The farewell to their golden age

By Sergio Ariza

Love Gun is one of the most special records in the Kiss discography, it was their 6th studio record and 4th in 2 years, their second collaboration with legendary producer Eddie Kramer (not counting the fabulous live Alive), after  the first album where all 4 members sang at least one song, the first by Ace Frehley on such a task, and the last recorded by the original members composed by Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. It was also the last before Criss was replaced by session drummer Anton Fig on the following records.   

The record was edited in full frenzy for  the  band that was, at the time, the most popular in the U.S., something earned on sheer hard work, non-stop playing and cutting records, besides flooding the planet with their merchandise. Still, beyond the make-up, the toys and fireworks, Love Gun proved yet again that Kiss, when they found the right song, were a great rock band on their own merit. Clearly they are more a band of singles than albums, and this is no different, but 6 of its 10 songs could be considered classics. Not bad for a record cut in hardly 3 weeks and with just 7 months between the last one, Rock and Roll Over

The record starts off full blast with I Stole Your Love by Stanley. The Starchild was inspired by Burn from Deep Purple in composition, but when the band got their hands on it, it became something else with a brilliant solo courtesy of Frehley. Track 2 is the controversial Christine Sixteen where Simmons confesses his obsession for a minor.  Its melody is irresistible and once again shows once again that many of Kiss’ songs could pass as power pop anthems. Got Love for Sale is not especially outstanding, but Frehley shines again on a solo with his recently acquired Les Paul Budokan, a guitar that had just made its debut on the world tour Rock and Roll Over, when Kiss broke the consecutive performance record held by the Beatles in the Budokan, Japan (hence the name). But if this guitar has a legendary moment, it’s on the next track, Shock Me, written by Frehley himself (based on a personal story when he was almost electrocuted in concert) and it is was the first time he took the lead.  That’s right, the best part of the song comes on 6-string with a solo that is usually considered the best of his career. Tomorrow and Tonight is a failed attempt at recreating one of their best known songs, Rock and Roll All Night

Side B opens with the title song, a song that is rarely missing in their concerts which , as  is perfectly explained in the movie Role Models, is about the virility of Paul Stanley’s member. Hooligan is Criss’ only contribution and another of the little dips on the record. Almost Human is the diamond in the rough and relies on a great solo by Frehley that reminds us of Hendrix himself. Plaster Caster is another great tune from ‘The Demon’, showing off his mastery of melodies, that talks about  a well known groupie from the 60s and 70s who made  plaster molds of rock stars penises (none of the Kiss fellows is known to have ever got into her hands FYI). The finale is a version of Then She Kissed Me that Phil Spector gave to the Crystals, but it didn’t outshine the original. Even so, no Kiss fan can reject a record that supposedly is the remarkable end of their golden age.  

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