KISS – The Dynasty Gets Unmasked

Dynasty

By 1979 KISS was coming apart to a degree that was almost impossible to hide. The solo albums were out and it was time for another KISS album. Their costumes and makeup went from black and silver to the individual colors they used for their solo albums (which I liked). They released “Dynasty,” an album many fans thought was too disco. I never really thought it was all that disco, except for the song “I Was Made for Lovin’ You,” which Paul Stanley admitted he wrote just to to see if he could write a disco song. Sure, the drums on the album are heavy on the bass and pretty steady, which maybe gives it a disco-like quality, but come on, it’s not a Donna Summer album.

Ace, due to the success of his solo album, had three songs on “Dynasty” and he sang lead on all of them. One was a cover of the Rolling Stones song “2000 Man,” which was a pretty cool tune. His other two tracks, “Hard Times” and “Save Your Love” are two of my favorite Ace songs ever.

“Charisma” is a masterpiece and one of my all-time favorite Gene songs. It’s classic demon — another riff on the “Calling Dr. Love” theme that Gene does so well.

“Sure Know Somethin’,” with its outstanding bass line, and “Magic Touch” are two of the outstanding tracks by Paul. “Magic Touch” could have been a KISS classic if it had appeared on another album.

Peter only had one song on the album, “Dirty Livin’.” which I thought was okay. Unfortunately, that’s the only song on “Dynasty” where he played drums. The rest of it was done by Anton Fig, the drummer on Ace’s solo album. The official reason, I believe, was that Peter hurt his hand. He probably did, but as we would soon find out, he was all but gone.

“Dynasty” is an album I believe old-school KISS fans are just starting to appreciate. I think they lost a lot of fans when they released it. I’m not in love with the album, but I like it a lot and always have. In all honesty, it could have been better with a more raw approach in the production.

  1. “I Was Made for Lovin’ You”
  2. “2,000 Man”
  3. “Sure Know Something”
  4. “Dirty Livin'”
  5. “Charisma”
  6. “Magic Touch”
  7. “Hard Times”
  8. “X-Ray Eyes”
  9. “Save Your Love”

Unmasked

Shoot me now if you must, but I think “Unmasked” is a great KISS album. The songs are really good. In my opinion, two factors contributed to album’s lack of success. The first is the cover itself. I love the artwork, but I think it automatically set “Unmasked” up as a piece of pop schlock. Second, the production. It was produced to sound like pop — way too polished, way too tame. Less of the synthesized sound and more upfront guitar, bass, and drums would’ve elevated this album to a whole different level.

It’s too bad, really, because songs like Paul Stanley’s “Tomorrow” and “Is That You,” Ace Frehley’s “Two Sides of the Coin” and “Talk to Me,” and Gene Simmons’ “She’s So European” and “Naked City” are really good. A harder approach would have beefed them up. As it is, the album is a throwaway for most KISS fans, although I still listen to it frequently.

Of course, we all know by now that Peter Criss didn’t play drums on the album at all, even though his name appears in the credits. He was officially not a part of KISS any longer, although by contractual obligation he had to appear in videos released to promote the album.

  1. “Is That You?”
  2. “Shandi”
  3. “Talk to Me”
  4. “Naked City”
  5. “What Makes the World Go ‘Round”
  6. “Tomorrow”
  7. “Two Sides of the Coin”
  8. “She’s So European”
  9. “Easy As It Seems”
  10. “Torpedo Girl”
  11. “You’re All That I Want”
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One thought on “KISS – The Dynasty Gets Unmasked

  1. Hi Carl, I totally share your opinion towards “Unmasked” – it got lost in KISS’ downward spiral back in the day, but pretty much all of the songs didn’t deserve all the bad rap. “Naked City” is Gene’s “Eleaneor Rigby”, “Is That You”, “Tomorrow”, “Easy As It Seems” and “What Makes The World Go Round” rank amongst Paul’s finest pop rock tunes … and, well, Ace’s songs didn’t match the quality of his “Dynasty” contributions but were at least funny (I mean, “Torpedo Girl”? WTF?).
    The fact that “Unmasked” was the first KISS album I ever got (I forced my mum to buy it for me when I was 8 years old) might influence my opinion a tiny bit – but I would ALWAYS put “Unmasked” in my KISS Top 10 album list. Would love to hear it with louder guitars and a heavier mix, though…

    Liked by 1 person

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