True story. The mother-in-law is a massive Frank Sinatra fan. So when visiting the other day, we brought along the Amazon Echo and commanded: “Alexa, play some Frankie-boy for Nancy.” And lo, the stentorian tones of Sinatra issued from the voice-controlled personal assistant thingy and the mother-in-law was very happy indeed. After about half an hour, we decided to pull a prank and issued a second command: “Alexa, play some Kiss.” And – no word of a lie – up popped My Way, a track from the band’s 1987 album Crazy Nights.
This goes to prove three things. One, artificial intelligence has a hitherto unheralded wry sense of humour. Two, AI might be more adept at collating an album such as this than a faceless record company suit looking bewildered in front of a Kiss dartboard. Three, the previous point is academic anyway, because advances in technology, not to mention streaming, shuffling and all manner of other options, make the idea of releasing a compilation record in 2017 firmly redundant. Why listen to someone else’s playlist when you can compile your own?
And we have no doubt there will come a day when we will be able to refine our requests still further and say something like: “Alexa, play some tracks from when Mark St John was guitarist in Kiss, but not Burn Bitch Burn because that’s rubbish.”
So to the matter at hand. Whaddya need to know? This is a Kiss album containing 20 songs by Kiss. Old ones, new ones, loved ones, neglected ones. The track selection is the very definition on the word ‘scattergun’ – there’s no rhyme or reason or logic to it all. Indeed, parallels can be made to watching the FA Cup draw on TV: “My word, it’s a clash of the titans between Rock And Roll All Nite and Detroit Rock City, and minnows Hard Luck Woman will have their work cut out against Calling Dr Love.”
Random observations: it’s good to see contemporary ditties Modern Day Delilah and Hell Or Hallelujah holding their own against the classics, while the lack of Ace Frehley-led songs is disappointing. Our advice? If you’re seriously in the market for a Kiss komp, try Double Platinum (1978), Smashes, Thrashes & Hits (1988) or even Best Of Solo Albums (1979). Better still, why not re-purchase the band’s entire back catalogue? Go on. You know Gene wants you to.