KISS. I have the fever… it is the addiction to this enormous American Heavy Metal juggernaut that hooked me back in grammar school… the (gulp), 1970′s that is. Over this past Summer of 2009, (actually it goes back to last Winter too), I have ultra consistently listened to the KISS album “Unmasked”… after each listen I am a better Metalhead for it. Unmasked was released back on May 20, 1980, right before I embarked on my High School years. By now, for anyone who reads my stuff regularly, may be tired of my mentioning that I owned 8 track tapes… still, I need to tell the world that I owned Unmasked on 8 track, thank you all for understanding. The memories that get stirred up inside my Metal mind, each time I listen to Unmasked are good ones… the Summer of 1980… going to the UCONN Basketball Camp, collecting odd and evil looking spiders in my backyard and having no worries in the world other than entering a new teenage chapter in my life.
Now that the memories are out of the way, I could care in the least about the controversy, rumors or paid professional Rock critic reviews regarding Unmasked. Frankly, like the scene from Gone With The Wind, the character Rhett Butler (played by Clark Gable), says sternly to Scarlett O’ Hara (played by Vivien Leigh), “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. That is it in a Metal nutshell… I don’t give a damn. The last time I checked, this album peaked at #35 on the U.S. Billboard Album Chart and was certified Gold by the RIAA on July 30, 1980. So there obviously were other KISS fans out there who liked this album too, going all the way back to 1980. I have read over the years, that Peter Criss never played drums on the Unmasked album, that Anton Fig played all the drums and was uncredited in the liner notes. Again, I don’t give a damn.
Shandi was the song that was supposed to be the big hit from Unmasked… or so I have read over the decades. Was it the big single? I don’t give a damn. All I know is that this song reminds me of lazy, hot, sunny and care free Summer days of when I was fourteen years old. When I listen to Shandi now, it makes me feel good… so Metal be it. My favorite song from Unmasked is… a tie. Is it possible to have a tied favorite of songs from one album? I don’t give a damn. Here they are: Is That You? and What Makes the World Go Round. Is That You? opens up this album in the finest of KISS fashion, it is a song in my Metal opinion, that embodied everything that critics of KISS hated most… contagiously hard driven grooves and bad ass lyrically. KISS could not have chosen a better opening song for Unmasked. What Makes the World Go Round is probably the one KISS song that gets played the loudest by me – ever. I quantum like it, therefore that is it. Metal case closed. It is my Metal opinion that Paul Stanley sings outstandingly great on this album. The original vinyl version of Unmasked came with a very large poster, depicting KISS in a comic book/cartoon form, shunning their KISS masks to reveal their faces with KISS make up still on. (This is shown on a smaller scale, on the very bottom of the album front cover). I did inherit this album on vinyl with it’s bonus poster, years ago – in a trade.
She’s So European and Naked City are Gene Simmons songs personified. As I see it, these two Gene Simmons songs stand side to side with his vocal classics God of Thunder and Christine Sixteen. Two Side of the Coin is an Ace Frehley classic. I cannot express any other way, the Metal conviction I feel towards this song… it Rocks. There is no need to make any other unnecessary comments about it. I listen to and write about the bands and albums that have made my life enjoyable, KISS Unmasked is as perfect an example of this. I never have and never will, get caught up in what the professional overpaid critics of the Rock world say about a band or album. Even if such said band does not care for their own specific album or song they created, if I still dig it, well then, I don’t give a damn.