KISS – Crazy Nights [Remastered]
1998, Mercury Records
Originally Released: 1987, Mercury Records
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1. “Crazy Crazy Nights”
2. “I’ll Fight Hell to Hold You”
3. “Bang Bang You”
4. “No, No, No”
5. “Hell or High Water”
6. “My Way”
7. “When Your Walls Come Down”
8. “Reason to Live”
9. “Good Girl Gone Bad”
10. “Turn On the Night”
11. “Thief in the Night”
Paul Stanley – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Bruce Kulick – Guitar, Backing Vocals, Bass
Gene Simmons – Vocals, Bass
Eric Carr – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Phil Ashley – Keyboards
Producer: Ron Nevison
KISS were no strangers to experimenting with pop music in the past (Dynasty, Unmasked) and Crazy Nights is a culmination of the lighter metal sound the band had started with Asylum. “Crazy Crazy Nights” immediately sets the pace, it’s drenched in keyboards has a high cheese factor. So, of course, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine. And “I’ll Fight Hell to Hold You”, “My Way”, “Reason to Live” and “Turn On the Night” continue to work the keyboards into overtime.
The band was obviously in trend-chasing mode as bands like Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Heart were huge acts in the late ’80s with their very polished hard rock/pop sounds. In fact, they recruited just the right producer if slick rock/pop was their goal as Ron Nevison was quite in demand, having recently worked with such acts like Ozzy Osbourne (The Ultimate Sin), Heart, Survivor and even on the soundtrack for the first Karate Kid movie.
At one point, both Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley denounced this album as a mistake, but apparently their stance softened a bit because just a few years back “Crazy Crazy Nights” made an appearance in their set list while they were touring in support of Sonic Boom over in Europe. “Reason to Live” is the big power ballad of the album. It’s very much of its era and features Paul in his element. He was made for this type of stuff. It was released as a single and it’s surprising that the song wasn’t a big mainstream hit for the band.
Just like “Crazy Crazy Nights”, this entire album is a guilty pleasure album. It’s glossy but it’s not without a little bite. “Bang Bang You” is a solid oversexed polished rocker that would’ve sounded fine right next to “Let’s Put the X in Sex” and “(You Make Me) Rock Hard” on Smashes, Thrashes and Hits. “No, No, No” is frenetic and features some great guitar work from Bruce Kulick. “Good Girl Gone Bad” is a mid-paced rocker that’s one of Gene’s better songs from the 1980s.
I initially didn’t like this album but I’ve come to love it. It was given to me as a graduation present from my girlfriend at the time. I popped it in my car as we were driving somewhere and she immediately apologized for giving me a bad graduation gift! It wasn’t what I was expecting but I told her she did good. After all, I was trying to complete my KISS collection and, bad or not, I wanted the album.
If you’re a fan of glossy commercial hard rock from the 1980s, Crazy Nights is sure to please.
Highlights: “Crazy Crazy Nights”, “I’ll Fight Hell to Hold You”, “Bang Bang You”, “No, No, No”, “My Way”, “Reason to Live”, “Good Girl Gone Bad”, “Turn On the Night”