Thursday, November 19, 2009


Rudimentary offhand notes off the top of my head about the new KISS album Sonic Boom, some originally made the day it came out and others since revised:

"Modern Day Delilah", the single, actually didn't make a big impression on me at first. But now I adore it. Even so, it has a strange fog around it that defies direct observation - like a dim star that is more clearly perceived from your peripheral vision rather by looking directly at it, I can't really SEE this song the way I can the others. S'weird.

"Russian Roulette" is great but it doesn't sound like 70s KISS to me, it feels exactly Revenge-era KISS. It's very much in the vein of
"Domino" or "Thou Shalt Not". Which is, of course, still great nonetheless.

"Never Enough" does indeed sound like somewhere Love Gun-era Paul track. Oddly, part of the melody rips off Paul's "It's All About You" from Live To Win. That noodly-noodly triplet is also pinched directly from "Plaster Caster". The drums here are mixed so flat and quiet, they do sound rather Peter Criss-ish, as his drumming was often rather light. (But not in the loafers.)

"Yes I Know" .... Holy moley, this REALLY DOES sound like an old Gene song from Dressed to Kill or Rock or Roll Over. Tommy is totally trying to do a Dressed To Kill style guitar solo, especially mimicking one of the "Love Her All I Can" solos.

"Stand" is awesome if only because Paul and Gene trade off lines back and forth. I like the odd song structure and harmonies. You can tell from listening to this that it's going to be even better live. I think this is one of my favorites. Sounds like something off the studio side of Alive II. Love the abrupt Beach Boys harmony part - that's totally a KISS tradition from "Let Me Know" to "I Just Wanna".

"Hot and Cold" is another brilliant return-to-form for Gene. The verses remind me of Eurythmics' "Would I Lie to You?", strangely enough. "If it's too loud, then you're too old" is the "You drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy" of the new millenium.

"All for the Glory"... okay, I gotta admit, Eric Singer really is trying to BE Peter here. Tommy pulls out some more Dressed To Kill style Ace riffs. Paul and Gene end up crashing the vocal party and taking over, since they're, heh, all for the glory, all for one.

"Danger Us" sounds more like no-makeup KISS to me, even though they're ripping off several older KISS bits along the way and Tommy again tries to prove that he is more Ace than Ace (and succeeds).

"I'm An Animal" sounds like Gene's trying to write another "Almost
Human". This was originally my least favorite on the album, but recently I was listening to it under headphones and had a satori about it and suddenly this week it's my new fave. Love the bouncy-boinky bass line that lends a circuslike, mentally ill feel to the proceedings. "Let others take the road that leads nowhere..."

"When Lightning Strikes" ties with "I Walk Alone" as best
non-GenePaulAcePeter KISS song ever. Note the conceptual similarity to "Shock Me" with the electrical metaphor... I predict this will be the big "Tommy Song" in live shows for years to come.

"Say Yeah" sounds like Paul's solo album. Solo sounds note-for-note ripped off from an old Ace solo which will come to me eventuallly on repeated listenings. I predict this will be a big "Audience participation with Paul" in live shows for years to come. Suddenly turns weirdly R.E.M.-like towards the end! The song sums up the glory of the album perfectly: "If you're ready for a wild ride, say Yeah!"

- - JSH

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