KISS – The Best of Kiss, Volume 2: The Millennium Collection

KISS - The Best of Kiss, Volume 2: The Millennium Collection


Release date: June 15, 2004

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Here’s part two of the so-called 20th Century Masters, The Millennium Collection, and it features Kiss’ work from the Creatures Of The Night album of 1982 to 1989’s Hot In The Shade. It’s indeed a trip down Memory Lane, from the period in life of a teenager being totally obsessed with the band, to losing a little interest due to an album that was simply a collection of demos, the mentioned Hot In The Shade. By that time, other bands came up with far better produced albums and more challenging music.

The first and most noticeable remark: This is, with the sole exception of “I Love It Loud,” Paul Stanley’s second solo release. He is currently working on his second solo album, but if this CD comes into counting, he’s about to commit to his third. The simple reason: Gene Simmons’ head was indeed somewhere else in the eighties. He starred in B-rated films, he dated celebrities, he started a record label, and he thought he could live on Kiss’ fine legacy instead of living up to it. The man of a thousand faces delivered a handful of great songs to 1983’s Lick It Up — “Not For The Innocent,” perhaps being his heaviest and best moment in the eighties — but apart from a half decent song on Crazy Nights (“Come Hell Or High Water”), he wasn’t back in true style before 1992’s Revenge.

That explains why this is Paul Stanley’s solo record, and it is indeed a fine collection by a man who never released a sub-standard song in his life. Had Stanley lost focus as much as his partner back in these times, Kiss would have been dead and buried by 1984. And of course, the reunion would have taken place in 1988, not 1996.

Kiss always adapted to whatever went on in the music business. As much as people love the band and as much as they were a major part of many veteran headbangers’ childhood and adolescence, no one can give them credit for breaking barriers and being innovative … but that’s not what it takes to make it to the top. Kiss went from being the hottest band in the world to releasing a disco song like “I Was Made For Loving You,” and they did it better than anyone else. That song is still on heavy rotation in any night club (like it or not), Mister Simmons.

With the melodic breeze in the 80s, which you will witness on this CD, Kiss was still at the top of the game (due to Paul Stanley’s efforts). You won’t find Melodic Hard Rock that beats “All Hell’s Breaking Lose,” “Heaven’s On Fire,” “Thrills In The Night” – really, one could mention the whole disc! With those melodies, Kiss was the Beatles of the 80s, and there are more jewels in the closet, which were not brought to attention by the folks who did this small collection. How about “A Million To One” from Lick It Up? That’s one of Stanley’s best and most underrated songs ever. The only time Kiss failed to adapt to different styles, was when they put out Carnival Of Souls, a record I guess they never really wanted to release, that came out just to stop people from asking for it.

So what is left for part three? Well, Revenge and Psycho Circus were great records, while Carnival Of Souls had nothing to offer a best of collection. You, therefore, have to doubt there will be a part three, simply because the band has put out countless compilations and live records since the partly lame Hot In The Shade. The acoustic record was a fine moment in Kisstory, their symphonic record another, but there really isn’t much more to collect from the 90s and 2000s. Let this fine collection be a reminder of how great a songwriter Paul Stanley is, while we await his third (really second) solo effort.

This is, by the way, a great way to once again remember the late Eric Carr, whose powerful drumming can be heard on the whole disc. Rest In Peace.


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