Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Kiss 14: Killers

The band’s rep had hit such a nadir by 1982 that their label—Casablanca no longer being the money chute it once was—fast-tracked a new Kiss compilation. They even insisted the band record new songs for it, but figured the band was such a lost cause that they didn’t bother releasing the set in the US or Canada.

Everything about Killers screams budget release, from the tacky lettering on the front to the garish pink triangle on both sides. There was no special inner sleeve, or any shilling for merchandise. Outside of the new songs, the balance is made up by older hits, all album tracks and some repeated from Double Platinum. Worst of all, Gene is shown with short hair, and Paul has a bandana. But since American veterans of the Kiss Army had to get it somewhere, they might have been surprised to see the alternate band logo on the German version of the album, as that country didn’t like how the “SS” in the regular version resembled that of Hitler’s Schutzstaffel. (The kids also would have had to find the Japanese and Australian editions of the album, each of which added two catalog songs, one of which was “Shandi”.)

Paul sings all the new ones, beginning with “I’m A Legend Tonight”, which is better than its chorus, save for the muffled drums. He yells his way through “Down On Your Knees”, which crams an awful—and we do mean awful—lot of clichés into three and a half minutes. This masterwork was co-written with Bryan Adams, of all people. Unfortunately, these only highlight the lyrical shortcomings of “Cold Gin” and “Love Gun”. “Shout It Out Loud” is the single mix, and “Sure Know Something” is one of the two “later” songs.

Paul wrote “Nowhere To Run” all by himself, and the best of the new songs musically; too bad he couldn’t think of a better chorus than “Nowhere to run/Nowhere to hide”. He also didn’t notice that “Partners In Crime” mentions someone being “down on your knees”; this riff deserved a better home too, and the canned horn blasts don’t help. It’s back to the hits with edited versions of “Detroit Rock City”, “God Of Thunder”, and “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”, ending with the Alive! version of “Rock And Roll All Nite”.

Even the hits can’t save this album. But being what it was, Killers was a popular import for decades, particularly since the four new songs wouldn’t be collected on any other compilation until the 21st century. By that time the album was made available for streaming, incorporating the three songs from the Japanese and Australian sequences. And in 2022, those four rarities were included in the Super Deluxe Edition of Creatures Of The Night.

Kiss Killers (1982)—2

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