On Rolling Stone’s commentary for Destroyer on the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, they state that this album, “… is a ridiculously over-the-top party-rock album that just gets better with age.”
Kiss is one of the hugest bands in rock music. Kiss knows how to party. Kiss knows how to kick some ass. They’ve got a ton of hits, including the opening track, “Detroit Rock City.” On my first listen to Kiss’ Destroyer I was swept away by that opening track. It had been a long time since I had heard it and honestly didn’t remember it being that good. Man! That track got me pumped for the rest of the album! I’ve never been a huge Kiss fan, but I know the esteem with which they are held (see the statements above). This album is going to be a rock solid jam fest! I thought to myself.
I was so wrong.
I’m sure that this isn’t a super popular opinion, and that I won’t be making a ton of friends by wri Actually, hold on a second. How many of you know a ton of Kiss fans, excluding those of you that are die hard Kiss fans? I can’t think of more than a handful of real people that claim to be Kiss fans. BUT THOSE PEOPLE ALWAYS SAY THAT EVERYONE LOVES KISS! I get it, Kiss used to be a huge force in the rock and roll world, but there’s not a huge population that really likes them anymore. I’m sure at this point the true Kiss fans are thinking of all the people they know that love Kiss. But guess what…
The problem is that all Kiss fans are part of the same click. It’s like if I were to claim that everyone loves Dungeons & Dragons because all of my friends like Dungeons & Dragons. The truth of the situation is that I’m a big nerd and disproportionately hang out with other nerds. And if I were to tell you how great D&D is and how totally underappreciated it is, it would probably get kind of annoying.
Here is the thing. Yes. Kiss does have a ton of hits. Yes. They were hugely influential in rock and metal. Yes. They deserve to be recognized for their Greatness. But we’re all tired of hearing about it on those rare occasions when we actually encounter a real life Kiss fan. We get it already.
Furthermore, this album does not hold up well over the years. It starts pretty awesome with “Detroit Rock City” and then, well, it kind of flattens out after that. “King of the Night Time World” has that party rock feel, but quickly becomes repetitive and stale. “God of Thunder” has one of the weakest riffs I’ve ever heard, lyrics that are anything but subtle, and would kill the mood at any party. “Great Expectations” is maybe alright, and seems like a sad attempt to compose at a level higher than Kiss’ ability. You then get a few tracks that are back to decent party rock, which is Kiss’ area of expertise. “Beth” is one of their most successful tracks, so that should be noted. And it is actually a pretty decent slow jam that flows well with the album. If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you already know about my strong belief that a slow jam has to flow with the album. Finally the album closes with another decent party track and then a track that is just some good, ol’ fashioned background noise.
That being stated, this album is alright. It has a few solid tracks on it and definitely was an important album in Kiss’s repertoire. This is one of those albums, however, that could now be considered Great due to its influence on music rather than its actual modern listen-ability. Spoiler alert: this isn’t the only Kiss album on this list. Furthermore, I would say that if any of Kiss’ albums should hold a on the Greatest Albums of All Time list, it is not this one.
The Solid Gold Picks for Kiss’ Destroyer are, in the order that they appear on the album:
- “Detroit Rock City” – This is an awesome party rock track.
- “King of the Night Time World” – Decent party rock.
- “Sweet Pain” – Decent party rock.
- “Shout It Out Loud” – Solid party rock.
- “Beth” – One of their most successful tracks.
You can hear these and all of my other Solid Gold Picks on my Spotify playlist, The Greatest Songs in the Universe.
Stay tuned for the next post, in which I will compare Husker Du to the sounds of surgery without anesthetic.