After Love Gun and Alive II, the four iconic members of Kiss — Gene, Paul, Ace, and Peter — each made their individual, band sanctioned, solo albums, which really aren’t bad. Then they were together again and made Dynasty and Unmasked. There were a number of albums after that with various people replacing Peter and Ace.
But then in 1996, the 4 originals went on tour and made one final album together, which was Psycho Circus. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever read a good review of that album, and for the life of me I can’t understand why! It’s really quite excellent. Musically, it features some fantastic songwriting and vocal performances. But the reviews were generally not so good. One reviewer said that the songs sounded like their old stuff, and thought it was weird to hear it from older musicians instead of “young hungry” ones. And others said they’d rather just hear the classics than new stuff. You’ve probably heard that argument about classic bands — that people don’t want to hear new songs, just the ones they remember.
But if you’ve never given Psycho Circus a listen, you should give it a shot. From the title song to a song that encapsulates the spirit of Kiss, “I Pledge Allegiance to the State of Rock and Roll”, it’s 45 minutes of really enjoyable tunes. In case you forgot who you were listening to, there’s “You Wanted the Best”. And like a good concept album, the closing song musically kind of echoes the opening title track.
No, Kiss are not Led Zeppelin or the Beatles or Mozart. But there’s nothing wrong with being Kiss! If only we could forget “I Was Made for Lovin’ You.”