Best song: “Rock Bottom” or “Rock and Roll All Nite”
Worst song: “Anything for My Baby”
Kiss is starting to get desperate. Casablanca Records cannot even afford to hire a “real” producer, so the company’s president, Neil Bogart, who believed in Kiss at times when maybe even they didn’t, produces Dressed to Kill himself. God love him.
“Room Service” gets us going with decently high-energy fun. “Baby, I could use a meal”. Waggle those eyebrows a little more, Paul. Already we’re doing better than Hotter Than Hell. Whew. Ace’s solo is frenetic without being a mess. This is an entertaining listen. But wait, at the end, the girl’s dad shows up to cockblock the narrator? That’s funny, folks. Kiss could not be taken seriously at times in the first two albums (“Goin’ Blind”), but now it sounds like they’re in on the joke. Good move, boys.
“Two Timer” and “Ladies in Waiting” unfortunately don’t live up to the promising opener. We’re into Hotter Than Hell levels of filler here, but I’ll say this for it: the production is much clearer. The Hell-ish murkiness is absent. “Getaway” pulls us up a bit; much better tempo and energy, and here’s another case of “You know, guys, Peter’s a pretty decent singer.” It’s not memorable, but it’s not tedious either. It breezes by, it feels good, you tap your toes a bit, on to the next one.
And what a strange next one. “Rock Bottom” begins with a beautiful intro on arpeggiated acoustic guitar and it lasts for a full 1:55. Nearly two minutes of lush beauty. Is it the most intricate thing you ever heard? Of course not, but it’s the prettiest thing these guys have yet done. Then the song proper begins. Paul brings energy to his delivery, Ace brings punchy riff, and Gene delivers a nice bass line (which a better mix might have brought out even more, but at least you know it’s there, which you wouldn’t have on the previous album).
“C’mon and Love Me” opens the second side continuing the good stuff “Rock Bottom” left us. By the time this song ends up on Double Platinum, I feel they’ll have better stuff they could have chosen, but it’s decent. Once again, Gene has a good bass line which is sadly undermixed.
“Anything for My Baby” is another sorta bland bit of filler; once again, the production elevates it above Hotter Than Hell crap. Then we come to “She”. I know this was one of their more popular pieces; I know it was on Alive!; I know they graced it with “Rock Bottom”‘s intro on Double Platinum; I just don’t care for it. This is another collaboration between Gene and Stephen Coronel, and … well, it’s way better than “Goin’ Blind”, certainly. It’s not bad, but being on Double Platinum is overrating it.
“Love Her All I Can” is filler like so much of the album, but it’s on the “Getaway” side or even better; the riff rocks decently and they bring energy to the party. Fair enough.
Speaking of parties, it’s time for the closer … wait for it … “You show us everything you got / you keep on dancin’ and the room gets hot / you drive us wild, we’ll drive you crazy.” Yup, this very mixed bag ends with the canonical party anthem, “Rock and Roll All Nite”. It was released as a single but didn’t do well. I cannot understand that. It must have been the lack of promotion by a bigger company. It’s big and simple and fun and why am I telling you about this, because if you’re in a developed country and have access to the Internet, I bet you’ve heard the song.
This is more problematic than Hotter Than Hell; there’s some gems on it that the compilations won’t get you. “All Nite”, “C’mon”, and “She” will end up on Double Platinum. “Rock Bottom” will end up on Alive!, but the intro is cut to only about 40 seconds and doesn’t sound nearly as lovely on the electric in concert, though the song proper is great. And “Room Service” is nowhere else to be found, and yes, it’s silly enough fun to be worth it. Nowadays of course, you just go to iTunes and get the song you want. Back in the day, this would have been more of a dilemma. So do that. Get Double Platinum and Alive! and then buy “Room Service” and “Rock Bottom” on their own. Yay!
What’s next? Oh, just the album that turned Kiss from some random weirdos into The Hottest Band In The World.