Thursday, May 08, 2014

Ikons - Space Ace

I'm finishing with Ace Frehley as my favorite of the Kiss Ikons, for a variety of reasons.

I don't know if it's better or worse that way. I know I'll be glad to be done with this.

Let me say that I certainly understand why the other members of Kiss find him frustrating. I started watching this video, Ace Frehley: What Really Happened at Rock Hall Induction, and found myself frustrated with his juvenile response to the compliment paid by former bandmate Gene Simmons that I had to stop watching.

That's not to say his songs aren't still amongst my favorites. That I don't love his stuff with Frehley's Comet and his solo work. I really, really do.

We'll start, as with Simmons, with the studio side of Alive II and "Rocket Ride". Largely, Frehley's sex songs are... off... a little. He's best with spaced out stuff, literally or figuratively. Here the space theme to the dirty song makes it work for me.

He really brought it on Dynasty, at least for me. On some level, the balancing act between his hard rockin' drive and the new '70s pop groove Paul Stanley found is the real strength of this album, which I think is generally underrated.

His cover of "2000 Man" even takes down The Rolling Stones, which is amazing!

He also delivered "Hard Times" on that album, which is another scorcher.

Frehley's Comet can be uneven in places, but "Breakout", co-written with former Kiss bandmate Eric Carr is a terrific, driving rock song.

"Dolls" is a cool, quirky little song that shows a side of Frehley's songwriting he didn't show often enough.

The +1 on Frehley's Comet's Live +1 is "Words Are Not Enough". It's definitely too '80s for my current taste, but I still love it. Not so secretly.

Man, "Insane" from Second Sighting ups the ante on the '80s, although nowhere near the heights Kiss was reaching at this point, but I still love it. The silly New York rock star braggadocio. Nice.

"Loser in a Fight" is probably the best song on the album. Just a taste of post-Metallica thrash to balance out the pop craftsmanship.

I still think Trouble Walkin' is the strongest of Frehley's post-Kiss career. I'd start that with "Shot Full of Rock", even with my general aversion to "pro-rock" rock songs.

He also takes ownership of of the Stanley co-written "Hide Your Heart", previously recorded by both Kiss and Bonnie Tyler

I've already admitted my sad affection for Psycho Circus, which is certainly misplaced for portions, but I genuinely and wholeheartedly enjoy "Into the Void".

Frehley's most recent solo album, Anomaly opens with the '70s throwback "Foxy & Free", which I think is fantastic.

The highlight of the album, though, for me, is "Outer Space", which really perfectly sounds classic and fresh at the same time.

He has a new album scheduled for later this year, "Space Invader", and I'm looking forward to it. I'd like to see him build on "Anomoly", which I enjoy a lot. I'd also like to see him have a continuing solo career and end the starts and stops. He certainly has the talent for it, if not always the other things necessary, which is too bad... for him, I'm sure, more than for me.

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