Albums of the ’80s – Kiss Unmasked

Welcome to the new series – Albums of the ’80s! I will try to post at least one album a week. We will go over some classic albums of the ’80s as well as some lesser known ones. We’ll have some fun remembering songs we haven’t heard in a while, and maybe we’ll hear “new” old music we missed the first time around. I hope you enjoy this. Let me know if you have any suggestions of albums you would like to know about, or if you have any favorites that you want people to hear.

I plan on jumping around to different years. But the first two albums I will cover happen to be from 1980. They are the first two that I ever owned. We will start with:

Kiss – Unmasked

Unmasked was the first album (well technically cassette) that I ever owned. I got it as a present along with a tape recorder to play it on. I still have the tape, and it is still in pretty good shape – especially considering the number of times it has been played.

So, my first album came at a transitional period for Kiss. Unmasked was the last studio album to feature the original lineup of Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss until the band reunited. Peter Criss technically was not even involved with the album. Anton Fig played drums on all the tracks, and was uncredited for it. After the album came out, Eric Carr would go on to be the permanent drummer for Kiss, until his death in 1991.

Although the album was titled Unmasked, this is not when the band did away with their makeup. The cover art was actually a comic strip. It featured a goofy photographer trying to catch the band members without their makeup on. Finally, Ace told him that if he dropped the camera they would take their masks off. They took their masks off, only to reveal that they had their makeup on underneath. Since I had this on cassette, I would read the comic with a magnifying glass!

The real unmasking of Kiss came on MTV on September 18, 1983:

Now let’s get into the music. Unmasked wasn’t one of their most popular albums. Even some of the band members did not like it! According to Paul Stanley:

Unmasked? I would give that one star. A song like “Tomorrow” is really a great song, but I think ‘Unmasked’ is a pretty crappy album. It’s wimpy. A lot of those songs started out much ballsier, and much more rock’n’ rolly. Somehow they lost something on their way to vinyl.” p331, Kiss-Behind the Mask

Nonetheless, I loved this album, and still like most of the songs on it. Here is the playlist:

1. Is That You?

The album started out wi a bang. Or actually a Paul Stanley scream. This Paul Stanley song is probably the hardest rocking song on the album. A great way to start.

2. Shandi

Another Paul Stanley song. This time a ballad. This song was a hit in several countries. It peaked at #47 in the U.S., but reached all the way to #5 on the Australian charts.

3. Talk to Me

I love this Ace Frehley song. The song was not released as a single in the U.S., but was released in several other countries where it reached the top-10.

4. Naked City

Hehe. He said “Naked”. As a ten year old, that was awesome! Of course, the Naked City, in this Gene Simmons song, refers to New York, and not a city where people are actually walking around naked. But it’s a pretty cool, if not depressing, song.

5. What Makes the World Go ‘Round

There were 3 songs on this album that I played over-and-over again. And this Paul Stanley tune was one of them. Warning: This song could possibly give you an earworm! Not a bad song to have stuck in your head though.

6. Tomorrow

This is song #2 that I played over-and-over. This is another great Paul Stanley song. I really like the guitar solo as well.

7. Two Sides of the Coin

I like this Ace Frehley song a lot. If you liked “Talk To Me” earlier in this album, then you’ll like this one.

8. She’s So European

Back to Gene Simmons. Not a bad song. Not exactly the best song on the album, but still good.

9. Easy As It Seems

The last of the Paul Stanley songs. It’s probably my least favorite Stanley song on the album, but it’s still not bad.

10. Torpedo Girl

Ugh. This Ace Frehley song is somewhere around 3 1/2 minutes, and I think he repeats the title of the song for the last 2 1/2 minutes. The song after this was one of my favorites so I would always try skipping by this one. But since they repeat the same thing over and over and over again, I could never tell when it was almost over. Then I would skip too far, and have to rewind, and keep going back and forth. All you guys that used to listen to cassettes know what I’m talking about. Eeesh, It would have been faster to just listen to the whole song.

11. You’re All That I Want

This Gene Simmons song was one of my favorites. Great way to close out the album.

2 thoughts on “Albums of the ’80s – Kiss Unmasked”

  1. I like this idea! Looking forward to Chicago 17, perhaps?
    The Moody Blues’ “The Other Side Of Life” might be a good lesser-known selection. I’d also enjoy Wham!’s “Make It Big” and Van Halen’s “5150” (that diverse enough for you?). Also curious as to what else you already have in store. Bring ’em on!

  2. Thanks Jim!! There will definitely be Chicago – most likely 16 through 19. I’ll spread them out too. Most people just know their ballads from the radio, so they are missing some really great stuff.

    Good idea with the Moody Blues! I haven’t listened to “Your Wildest Dreams” in a while. I am kind of partial to “I Know Your Out There Somewhere” from Sur la Mer, but I believe the first one was a bigger hit, and introduced a new generation to The Moody Blues.

    I can’t have a series on ’80s albums without having Wham!, so that’s a great idea too. And 5150 is one of my all time favorite albums. I hope and think that you’ll enjoy this series!

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