In our previous Kiss piece on hidden gems of the '70's, reader comments confirmed this fact: observers of Kiss, fans and haters alike, are a passionate group. The comments section of that article is jammed with opinions and criticisms and the idea to produce a similar list for the '80's was first germinated there by a couple of different readers. This is that list. The early '80's were a strange time for Kiss - Gene was off trying to become a movie star media mogul and dealing with rapid hair loss, Peter was gone, Ace was going and Paul was left minding the shop. The first two albums of the '80's, "Unmasked" and "Music from the Elder' were critical and commercial failures but that was probably a blessing in disguise as it forced the band to try to claw back some credibiity with the excellent "Creatures of the Night" album. Unfortunately, however, the heaviness of COTN would prove to be a blip as Kiss then moved towards more of a 'hair metal' vibe from "Lick It Up" forward. During the decade of the '80's Kiss filled 8 albums with songs that fall, generally, into one of three categories singles, lesser known gems and filler with arguably far too much of the latter. Fear not though my friends, your humble servant has spent considerable time combing through the '80's albums track by track (a painful process at times) to find the hidden gems beyond the singles and early music vids that we all know. As with my previous Kiss article the tracks are presented by order of release date from oldest to youngest and is not a one through ten ranking as we normally understand it. Also, as I am the writer and get to make up the rules, I decided that each '80's album had be represented. This created some challenges and caused omissions that I'll be only too happy to hear about in the comments section. Away we go...
10. "Easy As It Seems" from Unmasked, 1980
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGWfIRkhtbE While there are several potential hidden gems on Unmasked this Paul Stanley song sets itself apart. "Easy As It Seems" is classic Paul, a tune that wouldn't have been out of place on his '78 solo album or for that matter on "Live to Win", released decades later. One could make the argument for the inclusion of "Naked City" or "Is That You" but "Easy As It Seems" is enough of a departure from the formula of the rest of the album to warrant its selection above the others. Lyrically the song is a nice departure from the standard Stanley love-fests. The story of a broken relationship replaces happily ever after, a theme also seen in the aforementioned track, "Is That You". It would appear that Mr. Stanley was a little jaded about love relationships when he penned those lyrics. It's true that Unmasked was a hated album for many Kiss fans but I'll go on record as saying, with the exception of Ace Frehley's worst song ever, "Torpedo Girl", I was and still am a big fan of it and all the hyperbolic hate on the planet won't change that.
Ross Ingall is a 52 year old ordained Canadian baptist minister who has been listening to hard rock and metal quite literally since each was invented. A second career pastor who attended seminary in his 40's, the Rev hosts Too Metal For Church on Metal Nation Radio. Writing both under his own name as well as the psuedonym/nickname Reverend Rock, Ross has been writing music articles on the web since 1999.