Paul Stanley set out to deliver a melodic and heartfelt solo record, and gathered a host of gifted studio musicians to his side for the project, you can guess how good the results were.
Written by: Lee South Africa
ARTIST: Paul Stanley
ALBUM: Paul Stanley
SERIAL: NBLP 7123
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Paul Stanley – lead and backing vocals, rhythm and acoustic guitar, e-bow * Bob Kulick – lead guitar, acoustic guitar * Steve Buslowe, Eric Nelson – bass * Craig Krampf, Richie Fontana, Carmine Appice – drums * Peppy Castro, Diana Grasselli, Doug Katsaros, Miriam Valle, Maria Vidal – backing vocals * Doug Katsaros – piano, omni string ensemble * Steve Lacey – guitar (‘Love In Chains’)
TRACK LISTING: 01 Tonight You Belong To Me * 02 Move On * 03 Ain’t Quite Right * 04 Wouldn’t You Like to Know Me? * 05 Take Me Away (Together As One) * 06 It’s Alright * 07 Hold Me, Touch Me (Think Of Me When We’re Apart) * 08 Love In Chains * 09 Goodbye
WEBLINKS: Site Link
It’s 1978 and Kiss are the biggest band in the world. More than that, they’re bonafide comic book heroes and inescapable in American daily culture. A rosy picture this all looked to the public, but internally Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were feeling that their musical ambitions and creativity were not being properly expressed in Kiss.
Mutterings of ‘going solo’ began to do the rounds, something needed to be done to prevent a breakup at the height of their success: each member would record a solo album, address it to the other three members and release on the same day! Two birds with one stone you could say.
Ace and Peter get to stretch out musically without leaving the band, and an unheard of marketing coup on the cards. Elsewhere, Paul Stanley set out to deliver a melodic and heartfelt record, and gathered a host of gifted studio musicians to his side for the project. Among these the future Castro/Kulick/Katsaros Balance triumvirate. You can guess how good the results were.
Album opener ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’ has an almost epic structure, from the classy acoustic intro through one of the great rock riffs. Combined with a knockout ‘wall of vocals’ chorus confection, this is for me the midpoint of hard rock and AOR – a territory Kiss would inhabit for the next 12 years with some stunning results.
‘Move On’ comes over like Kiss invading Bad Company turf, winning stuff. A more toned down approach for ‘Ain’t Quite Right’ but the results are no less effective. Paul’s voice and Bob Kulick‘s chiselled guitar combining well as they do throughout the disc.
‘Wouldn’t You Like To Know Me’ returns to hard AOR territory like Kiss meets Boston with a side order of Cheap Trick. You could catch a shark with that hook, not to mention a chorus that won’t leave you in a hurry.
‘Take Me Away’ captures the power ballad format before it was even a catch phrase, this hits you really hard. ‘It’s Alright’ manages to combine Kiss with a dash of power pop, nothing even close to filler yet.
Paul explores more gentle balladry on ‘Hold Me Touch Me’, a delicate composition wearing it’s heart on it’s sleeve. Pretty emotional stuff to be honest, possibly why it was chosen as the single. ‘Love In Chains’ delivers yet another hook and chorus confection, picture Kiss meets Foreigner on this one.
The appropriately titled ‘Goodbye’ closes the album, and may just be the best track on offer – everything about it is accomplished with catchy melodies and bittersweet countermelodies working off each other. Very reflective lyrics and a chorus that can only be described as a cascading melody, it all spells AOR to me.
Although it only achieved a middling chart position, ‘Paul Stanley’ turned out to be a very important album. You can literally hear much of the 80’s Kiss sound coming to life here, with genuine emotion and songcraft on display. If you ever plan on being shipwrecked, you could do worse than taking this to your desert island.
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