“You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best” by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best”
Label: Mercury/Universal
Release Date: 6/25/1996
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 2.5/5

KISS was no stranger to compilation albums of their work by the time that they got around to releasing “You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best”, but this one in particular would take the practice of presenting their hits to the public by changing it up a little bit. In the past we had found them re-presenting studio tracks from across a wide scope of their back catalog but particular album brings us back to their legendary live recordings “Alive” and “Alive II” and gives us what they have determined to be the cream of the crop tracks from both. Now as any discriminating KISS fan would exclaim, each of these live albums are pre-requisite for one’s collection in their entirety and turning them into a multiple track “Best Of” is paramount to unthinkable. With this in mind KISS opted to include four unreleased live tracks from each albums recording session and when the tunes are compared to the release they are connected to there is a very similar vibe and sound making this seem on the up and up. In that we find the tracks “Room Service”, “Two Timer” and “Let Me Know” coming from 1975 while “Take Me” is from 1977.

The tracks are good, but a total tease and make the release give you a craving for more tracks that might have been hidden away for many, many years. I always liked “Room Service” from the “Dressed to Kill” album and “Let Me Know” was a really fun track from the bands debut. The other new inclusion on the CD would be an approximately eighteen minute interview with Jay Leno that focuses on their big reunion of 1996 and the “Alive Worldwide” tour that it would deliver to new and existing members of the KISS army. Given this was 1996, and the Internet was not as commonplace in the home just yet, it was a nice thing to have but I would have preferred it to be on a CD of its own and allowed for more time to give the fans additional unreleased tracks (come on, you know they exist). Love KISS as much as the next maniac, there is only so much I can take of Gene telling me that we are going to get a show like no other and that its one that will put all the rumors about their majesty to rest if any such thing even existed. Most people already knew that KISS in full makeup and presentation was unlike anything else the music world had seen before.

I would have liked to see this release be a two CD compilation that took the best of the “Alive” releases and kept them to one CD while the other brought you a better grouping of missing tracks and the interview. Having only four “new” old songs was a bit of a cheat. They also let me down in the artwork as the four page foldout offers four member shots that are not quite good, a terrible shot from the “Alive” era and a shot of the crowd which is very muddy. There are tons of credits, nothing good amounting to liner notes and a full page hawking their “KISStory” book. I would suggest that the marginal fan stick to the full live albums and a couple of “Best Of” releases from the band as opposed to this one, and the KISS fans, well they already own it and probably on the first day it had come out. Either way they remain one of my top tier bands no matter what they release.

Track Listing:
1. Room Service
2. Two Timer
3. Let Me Know
4. Rock Bottom
5. Parasite
6. Firehouse
7. I Stole Your Love
8. Calling Dr. Love
9. Take Me
10. Shout It Out Loud
11. Beth
12. Rock And Roll All Nite
13. KISS Tells All (interview bonus)

Official Website: www.KISSonline.com

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