Friday, February 24, 2023

Kiss 11: Dynasty

The solo albums may have cleared the decks for indulgences, but the Kiss boys weren’t united. Sure, the new album attempted to be democratic, so that each of the guys provided a share of the singing and writing. But while Vini Poncia—previously best known as a collaborator with Ringo Starr—was brought in as producer following his work on Peter’s solo album, he also replaced Peter in the studio with Anton Fig—who had beaten the skins on Ace’s album— on all but one song on Dynasty. It had been nearly two years since Kiss put out an album of all new material, and what did they have to show for it? Disco.

This is apparent right away with the thump and mild funk of “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”, which was catchy enough to almost reach the top ten. It’s not a bad song, or record for that matter, just not what people want from Kiss. (In another harbinger of doom, Paul co-wrote the song with Poncia and future schlockmeister-for-hire Desmond Child.) Ace had made his point by putting out the best solo album, so he got to sing three songs, the first being a surprising remake of the Stones’ “2000 Man” filtered through the first Cars album. Disco returns on Paul’s “Sure Know Something”—again, a competent enough pop tune, but lovelorn plaints are all wrong for this band unless Peter’s singing. Speaking of which, he gives us “Dirty Livin’”, which sports a riff that predicts ZZ Top’s Eliminator album, and we’ve checked several sources to make sure it’s him singing on not Paul. Ironically, the lyrics seem to address why exactly he wasn’t deemed up to snuff (ahem) anymore.

Gene finally shows up on side two, proving that he doesn’t understand the dictionary definition of “Charisma” on a track that sounds like a barely augmented demo. Paul’s “Magic Touch” puts more emphasis on rock instead of hitting the charts, and it’s got a few decent hooks. Ace’s “Hard Times” is the second song in a row that sounds like Kiss, but he still shouts more than sings. Gene’s “X-Ray Eyes” sends all kinds of mixed messages about whether and why he wants her back; it might have been better if he’d finished editing the transcript before singing the tune. Yet is it any better than Ace’s snotty “Save Your Love” kiss-off?

At least the album packaging, while not elaborate, still delivered. The cover shot is all hair and makeup, and the custom labels sport the same pose shown on the included fold-out poster. The inner sleeve unfortunately screams colorful disco ball, but the merchandise form includes a contest to win an official Kiss pinball machine. While notable for being the first Kiss album longer than 35 minutes, Dynasty isn’t any fun. It can’t even be called willfully stupid, which each of the previous albums could at least claim. Whatever momentum they had over five very busy years was seemingly gone.

Kiss Dynasty (1979)—2

No comments:

Post a Comment