Dressed to Kill – Kiss

Dressed to Kill

Kiss

Casablanca / Mercury Records

1975

Today, it is time to cherish and appreciate the remarkable gem that is Kiss’ third studio album Dressed to Kill.  This amazing album is a master of subtle understatement and originality.  Their lyrics emanate substantial poetry that will literally change your life.  Oh, wait, no.  End sarcasm now.  This is Kiss we’re talking about.  The shock-rock band that dresses up in giant high heels, leather everything, and the most famous makeup ever.  This is a band whose penchant for pyrotechnics is only matched by their ability to sell anything (including Kiss Kondoms and Kiss Koffins).  This is a band who penned songs such as “Love Gun,” “Lick it Up,” “Let’s Put the ‘X’ in Sex,” “Uh! All Night,” “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em,” and… well, must I go on?

In all honesty, I like Kiss.  They have some really great stuff.  Destroyer was a classic album, which was actually pretty heavy for the time.  Alive! did show off their amazing live show on record.  And many of their songs, while not being musically difficult, are fun to listen to and have good melodies.  That being said, Dressed to Kill is a huge atrocity.  They have a nice story about the cover of this album.  Do you see how their suits don’t fit?  That’s because those are old suits that the band had from years beforehand.  The band members were so poor, they couldn’t afford new suits (Something that will never be said about them ever again).  And they were poor for a reason.  That reason is that they sucked.  Hard. 

It wasn’t until their nest album, which is Alive!, that the band gained in popularity.  Because, yes, they were better live.  There must be something in seeing grown men dress as the comic-book styled characters: “The Demon” (Gene Simmons), “Starchild” (Paul Stanley), “Spaceman” (Ace Frehley), and the extremely fucking lame “Catman” (Peter Criss).  They gained a following by touring a lot.  These shows primarily featured Simmons spitting blood out or breathing fire, guitars exploding or being smashed, and a bunch of pyrotechnics.  Like a ton of pyrotechnics.  At this time, the fact was that the band just didn’t translate from live shows to vinyl.

Out of the ten songs found on Dressed to Kill, only two were ones that were any good.  These are “Rock Bottom” and “Rock and Roll All Nite.”  Sadly, even these aren’t nearly as good as they are live. 

“Rock Bottom” has an extremely long classical acoustic guitar intro.  Extremely long.  Like half of the damn song.  However, the song does turn into an actual rock song.  Complete with a minor pentatonic scale solo.  It sounds kind of lame on the CD, but it is actually a decent song.  Without an audience, the song comes off as amateurish (which is better than all of the other songs on this album), but live, this is a really great heavy metal track.

And of course, that brings us to “Rock and Roll All Nite,” having one of the most heinous misspellings ever.  The song is a classic classic rock song (yes, I really typed that phrase).  It is the biggest staple of Kiss’ career, and being one of the best party anthems ever.  Because when the chorus is the simplistic “I want to rock and roll all night, and party every day,” it’s bound to catch on.  Especially since they repeat that phrase to the maximum amount of times that a 2:49 song allows.  Let’s put it this way.  The amount of lame shows revolving around lists on VH1 still doesn’t match the repetition in this song.  It is the best song on this album, which isn’t saying much.  And yet, keeping with the theme that they’re better live, it still doesn’t match the energy that the Alive! version has.

So, now, if I were a guy that didn’t find pleasure in belittling people, I’d stop the review right now (because, obviously, I haven’t even begun to mock this album – even though I already called it “a huge atrocity”).  Luckily for you, dear reader (unless you’re Peter Criss), I take much pleasure in deriding people.  And it’s not even a guilty pleasure.

I can list everything that’s wrong with this album like this: the lyrics are horrible, the music features music that is wholly unoriginal, and nearly every song lacks energy.  This album was rushed into every stage of creating it: writing, recording, and mixing.  They were literally pulled off of their tour just to create this album.  They hit a brick wall of writer’s block (see what I did there?  Brick, block?  Yeah, I’m sorry).  Needing an album out on the charts, the band stayed in a room until they had written an album’s worth of material.  And it shows.

Did you see David Wain’s movie Role Models with Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott?  Remember the part where Scott’s character says that “all of [Kiss’] songs are about fucking?”  Well, that’s what the song “Room Service” is about.  This has the extremely mature stanza “But just as I’m about to take my coat and get my fly / She says “Oh please”, she’s on her knees /And one more time before I leave I get some.”  Wow.  Just wow.  Real class act here.  Really I can come up with better lyrics than that within these next five minutes. “The waitress comes in with the tray while I’m wasted / She sees my meat and looks at me like she wants to taste it / You don’t want to know how she used the turkey baster.”  Or hell, they could’ve just repeated the sentence “I’m fucking the hotel help” a thousand times, and it would still be better lyrics.

By the way, now I totally have to write a song that uses that stanza in it.

Now, I’ll name the song and tell you the quick plot about it.  “Ladies in Waiting” – the band leers at hot women at “the market.”  “C’mon and Love Me” – the narrator and the woman are both desiring each other carnally.  “She” – I can’t be completely sure, because the lyrics lack concrete visuals, but I think this is about a stripper.  Ok, I’ll stop now, I think you get my point that band is entirely way too concupiscent.

Production-wise, the sound is incredibly small.  The bass is almost non-existant, the guitars are too clean, and the drums lack any energy.  I can’t even blame this on the band (well, I can, because they did play the instruments).  The fall guy is Neil Bogart.  He was the president for the band’s label, Casablanca.  Not only did he force them to record this album, he produced it.  The band was finally starting to make it based off of their live performance, and yet on Dressed to Kill, they sound unenthused and diminutive.

This is one of those albums that I feel guilty for owning.  And for actually listening to it.  It’s not even a burned CD (although, I’m pretty sure I stole this from my parents at some point).  There are barely any redeeming qualities about this album.  It features two classic songs that are better on their next album.  The lyrics are horrible.  The producer really messed up.  The only thing that I could say which is respectful toward them is that they at least played their instruments and wrote the songs.  Well, most of the band wrote the songs.  Just not Peter Criss.  He doesn’t have any songwriting credits at all.  Goddamn “Catman.”  How lame can you be?  Oh right, you can be fired from Kiss.

Buy this Album

Official Site

Last.fm Page

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