Trey’s Tunes


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Kiss’ debut album features their iconic face paint. It was released February 18, 1974.

Trey Boore, Reporter

When the band Kiss is brought up in conversation, some tend to instantly think of overplayed dad rock music and a dude with a star painted on his face. That’s what I used to imagine a few years ago until I dove a little deeper into the music world. Around the time I first started to actually listen to Kiss, I was in somewhat of a hair metal and British rock invasion phase, where I was constantly listening to bands such as Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Guns ‘N Roses. Pretty much the big bands of the 80s. Though, one band that I never thought I’d actually find myself liking had a similar sound; and their prime took place a decade prior. 

Many people may have heard of the songs “I Was Made For Lovin’ You,” “Rock And Roll All Nite,” “Detroit Rock City” and “Lick It Up.” They are among some of the most streamed songs of all time and previously, that’s all I had known Kiss by. It wasn’t until one of my friends introduced me to the song “Strutter,” which is still a mildly popular song, but something I had not heard of before. I think what caught my attention the most, was that it was a catchy song, it had all the elements that I liked, yet it wasn’t this extremely generic and overplayed song that I had once perceived, that was all Kiss was capable of doing. From there, it was a gateway to new tunes that I wish I could listen to for the first time again and again. 

The first album I really stuck my ears into was Kiss’ first album which is self titled. It featured the following: 

  1. Strutter
  2. Nothin’ To Lose
  3. Firehouse
  4. Cold Gin 
  5. Let Me Know
  6. Kissin’ Time 
  7. Deuce 
  8. Love Theme From Kiss 
  9. 100,00
  10. Black Diamond 

One thing all of these songs have in common is taking a guitar riff and giving character to them. They emphasize it by letting it expand into a straightforward rock song and truthfully this is one of those cases where it doesn’t get old because they all tend to sound different and original. 

“Everybody says she’s lookin’ good.” 

To open up the LP, the song that got me interested in the first place is “Strutter.” Fast paced, straightforward, upbeat, guitar driven and a bluesy Kiss spin to it is how I’d describe this song. It’s quite easy to sing along to and has a catchy chorus basically repeating “Strutter,” yet it never gets old. Not to mention, this is just where the amazing guitar solos begin on the album and made me realize how good of a guitar player, Ace Frehly, is. 

“You’ve got nothin’ to lose.” 

The next track is titled “Nothin’ To Lose.” Though the concept and meaning may not be very school appropriate, overall it’s a solid song. It has a fresh introduction and I’m a fan of the transition into the main bluesy rhythm. It’s a pretty back and forth song but my favorite part is most likely right after the solo when all guitars are cut out and it’s just the chorus and drums. It creates a sense of excitement as I wait for everything to click back in and fade out.

“Woohoo Yeah.” 

The third track “Firehouse” is simplicity at its finest. A simple beat from drummer Peter Criss is truly what I think carries this song. Aside from the catchy rhythm and chorus, I feel if the drums were anymore complex, it would ruin the song. I like how every instrument is easily heard, and during the solo the guitar is so predominant, it’s like icing on the cake. 

“It’s cold gin time again.”

Coming up next is “Cold Gin.” This is one of the first Kiss songs I learned on drums, so it’s instantly a favorite of mine. There’s nothing much I could really say about this other than it’s a very solid song and is really fun to sing along to, which I will always recommend to a friend. 

“Ah let me, let me.” 

“Let Me Know” is really appealing to me because it has a Beatles-esque rhythm to it which I like. Let me be your Sunday driver

Let me be your Monday man

I’ll take you anywhere you want

Just as fast as I can.” Right off the bat it sounds like something Paul McCartney would sing but no, It’s the bassist Gene Simmons. What could easily be a poppy tune from the 60s is put together perfectly to match the sound of Kiss. With only 40 seconds of the track remaining and the “fab four” harmonizing to “Let Me Know,” it sounds like it’s coming to an end. Instead, a powerful driving alternative riff comes out of nowhere, only for the rest of the instruments to come back in and create a somewhat better ending.  

“Anytime is kissin’ time.”

The sixth song on the album is “Kissin’ Time.” I will say this definitely isn’t my favorite song on the album but by no means is it bad. It has a nice rhythm to it and I could guess you say a catchy chorus but not entirely my cup of tea. Though I do like the little ride cymbal measures throughout, it adds a little bit of uniqueness to the song which is needed. Everyone has different views so for those fans of straight classic rock songs, this may come at higher interest. 

“He’s worth a deuce.”

Although it is not the second song on the album, coming in at number seven, is “Deuce,” This has that identifiable Kiss sound fans know and love. Just like when they play it live and sway their heads back and forth, that’s exactly what I want to do when I hear this tune. It’s unique, it’s original and it’s done their way defining their sound. 

“The Theme.” 

Titled “Love Theme From Kiss,” it is not only the next song on the LP, but is also a bit different from the rest. This is because it’s an instrumental, which means there’s no vocals and allows the rest of the instruments to be heard and more appreciated in my opinion. I like how it has more of a funky feel to it, notably the bass that has a more predominant rhythm and going off on its own thing. 

“For a hundred thousand years.”

Speaking of bass, following “Love Theme From Kiss” is “100,000 Years.” This song starts off with solely bass which sets the mood for the rest of it. It has a very groovy and straightforward rhythm to it and I honestly like how the lyrical structure is set up. Though as a drummer myself, I am a little biased with my favorite part. The instrumentals abruptly cut out and all goes silent but the drums. At first it sounds like it might just be a fill, instead the vocals of Paul Stanely keep up with the chorus, creating a cool effect between the drums and vocals till the guitars swing back into things. Not to mention I really enjoy both of the solos in this song. 

“Out on the street for a living.” 

Finally, in my opinion, saving the best for last is “Black Diamond.” The name itself is pretty cool but the song definitely tops it. Starting off with a different approach, it begins acoustically with soft vocals. This quickly changes though after a count of four on the drum sticks and a heavy rockin’ riff is introduced. Drummer Peter Criss is who takes care of the lead vocals and I personally think that was an amazing decision that was made. The rasp in his voice fits perfectly with the mood and heavy sound. When the song sounds like it is coming to an end, it is not. The first time this occurs, all goes quiet just to prepare for an amazing solo to be ripped out by Ace Frehly and another one of my favorite solos on the album. The true ending is like a movie. Each strum and cymbal crash gets slower, heavier and quieter until you can no longer hear it. It marks the end of a beginning for its time and yet another one of my favorite albums.