Have you ever wondered why the number seven gets so much attention? You never hear about the numbers four, five or nine. Whether you think seven is lucky, aspire to see the Seven Wonders of the World or believe in the religious connotation of 777, there is no doubt that this magical number has a place in our society. It even shows up in rock music. Poison had “7 Days Over You”, TNT had the “Seven Seas”, Night Ranger had their “Seven Wishes”, Iron Maiden had “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”, etc. Today, on what just happens to be 7/7/17, I am going to review and rank the 7th track off all the KISS studio albums. Since Decibel Geek has fans from all over the world, I will present to you 2 disclaimers: We are using the 7th track off each KISS studio album only (no live albums, compilations, etc.) but are including the four solo albums from ’78 and we are using the original U.S. album releases to lessen confusion.
Ranked from best to worst… Here we go!!!!!
- “Mr. Speed” (Stanley, Delaney) – This song has it all. Great Gene bass line, one of Ace’s best guitar solos and clever lyrics that have a swagger. A perfect 70’s KISS song and my personal favorite KISS song of all time.
- “Deuce” (Simmons) – This is where it all began. An incredible guitar riff, unique bass line, stellar guitar solo coupled with a perfect Gene vocal, this song has always been one of the best in the KISS catalog. As I’m writing this review, I can picture Gene, Ace, and Paul doing the synchronized dancing during the Winterland ‘75 show.
- “A Million to One” (Stanley, Vincent) – Not releasing this song as a single is one of the biggest missteps in KISStory. “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose” as the single? Who in the hell made that decision? Ugh!!!!! A perfect Paul 80’s song, with a tame Vinnie solo that should have been huge on the charts. The #1 hits in the first six months of 1984 on the Billboard Hot 100 included: “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)”, “Hello”, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” and “Jump”. “A Million to One” could’ve been a #1 hit. OMG! UGH!!! COME ON!!!! Taking a deep breath and moving on….
- “Forever” (Stanley, Bolton) – Perfect rock power ballad! It went to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. See what can happen when you release the right song as a single?
- “Shout It Out Loud” (Stanley, Simmons, Ezrin) – I always love it when Paul and Gene switch off lead vocals in a song because the differences in their voices complement each other so well. A staple in the KISS catalog, even after 30+ years, I sing along at the top of lungs every time it comes on in the car. Yes… I am that crazy guy playing air guitar, air drums and singing in the key of Q flat sitting in the car next to yours. Sorry….
- “Watchin’ You” (Simmons) – A song that fits The Demon perfectly. Love the guitar riff. When this song came back into the set list during the Reunion tour in 1996, I sang along so loud that I lost my voice. Paul and Gene…if you happen to be reading this, please ensure that this song is in every set list moving forward. Thank you.
- “I Still Love You” (Stanley, Vincent) – This is one of my favorite rock power ballads. There is a great version on KISS Unplugged too. KISS was counting on the Creatures of the Night album to bring them back to being a heavy rock band so unfortunately this song didn’t get released as a single and got lost in the shuffle. If the band would’ve re-released this song on Crazy Nights or Hot in the Shade (when ballads were topping the charts), “I Still Love You” would’ve easily been a top 10 radio hit.
- “Hard Times” (Frehley) – One of Ace’s better vocals on any KISS or Ace record. When you hear this mid-tempo rocker, how can you possibly think that Dynasty is a disco album? I would say this song has one of Ace’s best guitar solos.
- “Heart of Chrome” (Stanley, Vincent, Ezrin) – This song is a hidden gem. Great chorus, incredible guitar work, perfect solo. Again, the band missed a major opportunity by not releasing this as a single. Instead, they went with “I Just Wanna”? Wow! Who (as I’m shaking my fists in the air) is making these decisions?
- “Hold Me, Touch Me (Think of Me While We’re Apart)” (Stanley) – A beautifully written ballad from Paul’s ’78 solo album. This song should’ve been a #1 hit but flatlined at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100. The memorable guitar solo shows that Paul has the chops to be a lead guitar player.
- “Tears are Falling” (Stanley) – When I first saw the video, I remember thinking “Oh no, what the f**k are you wearing?” (see what I did there?). Luckily the song was catchy and kept me listening. Also, this was the 1st time we heard Bruce on a studio record and it was evident right away that he would be a great fit within the KISS family.
- “Anything for My Baby” (Stanley) – “I would steal…. I’d wheel and deal…” is an underrated classic. 2:35 of pure 70’s KISS pleasure, neither this song nor album gets enough props.
- “Thrills in the Night” (Stanley, Beauvoir) – This storyteller type song was the 2nd single from the Animalize album. Good song overall and Mark St. John does a typical 80’s shredder guitar solo. Vinnie had to have been jealous!
- “Two Sides of the Coin” (Frehley) – One of the Ace classics off Unmasked. Anton Fig does some incredible drumming but I wish the song had a real guitar solo too. Almost sounds like they wanted to add one but then changed their mind?? Or maybe Ace didn’t show up for that part of the recording? It was a crazy time in KISStory so anything is possible.
- “A World Without Heroes” (Stanley, Simmons, Ezrin, Reed) – Uh Oh. Start the craziness. The Elder has always been a love/hate relationship with the KISS Army. Personally, I never cared much for this album. As for this song, it’s one of the better tracks on the record. I’m glad Paul did the guitar solo because it’s a perfect fit. I also love Gene’s vocal phrasing and delivery.
- “Raise Your Glasses” (Stanley, Knight) – This song doesn’t get too much love and I never understood why. It’s a catchy, sing-along, anthem type song. KISS fans should be used to that by now. Maybe it has something to do with that the original four aren’t playing. Instead, it was Paul, Gene, Tommy Thayer (lead guitar) and Kevin Valentine (drums). A pretty good song in my opinion.
- “Eat Your Heart Out” (Simmons) – Love the acapella start. The big production, vocal melody, and music are great but the lyrics could’ve been much better. It’s one of the better songs on Monster.
- “I’m In Need of Love” (Frehley) – Weird but cool always comes to mind when hearing this song. It has a signature Ace solo but there are much better songs on this record. Maybe you have to be a bit spaced out to really get this song???
- “Hooligan” (Criss, Penridge) – Peter’s vocals shine on this song but in the KISS library, this has never been one of my favorites. If it wasn’t for “Then She Kissed Me”, it would be the worst song on Love Gun.
- “When Your Walls Come Down” (Stanley, Mitchell, Kulick) – Nursery Rhymes + cheesy sayings + lewd subject matter = a major miss. The music is great, the vocal melody is awesome and the guitar solo is dead on so this could’ve been a good song, but it is what it was.
- “All for the Glory” (Stanley, Simmons) – It’s great to have Eric sing a song (and he is a great singer) but the songwriting doesn’t hold up to the rest of this list. Luckily, Tommy does a great solo which makes the song listenable.
- “Rock Me, Baby” (Delaney) – Again, Peter sings it well and the cool backing vocals make you bop your head but in comparison to the other songs on this list it just doesn’t hold up.
- “In My Head” (Simmons, Van Zen, St. James) – I just never really got into Carnival of Souls and this song just doesn’t do it for me. Even the guitar solo lacks identity. Now, if KISS was trying to channel their Alice in Chains…they succeeded from a production and groove standpoint but the actual songwriting didn’t even come close.
- “Always Near You/Nowhere to Hide” (Simmons) – I love Gene’s vocal tone and delivery on this track. The melody and music didn’t do Gene’s vocals any justice. The massive chorus singers totally turn me off. In my humble opinion, this song is one of the worst in the entire KISS catalog.
So, there you go. One mans’ opinion. Let the KISS Army debates begin. One thing I know for a fact, no two KISS fans think alike or have the same opinions. This is why KISS is so interesting to discuss. I encourage you to do your own ranking. Share it with Decibel Geek on Facebook or Twitter. If nothing else, at least connect with us to agree or disagree with my personal ranking.
Thanks for reading! Pooni out!