Sure, they were campy, their lyrics were juvenile, and they weren’t really that good, but every discography has its nuggets. Here in no particular order are eight reasons to give KISS a little respect.
1. “A World Without Heroes”: From the much maligned Music From The Elder, with lyrics co-written by Lou Reed.
2. “Fractured Mirror”: A wonderful instrumental climbing song. As a kid I was sure that this was the most sophisticated piece of music ever recorded. Now? Not so much, but I still enjoy it. I can’t pick up a guitar without playing this. This song sounded to me like how I imagined California – like a Bruce Brown surfing documentary.
3. “Hard Luck Woman,” Garth Brooks. Yes, you read that correctly. Garth’s version did what every cover song should do: It made me think about the original in a whole new way. The blood and dragon boots obscured the fact that this is a pretty little country song.
4. “Black Diamond,” The Replacements. Nothing but cool.
5. “Goin’ Blind.” I can state confidently that this is the only song ever written about both macular degeneration and a love affair between a girl of 16 and a 93 year-old man.
6. “Love Theme From KISS.” Another instrumental. How Quentin Tarantino has missed this one escapes me. It has the early Seventies funkiness mandatory for a slow motion tracking shot of cool guys in suits walking.
7. “Mr. Make Believe,” Gene Simmons. Did The Beatles influence everybody? Yes, yes they did.
8. “Watchin’ You.” Hooky, funky, weird. “Limpin’ as you do / I’m watchin’ you.” What?