Dressed To Kill


Casablanca Records, 1975


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


1975 proved to be the year for Kiss. After two mediocre albums (including the horrible production work on Hotter Than Hell), Casablanca Records chief Neil Bogart and the band decided to take matters into their own hands for the third attempt. Kiss was known for their live shows, and come hell or high water, they were going to capture that energy on the third disc.

Over a quarter of a century later, we can look at Dressed To Kill and ask ourselves whether they succeeded. While this record is a major improvement over Hotter Than Hell, and it contains songs with more substance than the previous two efforts, it still falls a bit short of the mark, though not by much. At the time, it was Kiss's best effort.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Returning to the "sex equals love" concept that wasn't as conspicuous on Hotter Than Hell, Paul Stanley and crew crank out 10 songs, many of which have become part of any rock music fan's vernacular. Who knew back in 1975 that "Rock And Roll All Nite" would become the anthem for this Kabuki-faced foursome, and would rank up there as one of the all-time most popular rock songs? The answer: somebody had to, otherwise it wouldn't have made the cut.

But wait, there's more. While some of these might not get as much attention today as they did back then, tracks like "C'mon And Love Me," "She" and "Rock Bottom" (complete with acoustic guitar intro) all served as proof that Kiss was no flash in the pan, and that they did indeed have their eyes on the big prize. "Rock Bottom," while a hit for the band in the '70s, still ranks in my book as one of Kiss's most underrated songs.

Even some of the "filler" is pretty tasty. "Room Service" is a track that I'm truly surprised didn't become another one of Kiss's anthems, from the catchy chorus to the harmony vocals to the amazing guitar work. The same goes for tracks like "Two Timer" and "Ladies In Waiting," songs which are just lying there, waiting to be re-discovered.

But, let's face it, it wouldn't be a Kiss album if there wasn't at least one throwaway song, and Dressed To Kill, while solid otherwise, has a couple of these. "Anything For My Baby" just doesn't rank as one of the best songs Kiss has ever crafted, while "Love Her All I Can" never is able to build up listener interest. They might not be the worst things the band has ever done, I'll grant you that, but compared to the stellar material on this disc, these tracks don't hold their water.

Dressed To Kill is a record you might know the music from, but you might not be familiar with the music itself. If someone wanted to discover what Kiss was all about, this might be the first record I'd point them towards, if Alive! was out of stock. The third time indeed proved to be the charm for Kiss - and it marked the start of a golden period for the band.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Casablanca Records, and is used for informational purposes only.