling a change in KISS’ overall sound and direction.
94 “Love’s A Deadly Weapon” – I think Gene’s Asylum tracks are stronger than Paul’s. Even when it’s just another song about his dick.
93 “Secretly Cruel” – A little nod to “Mr. Speed” with the opening riff.
92 “Tears Are Falling” – Eric should have sung this.
91 “Thou Shalt Not” – A shot at the pious attitudes that exist in society. And killer guitar work from Bruce.
90 “Nowhere To Run” – The four new tracks on KILLERS feel like Paul trying to remember how to write a Paul Stanley KISS song. Almost like a therapy lesson.
89 “Silver Spoon” – Paul misrepresents his relationship with his parents to make a greater point. He earned everything he got. True dat!
88 “Turn On The Night” – As much as I dig this song it feels like one of those “new” songs bands would put on their greatest hits to help sell the record. Still a cool track.
87 “Hell or Highwater” – Another strong song from Gene for the Crazy Nights record.
86 “Under The Rose” – See “Only You”
85 “Only You” – “Under The Rose” and “Only You” are companion track from Music from the Elder. Two great tunes from a record the band should embrace.
84 “When Your Walls Come Down” – Here kitty kitty! Side two of Crazy Nights opens with the best Paul track from the record.
83 “It Never Goes Away” – Paul kills it on this track. More please.
82 “Gimme More” – It’s hard to find a bad song on Lick It Up.
81 “God Gave Rock N Roll To You II” – Originally recorded for the Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey Soundtrack, the video would sadly be the last official appearance of Eric Carr who passed a few months later.
80 “Shout It Out Loud” – This may be the closest KISS came to capturing the magic of “Rock N Roll All Nite”. Great songwriting.
79 “Anything For My Baby” – Paul was really hitting his stride lyrically and melodically by Dressed To Kill. They would soon dominate the world.
78 “Firehouse” – A fairly rudimentary song presentation that just works. The Mike Douglas performance of this song shows the band damn near at inception.
77 “All The Way” – Seeing this at 77 reminds me just how good this band’s music is. It’s hard to justify placing it higher. But it’s a killer track.
76 “Love Her All I Can” – Like most I prefer the Wicked Lester rendition… that was a joke. Great riff.
75 “You’re All That I Want” – Another killer Unmasked track. If that album had one of those timeless monster tracks, this album would be ranked up there with Destroyer.
74 “Almost Human” – I’m not sure but I think this song is about puberty. How any kid who grew up listening to KISS managed to mature into a well-adjusted sexual human is beyond me. This is some rapey shit lyrically. Killer guitar tone though.
73 “Prisoner Of Love” – How the hell did I rank this song here?
72 “Burn Bitch Burn” – This song is a lot better than its reputation. Gene has written worse and dumber songs. You don’t have to look far down this list to find an example.
71 “Save Your Love” – Ace was the hero on Dynasty.
70 “I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire)” – Paul opens Animalize with a shot. He don’t need Vinnie and he don’t need Gene.
69 “Take It Off” – Stripper anthem.
68 “Within” – Gene in his best form.
67 “Dreamin” – The publisher who holds the rights to the Alice Cooper track “18” sued and one for plagiarism. I think Paul did enough to separate from “18” but oh well.
66 “The Street Giveth and the Street Taketh Away” – I like the homage to Bowie in the verses. This could have been a 3rd or 4th single.
65 “I Still Love You” – Paul’s vocal on this track is amazing. Supposedly about Donna Dixon dumping him for Dan Aykroyd.
64 “Rock N Roll All Nite” – I know this is going to raise a few eyebrows. And I get that this is a classic. But c’mon. Seriously. I can’t listen to it anymore.
63 ”Parasite” – As good as Gene’s vocal is on this track. Seeing Ace sing it in the 90’s was better. The breakdown riff before the guitar solo never gets old. “Unlike Rock N Roll All Nite”.
62 “Is That You?” – My favorite opener to a KISS album.
61 “She” – Riff after riff. Classic KISS.
60 “Sweet Pain” – Gene having an orgasm at the beginning of the song wasn’t necessary but this is a killer tune.
59 “Hotter Than Hell” – “She looked good she looked Hotter Than Hell”. If you aren’t hooked by this point you may not enjoy music.
58 “I Will Be There” – A touching and heartfelt tribute to Paul’s first son Evan. Paul’s legacy as one of Rock’s iconic voices is cemented. This could be his last great vocal performance on tape. His attack on the last chorus coming out of the solo is spine tingling.
57 “Let Me Know” – In many way KISS were the heavy metal Beatles. This is probably the closest the came on record.
56 “Dance All Over Your Face” – Gene is also capable of delivering amazing vocal takes. The brilliance in his performance here is the understated parts. “You’re sharp as a slap from a mothers hand” Killer.
55 “Charisma” – With only two tracks on Dynasty Gene had to make em count. Classic Demon.
54 “What Makes The World Go Round” – I’ve always loved the guitar solo on this song.
53 “Tomorrow” – Paul was really hitting his stride in 1980. Should have been a top 40 hit.
52 “Strange Ways” – I wonder what this would have sounded like with the drum solo that was supposedly cut. Guitar solo is Ace 101. I think Tommy Thayer pulled most of his solo’s on Sonic Boom from the solo on this song and the solo on “Shock Me”.
51 “Strutter” – The first song on the first album. The ALIVE! version really takes it up a notch. I may be the only person who enjoys the Double Platinum re-mix.
50 “X-Ray Eyes” – As a kid when a new KISS album would come out, I’d look at the song titles and try to guess who sings what song. I figured with that title this was an Ace track for sure.
49 “Rockin’ In The USA” – By 1978 Gene and his dick were world travelers.
48 “I Want You” – A straight-up killer rock n roll killer from Paul Stanley. KISS were better songwriters than many think.
47 “Room Service” – Paul likes the ladies.
46 “Hard Luck Woman” – A solid job at re-writing “Maggie May”. This would have been a bigger hit had Rod Stewart taken it. Frankly, I think Peter’s a better singer.
45 “Rocket Ride” – Bob Ezrin basically gave permission to the members of KISS to record with people who weren’t in KISS. Reportedly this is the only song Ace played on from the ALIVE II side four tracks. Also, the rocket is Ace’s dick.
44 “Childhood’s End” – COS showed KISS branching out. Because of the producer and the era it was recorded, it is often referred to as KISS going grunge. I think this is more KISS took a break from writing songs about boning chicks. Great song.
43 “Master & Slave” – Again, what the hell is Paul’s problem with this record. He knocked it out of the park.
42 “Rock N Roll Hell” – Stay away from the rendition of this that Ace recorded for his covers record.
41 “I” – Gene and Paul didn’t split vocals enough.
40 “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose” – Paul invented rap metal. Prove me wrong.
39 “Journey of 1,000 Years” – The outro throwing back the bridge of “Psycho Circus” is genius. This song is great and PC is a good record. Fight me!
38 “Flaming Youth” – I don’t know if I realized at the time. But once I heard the first line of this song, my life trajectory was set.
37 “Exciter” – We got a fancy new guitar player to showcase. So let’s bring in a ringer for the first guitar solo.
36 “And On the Eight Day” – The perfect closer to a damn near perfect record.
35 “Take Me” – In the ’70s Paul could pretty much sing a woman into orgasm.
34 “Mr. Speed” – Was being a quick lover something women looked for in 1976? Regardless this is one of the most unique riffs Paul ever wrote.
33 “King of the Nighttime World” – Almost needs to be played in conjunction with “Detroit Rock City”.
32 “I Was Made For Loving You” – Say what you want but this is one of the more timeless songs from the disco era.
31 “Psycho Circus” – KISS is back! With Bruce Kulick on bass, Tommy Thayer on guitar and Kevin Valentine on drums.
30 “I Love It Loud” – Some of KISS’ biggest hits post Ace and Peter don’t come off great live. This song is one. But it is a timeless type of song the band really needed at the time.
29 “Hide Your Heart” – A Paul Stanley story song. It’s so good 19 other artists recorded it before KISS.
28 “War Machine” – Gene may have never been more Gene than he was on Creatures and Lick It Up.
27 “Not For The Innocent” – See “War Machine”
26 “A Million To One” – Another flat out breathtaking vocal from Paul. This should have been a single.
25 “Magic Touch” – When Paul played this on the Live To Win tour I may have sprouted wood.
24 “2000 Man” – Ace doing the Stones. Ace has done some killer cover versions. In this instance, he pretty much took the song and made it his own.
23 “Christine Sixteen” – Creepy subject matter in an otherwise well-written song.
22 “The Oath” – The falsetto feels unnecessary. But what a guitar riff.
21 “All American Man” – This is the Starchild’s anthem.
20 “Hell or Hallelujah” – An all-time great KISS song from a forgettable record.
19 “Domino” – This should have been the second single on Revenge.
18 “Unholy” – Gene’s first single in a decade crushed. The only thing this lacks is Eric Carr’s drumming. But it’s not as if they had a choice there.
17 “Love Gun” – Paul says he wrote this in his mind on a flight. I believe him. Sometimes greatness comes easily. Oh. And the Love Gun is his dick.
16 “Heaven’s on Fire” – Not a song they pull off live. But the studio recording is one of the best tracks of the ’80s.
15 “Lick It Up” – Another one from the 80’s that sort of sucks live. And just like the last song, the studio version is a classic.
14 “Do You Love Me” – How did this not end up on ALIVE II?
13 “100,000 Years” – The ALIVE! version should be required learning in school.
12 “Watchin’ You” – Ditto.
11 “God Of Thunder” – Now this is a song that comes off better live. Every lineup I’ve seen play it, killed it. And the Paul demo is really cool too.
10 “Got To Choose” – Say what you want about early KISS’ songwriting. They had a way of making the simple sound awesome.
9 “Calling Dr. Love” – A more lyrically acceptable song of the “Christine Sixteen” ilk. The original studio version is great. Avoid the Double Platinum and Smashes, Thrashes & Hits remixes.
8 “Black Diamond” – When I hear the orchestral arrangement of this by Yoshiki on the KISS My Ass record I damn near cried. This is what rock n roll sounds like.
7 “I Stole Your Love” – Proper use of the word STOLE by our favorite Starchild.
6 “C’mon and Love Me” – “She’s a dancer. A romancer. I’m a Capricorn and she’s a Cancer”. That one lyric alone should have gotten them in the RNRHOF on the first ballot.
5 “Let Me Go Rock n Roll” – The ALIVE! version is superior.
4 “Rock Bottom” – “Girl you know you gotta treat me good”
3 “Nothin’ to Lose” – It was probably 20 years after hearing this for the first time that I found out this song was about butt-sex. That makes it better somehow.
2 “Detroit Rock City” – Bob Ezrin really knew how to shape a KISS record. Such a cool track.
1 “Deuce” – If I’m picking the opening track on a KISS setlist. It’s this. As much as Gene openly talks about where he takes ideas from, in the early years he brought a uniqueness to the songs that can’t be replaced. This song has more energy, fire and bombast than most of their catalog combined. When they are firing on all cylinders no KISS song kicks your ass like “Deuce”.
Let the debates begin!
This article was originally published as a 4 part series on Decibel Geek in 2019.