Before you start reading this blog, please note that this is in fact, MY OPINION. I like all KISS music, but some is better than others. Also, before I get started, I want to shout out Almost Human on YouTube (a.k.a. Dr. Fukk) for inspiring me to do my own ranking. I will post a link on the bottom of this blog for his own rankings. He includes live albums but I will not.
I am also not including greatest hits records. I am in fact adding in the 1978 solo albums because it is the original four members and it has the KISS logo on the album. So, why not.
So, here we go! 24 records ranked in order from worst to best. I will give you the best and worst song from each album and also give you a sentence or two about each record.
24. Peter Criss
I mean, this really is not even close. When these solo albums came out, I dont think anyone expected a soft rock/country/wtf record. This was nothing close to the other albums.
Best song- Hooked on Rock ‘N’ Roll
Worst song- Easy Thing
Oof. Not much on this record that I necessarily love. This mix of softer rock with some cool riffs just makes it feel really jumbled and random. Shandi is ok and it’s very popular with some casual KISS fans but it is just not lyrically special.
Worst- Is That You?
22. Sonic Boom
Listening to this album for the first time since it came out, a lot of it sounds the same. Each song isn’t very different from the last, other than Modern Day Deliah and Say Yeah. These are really the only songs that are somewhat worth listening to.
Best- Modern Day Delilah
Worst- When Lightning Strikes
21. Gene Simmons
Well, here is the next solo album. I dislike this album but still prefer it over eveyrthing we have already talked about. Just a weird sound for the blood spitting, fire breathing, flying demon. There is more than one bad song on this record but I had to give it to Man Of 1,000 Faces.
Worst- Man Of 1,000 Faces
20. Music From The Elder
To the casual fan of KISS, The Elder might be looked at as the worst record they have put out. Well, there are some highs, along with horrid lows on this album. This album was supposed to be the soundtrack of a movie, hence the title “Music from the Elder,” but that never happened thankfully.
Giving two songs for the best on the record because I can’t decide between the two which is better.
Best- The Oath, and I
Worst- Just A Boy
19. Carnival Of Souls
The first time I actually sat down and listened to this album I really enjoyed it. It was different, it was grungey, it was raw. Now, I think it is weird. I still enjoy it more than anything previous on this list, but that doesn’t really say much. I really enjoy Bruce Kulick and his work in KISS, but this album just had some odd differences from normal KISS music.
Worst- I Walk Alone
18. Paul Stanley
The opening track of this record is the reason it is this high on the ranking. Tonight You Belong To Me is an awesome song. The album overall is really not horrible compared to the other solo records already mentioned. Paul Stanley had a great voice (back in the 70s) and it is a cool mix of tunes. Even the ballads are not that bad. As we get closer to number one, I won’t be as negative since these records are overall good.
Best- Tonight You Belong To Me
Worst- Hold Me, Touch Me (Think Of Me When We’re Apart)
To be completely honest, I never gave this album a fair chance. After doing research, this record is not bad. Obviously coming in at 16 it is not the worst but not the best. Not the biggest fan of Tommy Thayer but when he plays original riffs and solos it is respectful. There are some bad ass tracks on this record and if you need some fresh KISS material, this is your best shot since this is the last record they have put out.
Best- Hell Or Hallelujah
Worst- Take Me Down Below… Just have to say something about this song quickly. These might be the creepiest lyrics KISS has written in their 50 year history. The title of the song can be a Steel Panther. Paul and Gene both sing on this track but Paul takes the crown for worst lyric. Ready for this?
“I’ll take you on a cruise you’ll never forget
She said, “we better move ’cause I’m already wet”
YUCK. 2012 these guys were in their mid 60s! Now I get what youre thinking. Look at the lyrics of Christine Sixteen, Love Gun, LETS PUT THE X IN SEX… I get it. They have sex.
Here’s another line from the track sang by Gene.
“I told her that I had a submarine
She said, “I know exactly what you mean”
I told her that my ship was ready to ride
She touched my heart when she touched my thigh”
I can’t make this up!!! I am literally laughing just reading the lyrics of this song. Like I said, I am surprised this is not a Steel Panther song. Anyway, moving on.
16. Psycho Circus
This album has some nostalgia to it because it was the first record with the original four since Love Gun technically. Overall, this record has some solid songs. The title track has been one of their highlights in their setlist since the album came out. Other tracks like Into The Void and Within are really not bad at all.
Best- Psycho Circus
Worst- I Finally Found My Way
15. Crazy Nights
This is starting to get really tough. A lot harder than you might think, but Crazy Nights in at 14. I really love Crazy Crazy Nights. I think it is so much fun when they play it live and I think overall the record sounds good. Better than everything else before it on this list obviously. There are better 1980s KISS albums than this and they are coming up for sure. One of the things I don’t like about this record though is Crazy Crazy Nights and Bang Bang You sound very similiar. Listen to the first 15 seconds of each song. The beat, the Paul scream, and the chorus sound too much alike.
Best- Crazy Crazy Nights. Honorable Mention though, No No No.
Worst- This might be controversial but… Reason To Live. Tired of this song and it’s overrated.
14. Hot In The Shade
Overall, very underrated record. If you listen to Hair Nation on XM you have probably heard Rise To It and Hide Your Heart played a few times. Also, can’t forget to mention Forever. One of the groups biggest ballads. This record is solid all around and easily forgotten from the 80s records.
Worst- Read My Body
Again, another very underrated album. The reason it is this high is for a few reasons. One, I Was Made For Lovin’ You is their most popular song on Spotify, and debately their most popular song they have ever done. It is a classic to see performed live becuase of the pyro and the fun hook and chorus. Overall, if you are a casual fan of the band, this is a good album to dig a little deeper in to and see what else it has to offer other than the opening track. Great tune from Peter with Dirty Livin’, Save Your Love sang by Ace, and 2,000 man, which is a cover from the Rolling Stones.
Best- I Was Made For Lovin’ You
Awesome album. Not much I can say about it. It rocks, it is produced very well, and the band plays so tight. The opening track of King Of The Mountain really opens your eyes and gets your head bangin with Eric Carr and his double bass pedals.
Best- Tears Are Falling
Worst- Secretly Cruel
11. Creatures Of The Night
The first album that featured newest member of the band, Eric Carr. The late great Carr brought a whole new sound to KISS. The double bass pedals mentioned before, the speed in live shows, and the electricity coming from behind the kit. He is easily one of the best musically talented members of the bands history. This record is great. Opening up with the title track and has some classics like I Love It Loud and War Machine. A hidden gem on this record though is definitely Saint And Sinner. Such a cool track.
Best- I Love It Loud
Worst- Rock And Roll Hell
10. Lick It Up
The title track being one of their most popular songs helps this record come in the top 10 of the best KISS albums. Absolutely love Exciter, All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose, and a song I recently discovered, Young And Wasted. Wow. What a friggin’ awesome song. Give that a listen if you haven’t heard it. I will put the song in this post right here.
Best- Lick It Up
Worst- Dance All Over Your Face
This album fit its time so damn well. 1984, in the midst of hair bands and hard and heavy classic rock, KISS drops this collection of Kulick riffs and Carr fills. Oh, and Paul and Gene singing as great as ever. Every single song on this album is good, but I will stick to the best and worst theme I have been doing. I will also add in another hidden gem. Under The Gun. The casual fan has no idea about this song.
Best- Heaven’s On Fire
Worst- Lonely Is The Hunter
8. Ace Frehley
This blew every KISS fans minds when this released along with the other solo records in 1978. This. This is what KISS fans wanted. This record meant so much to Ace. This was the direction he wanted KISS to go in and stay in. But, we all know the story. This album is just so timeless if you are a rock fan. Classic Rock meets Hard Rock with this album. Throw in the instant classic New York Groove, along with Rip It Out, Snowblind, and Speedin’ Back To My Baby, and you have an amazing record.
Best- Rip It Out
Worst- I’m In Need Of Love
I grew up listening to this album and the Greatest KISS greatest hits compilation. This album means so much to me. This was so different from the classic sounds of KISS. It was not as grunge as Carnival Of Souls and it was not as heavy as maybe Creatures or Animalize. This lineup and these songs were so perfect for the times. I really do not know what the worst song on this album is. It is really your own personal taste in these songs. But I will choose one. I love I Just Wanna and I still listen to that song to this day. Listened to it when it came up on my KISS playlist on Spotify (link on the bottom of the post by the way) and Unholy is just a kick ass song that I wish they played live more often.
Best- God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You. Yeah yeah, I know a lot of people dont love this song but it such a cool lyrical song. It has a lot of great references to becoming a rockstar and surviving to be the best.
6. Hotter Than Hell
This album could be higher, but the production was so poop. Now, a lot of people like that about this album which I understand. It is unique in its own way. But people don’t say that about other bands and their shitty produced albums. So you can’t be biased here with KISS. Obviously it is a great album since it is six on my list. Cannot be a KISS fan without loving the first three albums and this was one of them.
Best- Let Me Go, Rock ‘N Roll
Worst- All The Way
5. Love Gun
What is there to say about these remaining albums that have not already been said? Love Gun. The title track is easily in my top five favorite KISS songs. Love singing it, love playing the drums for this track, the solo is awesome, and the live performance of this song is fantastic. I Stole Your Love, Shock Me, and Almost Human are some of the songs I also wanted to mention.
Best- Love Gun
4. Dressed To Kill
The album that brought us Rock And Roll All Nite comes in at four on the best KISS albums. Just the classic KISS sound from this record. Nothing much to mention. Another song in my top five songs right now from KISS though, C’mon and Love Me. Such a great song, and a great version on Alive!
One of the groups most popular records to this day. This album hit the shelves and really brought the band to another level. After Alive, we knew KISS had something cooking. Pop in this bad boy on your turntable and get blown away by Detroit Rock City. Keep listening and sing along to Shout It Loud. Then, fall in love with Beth, the bands biggest ballad.
Best- Detroit Rock City
Worst- Great Expectations
2. Rock And Roll Over
Now on other records mentioned earlier, I was hinting at if there is such thing as a perfect KISS album. Well, I think this is it folks. I get that it is not number one, but the reason it is not will make sense when we get to it. Every single track on this album is great, it is fun to listen to, and it just is the absolute culmination of this bands history.
Best- Mr. Speed, I Want You, Take Me, Makin’ Love, Hard Luck Woman, and of course, Calling Dr. Love.
And the best album from KISS in my opinion…
The debut LP from the hottest band in the world. Without this album there is nothing. That is why it has to be number one. That is not the only reason why this album is number one in my ranking. When you have songs like Strutter, Deuce, Firehouse, Cold Gin, and oh yeah, Black Diamond on the same record, it is going to be amazing.
Best- Black Diamond
Worst- Theme From KISS
There you have it. That is my ranking of the KISS studio and solo albums. Like I have stated, this is my opinion. If anyone wants to debate, question me, or even just chat about KISS, feel free to email me if you don’t personally know me at RockinMSE@gmail.com.
Here is a link to Almost Human and his video that inspired me to write this blog.
Here is a link to my KISS- Greatest Hits playlist on Spotify.