“Gene Simmons Solo” (remaster) by KISS

Artist: KISS: Gene Simmons
Title: “Gene Simmons Solo” (remaster)
Label: Mercury/Universal
Release Date: 9/18/1978
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3/5

In 1978, KISS did the unthinkable and released solo albums for each individual member of the group. It allowed the band to showcase what drove them musically on an individual level. Gene’s album would be the most diverse of the four recordings and would have a wide varity of musical guest stars offering up their help to be a part of the recording and I think this is what makes it “the biggest” in terms of the overall production in comparison to his other KISS peers. The guest stars included Michael Des Barres, Cher, Donna Summer and an at the time unknown Katey Sagal (you know her as Peg from “Married With Children of course). There were even members of “Beatlemania” and the legendary Bob Seger. Whew what a roster but what kind of album would this become with that kind of roster? Simply put a very “different” one from that which you might expect.

I remembered that I bought these albums all at once when they came out. Or at least I think I did that with my keying in the most excitement on Genes because he was my favorite in the band. The weird dramatic introduction of “Radioactive” set the stage for what I thought would be something super awesome but instead it was just “alright” in my mind. There is nothing super heavy like KISS on the album outside of the opening tune but there is still some good stuff to be found once you get past the fact that this isn’t a KISS sounding release at all. “See You In Your Dreams” was actually from the “Rock and Roll Over Record” and gets another take so to speak on Gene’s solo so there’s a touch of KISS at least. I liked “Burning Up With Fever” and “True Confessions” but you will find after listening to these songs that there is more radio friendly Rock going on that anything else. There are elements of Funk with some grooving almost Disco vibe here and there and of course the Beatlemania guys lend that sound to the process. It’s listenable and can be enjoyable but I felt it takes a few listens. Back when I was listening to this on the LP I would seldom go past the opening “Radioactive”. I would instead blast from beginning to end the Paul and Ace records. The closing number is a very strangely included “When You Wish Upon A Star” from the Walt Disney “Cinderella” film. Like I said – strange – but something that any KISS collector would buy nonetheless since we are usually completeists.

The KISS remasters are excellent in their overall sound quality but do not offer any additional or unreleased songs outside of what was on the original album. The original artwork is replicated and features the interesting graphics that often made up a KISS Album. If the artwork was limited, this is of course reflected as well. Music History fans will appreciate the included historical liner notes on the CD’s inner section. Each release has information that is topical to the album and the bands history.

Track Listing:
1. Radioactive
2. Burning Up With Fever
3. See You Tonite
4. Tunnel Of Love
5. True Confessions
6. Living In Sin
7. Always Near You/Nowhere To Hide
8. Man Of 1,000 Faces
9. Mr. Make Believe
10. See You In Your Dreams
11. When You Wish Upon A Star

Official Website: http://www.kissonline.com

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